Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124

05/04/2021 08:00 AM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 192 AK REG ECON ASSIST. PROGRAM; EXTEND TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 192 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
*+ HR 8 POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY TASK FORCE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                   
                          May 4, 2021                                                                                           
                           8:04 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Sara Hannan, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Calvin Schrage, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Josiah Patkotak, Vice Chair                                                                                      
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Mike Prax                                                                                                        
Representative Ken McCarty                                                                                                      
Representative Kevin McCabe                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 192                                                                                                              
"An Act extending the termination date of the Alaska regional                                                                   
economic assistance program; and providing for an effective                                                                     
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 192 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 8                                                                                                          
Creating the House Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 192                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AK REG ECON ASSIST. PROGRAM; EXTEND                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
04/28/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/28/21       (H)       CRA                                                                                                    
05/04/21       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HR   8                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY TASK FORCE                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TARR                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
04/21/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/21/21       (H)       CRA                                                                                                    
05/04/21       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented HB 192.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SANDRA MOLLER, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Community and Regional Affairs                                                                                      
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to questions during the hearing                                                                
on HB 192.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
RIVER RAMUGLIA, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information during the hearing on                                                               
HB 192 on behalf of Representative Kriess-Tomkins, prime                                                                        
sponsor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
NOLAN KLOUDA, Executive Director                                                                                                
Alaska Center for Economic Development                                                                                          
University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the hearing on HB
192.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT VENABLES, Executive Director                                                                                             
Southeast Conference                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to questions during the hearing                                                                
on HB 192.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SHIRLEY MARQUARDT, Executive Director                                                                                           
Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified and answered questions during the                                                              
hearing on HB 192.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TIM DILLON, Executive Director                                                                                                  
Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District                                                                                   
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified and  answered questions during the                                                             
hearing on HB 192.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL POPP, CEO                                                                                                                  
Anchorage Economic Development Corporation                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified and  answered questions during the                                                             
hearing on HB 192.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislator                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented HR 8.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK M. ANDERSON, CEO                                                                                                        
Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. ("RurAL CAP")                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 8.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KIRK ROSE, CEO                                                                                                                  
Anchorage Community Land Trust                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 8.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:04:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SARA HANNAN  called the  House  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs  Standing  Committee  meeting   to  order  at  8:04  a.m.                                                               
Representatives  Patkotak,   Drummond,  Prax,   McCabe,  McCarty,                                                               
Schrage, and Hannan were present at the call to order.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
           HB 192-AK REG ECON ASSIST. PROGRAM; EXTEND                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:05:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL NO. 192, "An  Act extending the termination date of                                                               
the Alaska  regional economic  assistance program;  and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:06:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE    JONATHAN     KREISS-TOMKINS,    Alaska    State                                                               
Legislature,  as prime  sponsor, presented  HB 192.   He  related                                                               
that  during  discussions  of  another  bill,  an  amendment  was                                                               
offered  regarding  Alaska   Regional  Development  Organizations                                                               
(ARDORs),  and it  was then  that the  realization was  made that                                                               
ARDORs statutes were  set to expire in a couple  months.  He said                                                               
HB 192 would  reauthorize ARDORs.  He reviewed  that while ARDORs                                                               
previously received state  funding, at present they  do not; they                                                               
do receive federal  funds.  He talked about the  varying sizes of                                                               
ARDORs across the  state; each region decides what  roll an ARDOR                                                               
may or  may not play.   He advised that  HB 192 would  extend the                                                               
authorization by a decade.  He  said there are no state resources                                                               
that  flow through  these programs,  which have  been around  for                                                               
decades, and  "it seems  like it  would be a  good thing  to keep                                                               
them on the books."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:10:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN  noted two  ARDOR  executives,  as well  as  the                                                               
director of the  Division of Community and  Regional Affairs, and                                                               
others  were  available  to  answer   questions.    She  notified                                                               
committee  members that  the most  recently received  handouts in                                                               
the  committee  packet  were  a   memorandum  ("memo")  from  the                                                               
Department of Commerce, Community  & Economic Development (DCCED)                                                               
and an audit.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:11:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX  reflected  on  the hurried  nature  of  the                                                               
proposed  legislation.     He  recollected  that   the  ARDOR  in                                                               
Fairbanks was created when he  was on the Fairbanks Assembly, and                                                               
he expressed skepticism  regarding the value of  ARDORs, based on                                                               
his experience.   He speculated  that the auditor may  agree with                                                               
him, the auditor having written in the report the following:                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The  audit concluded  that  ARDORs encouraged  economic                                                                    
     development in  their respective regions;  however, the                                                                    
     economic benefit was  indeterminable due to nonspecific                                                                    
     goals and a lack of performance measures.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX opined that the  problem that needs fixing is                                                               
that many  discussions take place  at ARDOR meetings but  with no                                                               
solutions  that result  in economic  benefits that  "satisfy your                                                               
hunger"  and "heat  your  house."   He  further  opined that  the                                                               
reports  do not  comply  with statute.   He  asked,  "Is this  so                                                               
urgent that  we don't have time  to ... think about  it before we                                                               
reapprove the authorization?"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  responded that there is  a benefit                                                               
to increasing specificity.  He  pointed out that expressed in the                                                               
audit  is the  opinion of  the auditor.   Regarding  the idea  of                                                               
"indeterminable"  economic benefit,  he suggested  that does  not                                                               
mean the  organizations are failing  in their mission  but rather                                                               
that  "they are  operating  in  an area  where  it is  relatively                                                               
difficult to nail  down attributability."  He noted  that much of                                                               
the  funding  for  ARDORs  comes  from  the  private  sector  and                                                               
governments within  the region;  private industry  has membership                                                               
dues  which pay  the  lion's share  of  the Southeast  Conference                                                               
budget, for example.  He  offered his understanding that there is                                                               
perceived  value in  ARDORs and  demand  within the  region.   He                                                               
reiterated  that  there is  no  state  money that  flows  through                                                               
ARDORs.   He advised that  legislators keep ARDORs on  the books,                                                               
so  they don't  "muddle up  their missions."   He  said if  state                                                               
money  were  going  to  ARDORs, then  that  would  be  completely                                                               
different conversation.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX   responded  that   he  had  not   read  the                                                               
information regarding "the  one for the Southeast,"  and he noted                                                               
there is private money invested there.   He said in Fairbanks, it                                                               
was all government  money; having no private  money there becomes                                                               
"a communications  break."   He asked,  "Would that  be something                                                               
that we could  insert in the statute  at a later time?"   He said                                                               
he appreciates the  bill sponsor's point of wanting  to "get this                                                               
done because it's about to sunset."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  said  he is  more  familiar  with                                                               
ARDORs in Southeast Alaska, which  have a large amount of private                                                               
sector  funding  and are  important.    He acknowledged  that  it                                                               
sounds like it may be a  different situation in the Interior.  He                                                               
said  he  does not  know  enough  about  that  to know  what  the                                                               
implications would  be, and would  like to hear  the perspectives                                                               
of  ARDORs,  as  well  as  the  perspective  of  the  Chamber  of                                                               
Commerce.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  directed attention to the  first sentence of                                                               
the  last paragraph  of the  sponsor statement  [included in  the                                                               
committee packet],  which read  as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
       In appropriations bill HB69, $20 million has been                                                                        
        authorized to be utilized by the ARDORs for the                                                                         
     purposes of tourism promotion.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX opined  that  that money  should  go to  the                                                               
Fairbanks  Convention   and  Visitors  Bureau.     He  said  this                                                               
illustrates  the problem.   He  expressed that  he would  like to                                                               
have at least some follow-up conversation.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:19:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN noted that Juneau  tourism had received money via                                                               
Southeast  Conference, and  that that  money originated  from the                                                               
federal government.  She clarified  her understanding is that the                                                               
ARDORs do  not spend the monies  but are "the conduit  to getting                                                               
it out in the local communities."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:20:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE said  he has several issues  with [HB 192].                                                               
He  characterized himself  as a  fan  of ARDORs,  who thinks  the                                                               
money should be managed by the  entity to which it is designated.                                                               
He  observed  that  since  1988,   [the  reconsideration  of  the                                                               
statutes] has  been on  a five-year  schedule, and  he questioned                                                               
why HB 192  proposes a 10-year extension.   He directed attention                                                               
to the  audit and pointed  out that the  Matanuska-Susitna ("Mat-                                                               
Su")  [Resource,   Conservation  and  Development   Council]  was                                                               
terminated from its ARDOR status by  [DCCED].  He said that is an                                                               
area of  over 100,000 in  population, and he remarked  that those                                                               
Alaskans are  disenfranchised because  they do not  receive money                                                               
from the CARES Act, since that  money filters through ARDORs.  He                                                               
mentioned  there are  two recommendations  in the  audit, and  he                                                               
said  he sees  no evidence  that either  has been  followed.   He                                                               
expressed  concern regarding  the haste  in      which HB  192 is                                                               
being put  forward.   He read  [from page 24  of the  audit] that                                                               
"regulation  governing the  ARDORs program  has not  been updated                                                               
since 1993."   Further, he read the second  recommendation in the                                                               
audit, that the director of  the Division of Economic Development                                                               
(DED) within DCCED "should review  ARDOR regulations to determine                                                               
if  updates  are necessary  to  ensure  program requirements  are                                                               
relevant and in line with  current program needs."  He reiterated                                                               
that he does not see that happening.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:23:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  reminded Representative  McCabe that this  is an                                                               
audit,  not a  report  that  requires an  annual  response.   She                                                               
suggested the committee hear from a representative of DCCED.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:24:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  cautioned against  "jumping  from                                                               
conclusions of ... nefarious or  ill-will by the department."  He                                                               
suggested some ARDORs  "wither on the vine" because of  a lack of                                                               
"local buy-in," and  he said the department may be  able to offer                                                               
some history regarding Mat-Su.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE emphasized he was  not saying there was any                                                               
ill-will   by   the   department,   but   said   sometimes   with                                                               
public/private partnerships,  if supervision is not  there, there                                                               
may be "a loose conglomeration."   He said he has interacted with                                                               
Southeast Conference and is frustrated  that Mat-Su "doesn't have                                                               
the same sort  of entity."  He questioned whether  there was some                                                               
way to get help establishing such an entity.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:25:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  noted that besides  Mat-Su, Lower  Kuskokwim and                                                               
the Interior Rivers also [no longer have ARDORs].                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:26:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SANDRA  MOLLER,  Director,  Division of  Community  and  Regional                                                               
Affairs,   Department   of   Commerce,   Community   &   Economic                                                               
Development, gave  background regarding  the ARDOR program.   She                                                               
said it  was transferred to DCCED  in the summer of  2019, to the                                                               
Division of Community and Regional  Affairs (DCRA).  She said she                                                               
could  research to  provide the  particulars of  the three  areas                                                               
where ARDORs were terminated; DCCED  worked with all three to try                                                               
to get them  in compliance with statutes and  regulations.  There                                                               
remain nine ARDORs.  Ms.  Moller expressed that the department is                                                               
supportive  of  the  program  and   new  ARDORs.    Statutes  and                                                               
regulations  outline  the  steps  regions  need  to  take  to  be                                                               
considered for an ARDOR.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   MCCABE  indicated   his   appreciation  of   any                                                               
information that  could be provided.   He also remarked  that the                                                               
application  process for  ARDORs is  one of  the simplest  he has                                                               
seen.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:30:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN asked if and  how, in 2020, those regions outside                                                               
of an ARDOR tapped into CARES Act funds.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOLLER  answered that  in 2019,  DCCED identified  the Denali                                                               
Commission, the  University of  Alaska Anchorage's  (UAA's) Small                                                               
Business Development  Center (SBDC), and the  Center for Economic                                                               
Development  as partners.    She indicated  that  DCCED met  with                                                               
these  entities,  ARDORs,  and   the  U.S.  Economic  Development                                                               
Administration.   She  said regardless  of state  funding, ARDORs                                                               
have maintained that network throughout  Alaska.  The nine ARDORs                                                               
covered much  of the  state; SBDC  was the  point of  contact for                                                               
non-ARDOR  regions  and involved  in  disbursement  of CARES  Act                                                               
funds.  In response to  Representative McCabe, she confirmed that                                                               
[the Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce] was involved.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:34:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE said  he just  found an  [online] article                                                               
from the  Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman  that indicates  [the reason                                                               
for Mat-Su being  terminated was that they were  inactive and not                                                               
attending  meetings.    He  said  it  sounds  like  there  is  an                                                               
opportunity for  Mat-Su to reengage  in ARDOR status  and receive                                                               
grant funding.   He  said he shares  concerns about  the proposed                                                               
10-year extension;  however, given that ARDORs  are not receiving                                                               
state  funds and  they are  spending grant  monies in  compliance                                                               
with   statutes    and   regulations,   he    feels   comfortable                                                               
reauthorizing the  ARDORs.   He opined  there is  clear, positive                                                               
impact of ARDORs.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:36:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND said  she is curious about  the source of                                                               
$20 million mentioned in the sponsor statement.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:36:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RIVER  RAMUGLIA,  Staff,  Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, on HB 192  on behalf of Representative Kriess-                                                               
Tomkins,  prime  sponsor,  offered  his  understanding  that  $20                                                               
million  had  been authorized  under  an  appropriations bill  to                                                               
ARDORs for the purpose of the promotion of tourism.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  reiterated that  she would like  to know                                                               
the source of the $20 million.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. RAMUGLIA responded that he would get that information.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND   asked  Ms.  Moller  if   the  division                                                               
administers  "the basic  grants that  these organizations  get to                                                               
fund their basic operations."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:37:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOLLER said there are no state  funds that go to ARDORs.  She                                                               
offered  her understanding  that the  $20 million  referenced "is                                                               
through the American Rescue Plan."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  explained that  there  is  a source  of                                                               
grant  funding  that  she  was  not able  to  identify  with  the                                                               
documents  currently   in  the   committee  packet,   other  than                                                               
membership fees.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:38:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  reminded Representative Drummond that  the audit                                                               
to which  she referred  is from  2016, and  thus not  accurate to                                                               
current  funding sources.   She  said there  were four  executive                                                               
directors  of ARDORs  available to  address questions  related to                                                               
operating costs and funding.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:39:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE  said there is a  statutory requirement for                                                               
annual  reports to  be provided  to  the chief  clerk and  senate                                                               
secretary, but  he said  he could  not find them.   He  asked Ms.                                                               
Moller if she  could provide one from 2015 that  could shed light                                                               
on the  circumstances under which  Mat-Su's ARDOR  was terminated                                                               
so that history would not repeat itself.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOLLER  responded that  she could  get more  information, and                                                               
she noted that the information from  fiscal year 2020 (FY 20) was                                                               
in the  committee packet currently.   She noted  that information                                                               
is available on the division's web site.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:40:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  recommended asking Nolan Klouda,  who was online                                                               
to answer questions.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:41:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NOLAN  KLOUDA, Executive  Director,  Alaska  Center for  Economic                                                               
Development, University  of Alaska  Fairbanks, explained  that in                                                               
2014 and  2015, a  few organizations that  had gone  dormant were                                                               
taken out  of the [ARDOR]  program.  In Mat-Su,  the organization                                                               
was  Mat-Su  RC&D,  which stood  for  Resource  Conservation  and                                                               
Development, and it was a  one-person organization operated by an                                                               
executive director.  When that  individual left, the organization                                                               
went  dormant before  it was  officially removed  from the  ARDOR                                                               
program.  He  said there have been efforts to  reestablish a Mat-                                                               
Su  ARDOR.   Regarding Alaska  CARES  funds and  SBDC helping  to                                                               
administer those  funds for regions  that do not have  ARDORs, he                                                               
offered  his understanding  that  SBDC has  an  office either  in                                                               
Wasilla  or   Palmer,  within  the   Mat-Su  region.     He  said                                                               
establishing  an ARDOR  in Mat-Su  would require  "players within                                                               
that region that want to take the initiative and do it."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:43:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE  predicted Mat-Su would  be in line  for an                                                               
ARDOR in the next few days.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:44:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT VENABLES,  Executive Director, Southeast  Conference, gave                                                               
a  brief introduction  regarding Southeast  Conference.   He said                                                               
ARDORs play  a significant  and strategic  role as  "an interface                                                               
for  economic  development  initiatives"  by  collaborating  with                                                               
state,  local, and  tribal governments,  as well  as the  private                                                               
sector to create the  comprehensive economic development strategy                                                               
(CEDS) that  outlines the  region's development  goals.   He said                                                               
Southeast Conference feeds valuable  economic information back to                                                               
the  state   and  proposes  "projects   that  have   synergy  for                                                               
communities  throughout   the  region."    He   highlighted  that                                                               
Southeast  Conference provides  technical  assistance, which  has                                                               
been especially  beneficial during  the pandemic  while assisting                                                               
the   governor's  Alaska   CARES   program   delivery  to   small                                                               
businesses.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. VENABLES emphasized that ARDORs  are not governmental but are                                                               
a  mechanism  by which  to  relieve  government  of the  cost  of                                                               
service  delivery by  using  much  more cost-effective  entities.                                                               
Regarding  the intent  of HB  192,  he said,  "We're really  just                                                               
looking for  a digit, not a  dime."  He explained  that the digit                                                               
is to  renew ARDORs to  2031.  He  noted that the  last extension                                                               
was intended  to be for  10 years;  however, the fiscal  note had                                                               
been changed  and there  was concern  by a  legislative committee                                                               
that ARDORs  may not be able  to survive, thus the  time was kept                                                               
at five  years.  He observed  that the bill title  read "economic                                                               
assistance  program" but  opined  that [ARDORs]  would be  better                                                               
described as giving economic development technical assistance.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VENABLES agreed  there  is  a need  to  update statutes  and                                                               
recommended that be addressed during  the next year or two rather                                                               
than now, when  there is the "execution  of authorization looming                                                               
over our  heads."   He affirmed that  the notion  of "measurables                                                               
and  deliverables" is  "near and  dear to  our heart,"  and every                                                               
priority  objective  of  the  Southeast  Conference  programs  is                                                               
measurable  and  does yield  results.    He  listed some  of  the                                                               
efforts that have  been made by Southeast Conference  in the last                                                               
year,   including   workgroups,  programs,   planning,   mapping,                                                               
pandemic  mitigation, surveying,  job reports,  and publications.                                                               
He  said one  of  the  silver linings  of  the  pandemic was  the                                                               
cooperation  between ARDORs  and  the  administration to  finding                                                               
efficiencies and targeting best  steps forward to help struggling                                                               
businesses.    He  said Southeast  Conference  has  helped  other                                                               
economic development  organization, for example, through  SBDC or                                                               
chambers  of  commerce.   He  stated  that ARDORs  have  specific                                                               
mandates but must  cover multiple communities in  a region, which                                                               
is  why  there  is  a comprehensive  development  strategy.    He                                                               
mentioned there is  a bar of 75 percent  of communities endorsing                                                               
the concept  for an ARDOR.   He  said it is  a hard work  done by                                                               
passionate people, and it is working well.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:49:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCABE expressed  a  desire  to infuse  Southeast                                                               
Conference production and activity into Mat-Su.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. VENABLES  said ARDORs  are willing to  help get  other ARDORs                                                               
started.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:50:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHIRLEY   MARQUARDT,   Executive   Director,   Southwest   Alaska                                                               
Municipal  Conference,  said  since 1988,  the  Southwest  Alaska                                                               
Municipal Conference  ("SWAM-C") has been identified  as an ARDOR                                                               
for  boroughs in  Southwest Alaska.   It  advocates for  critical                                                               
infrastructure  needs  and   priorities  for  rural  communities,                                                               
encouraging  private  and  public  partnerships  and  responsible                                                               
development  and  management  of the  region's  economic  sector,                                                               
which is commercial  seafood harvesting and processing.   It does                                                               
so with  the financial support  of the U.S.  Economic Development                                                               
Association (EDA) planning grants  applied for every three years,                                                               
annual  membership  fees,  and  sponsorships.    She  noted  that                                                               
although the  ARDOR gets  more funds from  its members  than from                                                               
the federal government, without the  federal funding it could not                                                               
keep its doors open.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. MARQUARDT said  each ARDOR is required to  produce an updated                                                               
comprehensive  economic strategy,  which must  be revamped  every                                                               
four  years.     She  said  during  the   pandemic,  ARDORs  were                                                               
instrumental in support for distribution  of Alaska CARES grants,                                                               
fisheries  assistance  grants,  and seafood  trade  relief  funds                                                               
filtered through  DCCED.   She said  there were  some eligibility                                                               
problems  that ARDORs  worked with  the  legislature to  rectify,                                                               
including online resources.   She talked about  other benefits of                                                               
SWAM-C,  including newsletters  sent out  with vital  information                                                               
for  fisheries,   school  districts,  and  entrepreneurs.     She                                                               
mentioned  an  annual  economic conference  business  meeting  to                                                               
address challenges and  formulate solutions.  She  said the ARDOR                                                               
has   formed  regional   partnerships  that   have  allowed   the                                                               
leveraging  of millions  of federal  dollars.   She advised  that                                                               
SWAM-C is  a valuable asset to  the state and is  needed now more                                                               
than ever.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:55:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  asked how Ms. Marquardt  measures the degree                                                               
to which the ARDOR is supported by private contributions.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MARQUARDT  named supporters,  which she said  basically "show                                                               
their support  during our conference  time in sponsorship."   She                                                               
said  SWAM-C's  members  are its  biggest  funders,  who  provide                                                               
annual membership fees and pay  for an annual two-day conference.                                                               
The money  brought in enables  a matching grant through  EDA, and                                                               
there  is reporting  required  to prove  the  ARDOR is  producing                                                               
tangible results.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:58:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM   DILLON,  Executive   Director,  Kenai   Peninsula  Economic                                                               
Development  District  (KPEDD),  described  the  district  as  "a                                                               
nongovernmental  resource that  takes a  30,000-foot view  of the                                                               
economy"  and enhances  quality of  life in  the borough  through                                                               
"responsible  and sustainable  economic  development."   He  said                                                               
each  ARDOR is  structured to  benefit its  particular community.                                                               
He related  that KPEDD has  helped nine businesses in  a facility                                                               
it owns.   It has a web  site, kenaipeninsulaworkforce.org, which                                                               
provides  workforce  data.    He  emphasized  the  importance  of                                                               
partnerships.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. DILLON addressed the concern  stated by Representative McCabe                                                               
regarding Mat-Su.  He said one  of the things that KPEDD has done                                                               
is help communities to start organizations.   He said he has been                                                               
in conversation  with the  governor's staff  housed in  Mat-Su to                                                               
try  to  help  them  put   together  an  economic  program.    He                                                               
emphasized that  Mat-Su needs  the help of  ARDORs to  ensure its                                                               
success.    He said  every  contract  has  a "deliverable."    He                                                               
mentioned  recent  disaster  on the  Kenai  Peninsula,  including                                                               
COVID-19,  fires, earthquakes,  and fishing  disasters.   Working                                                               
with  the  assistant secretary  of  the  Department of  Commerce,                                                               
KPEDD was  able to create a  financial resiliency plan.   He said                                                               
the  Kenai  Peninsula  is  the  size  of  West  Virginia,  has  a                                                               
population  of 50,000,  and out  of  the $270  million of  Alaska                                                               
CARES  funds, KPEDD  assisted over  1,400 businesses  in bringing                                                               
$49.6  million  to the  Kenai  Peninsula.    He talked  about  an                                                               
industry  outlook form  and a  one-day event  to give  people the                                                               
idea  of "what's  going  on."   He  indicated  that  each of  the                                                               
peninsula's resources  is not as great  as in other areas  of the                                                               
state, but together  is balanced and diverse.  He  said KPEDD has                                                               
a $100,000 contract  with the Kenai Peninsula  Borough to provide                                                               
services  under Title  29, and  in the  past year  leveraged that                                                               
amount to $1.1 million-worth in contracts.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:04:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DILLON,  in response  to a  remark by  Representative McCabe,                                                               
reemphasized his willingness to  help the Mat-Su area reestablish                                                               
an ARDOR.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:05:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX, referring  to Mr.  Dillon's statement  that                                                               
KPEDD  had brought  considerable  money into  the local  economy,                                                               
asked whether  that was due  to private investment  or government                                                               
grants.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. DILLON  answered that it  is a combination.   He said  he had                                                               
been referring  to the Alaska  CARES portion.   In response  to a                                                               
follow-up  question,  he  clarified  that  KPEDD  does  not  have                                                               
memberships and  instead charges  rent for  space in  its 30-acre                                                               
facility.   He said rent  and "the industry outlook  forum" bring                                                               
in  approximately  20  percent,  and the  rest  is  "attached  to                                                               
deliverables."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:07:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE asked  Mr. Dillon to speak to  5-year versus 10-                                                               
year authorization.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. DILLON reiterated that the last  time it was supposed to be a                                                               
10-year renewal.   He said when seeking funding,  it is important                                                               
that  the  federal  government  knows  ARDORs  have  the  state's                                                               
support.   He  said he  thinks the  10-year renewal  period makes                                                               
sense.    Nevertheless,  he recommended  that  if  the  five-year                                                               
renewal  period is  chosen,  then DCCED,  ARDORs,  SBDC, and  the                                                               
Center  for Economic  Development should  discuss the  good ideas                                                               
presented in the  audit right away to figure out  what changes to                                                               
make and how to make them.   He concluded, "I don't see a problem                                                               
with us trying  to hammer something out and make  sure that it is                                                               
successful for everyone."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:09:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX asked for a  recommendation for a deadline to                                                               
ensure that happens.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. DILLON advised  that the audit could be  addressed within 12-                                                               
18 months.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:10:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE  commented that  a 10-year renewal  period would                                                               
be helpful,  and he  said he  would be willing  to work  with the                                                               
committee to clean up related  statutes and implement some of the                                                               
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:11:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY noted  the  2016 date  of  the audit  and                                                               
expressed concern  about giving a  10-year extension.   He opined                                                               
that  stalling  on   response  to  audits  results   in  loss  of                                                               
credibility.   He said  he thinks a  five-year renewal  period is                                                               
"perfectly  fine,"   and  once  the  audit   recommendations  are                                                               
addressed then  a 10-year period  would be  fine.  He  added that                                                               
choosing a 10-year  renewal period [at this  time] would indicate                                                               
that "we're not really looking  at these changes intently to take                                                               
care of them expeditiously."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:13:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DILLON acknowledged  the valuable  comments  being made  and                                                               
said he thinks a compromise is the  best way to move forward.  He                                                               
shared this  is his  sixth year as  executive director,  and with                                                               
the changes made in the administration  and DCCED in the past two                                                               
years,  "we've never  had  the support  and  the continuity  that                                                               
we've  got right  now."   He said  everyone should  have had  the                                                               
ability to  study the audit, but  he never received a  copy until                                                               
last  night.   He said  he did  not think  ARDORs would  complain                                                               
about  a five-year  renewal, but  reemphasized the  importance of                                                               
getting groups together to address  needed changes and bring them                                                               
back before the legislature in the next 18 months.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:15:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN  asked whether  2016  was  when state  funds  to                                                               
ARDORs ended.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DILLON answered  he thought  it was  2015, then  revised his                                                               
statement to  indicate the  funding disappeared  sometime between                                                               
2014 and 2016.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN  suggested that the  ending of state  funds would                                                               
correlate with the date of the last state-funded audit in 2016.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. DILLON replied that that was his understanding.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:15:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE  said he is  not seeing  red flags in  the audit                                                               
report, but rather  sees good practice suggestions  to ensure the                                                               
programs  remain strong  going forward.   He  said he  thinks the                                                               
ARDOR program is successful, and  he is becoming more comfortable                                                               
with  the  proposed  10-year  renewal as  he  has  reviewed  this                                                               
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN noted  the second  audit  recommendation was  to                                                               
update grant  procedures.  She  remarked, "But if the  state's no                                                               
longer  offering   grants,  I  assume  that   [the]  commissioner                                                               
concluded  it was  not worth  the effort  to go  through changing                                                               
regulations for a program they weren't carrying out."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:18:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DILLON reminded Co-Chair Hannan  that when the responsibility                                                               
for this  issue was  moved to DCCED,  "that staff,  and everybody                                                               
else, has been drinking out of  a firehose."  He explained he was                                                               
referring to  the events  of the  last year  and half  during the                                                               
pandemic.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:19:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL POPP, CEO, Anchorage  Economic Development Corporation, said                                                               
the  Anchorage Economic  Development  Corporation  (AEDC) is  the                                                               
ARDOR for  the Municipality  of Anchorage, created  in 1987.   He                                                               
echoed the  comments of his  fellow ARDOR leaders that  the ARDOR                                                               
program  is important  in leveraging  federal funds  and bringing                                                               
them to the community.  He  revealed that while not yet announced                                                               
officially, AEDC  is about  to receive a  $400,000 EDA  grant for                                                               
community  research   on  the   workforce  and   industry  sector                                                               
regarding the  damage done by  COVID-19 and laying  out community                                                               
and   economic  development   strategies  and   leveraging  other                                                               
opportunities in  recovery funds, based on  research that informs                                                               
where dollars are best invested  to restore the economy following                                                               
the 12,000  jobs that were lost  last year, as well  as the 6,000                                                               
jobs  lost the  year  prior  due to  the  lingering recession  in                                                               
Alaska.    He emphasized  that  the  ARDOR  program will  be  "an                                                               
important  element  in  strategies   and  funding  to  bring  new                                                               
resources to bear in our community."   He said AEDC is partnering                                                               
statewide  with  its  fellow  ARDORs;   it  receives  calls  from                                                               
businesses  around the  state  seeking  technical assistance  and                                                               
help in  "getting them  the resources  to get  their applications                                                               
[submitted] for the  AK CARES funding that flowed  from the state                                                               
directly  to  those businesses,  not  through  the ARDORs."    He                                                               
explained  he was  correcting "a  misperception stated  earlier."                                                               
He  clarified  that ARDORs  did  not  handle  the funds  or  make                                                               
decisions on who would receive  them but were helping hundreds of                                                               
businesses across the state to compete for the grants.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POPP related  that  the  latest program  AEDC  is trying  to                                                               
leverage  with its  ARDOR partners  is  the "G  Beta program,"  a                                                               
statewide work  pool incubator program that  helps small business                                                               
startups become  more technically  sophisticated.   It is  a $1.5                                                               
million program  that will run  for the  next three years  and is                                                               
not costing  the State  of Alaska  or local  businesses anything.                                                               
He said  this is  one example of  the type of  work ARDORs  do to                                                               
help  businesses get  started,  to recover,  and  to restore  the                                                               
state's   economy.     He  urged   the   committee  to   consider                                                               
reauthorization for  the ARDOR program.   He said  AEDC leverages                                                               
$750,000 this year from the  private sector to match the $250,000                                                               
received  from the  Municipality of  Anchorage.   After nearly  a                                                               
year  and a  half  of no  interest in  new  investments, AEDC  is                                                               
starting  to  work with  businesses  within  Alaska and  Outside,                                                               
employing  new   investments  that   will  create  new   jobs  in                                                               
Anchorage.   He  said acting  as  an ARDOR  is a  strong tool  in                                                               
leveraging  funds and  continuing  leadership  in increasing  the                                                               
economic stability of Anchorage and the entire state.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:24:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX repeated  his  question  regarding how  much                                                               
money comes from the private sector.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. POPP  answered $750,000 out  of the approximately  $1 million                                                               
budget this year.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:24:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND asked  Mr. Popp  to describe  what would                                                               
happen if ARDORs were not reauthorized.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. POPP  answered that  millions of  dollars of  federal funding                                                               
opportunities would  vanish.   He said the  ability of  ARDORs to                                                               
leverage federal  funds "maximize[s] local investment  in several                                                               
ways as  well as the  efforts that they can  bring to bear."   He                                                               
said  economic development  is about  people; it  is programmatic                                                               
and focused  on partnerships and "leveraging  private sector with                                                               
the  public sector  [to] maximize  strategies and  to insure  the                                                               
highest  odds of  success."   He concluded,  "[To] take  away the                                                               
program, to not  reauthorize it, is to take a  step backwards for                                                               
economic development in the state of Alaska."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. POPP, in  response to Representative Drummond,  said the work                                                               
done  to assist  other ARDORs  has changed  over the  years.   He                                                               
credited Mr.  Dillon as  giving much  more assistance  than AEDC.                                                               
Notwithstanding that,  he said AEDC  does look  for opportunities                                                               
to  offer support,  advice, and  partnership  with ARDORs  across                                                               
Alaska.   He said many  people support economic  development, but                                                               
few are  "down in the trenches"  doing this "thankless" job.   He                                                               
said  economic   developers  do   not  create  jobs;   they  help                                                               
facilitate  the  creation  of  jobs by  the  private  sector  and                                                               
support  that  effort.     Sometimes  it  takes   years  for  the                                                               
developments to "turn into something" tangible.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:29:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:30 a.m. to 9:31 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:31:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HANNAN  opened  public  testimony on  HB  192.    After                                                               
ascertaining that  there was  no one who  wished to  testify, she                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:31:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE  moved to  report HB 192  out of  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:31:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:32:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 9:32 a.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:32:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCABE removed  his  objection.   There being  no                                                               
further  objection,  HB  192  was   reported  out  of  the  House                                                               
Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:32:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:33 a.m. to 9:35 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
            HR 8-POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY TASK FORCE                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:35:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE RESOLUTION  NO. 8,  Creating  the House  Task Force  on                                                               
Poverty and Opportunity.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:36:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN TARR,  Alaska  State  Legislator, as  prime                                                               
sponsor, presented HR 8.  She shared  that she grew up poor, in a                                                               
single-parent household,  so she  knows personally  how difficult                                                               
it can be  for families to get  ahead.  She was the  first in her                                                               
family  to   get  a  college   degree  and  has   witnessed  what                                                               
opportunities  that  has brought  to  her  life.   She  said  she                                                               
represents one  of the  three poorest districts  in Alaska.   She                                                               
said there  continue to be  barriers to opportunity  and success.                                                               
The proposed resolution  states that 10 percent  of Alaskans live                                                               
in poverty.   Material from  the Center for  Economic Development                                                               
shows that  45 percent of  the children  in her district  live in                                                               
poverty, and  that is not the  only place in the  state that that                                                               
is the case.   She said the task force proposed  under HR 8 would                                                               
comprise  Alaskans "with  lived experience  to contribute  to the                                                               
conversation" and  identify what  can be  done to  understand the                                                               
root causes of poverty and  eliminate it from Alaska by providing                                                               
more economic opportunity to all Alaskans.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:39:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK M. ANDERSON, CEO, Rural  Alaska Community Action Program,                                                               
Inc. ("RurAL  CAP"), testified in  support of HR  8.  He  said he                                                               
thinks the  proposed resolution, if  passed, will start  "a long-                                                               
overdue  and  necessary conversation  about  the  root causes  of                                                               
poverty in Alaska"  and "potential policy measures  that can help                                                               
us overcome  poverty."  He said  there is a high  rate of poverty                                                               
in Alaska  and those without resources  may end up living  on the                                                               
streets.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.   ANDERSON  shared   that  in   the  mid-'60s,   in  Seattle,                                                               
Washington, he  and his four  sisters were taken away  from their                                                               
mother, because  she did not  have enough money to  support them.                                                               
With inadequate foster homes, he  and his siblings were housed at                                                               
the Seattle Youth  Detention Center.  He said he  was about eight                                                               
at the time and  "fresh out of Alaska into a  huge city," and the                                                               
experience  was traumatic.   He  said  he and  his siblings  were                                                               
rescued by  the Aid  to Families  with Dependent  Children (AFDC)                                                               
program in West Seattle.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ANDERSON said  AFDC was replaced by  Temporary Assistance for                                                               
Needy  Families  (TANF),  "with   severely  reduced  funding  and                                                               
scope."  He said low-income  individuals in Alaska and nationwide                                                               
are  vilified  by  politicians, called  "Welfare  Queens,"  lazy,                                                               
shiftless, and  unwilling to work.   He said the  Social Security                                                               
Act, which was vilified in the  1940s, "lifts about 40 percent of                                                               
our senior  citizens out of  poverty," including his  mother, who                                                               
would have had no other means of independent support.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. ANDERSON said  RurAL CAP hopes the task  force proposed under                                                               
HR  8  will  provide  the  opportunity to  hear  the  stories  of                                                               
individuals that  have lived with  poverty and "to see  a complex                                                               
analysis  of   poverty  completed."    He   explained  there  are                                                               
stratified pockets  of low-income  individuals:   "deep" poverty,                                                               
"regular"  poverty, and  those  who, without  the  aid of  social                                                               
programs, would be put into poverty.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:44:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ANDERSON said  the  American Rescue  Act  contains a  policy                                                               
change  that has  the  potential  to lift  up  to  45 percent  of                                                               
children out  of poverty.   He said in  their book, $2.00  a Day;                                                             
Living on  Almost Nothing  in America, authors  Kathryn J.   Edin                                                             
and H.  Luke Schaefer  note that  as many  as 3  million children                                                               
live on  less than  $2 per  day.  Mr.  Anderson said  he believes                                                               
this conversation is  appropriate today.  He said  there are lots                                                               
of  benefits to  Alaska in  addressing poverty,  one of  which is                                                               
that the  American Rescue Act  would bring in  a lot of  funds to                                                               
rural and urban Alaska to help "address these issues."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:46:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KIRK  ROSE, CEO,  Anchorage Community  Land  Trust, testified  in                                                               
support of HR  8.  He said Anchorage Community  Land Trust (ACLT)                                                               
is a  503(c)(3) nonprofit organization  that works  in low-income                                                               
neighborhoods  in   Anchorage  in  the  areas   of  real  estate,                                                               
neighborhood    improvements,    programming,    and    community                                                               
organization.   He  said he  was raised  in a  low-income, single                                                               
parent  home and  is a  first-generation college  student in  his                                                               
family.   He stated  that his  mission and  passion is  that "low                                                               
income doesn't equate  to low opportunity."  He said  the cost of                                                               
poverty  is  lost  potential,  not only  to  individuals  but  to                                                               
communities,  and  it  also  equates with  lost  dollars  in  the                                                               
economy.  He said ACLT  works "to fight concentrated poverty with                                                               
concentrated investment."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSE said in the  Mountainview neighborhood in Anchorage, the                                                               
community  did not  have a  financial  institution, so  residents                                                               
"banked" at  the local  pawn shop,  paying exorbitant  amounts in                                                               
interest.  Then Credit Union  1 located a branch in Mountainview,                                                               
which benefitted the neighborhood.   He talked about initiating a                                                               
program  called, "Set  Up Shop,"  which  works with  neighborhood                                                               
entrepreneurs  that are  typically  low-income,  setting them  up                                                               
with micro loans  and assistance to make  their dreams realities.                                                               
He expressed appreciation  that HR 8 focuses not  only on poverty                                                               
but also  on opportunity.   He said he  thinks the duties  of the                                                               
task force  are sensible  and the  lived experience  of taskforce                                                               
members   would   be  valuable.      Further,   he  offered   his                                                               
understanding that  there would  be no  cost associated  with the                                                               
proposed resolution.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:51:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PATKOTAK  directed attention to page  4, lines 12-                                                               
13, of HR  8, which states that  4 of the 23 members  of the task                                                               
force  appointed by  the Speaker  of the  House would  be members                                                               
from  tribal  governments,  Native  corporations,  or  nonprofits                                                               
affiliated with  a recognized tribe.   He said he thinks  that is                                                               
an important aspect of the  roles played in economics, especially                                                               
in rural Alaska.   He suggested perhaps two of  the four could be                                                               
from tribes  and the  other two  of the  four from  Alaska Native                                                               
corporations (ANCs).   He explained that those  are two different                                                               
aspect of  what village economy looks  like.  He then  pointed to                                                               
language on lines 19-22, which read:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
             (9) two members who work in municipal                                                                              
      government for a municipality with fewer than 15,000                                                                      
     residents;                                                                                                                 
             (10) two members who work in municipal                                                                             
      government for a municipality with more than 15,000                                                                       
     residents; and                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PATKOTAK requested  the  sponsor consider  making                                                               
that language  specify that the  each of  the two members  in the                                                               
municipality  with  fewer  than  15,000  be  from  two  different                                                               
communities, and  likewise with the two  members from communities                                                               
greater  than  15,000.   He  explained  that he  suggested  these                                                               
changes so that "we don't end up  in a vacuum of what ... some of                                                               
the solutions might be."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:53:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR responded  that she  was receptive  to those                                                               
suggestions  and happy  to work  with Representative  Patkotak on                                                               
them.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:54:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR   noted  that  Massachusetts   Institute  of                                                               
Technology (MIT)  produces a living wage  calculator, which shows                                                               
that a living wage in Alaska  for a single adult with no children                                                               
would  be  $15.48;  currently  the  minimum  wage  is  just  over                                                               
$10.00/hour.  This  means that "people are  earning about $10,000                                                               
too little  to just  have a  living wage."   She said  that means                                                               
there are  "the working  poor" - those  working fulltime  but not                                                               
able to support  themselves or their families.   That means there                                                               
are government programs,  which cost money to run.   She said she                                                               
thinks  there are  policy  solutions that  can  be considered  to                                                               
increase the  efficiency in "the  way we spend our  dollars" thus                                                               
resulting  in better  outcomes.   She praised  the "Set  Up Shop"                                                               
program.  In  terms of supporting families, she  talked about the                                                               
importance of flexibility.   She said she thinks there  is a good                                                               
opportunity for bringing people together  and asking them to help                                                               
figure out a solution.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:57:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR HANNAN announced that HR 8 was held over.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:57:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee meeting was                                                                   
adjourned at 9:58 a.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HR 8 Version A.PDF HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 5/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR 8 Sponsor Statement.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 5/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR 8 Zero Fiscal Note.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 5/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR 8 Supporting Documents.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 5/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR 8 Letters of Support 5.6.21.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 5/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HR 8
HB 192 Version A.PDF HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB192 Sponsor Statement.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB 192 Zero Fiscal Note - DCCED 4.30.21.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB192 ARDOR Annual Report 2020.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB 192 Supporting Document - FNSB Support 04-29-2021.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB 192 Supporting Document - Legislative Audit 2016 ARDOR Final Report.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB 192 - ARDOR One-Pager - 4.28.2021 (1).pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192