Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

03/27/2015 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:04:53 AM Start
08:05:06 AM HB107
09:40:54 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 107 BD OF REGENTS REGIONAL RESIDENCY QUALIF. TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 107(EDC) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 27, 2015                                                                                         
                           8:04 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wes Keller, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Liz Vazquez, Vice Chair                                                                                          
Representative Jim Colver                                                                                                       
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 107                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the composition of the Board of Regents of                                                                  
the University of Alaska."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED  CSHB 107(EDC) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 107                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BD OF REGENTS REGIONAL RESIDENCY QUALIF.                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) GATTIS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/13/15       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/15       (H)       EDC                                                                                                    
03/18/15       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/18/15       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/18/15       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/27/15       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN GATTIS                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Speaking as the sponsor, presented the                                                                 
proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 107.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JYOTSNA HECKMAN, Chair                                                                                                          
Board of Regents                                                                                                                
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Responded  to questions during  the hearing                                                             
on CSHB 107.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS CHRISTENSEN                                                                                                               
Associate Vice President of State Relations                                                                                     
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Responded  to questions during  the hearing                                                             
on CSHB 107.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:04:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WES  KELLER called the  House Education  Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to  order at 8:04  a.m. Representatives  Seaton, Vazquez,                                                               
Colver, Talerico, and  Keller were present at the  call to order.                                                               
Representatives  Drummond  and   Kreiss-Tomkins  arrived  as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
        HB 107-BD OF REGENTS REGIONAL RESIDENCY QUALIF.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:05:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 107, "An Act  relating to the composition  of the                                                               
Board of Regents of the University of Alaska."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:05:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ moved  to  adopt  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  for  HB  107,  Version  29-LS0465\P  as  the  working                                                               
document.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON objected. [Withdrawn]                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:06:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  GATTIS, Alaska State  Legislature, explained                                                               
the sectional analysis  for Version P, before  the committee, and                                                               
said that  within Section  1, the University  of Alaska  shall be                                                               
governed  by  a Board  of  Regents  consisting  of 9  regents  as                                                               
opposed to the current 11 regents.   She then referred to Section                                                               
2, item 8, and said there would  be two at large members that are                                                               
Alaskan residents as  opposed to the current 4.   She pointed out                                                               
that  the  rationale  was  that  an  11  member  board  was  more                                                               
cumbersome  and   expensive.    [Section  3   refers  to  Regents                                                               
Qualifications  and  Board  Membership.]   Representative  Gattis                                                               
noted that  Section 4 refers to  the transition of moving  to a 9                                                               
member board.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:07:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  requested  an  expansion  on  the                                                               
rational for downsizing the number of regents from 11 to 9.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS responded  that it is less  wieldy and less                                                               
expensive.   She advised  the issue  of regents  moving locations                                                               
and  losing  their seat  was  changed  in  the  CS to  allow  for                                                               
continued service.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:10:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER inquired  whether  the satellite  campuses                                                               
are poorly  represented in comparison  to the main  campuses with                                                               
regard to resources and questioned  whether this is an attempt to                                                               
level  the playing  field and  hear other  voices throughout  the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTIS  replied  it   is  not  her  intention  to                                                               
disparage the regents,  but this is time for a  "huge" change and                                                               
this is the perfect time to review regionalizing.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:11:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ pointed  to the  data table  contained in                                                               
the  committee  packet  and  she  acknowledged  that  since  1917                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna has been  chronically underrepresented, and she                                                               
was "glad to see this bill."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON referred  to  the letter  dated March  26,                                                               
2015 from  Regent Jyotsna Heckman contained  within the committee                                                               
packet,  and  noted  concern  expressed  for  a  9  member  board                                                               
populating the 4 working  committees, audit facilities, academic,                                                               
student affairs, and planning and  development.  He asked whether                                                               
9 regents would require the entire  board to serve as a committee                                                               
of the whole on every issue.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:13:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JYOTSNA HECKMAN,  Chair, Board of  Regents, University  of Alaska                                                               
explained  than  an   11  member  board  is   not  unwieldy  when                                                               
considering  the  4  important  committees.   She  noted  that  9                                                               
members to  populate those committees and  actively engaged would                                                               
be  difficult.    Many  regents, she  pointed  out,  are  working                                                               
professionals leading  large organizations and  occasionally they                                                               
are  unable  to participate  in  a  committee or  board  meeting.                                                               
Therefore,  she   explained,  there  could  be   a  quorum  issue                                                               
affecting the work of the Board  of Regents in taking any action.                                                               
She expressed concern regarding HB 107  and CSHB 107 in that they                                                               
are  problematic as  they impact  functionality  and the  board's                                                               
ability to conduct  business.  The lack of  representation in the                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna  on the  Board  of Regents  should  not be  the                                                               
focus, but rather  the issue is the Board's ability  to work with                                                               
a quorum present and conduct  business with a reduction of seated                                                               
members, she remarked.   Two less members to perform  the work is                                                               
a substantial  concern and, she  pointed out, there  is diversity                                                               
on the  board, such as geographic,  age, background, professional                                                               
expertise,  ethnic background,  and  gender.   Additionally,  the                                                               
regents are  appointed by  the governor  and the  nationwide best                                                               
practices  approach   calls  for   11-12  member  boards.     She                                                               
reiterated that  11 members on the  board is not unwieldly  and 9                                                               
members on the board is problematic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:18:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER questioned  whether there is anything  in statute or                                                               
the  Alaska  State  Constitution  that prevents  the  board  from                                                               
including people on committees not on the Board of Regents.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REGENT HECKMAN did not have the answer.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER advised  that while he quickly  reviewed the board's                                                               
bylaws he noticed that the  chair will assign "individual regents                                                               
to  external  boards and  commissions."    He  noted there  is  a                                                               
presumption  that there  is engagement  of the  Board of  Regents                                                               
outside just  the Board of  Regents.  For example,  currently the                                                               
board  is searching  for a  new  president and,  he remarked,  it                                                               
could  be  helpful  to  have  input  from  individuals  providing                                                               
expertise.  He suggested the  possibility of adjusting the bylaws                                                               
to  allow that  a  subcommittee  of the  Board  of Regents  could                                                               
include individuals not on the Board of Regents.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REGENT HECKMAN stated that the  presidential search committee has                                                               
regent members as well as  members from government groups and the                                                               
community.   Currently,  she explained,  2 regents  serve on  the                                                               
Alaska  Commission  on  Postsecondary Education,  and  2  regents                                                               
serve on  the university's foundation  board.   Additionally, she                                                               
further explained,  2 regents have  been appointed to serve  on a                                                               
joint  board   with  the  Department   of  Education   and  Early                                                               
Development and the  Board of Regents as a  joint venture started                                                               
last year.   She opined that outside of  the presidential search,                                                               
the Board of Regents does not have external ad hoc committees.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER deduced that when there  are 9 regents as opposed to                                                               
11, a regent would have more  influence as it increases the input                                                               
and authority of each regent.   With regard to the length of term                                                               
for the  existing regents,  he asked whether  that is  defined in                                                               
statute.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REGENT HECKMAN opined it is defined in statute.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:23:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked Regent  Heckman to  speak to                                                               
how requisite  it is  that the members  of the  audit facilities,                                                               
academic,   student  affairs,   and   planning  and   development                                                               
committees be populated by the  Board the Regents or whether they                                                               
have  specialized  knowledge  the  Board of  Regents  would  have                                                               
unique access to.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KELLER  asked  whether Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins  was                                                               
asking what  Regent Heckman sees  as the advantage of  having the                                                               
committee members as regents versus people from outside.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  clarified   his  question  as  to                                                               
whether there is specialize knowledge  the Board of Regents would                                                               
have unique access  to that is required for the  members of those                                                               
committees to function well.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REGENT  HECKMAN  responded  that   no  specialized  knowledge  is                                                               
required of  the Board of  Regents to  serve on committees.   For                                                               
example, she  explained, within the academic  and student affairs                                                               
committee,  Regent  Powers  has  a vast  interest  in  academics,                                                               
student  services,  and student  success.    Although, she  said,                                                               
Regent Powers runs a hospital  and is not a university affiliate,                                                               
and wanted  to be  engaged in  that committee  as that  aspect of                                                               
operations was  appealing to  him and  he has  been the  chair of                                                               
that committee for  the last two years.  She  explained that when                                                               
reviewing the  Board of Regents  to see the vast  experience each                                                               
brings to  the table from  their own particular fields  and noted                                                               
she  was a  banker for  26 years  and has  experience in  audits,                                                               
facilities,  and   planning  and   development.     The  regents'                                                               
knowledge is brought to the  table with good outside perspectives                                                               
so they make  good decisions for the university.   She said it is                                                               
not necessary for a CPA to sit on the audit committee.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  commented that  an accountant may  not be                                                               
necessary to sit on the audit committee but it helps.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:27:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON,   with  regard   to  a   single  governor                                                               
replacing the entire Board of  Regents except the student regent,                                                               
he said the bill reads that  a governor could give a priority but                                                               
it   isn't  required;   therefore,  the   legislature  would   be                                                               
authorizing a  single governor to  appoint an entirely  new Board                                                               
of  Regents except  the  student regent  and  asked whether  that                                                               
would be problematic.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REGENT HECKMAN replied it would  create an entirely new structure                                                               
and  reorganization  would  occur.   An  entirely  new  Board  of                                                               
Regents would  mean that the  currently sitting regents  would no                                                               
longer exist, she stated, and was  not sure how her opinion would                                                               
have a bearing on any of this as  it would be up to the new group                                                               
to organize themselves and conduct business.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON clarified  his question  as to  whether it                                                               
takes time  for new  regents to  come up to  speed and  learn the                                                               
job, which  might be an  impediment if all regents  were replaced                                                               
at one time.  He questioned  whether that could be problematic as                                                               
far  as a  new board  getting  started and  running an  efficient                                                               
operation for the university.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REGENT HECKMAN agreed  that efficiency could be lost.   She noted                                                               
that when she was first  appointed, the eight year terms appeared                                                               
to be a  long appointment, but having now served  four terms, she                                                               
said, she  understands the steep  learning curve as it  does take                                                               
time  to  become knowledgeable  and  effective.   Certainly,  she                                                               
pointed out,  a learning  curve exists among  new members  as the                                                               
system is  large and  complex and the  4 newly  appointed regents                                                               
will be  brought to speed  as quickly  as possible.   She offered                                                               
praise for the experience being brought by the new appointees.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:33:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER  commented that the  knowledge and  understanding of                                                               
each   regent   is   critically    important   and   the   "huge"                                                               
responsibility  placed  on  the  volunteer Board  of  Regents  is                                                               
massive.    He  presumed  that  if  the  governor  appoints,  the                                                               
governor can also dismiss at will  and asked whether there is any                                                               
prohibition  of the  governor dismissing  any regent  and further                                                               
asked whether there is anything  in the Alaska State Constitution                                                               
or statute regarding that issue.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON directed attention  to the committee packet                                                               
and  the March  21,  2015  Legal Services  memo  which states  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The  extent   of  the  governor's  authority   is  also                                                                    
     uncertain, however,  is a  matter of  some debate.   An                                                                    
     opinion from the state  attorney general concludes that                                                                    
     the  governor  does not  have  the  power to  remove  a                                                                    
     regent without cause.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:35:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REGENT  HECKMAN referred  to an  earlier  comment regarding  cost                                                               
containment  as  a  possible  benefit to  reduce  the  number  of                                                               
regents  to  9  members,  and  said  this  is  a  non-compensated                                                               
position for  regents.   She pointed  out in  her March  26, 2015                                                               
letter that  she advised the cost  savings for 2 fewer  people is                                                               
less than $10,000.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER stated  that in this budget crisis every  cost is of                                                               
concern and  the loss of  $10,000 may not appear  significant but                                                               
it is in the perspective of the legislature.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS  advised the  research showed for  FY14 for                                                               
the Board of Regents was  approximately $294,626, with a division                                                               
of 11 regents, the total is  $20,000 per regent and when removing                                                               
2 regents,  it saves $54,000.   She argued that the  average size                                                               
of a proper  business board is 9.2,  and 9 is not  uncommon.  She                                                               
discussed the  transition from  11 members to  9 members  of CSHB                                                               
107, on page 2, lines 20-22, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     TRANSITION. (a)  ... In  appointing regents  under this                                                                    
     section, the  governor may  give preference  to regents                                                                    
     who are  serving on the effective  date of secs. 1  - 3                                                                    
     of this Act.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATIS continued  that  in looking  for the  skill                                                               
already  acquired, the  governor can  accommodate that.   Lastly,                                                               
she  commented, it  is important  that the  legislature considers                                                               
making  "true" changes  in  how it  does business  as  this is  a                                                               
different time.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  he  appreciates  the cost  breakdown                                                               
except the  major cost is staffing  costs and in the  event there                                                               
are  9  regents  rather  than   11,  he  questioned  whether  the                                                               
president would  be fired or a  staffer to the Board  of Regents.                                                               
He  noted   that  travel  includes  meeting   costs  and  regents                                                               
traveling  to graduations  for the  universities  and it  doesn't                                                               
mean  there would  be  less travel  costs than  if  there are  11                                                               
regents.  He  maintained that taking the total  cost and dividing                                                               
it by  the number of  regents does not necessarily  represent the                                                               
savings expressed.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:42:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS CHRISTENSEN,  Associate Vice President of  State Relations,                                                               
University of  Alaska, responded  that many of  the costs  on the                                                               
Board of  Regents are fixed  costs and will be  identical whether                                                               
there are 9  or 11 members.   He noted the only  savings would be                                                               
travel and  per diem that  2 less  regents would save  each year.                                                               
Mr. Christensen  offered the committee  a fiscal note  of $9,600,                                                               
which is a de minimus amount  when discussing a billion dollars a                                                               
year.  He  pointed out this is an unpaid  citizens board and they                                                               
do  not receive  a stipend.   He  noted he  has worked  for state                                                               
government for  32 years  and has seen  many boards  and agencies                                                               
with  this  being  his  fourth  year  with  the  university,  and                                                               
personally believes  it is the  most complex operation  the state                                                               
has in  terms of its size  and variety of sources  of revenue and                                                               
the wide  variety of  functions it  carries out.   The  amount of                                                               
work  the  citizen  unpaid  board  members have  to  do  and  are                                                               
expected  to know  is tremendous.   He  opined that  reducing the                                                               
members of  the board  to 9  saves virtually  no money,  but does                                                               
require  the volunteer  regents to  spend even  more time  and to                                                               
work  harder to  make up  the amount  of work  the other  2 board                                                               
members will not  be able to share.  He  responded to the comment                                                               
regarding  research   showing  a   typical  corporate   board  is                                                               
approximately  9.2 members  and  argued that  actually a  typical                                                               
university  board  is  11-12 members  which  is  considered  best                                                               
practices nationally.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:44:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KELLER  asked  whether  the  current  presidential  search                                                               
committee, including people  other than the Board  of Regents, is                                                               
unique.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN  deferred to Regent  Heckman, but  responded that                                                               
the  board  brings   in  experts  when  necessary   such  as  the                                                               
legislature to  testify in its  committees, but the  actual work,                                                               
knowledge over time,  and voting, must be done  by board members.                                                               
He explained that a committee  system has been created, much like                                                               
the legislature, to help divide the  work and that work will have                                                               
to  be  divided among  fewer  regents,  which makes  their  lives                                                               
harder.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:46:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ asked  how many  subcommittees there  are                                                               
right now.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN opined there are 4.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VAZQUEZ  asked   the  subject   matter  of   the                                                               
subcommittees.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN replied  that he does not have  the complete list                                                               
but  opined the  subcommittees are:  audit, student  affairs, and                                                               
academic.  He deferred to Regent Heckman.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ referred  to earlier  testimony in  which                                                               
the savings  by eliminating  2 positions is  travel and  per diem                                                               
and questioned  whether the total for  each of them $9,600,  or a                                                               
combined total of $19,200.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN  clarified that the  total for both  positions is                                                               
be $9,600, and offered a fiscal note.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND questioned  the  suggestion of  inviting                                                               
additional members to  be members of the  committee ex-officio or                                                               
otherwise.   She opined  that would require  per diem  and travel                                                               
expenses  to those  people being  asked to  assist the  board and                                                               
stated  she could  not see  any savings  in asking  the board  to                                                               
expand their committees with non-regents.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER  closed public testimony  after ascertaining  no one                                                               
further wished to testify                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:48:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER responded  to Representative  Vazquez that                                                               
he  located  within the  audit  that  the committee  compositions                                                               
include:  audit,  academics,   student  affairs,  facilities  and                                                               
planning and development,  and said he could foresee  a merger of                                                               
facilities  and  planning  and development.  He  noted  that  the                                                               
current regents are  doing a great job and commented  that if the                                                               
state is paying  the Limited Entry Commission  members $140,000 a                                                               
year, the legislature should consider  compensation for the Board                                                               
of Regents as  there is an inequity and the  regents are probably                                                               
working hard  than other "outfits."   He said he sees  a conflict                                                               
of  interest  when  regents  comment  on  their  own  committee's                                                               
policies  and  opined  that  it  is  more  appropriate  that  the                                                               
people's representatives make  policy calls whether or  not it is                                                               
a  9  or   11  member  board,  and  whether   there  is  regional                                                               
representation.   Although,  he  remarked it  is appropriate  for                                                               
regents   to   comment   on  administrative   issues,   function,                                                               
operations of the  Board of Regents, and the university.   As far                                                               
as policy  setting on  what that regency  looks like,  he opined,                                                               
the legislature  uses its better  wisdom with what  is happening,                                                               
legislation   being  enacted,   budgeting,  and   parity  amongst                                                               
Alaska's   universities.      He  referred   to   the   budgeting                                                               
subcommittee  actions  taken  in  February  when  quite  a  large                                                               
decrement was proposed  for the university, and  opined that CSHB                                                               
107  is  in  response  to  the comment  that  came  back  to  the                                                               
legislature that a possible result  of the budget cut was closing                                                               
campuses.  He described that as  an indication there is a problem                                                               
with   centralization   of   the  university   and   not   enough                                                               
regionalism,  and  not  enough   support  amongst  the  different                                                               
regions  of the  state.   He  pointed out  that legislators  have                                                               
difficulties representing  areas that  are not  part of  the main                                                               
campus outside  of Anchorage or Fairbanks  in receiving attention                                                               
to programs  and resources to  the other campuses.   A suggestion                                                               
to  improve the  board  could be  ensuring that  a  regent has  a                                                               
background in  finances and, he  noted, without  campus expansion                                                               
occurring  the facilities  committee will  not  be as  busy.   He                                                               
maintained bringing regional expertise  to the table and although                                                               
the  bill  is  not  perfect  he   supports  it  as  this  is  the                                                               
conversation necessary  for all of  the university systems  to be                                                               
at  the table  weighing in,  preventing duplication,  offering an                                                               
opportunity  for  better  programs,   and  to  have  people  with                                                               
expertise.  He  reiterated that when budgeting,  it is beneficial                                                               
to have  someone with  a financial background  and to  consider a                                                               
CPA-type person on a panel  thereby allowing an in-depth analysis                                                               
to the budget and advising the other members.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:54:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   KELLER  clarified   that  his   comments  regarding   the                                                               
subcommittees  on the  Board  of  Regents is  that  the Board  of                                                               
Regents controls itself and structures  itself.  He said there is                                                               
nothing in  statute that directs  that, or does not  direct that,                                                               
as it  is the Board  of Regents' call  and he was  not suggesting                                                               
that  the   legislature  ought  to   be  telling  them   to  have                                                               
subcommittees that don't include regents.   The issue is that the                                                               
options are there  and it is their option,  not the legislatures,                                                               
he expressed.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:55:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS offered  that he  does not  see an                                                               
overwhelming  logic  for  the  reduction   of  regents  from  the                                                               
information  he  has reviewed.    He  agrees with  Representative                                                               
Seaton  and Mr.  Christensen in  that  it appears  most of  costs                                                               
listed on  the sheet provided  by Representative  Gattis's office                                                               
seem to be  fixed.  The cost  savings is $9,600 and  if the state                                                               
is scrounging  around for  $9,600, it should  be done  within the                                                               
Finance Subcommittee process.  He  related he is not certain that                                                               
is the overwhelming  motivation of the reduction to  the Board of                                                               
Regents as  there are  far more efficient  and effective  ways to                                                               
capture far  more than $9,600.   He referred to  Regent Heckman's                                                               
letter and pointed  out that he knows nothing  about the internal                                                               
function of  the Board of  Regents, and the  prescriptive comment                                                               
that the Board  of Regents should potentially  merge committees -                                                               
he does  not feel the legislature  is in an adequate  position to                                                               
make  those  suggestions.   He  expressed  concern regarding  the                                                               
possible   suggestion   that   non-[regent]  members   serve   on                                                               
committees for  the regents, which  would be like  Regent Heckman                                                               
walking  in and  serving on  the House  Education committee.   He                                                               
said that with regard to whether  the board should be reduced, he                                                               
performed a Fortune 500 search  that indicates an average of 10.9                                                               
members serve  on a board.   There  is no evidence  that reducing                                                               
the number will  provide any relief and, he  offered a cautionary                                                               
approach to the legislation.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:59:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  offered support in adding  a member from                                                               
the Matanuska-Susitna;  however, reduction of the  seats makes no                                                               
sense.  In essence, she pointed  out, the legislature is asking a                                                               
group of 11 volunteers, in  an extremely complex organization, to                                                               
make major changes  in its governance at a time  of severe budget                                                               
cuts and  crisis.  She  remarked this is  not the time  to change                                                               
the  number  of  members  of   the  governing  body  of  Alaska's                                                               
universities.   She described the  cost savings as  minuscule and                                                               
was   certain  the   regents   often   have  telephonic   meeting                                                               
participation.   [Technical difficulties]  the size of  the Board                                                               
of Regents by 2 people will  reduce the diversity and will reduce                                                               
the representation  of the rest  of our "far flung"  state, which                                                               
also has every  right to expect to be represented.   She said she                                                               
was certain  the Board of  Regents has significant  staff support                                                               
and anyone  serving on  an audit committee  knows that  the board                                                               
members  do not  perform the  audits  themselves as  they hire  a                                                               
professional CPA  firms to perform  a single audit or  the annual                                                               
audit  of the  organization.    Requiring a  regent  to  be of  a                                                               
particular business  background does not  make sense to  her from                                                               
her  own  experience  with  good   staff  assistance  and  hiring                                                               
contractors, she  expressed.  She reiterated  that she completely                                                               
supports a Matanuska-Susitna  member, and to leave  the number of                                                               
regents alone for the time being.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:04:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON stated he is  troubled by this bill in that                                                               
the  University of  Alaska, which  is one  of the  most important                                                               
institutions of  the state, is  being told by the  legislature to                                                               
reorganize at  a time  in which  the state  is needing  some vast                                                               
changes.   Currently, he  noted, the regents  have an  eight year                                                               
term  of office  with  a rolling  number so  it  goes beyond  one                                                               
governor and, yet,  this bill establishes that  one governor will                                                               
appoint every regent.   Another problem, he pointed  out, is that                                                               
the  sponsor included  a particular  consideration so  that seats                                                               
open up from only a small portion  of the state.  For example, he                                                               
said,  a seat  opens up  from the  Kenai Peninsula  so the  state                                                               
needs  someone from  the  Kenai Peninsula  that  is willing,  has                                                               
time, and  the expertise  to serve  on a  board which  requires a                                                               
vast amount of time on a  voluntary basis.  With this legislation                                                               
there  is  a  smaller  board   and  having  financial  expertise,                                                               
academic expertise, or facilities expertise ...                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:05:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER interjected "that is not part of the bill."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON argued  that it is part of the  bill as the                                                               
bill  reads that  the legislature  will  regionally select  these                                                               
people and as  it has said in  the past that it wants  a Board of                                                               
Regents   with  diversity   and  expertise,   but  there   is  no                                                               
requirement  for  expertise.   He  said,  "But  if you  lose  the                                                               
expertise of  a certain  issue, let's  say financial,  the banker                                                               
that  is there  and brings  some financial  expertise.   The only                                                               
seat that  opens up  is one  regional seat and  you are  going to                                                               
have  to have  not only  someone from  that region  that has  the                                                               
volunteer time and everything else,  but to have the well-rounded                                                               
board ...  well-rounded regents, you  are going to  have somebody                                                               
who is going  to do this very difficult job  on a voluntary basis                                                               
and a  lot of time that  fills in that expertise  cause you don't                                                               
have  the  entire state  coming  forward."    He said  a  problem                                                               
discovered within  the materials  the committee received  is that                                                               
there is not a list of people,  who over time, have applied to be                                                               
on the Board  of Regents.  Therefore, he  stated, the legislature                                                               
does  know from  the materials  whether there  have been  members                                                               
specifically from  the Matanuska-Susitna who have  put their name                                                               
forward  to be  on the  Board of  Regents.   The legislature  may                                                               
require  the governor  to search  the Matanuska-Susitna  area for                                                               
someone, but the committee doesn't  know whether people have come                                                               
forward on a  consistent basis to volunteer their  name from each                                                               
one of the regions the committee  is now saying a Board of Regent                                                               
must come from.  He opined  that reorganizing the regents in this                                                               
manner is  changing much  of the dynamics  of how  the University                                                               
Board of Regents would function,  and where their expertise would                                                               
come from.   He  said, "  You know,  we are  elected representing                                                               
districts and  we support our  districts and  we come here  to do                                                               
that.   And, as well  as to consider the  statewide implications.                                                               
And I  think putting these into  regions so that you  are elected                                                               
to represent your region, basically,  because you have a regional                                                               
seat  is going  to  give  a whole  different  perspective to  the                                                               
University of Alaska  and advancing the university  in our state.                                                               
So, I'm not going to support that bill."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:09:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO commented that the  need for a quorum can                                                               
be easier  to gather with  fewer members on  the board.   He said                                                               
the history  of where the  regents originally were seated  is not                                                               
helpful  given the  fact that  Fairbanks  was the  only, or  main                                                               
campus,  for much  of the  recorded time.   Within  the documents                                                               
concern   is  expressed   regarding   promoting  regionalism   or                                                               
geographic  constituencies but,  he opined,  six different  seats                                                               
designated must  come from different regions  pushes back against                                                               
regionalism.  In  the event there are 9 or  11 members, obviously                                                               
one dominate sector  of that board from  one particular community                                                               
promotes regionalism.   He said,  "I can't see anyone  being able                                                               
to overcome  someone from the  Municipality of  Anchorage dealing                                                               
with   people   from   4  other   municipalities   or   5   other                                                               
municipalities having a regionalism  advantage.  I actually think                                                               
that really creates more  of a broad base of spread.   It may not                                                               
be popular  with people from  my area, but  that's the way  I see                                                               
it.  I think  that is kind of an important  feature here."  Times                                                               
change,  Alaska has  changed, and  the demographics  have changed                                                               
dramatically so it  may be difficult to swallow but,  he said, he                                                               
can see this change being  appropriate in ascertaining that there                                                               
is representation  for all over.   He opined  that representation                                                               
is a good  idea, and he does not believe  $9,600 is insignificant                                                               
in these times.  He said he is supportive of this bill.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:14:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:14 a.m. to 9:21 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:21:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER  expressed surprise  that the  Board of  Regents and                                                               
the University  of Alaska  is resistant  to moving  from 11  to 9                                                               
members.   The Board  of Regents  works for  the governor  and it                                                               
make policy decisions for the  University of Alaska and he opined                                                               
that a decision by  9 is easier than a decision by  11.  He asked                                                               
the committee  to leave the  members at 9 and  suggested allowing                                                               
the bill  to move  through for  further discussion  in succeeding                                                               
committees, or to  perhaps bring the question to  argument on the                                                               
House floor.  He said he is  appealing to the Board of Regents to                                                               
reconsider and noted  that the comparison of  the House Education                                                               
Standing  Committee   and  the  Board  of   Regents  is  "utterly                                                               
ridiculous."    The  legislative  committee does  not  deal  with                                                               
administrative workings, or  hire its president, and  there is an                                                               
administrative  element on  the  Board of  Regents  that is  very                                                               
different than this committee.   Keep in mind, he expressed, that                                                               
this is all in  the context of a budget that  has gone from 2006-                                                               
present  from $750  million to  approximately $900  million.   He                                                               
said, "We're saying ... and our  nexus with the Board of Regents,                                                               
you know  ... yeah, we  get to confirm  ... we  are 7 of  60 here                                                               
that  get to  confirm  the Board  of Regents,  but  our nexus  is                                                               
purely  ... a  portion  of  the university  budget  that we  have                                                               
responsibility and  accountability to  the people  we represents.                                                               
So, our  nexus with the Board  of Regents is that  we have begged                                                               
them to talk  to us ... you  know ... about the  policies and ...                                                               
this  one thing  on the  finances ...  and when  you look  at the                                                               
finance ...  the way the finances  have increased, I think  it is                                                               
completely appropriate that  we are interested in a bit  of a ...                                                               
causing  a   re-evaluation  and  a  restructuring,   if  that  is                                                               
possible."   Chair  Keller  advised  he is  open  to a  committee                                                               
member making a  motion to amend back to 11,  and will oppose and                                                               
ask for  a vote, but  his preference  is that the  committee will                                                               
leave it  in there at 9,  and move it out  with the understanding                                                               
that discussion  will continue.   He said,  "I confess  that that                                                               
was my idea, and it was my idea  based on the fact that I've been                                                               
on  both size  boards  and I  know  what size  I'd  rather be  on                                                               
because it  is very difficult for  the staff to get  a consensus,                                                               
for  example, from  a  group  of people  that  have very  diverse                                                               
responsibilities,  and  interests,   and  distractions  in  their                                                               
lives, and it just makes a  more efficient system.  He reiterated                                                               
that  the Board  of Regents  works  for the  governor, people  of                                                               
Alaska, and the entire university  system and governance-wise, it                                                               
is smarter to have 9 members as opposed to 11 members.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:25:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VAZQUEZ  put   forth  that   she  wholeheartedly                                                               
supports adding  a seat for  the Matanuska-Susitna Borough  as it                                                               
add geographic  diversification, but changing the  number from 11                                                               
to 9 members  is troublesome.  She pointed out  that there was no                                                               
evidence presented that quorums have  been difficult to meet, and                                                               
given these  critical deficit times  and the size of  the budget,                                                               
and opined that the regents have  more work to do at this crucial                                                               
time.    She  related  that  she was  swayed  by  this  morning's                                                               
testimony and maintained  that 11 members could  only be helpful.                                                               
She expressed concern regarding giving  one governor the power to                                                               
appoint all of the Board of Regents.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
[Technical difficulties 9:28:20 - 9:28:25 a.m.]                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:28:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND advised she  performed a search of Boards                                                               
of  Regent  of  other  states   and  in  New  York  state,  where                                                               
Representative Vazquez and  Representative Drummond both attended                                                               
Cornell  University, which  is  not only  an  ivy league  private                                                               
college  but is  the land  grant college  of the  New York  State                                                               
university system.   She described it as unique in  that New York                                                               
has a  many unique  campuses and  colleges that  are part  of its                                                               
statewide college system.   The New York Board of  Regents has 17                                                               
members  and granted  they have  17 million  people, but  by that                                                               
rationale Alaska should have one member of the Board of Regents.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER  interjected that Representative Vazquez  would like                                                               
to move an amendment on that  topic and the committee will debate                                                               
the issue.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:29:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  proposed Conceptual  Amendment 1  to CSHB                                                               
107,  Version\P,  such  that  the composition  of  the  Board  of                                                               
Regents would increase from 9 to 11.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KELLER clarified  that Representative  Seaton  was not  in                                                               
objection to  the previous adoption  of Version P as  the working                                                               
draft.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER objected to Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   pointed  out  that  the   working  draft                                                               
accounts for the seating of  9 members, and expressed concern for                                                               
supporting  language regarding  the committee  reapportioning how                                                               
the other 2 members are chosen.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KELLER  said that  conceptually  they  go  back to  the  2                                                               
members at large, as in the  previous version, and there would be                                                               
4 members at large as opposed to regional.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:31:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   COLVER   offered   a  secondary   amendment   to                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1, such that  the additional 2 members would                                                               
fill into  the public  member category  for a  total of  4 public                                                               
members.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VAZQUEZ   clarified   that  [Amendment   1   to]                                                               
Conceptual  Amendment 1  would result  in the  following language                                                               
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, Line 4:                                                                                                            
     Following: (8)                                                                                                             
     Delete: two                                                                                                                
     Insert: four                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   COLVER  related   his  understanding   that  the                                                               
committee adopted Amendment 1 to Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER, upon determining there  were no further comments on                                                               
[Amendment 1  to Conceptual Amendment  1, treated Amendment  1 to                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1 as adopted].                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND requested  assurance that  the remainder                                                               
of the proposed CS sections  that apply to the transitioning from                                                               
11  members  to 9.    She  asked that  as  this  is a  conceptual                                                               
amendment, does  that mean  that should  the amendment  pass that                                                               
those other sections of the CS will be rewritten.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER replied yes.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:32:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Seaton, Vazquez,                                                               
Colver, Drummond, and Kreiss-Tomkins  voted in favor of Amendment                                                               
1,  as  amended.    Representatives  Keller  and  Talerico  voted                                                               
against it.   Therefore, Conceptual Amendment 1,  as amended, was                                                               
adopted by a vote of 5-2.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:33:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON noted  that  the  transition language  may                                                               
require clarity for how a member  in a regional seat may complete                                                               
their term following  a change of residency.  He  said, "We still                                                               
have it that the governor will  appointed everybody but that if a                                                               
person ... um  ... moves, they get to complete  their 8 year term                                                               
even though they  no longer represent the Mat-Su if  they move to                                                               
Anchorage, they'll still be  considered the Mat-Su representative                                                               
even though they've  moved to Fairbanks, or  the Kenai Peninsula,                                                               
or ...  I'm unsure how  that works, if  they're going to  now ...                                                               
now going  to be completing  their term ...  and yet it's  a long                                                               
term and  yet they were  selected as a Mat-Su  representative who                                                               
now lives in  Anchorage.  And I just want  to get some discussion                                                               
on ... what that ..."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KELLER  interrupted  and asked  Representative  Seaton  to                                                               
restate his  question because the  transition section, as  far as                                                               
people moving, has not changed  because the committee went from 9                                                               
members to 11  members.  He asked whether this  is a new question                                                               
or is  Representative Seaton  bringing up  the question  that was                                                               
not addressed sufficiently in the first bite.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  responded that  he  didn't  think it  was                                                               
addressed  sufficiently on  the first  bite and  adopting the  CS                                                               
from the  previous version that  had someone terminate  when they                                                               
changed residency.   He  referred to page  2, lines  10-11, which                                                               
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
      ... who ceases to meet the residency requirement for                                                                      
     the position may complete the regent's term of office.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON continued that someone from the Matanuska-                                                                
Susitna who  is [appointed] would still  represent the Matanuska-                                                               
Susitna even though they live in  Kenai.  He said, "I'm trying to                                                               
figure out how all this all works  cause that would be a seat for                                                               
the  Mat-Su  even  though  they  had moved,  and  that  the  next                                                               
available regent  wouldn't be another person  who represented the                                                               
Mat-Su but  would be for that  ... that office ...  of which ever                                                               
one came  up whether  this is  Fairbanks Northstar  Borough would                                                               
come up,  or ..."   He expressed  that he doesn't  understand the                                                               
language as  written and determined  the bill requires  more work                                                               
as it is not clear how it all will function.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:36:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTIS responded  that  the portion  of the  bill                                                               
Representative Seaton  referred to is  part of the bill  that has                                                               
not  been amended  and assumed  the  language will  remain.   She                                                               
advised  that residency  is 2  years  in the  regent's area,  for                                                               
example,  in the  event a  regent is  2 years  in the  Matanuska-                                                               
Susitna  and  moves   to  Homer,  that  regent   remains  in  the                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna seat for  the next six years in Homer.   In the                                                               
event  a regent  must be  chosen from  the Homer  area, they  may                                                               
because  the  initial  regent remains  in  the  Matanuska-Susitna                                                               
seat.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  stated   he   was   simply  asking   for                                                               
clarification due to  the difference in the original  HB 107 that                                                               
read if there  were changes the regent would terminate  and a new                                                               
regent from  that area  comes in.   Whereas,  the CSHB  107 reads                                                               
that when  a regent  is appointed  in the  Matanuska-Susitna area                                                               
they can move at any time and do  not have to remain the area for                                                               
2 years  and the full  term would  be served wherever  the regent                                                               
resides and still fulfill the Matanuska-Susitna seat.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS  commented that during the  prior committee                                                               
hearing members  brought that  issue to the  table, which  is why                                                               
the language was changed.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:38:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  moved to report  CSHB 107, Version  P, as                                                               
amended,  out of  committee with  individual recommendations  and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON objected  stating  that  the committee  is                                                               
attempting to  address a perceived  problem, but he  described is                                                               
an  unsubstantiated problem.   He  opined that  the committee  is                                                               
creating many  additional changes and  problems for the  Board of                                                               
Regents through looking at a perceived problem.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:39:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote  was taken.   Representatives  Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                               
Talerico, Vazquez,  Colver, Drummond,  and Keller voted  in favor                                                               
of   CSHB  107,   29-LS0465\P,  Glover,   3/21/15,  as   amended.                                                               
Representative  Seaton voted  against  it.   Therefore, CSHB  107                                                               
(EDC) was reported out of  the House Education Standing Committee                                                               
by a vote of 6-1.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:40:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:40 a.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB107.pdf HEDC 3/18/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 Sponsor Statement.PDF HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 Sectional Analysis of Work Draft Version P.pdf HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 Fiscal Note UA-SYSBRA-3-12-15.pdf HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 Explanation of Changes Work Draft Version P.pdf HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 CS Word Draft Version P Legal Memo.PDF HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 Opposing Document.docx HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 Opposing Hughes.pdf HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 Press and Public Input.PDF HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 Support Dr. Paramo.pdf HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 Sectional Analysis of Version N.pdf HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
HB107 Oppose Document Brd of Regents.pdf HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107
CSHB107 Workdraft P.pdf HEDC 3/27/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 107