Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/15/1996 01:41 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                        February 15, 1996                                      
                            1:41 P.M.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 96-38, Side 1, #000 - end.                                          
  TAPE HFC 96-38, Side 2, #000 - end.                                          
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Mark Hanley  called  the  House Finance  Committee                 
  meeting to order at 1:41 p.m.                                                
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley               Representative Martin                          
  Co-Chair Foster               Representative Navarre                         
  Representative Grussendorf    Representative Parnell                         
  Representative Kelly          Representative Therriault                      
  Representative Kohring                                                       
                                                                               
  Representatives  Brown  and  Mulder  were  absent  from  the                 
  meeting.                                                                     
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Gene  Kubina;  Joe   Perkins,  Commissioner,                 
  Department of  Transportation and  Public Facilities;  Nancy                 
  Slagle, Director, Division  of Budget Review, Office  of the                 
  Management  and  Budget,  Office  of  the  Governor;  Remond                 
  Henderson,  Director,  Division  of Administrative  Service,                 
  Department of Community and Regional Affairs; Sharon Barton,                 
  Director, Division of Administrative Services, Department of                 
  Administration.                                                              
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 361    An  Act  relating  to  municipal  capital  project                 
            matching grants for a municipality organized under                 
            federal  law as  an Indian reserve;  and providing                 
            for an effective date.                                             
                                                                               
            HB 361  was reported out  of Committee with  a "do                 
            pass"  recommendation  and  with two  zero  fiscal                 
            notes;  one by  the  Department of  Community  and                 
            Regional  Affairs, dated  2/9/96; and  one by  the                 
            Department of Administration, dated 1/19/96.                       
                                                                               
  HB 468    An Act making supplemental appropriations for  the                 
            expenses  of  state   government  and  making  and                 
            amending appropriations;  ratifying certain  state                 
                                                                               
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            expenditures; and providing for an effective date.                 
                                                                               
            HB  468   was  HELD   in  Committee   for  further                 
            discussion.                                                        
  HOUSE BILL NO. 468                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act  making  supplemental  appropriations  for  the                 
       expenses  of state government  and making  and amending                 
       appropriations; ratifying  certain state  expenditures;                 
       and providing for an effective date."                                   
                                                                               
  JOE PERKINS, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT  OF TRANSPORTATION AND                 
  PUBLIC  FACILITIES  testified in  regards  to  Section 4(a),                 
  highway  and  bridge  repair costs  related  to Southcentral                 
  flood disaster.  He gave a brief history of the condition of                 
  the Copper River  Bridge.  It was built in 1910.  The bridge                 
  has achieved recognition as the biggest and most complicated                 
  engineering structure in  the state of  Alaska.  The  bridge                 
  was damaged in 1964  by the earthquake.  One  span fell into                 
  the river.   The bridge was partially repaired in 1968.  The                 
  damaged pier  is on the  far left  hand side.   He discussed                 
  repairs made to the bridge.  He observed that the bridge was                 
  further  damaged  in  the  fall  of  1995.   One  pilot  was                 
  destroyed, possibly by an iceberg.   The bridge settled back                 
  on  the pier.   It is  cracked and  leaning at a  15 percent                 
  angle.   The bridge is in danger  of falling into the river.                 
  A national group of experts on  bridges compiled a report on                 
  what should be  done to  stabilize the bridge.   The  report                 
  predicted that  if  the damaged  pier  fails the  span  will                 
  probably collapse and  telescope the bridge into  the river.                 
  If the bridge  goes into the river it might be impossible to                 
  remove  it.   The  bridge  would  probably block  the  river                 
  sufficiently to divert the river.   If the river is diverted                 
  visitor facilities at Child's Glacier would be flooded along                 
  with several miles of the Copper River Highway.                              
                                                                               
  Commissioner Perkins  observed that  federal funds  will pay                 
  for the  first stage  of repairs.   The  first stage  is the                 
  replacement of the bent  pile.  The State will  receive $2.2                 
  million  dollars  in  federal  disaster  funds.   The  State                 
  matching funds of  $400.0 thousand dollars will  be required                 
  to capture the federal funds.   The bridge repairs will also                 
  help stabilize the river by removing obstructions.                           
                                                                               
  Commissioner  Perkins  emphasized  the   importance  of  the                 
  bridge.    He stressed  that the  loss  of the  bridge would                 
  probably  preclude road access  to Cordova.   It  would cost                 
  between $20  and $40 million dollars to  replace the bridge.                 
  Recreation activities  on the other  side of the  bridge are                 
  increasing.   He noted  that reconstruction  would start  in                 
  April if funds are approved.   The initial repair would make                 
                                                                               
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  the bridge safe and stable.                                                  
                                                                               
  In  response to  a  question  by Representative  Therriault,                 
  Commissioner Perkins noted that the other two piers and  the                 
  base of the  bridge is  in excellent condition.   A  hanging                 
  bridge will be  constructed across the down  span to provide                 
  access to the other side.                                                    
                                                                               
  In response to  a question by Co-Chair  Hanley, Commissioner                 
  Perkins clarified  that there  are no  plans to upgrade  the                 
  bridge beyond  stabilization.  He  noted that it  would cost                 
  another  $2.0 million dollars  to lift the  span and replace                 
  the lost steel.  An additional $1.0 million dollars could be                 
  spent to reinforce the other existing piers.                                 
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley stated  that he  did not  want to  authorize                 
  funds beyond  what is necessary  to stabilize the  bridge so                 
  that  it will not  be washed out  in another  flood or minor                 
  earthquake.                                                                  
                                                                               
  In response to  a question by Co-Chair  Hanley, Commissioner                 
  Perkins noted that  the study  cost $10.0 thousand  dollars.                 
  He observed that time was donated.                                           
                                                                               
  In  response to  a  question by  Representative  Therriault,                 
  Commissioner  Perkins  stated  that  Copper  River   Highway                 
  Settlement money cannot be diverted to the bridge repair.                    
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE  GENE KUBINA  testified  in  support  of  the                 
  appropriation.   He  stressed the  tourism value  associated                 
  with the area.   Co-Chair Foster  expressed support for  the                 
  appropriation.                                                               
  HOUSE BILL NO. 361                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act  relating to municipal capital project matching                 
       grants  for a municipality  organized under federal law                 
       as an Indian  reserve; and  providing for an  effective                 
       date."                                                                  
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE  JERRY Mackie,  sponsor HB 361,  testified in                 
  support  of  HB 361.    He  noted that  the  legislation was                 
  introduced  at   the  request   of  the  Metlakatla   Indian                 
  Community.   He explained that  it was  not clearly  defined                 
  that Metlakatla which  was established as an  Indian Reserve                 
  under  law  would  qualify  for  the  Municipal   Assistance                 
  Matching  Grant  Program.    He  noted  that  the  Community                 
  received Municipal Assistance  Matching Grants until  FY 95.                 
  He  stressed  that it  was the  intent  of the  Program that                 
  Metlakatla  would  qualify.     He  observed  that   HB  361                 
  establishes  in  statute  that  Metlakatla  qualifies as  an                 
  organized municipality for  a municipal assistance  matching                 
                                                                               
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  grant under AS  37.06.  The  legislation would clarify  that                 
  Metlakatla does not qualify for a grant as an unincorporated                 
  community.   He observed  that they  received unincorporated                 
  grants in prior years.                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative  Mackie provided  members with a  letter from                 
  the  Department  of Community  and  Regional  Affairs, dated                 
  1/18/94 detailing grants received by Metlakatla  (Attachment                 
  1).                                                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Mackie maintained that the legislation  would                 
  not open the program for  other tribes to receive  municipal                 
  assistance matching grants.  He referred  to page 1, lines 7                 
  & 8.  He stated that this language would limit qualification                 
  to  Metlakatla.    He  pointed  out  similarities  to  other                 
  communities of corresponding size.                                           
                                                                               
  REMOND  HENDERSON,  DIRECTOR,  DIVISION   OF  ADMINISTRATIVE                 
  SERVICES,  DEPARTMENT  OF  COMMUNITY  AND  REGIONAL  AFFAIRS                 
  stated that the  legislation will provide  authorization for                 
  previous grants.                                                             
  Representative Mackie noted that Metlakatla will not receive                 
  a  grant  in FY  97 unless  the legislation  is passed.   He                 
  stressed that Metlakatla  has utilized previous grants.   He                 
  pointed out  that Metlakatla  did not  receive an  organized                 
  municipal grant for FY 96.                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Parnell asked if  Metlakatla receives federal                 
  funds based on being an unincorporated city.  Representative                 
  Mackie stated  that Metlakatla  receives PL874  Funds as  do                 
  other communities with  Native populations.  He  stated that                 
  Metlakatla received a grant for $60.0 thousand dollars in FY                 
  94 for a fire hall and $58.0 thousand dollars in FY 95 for a                 
  police department project.  Their  FY 96 organized municipal                 
  grant for $59.0 thousand dollars was not approved.                           
                                                                               
  Representative  Navarre  MOVED  to  report  HB  361  out  of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  HB  361  was reported  out  of  Committee with  a  "do pass"                 
  recommendation and with  two zero fiscal  notes; one by  the                 
  Department of Community and Regional Affairs,  dated 2/9/96;                 
  and one by the Department of Administration, dated 1/19/96.                  
  HOUSE BILL NO. 468                                                           
                                                                               
       "An  Act  making  supplemental  appropriations for  the                 
       expenses of  state government  and making and  amending                 
       appropriations; ratifying  certain state  expenditures;                 
       and providing for an effective date."                                   
                                                                               
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  NANCY SLAGLE, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF BUDGET REVIEW, OFFICE OF                 
  MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, OFFICE OF  THE GOVERNOR continued her                 
  review of  HB 468 from 2/14/96.  She provided members with a                 
  spreadsheet of HB 468 (see Attachment 1, 2/14/96).                           
                                                                               
  OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR                                                       
                                                                               
  Ms.  Slagle reviewed Section 16, $1.5 million dollars to the                 
  Office of Management and Budget for a small reserve to allow                 
  immediate response  to anticipated FY  96 & FY  97 disasters                 
  and fires.   She maintained that  there is a potential  that                 
  funds would not be available to respond to a small disaster.                 
  She stressed that  appropriations from  the Disaster  Relief                 
  Fund have to  go through the  disaster relief process.   She                 
  assured the Committee that funds spent  by the Office of the                 
  Governor  for  disaster relief  will  be scrutinized  by the                 
  Office of Management and Budget.   She added that the Office                 
  of Management and Budget would  provide the Legislature with                 
  status reports on any expenditures.                                          
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley asked if the Disaster  Relief Fund is in the                 
  Office  of  the  Governor.   Ms.  Slagle  observed  that the                 
  Department of Military  and Veterans Affairs has  control of                 
  the Disaster Relief  Fund.   He questioned  why the  request                 
  would place the  appropriation in  the Office of  Management                 
  and Budget.  Ms.  Slagle replied that it  was placed in  the                 
  Office  of Management and Budget  to allow funding for small                 
  fire suppression activity.  She  suggested that a portion of                 
  the funds could be placed in  the Department of Military and                 
  Veterans Affairs Disaster Relief Fund.                                       
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley  observed  that the  Disaster  Relief  Fund                 
  allows appropriations for  fire suppression.   He asked  for                 
  clarification as to why the appropriation should be  made to                 
  the Office of the Governor.  Ms. Slagle spoke in support  of                 
  the  placement  under the  Office  of  the  Governor.    She                 
  stressed that there may be conflicting priorities.                           
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley pointed out  that appropriations must follow                 
  guidelines under  the Disaster  Relief Fund.    He spoke  in                 
  support of making  the appropriation to the  Disaster Relief                 
  Fund.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  noted that  the Disaster  Relief Fund                 
  was placed  under the  Department of  Military and  Veterans                 
  Affairs because it  was deemed that the  Department was best                 
  able to act  immediately.  He  noted that the Department  of                 
  Military and Veterans Affairs supervises the National Guard.                 
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley questioned what emergencies were  not funded                 
  by the Department of Military and  Veterans Affairs that the                 
                                                                               
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  Governor  felt should have been  funded.  He summarized that                 
  the Governor does  not think there is  enough flexibility in                 
  the Disaster Relief Fund.                                                    
                                                                               
  Ms. Slagle stressed  that there needs  to be a mechanism  to                 
  take care of disasters.   She emphasized that the  Office of                 
  the  Governor  has  cleared  previous appropriations.    She                 
  observed that it would be difficult to find  $150.0 thousand                 
  dollars  to  cover  a  small  disaster  from  the  remaining                 
  appropriations.   She noted  that a  portion of the  request                 
  would cover a past disaster.                                                 
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-38, Side 2)                                             
                                                                               
  ALL DEPARTMENTS                                                              
                                                                               
  Ms. Slagle  reviewed Sections 17(a), Miscellaneous  Claims -                 
  general funds & Section 17(b),  Miscellaneous Claims - other                 
  funds.  She noted that statutes require that bills, invoices                 
  and obligations of  the State  that are over  two years  old                 
  must be approved by the Legislature.                                         
                                                                               
  Ms. Slagle  reviewed  Section 18,  Prior Year  Ratification.                 
  She noted that this  section straightens accounting records.                 
  She  stated  that  the  Division  of  Audit  and  Management                 
  Services has  reviewed  the  items  in this  section.    She                 
  stressed  that many of the problems stem from the conversion                 
  of the accounting system  in 1985.  She emphasized  that the                 
  only way  these old  records can  be closed  out is  through                 
  ratification by the Legislature.   She assured the Committee                 
  that  problems  are  being  resolved  administratively  when                 
  possible.                                                                    
                                                                               
  DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY                                                  
                                                                               
  Ms. Slagle added that the Administration has requested a new                 
  section  be  included in  HB 468.    She explained  that the                 
  Department  of Public  Safety's  FY 92,  93  and 94  capital                 
  requests for driver's manuals, license plates and  equipment                 
  were combined and the amount reduced.  In FY 95 the language                 
  identifying equipment  as part  of the  capital request  was                 
  inadvertently  deleted.   The Administration  requested that                 
  the  FY  95  capital  appropriation  be amended  to  include                 
  "equipment".    The  FY  96   capital  request  did  include                 
  equipment.  She explained that the equipment is specifically                 
  related to the issuance of driver's licenses.                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley  reviewed HB  468.   He identified  sections                 
  that  would  not  be  included  in  the  proposed  committee                 
  substitute.    He  noted that  his  office  would  prepare a                 
  spreadsheet comparing  the proposed committee  substitute to                 
  the original legislation. (See Attachment 2).                                
                                                                               
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  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 2:55 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
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