Legislature(2001 - 2002)

05/20/2002 04:45 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
<At a call of the Chair approx 4:00 pm>
Moved HCS SB 2001(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved HCS SB 2009(FIN) Out of Committee
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                        May 20, 2002                                                                                            
                         4:45 P.M.                                                                                              
 TAPE HFC 02 - 5, Side A                                                                                                        
 TAPE HFC 02 - 5, Side B                                                                                                        
 CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Mulder called  the House  Finance Committee  meeting                                                                  
 to order at 4:45 P.M.                                                                                                          
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                              
 Representative Eldon Mulder, Co-Chair                                                                                          
 Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair                                                                                         
 Representative Con Bunde, Vice-Chair                                                                                           
 Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                      
 Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                  
 Representative John Harris                                                                                                     
 Representative Bill Hudson                                                                                                     
 Representative Ken Lancaster                                                                                                   
 Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                    
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                               
 Representative John Davies                                                                                                     
 Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                      
 ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                 
 Representative   Ethan    Berkowitz;   Representative    Lisa                                                                  
 Murkowski;  Representative   Beth  Kerttula;  Representative                                                                   
 Jeannette James;  Jim  Duncan,  Commissioner,  Department  of                                                                  
 Administration;   Alison    Elgee,    Deputy   Commissioner,                                                                   
 Department   of   Administration;   Denny   Dewitt,    Staff,                                                                  
 Representative Eldon  Mulder;  Pat Carothers,  Chair,  Alaska                                                                  
 Veterans Advisory  Council (AVAC),  Juneau; Adjutant  General                                                                  
 BG Phil  Oates,  Commissioner,  Department  of  Military  and                                                                  
 Veterans Affairs                                                                                                               
 PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                   
 Ed  Willis,  Anchorage;  Gordon  Severson,  Anchorage;   Stan                                                                  
 Nelson, Anchorage; Montafay Lane, President, Alaska  Assisted                                                                  
 Living  Home  Association,   North  Pole;  Leslie  Orebaugh,                                                                   
 Secretary, Assisted Living Association for Alaska                                                                              
 SB 2001   An Act changing  the name of  the Alaska Pioneers'                                                                   
           Home to  the Alaska  Pioneers' and  Veterans'  Home                                                                  
           and of  the Alaska Pioneers'  Homes Advisory  Board                                                                  
           to  the   Alaska  Pioneers'   and  Veterans'   Home                                                                  
          Advisory  Board; relating  to housing and  services                                                                   
          for  veterans; relating to  the advisory  board for                                                                   
          the home;  making other amendments to  the statutes                                                                   
          relating  to   the  home;  and  providing   for  an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
          HCS CS SB 2001 (FIN) was reported out of Committee                                                                    
          with a "do pass" recommendation and with a new                                                                        
          zero fiscal note by the House Finance Committee.                                                                      
SB 2009   An  Act establishing  the Alaska Veterans  Advisory                                                                   
          Council; and providing for an effective date.                                                                         
          HCS CS SB 2009 (FIN) was reported out of Committee                                                                    
          with a "do pass" recommendation and with new zero                                                                     
          fiscal note by the House Finance Committee.                                                                           
SENATE BILL NO. 2009                                                                                                          
     An Act establishing the Alaska Veterans Advisory                                                                           
     Council; and providing for an effective date.                                                                              
Co-Chair  Mulder  stated  that  SB 2009  would  establish  an                                                                   
eleven   member   Veterans  Advisory   Council   within   the                                                                   
Department  of  Military &  Veterans  Affairs.   The  Council                                                                   
would   make  recommendations   to  the   Governor  and   the                                                                   
Department concerning the needs and concerns of veterans.                                                                       
The  Governor would  appoint  members of  the  Council for  a                                                                   
three-year  term.   Appointments  would  include  members  of                                                                   
veterans' organization,  State programs that  serve veterans,                                                                   
and other  citizens who are  familiar with veterans'  issues.                                                                   
The  new Council  would succeed  the  Council established  in                                                                   
Executive Order No. 164.  The  old council would terminate on                                                                   
January 1,  2003 at which  time the new Council,  established                                                                   
by   this  Legislature,   through  SB   2009,  would   become                                                                   
Co-Chair  Williams MOVED  to ADOPT  the committee  substitute                                                                   
work  draft,   #22-GS2109\C,  Lauterbach,  5/20/02,   as  the                                                                   
version  of   the  legislation   before  the  Committee   for                                                                   
consideration.  There being NO  OBJECTION, it was so adopted.                                                                   
Representative Croft asked what  changes had been made in the                                                                   
draft before the Committee.                                                                                                     
Co-Chair Mulder explained the two changes:                                                                                      
     ·         The Board would decrease from twenty members                                                                     
               to eleven members; and                                                                                           
     ·         The Council would take effect on January 1,                                                                      
 Representative Croft  asked the reason  for the changes  made                                                                  
 to the composition of the board.                                                                                               
 Co-Chair Mulder responded that all members would continue  to                                                                  
 be appointed by the Governor.                                                                                                  
 Representative Hudson MOVED  to report HCS  CS SB 2009  (FIN)                                                                  
 out of  Committee with  individual recommendations  and  with                                                                  
 the accompanying fiscal note.   There being NO OBJECTION,  it                                                                  
 was so ordered.                                                                                                                
 HCS CS SB  2009 (FIN) was  reported out of  Committee with  a                                                                  
"do pass" recommendation and a new zero note by the House                                                                       
Finance Committee.                                                                                                              
 SENATE BILL NO. 2001                                                                                                         
      An Act changing  the name of  the Alaska Pioneers'  Home                                                                  
      to the Alaska  Pioneers' and Veterans'  Home and of  the                                                                  
      Alaska Pioneers'  Homes  Advisory  Board to  the  Alaska                                                                  
      Pioneers' and  Veterans' Home  Advisory Board;  relating                                                                  
      to housing and  services for veterans;  relating to  the                                                                  
      advisory board for the home; making other amendments  to                                                                  
      the statutes relating to the home; and providing  for an                                                                  
      effective date.                                                                                                           
 Vice-Chair Bunde  MOVED to ADOPT  committee substitute,  #22-                                                                  
 LS1816\J, Lauterbach,  5/20/02, as  the version  of the  bill                                                                  
 before the  Committee.   There  being  NO OBJECTION,  it  was                                                                  
 DENNY   DEWITT,   STAFF,    REPRESENTATIVE   ELDON    MULDER,                                                                  
 highlighted the changes made to the committee substitute:                                                                      
      ·    Section  1 would  change  the  composition  of  the                                                                  
           Pioneers Advisory Board by replacing a non-                                                                          
           specified appointment by a specified appointment.                                                                    
      ·    Sub-section 2 would  replace a general person  with                                                                  
           the Chairman of the Alaska Veteran's Advisory                                                                        
           Council, created by SB 2009.                                                                                         
      ·    Section  3   would  change   the   duties  of   the                                                                  
           Department  of  Administration  and  would  require                                                                  
           them  to  work  with  the  federal  government  for                                                                  
           matters pertaining  to the  welfare  of the  Alaska                                                                  
           pioneers and veterans.                                                                                               
      ·    Sub-section 4 requires that the Pioneer Homes  meet                                                                  
           the same general standards as the assisted living                                                                    
           homes, as listed under AS 47.33.                                                                                     
      ·    Section 5 provides a process for the Pioneer  Homes                                                                  
           to designate a specified number of beds for the                                                                      
          pilot project.   It would  limit that no  more than                                                                   
          30% of  the beds in  a single institution  could be                                                                   
          reserved for veterans.                                                                                                
     ·    A  sub-section  of Section  5  provides a  process,                                                                   
          whereby,  the  Pioneer  Homes  have the  option  to                                                                   
          consider  people that are  either veterans  or not,                                                                   
          depending  on the  availability of  beds.   No beds                                                                   
          would be closed off.                                                                                                  
     ·    Section 6 conforms to  litigation from twelve years                                                                   
          ago, changing  the residency from fifteen  years to                                                                   
          one year.                                                                                                             
     ·    Section  7 consists of  a compilation  of corrected                                                                   
          references to the federal statutes.                                                                                   
     ·    Section 8  addresses trust funds, and  allows those                                                                   
          funds  to be used  by the  Alaska Pioneer  Homes so                                                                   
          that there is no loss of use for the funds.                                                                           
     ·    Section 10  creates a pilot project  and allows the                                                                   
          Department of Administration  to negotiate with the                                                                   
          Veterans'  Administration.   That  section requires                                                                   
          the  Department to report  back to the  Legislature                                                                   
          in 2005,  to determine  if it would  be appropriate                                                                   
          to extend the pilot program.                                                                                          
     ·    Section 11  deals with uncodified law,  and changes                                                                   
          the name  of the Pioneer  Homes to the  Pioneer and                                                                   
          Veterans' Homes.                                                                                                      
     ·    Section 12  creates contingent effective  dates for                                                                   
          Sections  1,  5, &  11,  dependant  upon the  pilot                                                                   
          program moving forward.                                                                                               
     ·    Sections 14 & 15 establish the effective dates.                                                                       
Representative  Croft referenced  Page 3,  Section 5,  noting                                                                   
that the  original bill recommended  that 30% of the  beds in                                                                   
the same institution could be  used or 21% of the beds in the                                                                   
entire  system  could  be  occupied.     He  asked  how  that                                                                   
corresponded to the current committee substitute.                                                                               
Mr. DeWitt  explained that the  decision was to  use veterans                                                                   
currently in those homes, to provide the base number.                                                                           
Representative Croft understood  that currently, there are 95                                                                   
veterans  in   the  homes,  pointing   out  that   there  are                                                                   
approximately 100 empty beds.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Mulder interjected  that the  intent was to  retain                                                                   
the same  percentage that currently  exists.  He  pointed out                                                                   
that the Pioneers  of Alaska do oppose the  legislation.  The                                                                   
concern  was to retain  the ability  to provide  for a  "dual                                                                   
track access" to the Pioneer Homes.                                                                                             
JIM  DUNCAN,  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT   OF  ADMINISTRATION,                                                                   
responded that it is currently 19%.                                                                                             
 Co-Chair Mulder stated that  the Senate version provided  for                                                                  
 21% veteran beds.  He  thought that the proposed legislation                                                                   
 was more acceptable to the pioneers.                                                                                           
 Representative Hudson  referenced Page  4, Line  15, and  the                                                                  
 conversion of the  15-year requirement to  1 year.  He  asked                                                                  
 if that had been an arbitrary selection.                                                                                       
 Mr. DeWitt replied that number was from the Administration's                                                                   
 original draft.                                                                                                                
 Representative Hudson asked if one year could provide  a good                                                                  
 policy.  He inquired if  there were legal rights toward  more                                                                  
 than  one year,  noting  that  one-year  would  not  be  long                                                                  
 Mr. DeWitt reiterated,  the language  came from the  original                                                                  
 draft.   He  advised  that  the  State  of  Alaska  lost  the                                                                  
 residency Court case for legal rights to more than one  year.                                                                  
 The option to correct  the legislation was  not taken, so  it                                                                  
 must be a one-year residency rule.                                                                                             
 Representative Croft pointed out  that most of the people  on                                                                  
 the Pioneer Home  wait list  are long time  residents of  the                                                                  
 State.  He added that for  any person to qualify, they  would                                                                  
 have to live in the State for one year before applying.                                                                        
 Commissioner Duncan outlined the important principles:                                                                         
      ·    A commitment to the veterans of the State of                                                                         
      ·    Thus the name change is critical; and                                                                                
      ·    There should be a preference on the number of beds                                                                   
           for veterans.                                                                                                        
 Commissioner Duncan noted that there is a difference  between                                                                  
 the Administration's approach  and the legislative approach.                                                                   
 The approach proposed on Page 3, does bring the State  to 19%                                                                  
 of the  funded beds,  however, that  number would  float  and                                                                  
 change.  The  Administration recommends  that there are  21%.                                                                  
 The  Administration  feels  strongly  that,  in  addition  to                                                                  
 making a commitment  to change  and a  preference, more  beds                                                                  
 should be opened  up for the veterans.   He recommended  that                                                                  
 there  be  a  floating  percentage  and  added  that  if  the                                                                  
 Legislature provides  the Department more  money, they  could                                                                  
 work with the proposed preference.                                                                                             
 Commissioner Duncan  requested additional  funding to  better                                                                  
 serve the pioneers of the State to be able to add more  beds.                                                                  
 Commissioner  Duncan addressed  the  sunset  provision.    He                                                                  
 noted  that  the  original   bill  did  not  have  a   sunset                                                                  
 provision.  Having   a   sunset  causes   concern   for   the                                                                  
Administration.     The  Administration  requests   that  the                                                                   
legislation pass  without the sunset.  He maintained  that it                                                                   
is appropriate  to make a  strong commitment to  veterans now                                                                   
and in the  future.  There  is an additional change  from the                                                                   
Senate   version   that   authorizes    the   Department   of                                                                   
Administration, in  consultation with Department  of Military                                                                   
&  Veterans Affairs,  to conduct  an  Alaskan veterans  needs                                                                   
study.   The proposed committee  substitute does  not contain                                                                   
that  authority  or  the  money  to  fund  that  study.    He                                                                   
requested that action be reconsidered.                                                                                          
ADJUTANT GENERAL  BG PHIL OATES, COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT OF                                                                   
MILITARY AND  VETERANS AFFAIRS,  agreed with the  comments of                                                                   
Commissioner Duncan.  He added  that the committee substitute                                                                   
does take a small and important  step, however, it could take                                                                   
a  "bigger  step".    The  legislation   would  open  up  the                                                                   
opportunity to  change federal  laws and procedures  to start                                                                   
flowing money  and benefits to  the veterans.  He  added that                                                                   
the Pioneers Homes  is a high quality system.   The intent of                                                                   
the legislation  is to  recognize veterans  and then  open up                                                                   
the   opportunity  to   the  six   regional  pioneer   homes.                                                                   
Commissioner  Oates suggested  that  the State  could take  a                                                                   
"larger step"  by allowing  a percentage to  float up  as the                                                                   
money increases, so  to give more beds into that  system.  He                                                                   
hoped that  the test would be  successful and would  meet the                                                                   
needs of the veterans in the State of Alaska.                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Mulder  referenced the  "study  money",  indicating                                                                   
that  money currently  flows through  the Legislative  Budget                                                                   
and Audit  (LBA) Committee.  He  said that it was  his intent                                                                   
to  work  with  that  Committee  to get  the  money  for  the                                                                   
Department of Administration.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Mulder referenced  the handout  distributed by  the                                                                   
Department: "Veterans  Residing in the Alaska  Pioneers' Home                                                                   
System".  (Copy on File).  The  column labeled LOC references                                                                   
the level  of care.   The level of  care determines  how much                                                                   
each person  would need to pay.   If the person  pays out-of-                                                                   
pocket the  full load, the  remaining federal money  would go                                                                   
into "their  pocket".  Each of  the listed 49  are subsidized                                                                   
by the State at some level.                                                                                                     
Commissioner   Duncan  walked   members  through  the   chart                                                                   
containing  the name,  level of care,  monthly rate,  monthly                                                                   
subsidy, the amount  that the VA reimburses,  the balance and                                                                   
the  added revenue  for the  State of  Alaska.   Commissioner                                                                   
Duncan highlighted various participants  listed on the chart.                                                                   
It  is anticipated  that the  State  would receive  increased                                                                   
revenue  through the  Pioneer  Home receipts,  however,  that                                                                   
idea is  not firm.   If the State  starts to receive  Pioneer                                                                   
Home receipts in FY03, the Department  of Administration does                                                                   
not   have  the   authorization   to  expend   them.     That                                                                   
authorization  was  not provided  in  the  budget or  in  the                                                                   
 legislation.   It would  be subject  to action  taken by  the                                                                  
 Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.                                                                                        
 Co-Chair Mulder stated that  once the agreement is in  place,                                                                  
 it is  anticipated  that  the  Department  will  be  able  to                                                                  
 receive authority  to  access those  funds through  the  fast                                                                  
 track supplemental.                                                                                                            
 Commissioner  General  Oates   advised  that  veterans   feel                                                                  
 strongly that they have  "earned" these benefits rather  than                                                                  
 that they are  "receiving" the  benefits.   The veterans  are                                                                  
 willing to use  their benefits  for their cost  of care.   He                                                                  
 added that the  more veterans  that there are  in the  homes,                                                                  
 the greater chance there is to bring income into the State.                                                                    
 Representative Hudson  assumed that  the added  revenue  that                                                                  
 the veterans receive would go dollar for dollar toward  their                                                                  
 care.  He asked if that language was included.                                                                                 
 Commissioner  Duncan   advised  that  the   amount  that   an                                                                  
 individual pays  is recorded  in statute  and  is based  upon                                                                  
 income.  Right now,  the veterans who  pay full cost of  care                                                                  
 keep their benefits; however, the individuals not paying  for                                                                  
 the full  cost, their  benefits  are contributed  toward  the                                                                  
 State's system.                                                                                                                
 Vice-Chair Bunde  pointed  out  that the  sheet  indicates  a                                                                  
 continuum between  nearly $6,000  a month to  less than  $500                                                                  
 dollars a  month  subsidy.   He  asked how  that information                                                                   
 tracks with the pioneers currently in the Homes.                                                                               
 Commissioner Duncan replied that it would similar.                                                                             
 Vice-Chair Bunde are if the veterans tended to be better  off                                                                  
 with more subsidies than most of the other pioneers.                                                                           
 General Oates  replied  that would  depend on  the veteran's                                                                   
 Commissioner Duncan  stated  that about  50% of  the  current                                                                  
 pioneer residents  are on  assistance, similar  track to  the                                                                  
 Representative Hudson asked  if there was any discrimination                                                                   
 against the veterans at present time.                                                                                          
 Commissioner Duncan replied there is not to his knowledge.                                                                     
 General Oates pointed out that Alaska is the only State  that                                                                  
 does not have a veterans home.  He believed that was  because                                                                  
 of the  size  of  this  State and  because  of  the  existing                                                                  
 Pioneer Home  infrastructure.   To  build a  single  veterans                                                                  
 home, would cost  $4 million dollars.   The State would  have                                                                  
 to contribute the land, the federal government would  provide                                                                  
$8  million dollars  to  build,  and the  federal  government                                                                   
would require the  State to fully operate it.   That facility                                                                   
would provide approximately 100  beds, located in one area of                                                                   
the State.   It would  cost about $8  million dollars  to run                                                                   
the facility.   Most  veterans would have  to live  away from                                                                   
their families.                                                                                                                 
Commissioner General Oates commented  that there are no other                                                                   
states  where the  military has  had be bigger  impact.   The                                                                   
State of Alaska  has the second largest per  capita number of                                                                   
veterans.  He emphasized the need for full funding.                                                                             
Co-Chair  Mulder  questioned  where  the  reference  for  $40                                                                   
dollars a day came from.                                                                                                        
Commissioner Duncan  affirmed the number was  reasonable.  He                                                                   
observed that there are rates  for aspects but not the entire                                                                   
match of  services.  The Pioneer  Homes would be  providing a                                                                   
different  level of  care than  in veterans'  homes in  other                                                                   
areas.  There  would be no skilled  nursing.  The goal  is to                                                                   
have a  pilot program  and negotiate  a rate.  The lower  end                                                                   
rate is  $24 dollars  a day and  the higher  end rate  is $53                                                                   
dollars  a day.   He claimed  that the  assisted living  rate                                                                   
would  fall somewhere  in the  middle of that,  thus the  $40                                                                   
dollar figure.                                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Mulder questioned  if the statutes would  need to be                                                                   
Commissioner Duncan  acknowledged that it would  be important                                                                   
to change State  regulations if the Veterans'  Administration                                                                   
was going to move  in.  The federal level needs  to know that                                                                   
the State of  Alaska is supportive and committed  to the goal                                                                   
for the veterans.                                                                                                               
In response  to a question  by Co-Chair Mulder,  Commissioner                                                                   
Duncan  explained  that  the   Department's  plan  is  for  a                                                                   
demonstration project.  He clarified  that the intent was not                                                                   
to include a sunset to the program.                                                                                             
Co-Chair Mulder  acknowledged that there have  been questions                                                                   
regarding the need for statutory change.                                                                                        
Commissioner  Duncan replied  that  the  Department has  been                                                                   
negotiating  with the Veterans'  Administration to  determine                                                                   
what is essential.                                                                                                              
Commissioner  General  Oates  reassured  the  Committee  that                                                                   
there  is a  federal  commitment to  solve  the situation  in                                                                   
Representative  Croft observed that  the sunset provision  of                                                                   
the bill would  make it more difficult to negotiate  with the                                                                   
federal government with regard to Alaska's effort.                                                                              
 Commissioner  Duncan noted  that  the bill  would  sunset  in                                                                  
 three  years.    He  added  that  the  name  change  and  the                                                                  
 preference are the  tools that the  State needs to negotiate                                                                   
 with the Veterans'  Administration (VA).   He urged that  the                                                                  
 sunset be withdrawn.                                                                                                           
 Representative Croft  asked the criteria  used regarding  how                                                                  
 veteran's homes work in other states.                                                                                          
 Commissioner General  Oates explained  that each  would is  a                                                                  
 "state" veteran's home  and that the  full responsibility  of                                                                  
 operating the home would rest on that state.                                                                                   
 TAPE HFC 02 - 5, Side B                                                                                                      
 Commissioner General  Oates continued, the  intent is to  use                                                                  
 existing resources  to meet the  needs of  the veterans  that                                                                  
 are pioneer  eligible.    Additionally,  it  is  intended  to                                                                  
 conduct the  study  to determine  needs,  then using  a  bond                                                                  
 process  meet those  needs.    Other  states  have  a  single                                                                  
 veterans' facility, which meet all the needs.                                                                                  
 Representative Hudson pointed  out that in the other  states,                                                                  
 most of the federal up-front  costs go into the construction                                                                   
 of the homes.                                                                                                                  
 General  Oates  stressed  that  the  only  way  to   begin  a                                                                  
 solution, would be to make use of the existing resources.                                                                      
 Representative  Croft  questioned  if  there  would  exist  a                                                                  
 supplanting problem.   He pointed out  that in other  federal                                                                  
 programs it  would  be considered  a  "supplanting"  problem.                                                                  
 The State is  requesting federal funds  without promising  to                                                                  
 add any veterans.                                                                                                              
 General Oates acknowledged that concern and pointed  out that                                                                  
 the Veterans Administration  is looking for new solutions  to                                                                  
 solve veteran's care concerns.   The proposed bill is a  step                                                                  
 forward in that process.                                                                                                       
 Co-Chair  Mulder believed  that  the  proposal  could  be  an                                                                  
 augmentation rather than a supplantation.                                                                                      
 Representative  Croft   pointed   out  that   the  committee                                                                   
 substitute did not raise the number of beds.                                                                                   
 Commissioner   Duncan   explained   that   [pioneers]    have                                                                  
 understood  that  they  would  be supplanting   some  general                                                                  
 funds.   He  questioned  if the  Department  would  have  the                                                                  
 authority to add  more beds.   Language on  Page 3, does  not                                                                  
 provide the  Department the  ability to  add more  beds.   He                                                                  
recommended  a "friendly  amendment"  to  Line 29,  inserting                                                                   
"funded".  That  would allow the State to receive  more money                                                                   
and have more beds funded.                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Mulder  noted that he had anticipated  that concern.                                                                   
The  legal drafters  recommend inserting  "occupied" beds  to                                                                   
address the concern.                                                                                                            
Commissioner  General Oates  understood  that the  percentage                                                                   
would  be what  it was  at that  point  in time  and not  the                                                                   
projected filled spaces.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair  Mulder  questioned  why Medicaid  funding  was  not                                                                   
being utilized.                                                                                                                 
Commissioner  Duncan  noted  that   it  would  require  major                                                                   
changes  in the  Pioneer  Home statutes.    It would  require                                                                   
doing away  with the residency  requirement and  the 65-year-                                                                   
old age requirement.                                                                                                            
ED  WILLIS,   (TESTIFIED   VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
stressed the  importance of the  legislation to  the veterans                                                                   
of  the State.   He  expressed  a preference  for the  Senate                                                                   
version and  asked that the  committee substitute  be amended                                                                   
to fund the beds  and remove the sunset provision.   He noted                                                                   
the number of veterans that live in the Eagle River area.                                                                       
GORDON SEVERSON,  (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),  ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
endorsed  the  comments made  by  Mr.  Willis in  support  of                                                                   
funding for  additional beds.   He thought that  the proposed                                                                   
committee  substitute  would maintain  the  status  quo.   He                                                                   
spoke against the  sunset provision.  He thought  that the VA                                                                   
would  be  influenced to  do  more  if  the State  of  Alaska                                                                   
indicated  that more beds  would be  opened for veterans  and                                                                   
pioneers. Mr. Severson emphasized  that additional beds would                                                                   
help both groups.                                                                                                               
STAN  NELSON,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
agreed with  testimony given  by the  previous speakers.   He                                                                   
spoke against  the sunset provision  and pointed out  that it                                                                   
would take at least a year to  gather statistics.  He did not                                                                   
think that the three-year sunset was sufficient.                                                                                
MONTAFAY  LANE, (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  PRESIDENT,                                                                   
ALASKA ASSISTED  LIVING HOME  ASSOCIATION, NORTH  POLE, asked                                                                   
if disabled  veterans could  live in the  Pioneer Home.   She                                                                   
questioned  the  definition  of  the "quality  of  care"  and                                                                   
"comprehensive care".                                                                                                           
ALISON    ELGEE,   DEPUTY    COMMISSIONER,   DEPARTMENT    OF                                                                   
ADMINISTRATION,   observed  that   skilled  nursing   is  not                                                                   
provided at the Pioneer Homes.   If the veteran does not need                                                                   
invasive  procedures such  as  feeding tubes,  they could  be                                                                   
 cared for  in  assisted living,  which  is available  at  the                                                                  
 Pioneer Homes.  The level of care would have to be assessed.                                                                   
 Ms. Lane asked if that would fall under the comprehensive  or                                                                  
 enhanced care classification.                                                                                                  
 Ms. Elgee  replied  that  determination would  be  made  once                                                                  
 there was a full assessment of each individual.                                                                                
 Co-Chair Mulder  asked if  Ms. Lane  had any recommendations                                                                   
 for the legislation before the Committee.                                                                                      
 Ms. Lane asked  to see  that the definition  for the  Pioneer                                                                  
 Home is the  same definition  of care given  for an  assisted                                                                  
 living home.  She urged that  everyone be on the "same  sheet                                                                  
 of paper".                                                                                                                     
 Co-Chair Mulder advised that  in Section 4, an amendment  had                                                                  
 been made which provides that the level of care be the  same.                                                                  
 Ms. Lane pointed out that under SB 73, assisted living  homes                                                                  
 received  a rate  increase  of  $70  dollars  a  day  for  GR                                                                  
 indigent care.   She asked if  that amount  were cut by  60%,                                                                  
 would the Pioneer Homes also receive the cut.                                                                                  
 Representative Hudson recommended  that Ms. Lane outline  her                                                                  
 concerns and submit them to the Committee.                                                                                     
 Ms. Lane offered to provide that information.                                                                                  
 PAT  CAROTHERS,  CHAIR,  ALASKA  VETERANS  ADVISORY   COUNCIL                                                                  
 (AVAC), JUNEAU,  agreed with  the reduction  of personnel  on                                                                  
 the Council and agreed with the change of membership.                                                                          
 Co-Chair Mulder asked if  there was a qualatative difference                                                                   
 between 11 or 13 members.                                                                                                      
 Mr.  Carothers  replied  that  many  of  the  private  sector                                                                  
 members are out  fishing at the time  the meetings happen  so                                                                  
 the reduced number would be more workable.                                                                                     
 Co-Chair Mulder MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 1, Page 3,  Line 29,                                                                  
 insert "occupied" before "beds".   There being NO OBJECTION,                                                                   
 it was adopted.                                                                                                                
 Representative Croft  MOVED to ADOPT  a conceptual Amendment                                                                   
 2, which would delete the  sunset date.  He spoke in  support                                                                  
 of the amendment.                                                                                                              
 Co-Chair Mulder  OBJECTED.   He thought  that the three-year                                                                   
 window would be sufficient and would allow the program  to go                                                                  
 away if the federal support was not forthcoming.                                                                               
 A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                      
IN FAVOR:      Croft, Foster                                                                                                    
OPPOSED:       Lancaster, Whitaker, Bunde, Harris, Hudson,                                                                      
               Williams, Mulder                                                                                                 
Representative  J. Davies and  Representative Moses  were not                                                                   
present for the vote.                                                                                                           
The MOTION FAILED (2-7).                                                                                                        
LESLIE OREBAUGH,  (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),  SECRETARY,                                                                   
ASSISTED  LIVING ASSOCIATION  FOR ALASKA,  questioned if  the                                                                   
name change should  be made permanent while the  program is a                                                                   
pilot  program.   Ms. Orebaugh  agreed  that the  legislation                                                                   
should contain a sunset provision.                                                                                              
Representative Hudson  MOVED to report  HCS CS SB  2001 (FIN)                                                                   
out  of Committee  with individual  recommendations and  with                                                                   
the accompanying  fiscal note.  There being  NO OBJECTION, it                                                                   
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
HCS CS  SB 2001 (FIN)  was reported  out of Committee  with a                                                                   
"do pass"  recommendation and  a new zero  note by  the House                                                                   
Finance Committee.                                                                                                              
The meeting was adjourned at 6:07 P.M.                                                                                          

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