Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/26/2006 08:30 AM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 250 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/SEXUAL ASSAULT COUNCIL TELECONFERENCED
Moved HCS SB 250(FIN) Out of Committee
+= HB 375 RETIREMENT BENEFIT LIABILITY ACCT. TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+= HB 306 CONVEY HATCHER PASS TO MAT-SU BOROUGH TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ SB 237 ADDITIONAL JUDGES FOR THIRD DISTRICT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 26, 2006                                                                                           
                         8:55 a.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 8:55:18 AM.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Jim Holm                                                                                                         
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Jacqueline  Tupou,  Staff,  Representative   Weyhrauch,  Gary                                                                   
Bader,   Chief   Investment   Officer,   Treasury   Division,                                                                   
Department  of  Revenue;  Tom   Maher,  Staff,  Senator  Gene                                                                   
Therriault,  Pat Davidson,  Legislative Auditor,  Legislative                                                                   
Audit Division;  Barbara Mason,  Executive Director,  Council                                                                   
on Domestic Violence and Sexual  Assault; Susan Parks, Deputy                                                                   
Attorney  General,  Criminal  Division,  Department  of  Law;                                                                   
Chris Christensen, Staff Counsel, Alaska Court System                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Jeff    Johnson,   Fairbanks;    Nancy    Scheetz-Freymiller,                                                                   
Anchorage; Brenda  Stanfill, Alaska  Women's Center  for Non-                                                                   
Violence, Fairbanks                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 375    "An   Act  relating   to  the  retirement   benefit                                                                   
          liability  account  and  appropriations  from  that                                                                   
          account;  relating to  deposits  of certain  income                                                                   
          earned  on money received as  a result of  State v.                                                                   
          Amerada  Hess, et  al.,  1JU-77-847 Civ.  (Superior                                                                   
          Court, First Judicial  District); and providing for                                                                   
          an effective date."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
          HB 375 was heard and  HELD in Committee for further                                                                   
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB 250    "An  Act  extending  the termination  date  of  the                                                                   
          Council  on Domestic  Violence and Sexual  Assault;                                                                   
          and   eliminating  statutory   references  to   the                                                                   
          network on domestic violence and sexual assault."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          HCSSB 250 (FIN) was  REPORTED out of Committee with                                                                   
          a "no  recommendation" and with two  new Department                                                                   
          of  Public  Safety  fiscal notes  prepared  by  the                                                                   
          House Finance Committee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CSSB 237(FIN)                                                                                                                   
          "An  Act relating to  the compensation  of justices                                                                   
          and  judges,  and  to   increasing  the  number  of                                                                   
          superior court judges  designated for the third and                                                                   
          fourth  judicial districts;  and  providing for  an                                                                   
          effective date."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          CSSB 237 (FIN) was heard  and HELD in Committee for                                                                   
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 306    "An   Act  making   certain   land  available   for                                                                   
          selection by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          HB 306 was scheduled but not heard.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:57:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 375                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act relating  to the  retirement benefit  liability                                                                   
     account and  appropriations from that  account; relating                                                                   
     to deposits  of certain income earned on  money received                                                                   
     as a result of State v. Amerada Hess, et al., 1JU-77-                                                                      
     847 Civ. (Superior Court, First Judicial District); and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker MOVED  to ADOPT  Amendment 2,  labeled                                                                   
24-LS1467\L,  which would  insert  on page  3,  line 13,  the                                                                   
words "85%  of the employer's  past service cost  rate during                                                                   
the fiscal  year that precedes  the distribution  fiscal year                                                                   
under (c) of this section by three fiscal years."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JACQUELINE TUPOU, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  WEYHRAUCH, explained                                                                   
that expediency is  a key component of the bill.   There is a                                                                   
concern  that all communities  be treated  fairly under  this                                                                   
legislation.   Amendment  2 is  a blanket  amendment for  all                                                                   
communities  regarding the  formula previous  to three  years                                                                   
ago.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:59:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEFF JOHNSON,  FAIRBANKS,  explained that  on June 30,  2001,                                                                   
the net  pass on unfunded  liability was approximately  $11.3                                                                   
million.  On June 30, 2004, it  was bumped up to $95 million.                                                                   
It is predicted  to go up by $15 million in  2005.  There has                                                                   
been a  decline in the number  of employees that  participate                                                                   
in PERS.  He explained that the  bill favors large employers,                                                                   
not those  with past  service costs.   He related  a scenario                                                                   
where  the  formula  would  equal zero  for  Fairbanks.    He                                                                   
proposed a  way for the city  to solve their debt  problem by                                                                   
transferring  the  $11  million  from  June 30,  2001,  to  a                                                                   
separate account, which is funded  from general state revenue                                                                   
sources.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:02:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly  recalled when the utility  in Fairbanks                                                                   
was sold, Pat Cole  questioned the impact of the  sale on the                                                                   
system.   He asked  Mr. Johnson if  it was his  understanding                                                                   
that this situation would not happen.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Johnson said  that  is correct.    Had  the Division  of                                                                   
Retirement  closed  out  the  MUS, which  was  treated  as  a                                                                   
separate account  at the  time of the  sale, there  would not                                                                   
have been a problem.  He related  that in 2001, the city owed                                                                   
$11 million.   He deemed  it reasonable  to have to  pay back                                                                   
that amount.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:05:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch  stated that  how  this would  work                                                                   
depends on  the administration, so  he has tried to  make the                                                                   
language workable.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:05:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GARY  BADER,  CHIEF INVESTMENT  OFFICER,  TREASURY  DIVISION,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  OF REVENUE,  explained that  each year gains  and                                                                   
losses of the  retirement plan are calculated.   The loss, in                                                                   
this case,  is amortized  over  25 years.   The whole  system                                                                   
experienced  losses since  the year 2000,  first, because  of                                                                   
changes  in health  care assumptions  and  experience in  the                                                                   
plan, secondly,  because of investment returns,  and thirdly,                                                                   
because  many of  the assumptions  were changed  in terms  of                                                                   
estimating  future costs.  All  PERS and  TRS employers  were                                                                   
caught in these changes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Fairbanks had  additional impacts.   They made  changes based                                                                   
on  what  they  believed  to  be  reliable  information,  and                                                                   
reduced  the  number  of  their PERS  employees.    The  rate                                                                   
escalated to  a 125  percent past service  rate.   The Alaska                                                                   
Retirement  Management  (ARM)  Board proposed  to  the  House                                                                   
Finance Committee  that TRS  receive 85  percent of  the past                                                                   
service cost rate.   It used a different approach  to explain                                                                   
how the  Committee might  allocate funds  to repay  employers                                                                   
under PERS.   It proposed  that no  community would  get more                                                                   
than the average of all PERS employers taken together.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bader shared  that there is another approach,  the one in                                                                   
Amendment 2, which  is similar to the TRS approach.   The ARM                                                                   
Board has  several goals:  that the  systems be fully  funded                                                                   
within  30 years,  that  it not  cause  severe disruption  to                                                                   
public  services, that  the state should  participate  in the                                                                   
solution,  that  accelerated   contributions  from  employers                                                                   
should  be  rewarded,  that  the   state  support  should  be                                                                   
equitable,  and  that  it should  not  attempt  to  subsidize                                                                   
federally-funded positions.   Amendment 2 is  consistent with                                                                   
those  goals.  It  would take  out the  calculation based  on                                                                   
past  service  rate,  less  5 percent  or  the  average  past                                                                   
service  rate, whichever  is  less, and  replace  it with  85                                                                   
percent of  the community's  past service  rate.  This  would                                                                   
have  an  additional  cost  to   the  system,  but  would  be                                                                   
equitable.  The distribution to  Fairbanks would be closer to                                                                   
$5 million more than the $1 million currently available.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:10:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer questioned the 85 percent figure.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly  requested more  time  to  look at  the                                                                   
amendment  and to get  a reaction  from Fairbanks.   Co-Chair                                                                   
Meyer agreed.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:11:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch agreed  with allowing more time.  He                                                                   
noted that  people have  to be  comfortable with this  policy                                                                   
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  concurred, but said he  is prepared to                                                                   
vote yes on the amendment at the  request of the sponsor.  He                                                                   
stated that  the bill is a  critical step toward  getting rid                                                                   
of the  $7 billion unfunded liability.   He pointed  out that                                                                   
there  are many  unresolved complications,  but he  suggested                                                                   
that time is running out.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch related that  this is not  a silver                                                                   
bullet, but a way  to deal with the problem.   The bill could                                                                   
be changed later  on.  He said the empirical  analysis has to                                                                   
end  at  some  point.    HB  375  does  not  require  a  huge                                                                   
appropriation this year, but is putting policies in place.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer said  he is prepared to vote  yes on Amendment                                                                   
2, but would allow for Fairbanks' input.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch asked for a vote.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Holm  agreed that the  bill is a  good vehicle                                                                   
for the  state to  resolve the  retirement past service  cost                                                                   
liability.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly  said  he would  get  Fairbanks'  input                                                                   
today.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:16:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch said  the message has to be that the                                                                   
burden  is on [Fairbanks]  because the  legislature  has done                                                                   
its job.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Stoltze WITHDREW his objection.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch   OBJECTED.    He   suggested  that                                                                   
Fairbanks examine the advice that  they received in the past.                                                                   
He WITHDREW his objection.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There being NO further OBJECTION, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HB  375  was   heard  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:18:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 250                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act  extending the termination  date of  the Council                                                                   
     on   Domestic   Violence   and   Sexual   Assault;   and                                                                   
     eliminating  statutory  references  to  the  network  on                                                                   
     domestic violence and sexual assault."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer   noted  that   Version  G  was   before  the                                                                   
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
TOM  MAHER, STAFF,  SENATOR GENE  THERRIAULT, explained  that                                                                   
the bill  deals with the termination  date of the  Council on                                                                   
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:23:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Maher  related that  in this  sunset review,  Legislative                                                                   
Audit concluded  that  the Council on  Domestic Violence  and                                                                   
Sexual  Assault  continues to  serve  a  public need  and  is                                                                   
operating in the  public interest.  He referred  to page 7 of                                                                   
the report.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Accordingly,  and  per  the auditor  recommendation,  SB  250                                                                   
originally contained an eight-year  extension for the Council                                                                   
from  June  30, 2006  to  June  30, 2014.    This  eight-year                                                                   
extension was recommended, even  with the auditor noting that                                                                   
the  Council had  some  outstanding audit  issues  concerning                                                                   
coordination with  other agencies.   In absence of  any other                                                                   
information,    the    sponsor   supports    the    auditor's                                                                   
recommendation  of  eight years.    The House  State  Affairs                                                                   
version contains a two-year sunset extension.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Maher  related that  the  sponsor,  Senator  Therriault,                                                                   
would  like  the  House  Finance  Committee  to  consider  an                                                                   
expansion of this  date to at least a four-year  extension to                                                                   
2010.   He strongly feels  that now is  the time to  give the                                                                   
Council and the  relatively new Executive Director  a vote of                                                                   
confidence from the  Legislature to go out and  do their job.                                                                   
Having a  full sunset audit in  just two years will  serve to                                                                   
disrupt  Council  activities  and  also  impact  the  current                                                                   
schedule of audits pending.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The  audit,   on  page  9,   also  addressed   some  on-going                                                                   
operational  concerns  that include  staff  turnover and  the                                                                   
failure  of  the Council  to  address  two of  its  statutory                                                                   
mandates regarding  the working with Department  of Education                                                                   
and Early  Development and school  districts on  curricula on                                                                   
the  cause, prevention,  and treatment  of domestic  violence                                                                   
and sexual assault,  and coordinating with the  Department of                                                                   
Health and  Social Services  on the  delivery of services  to                                                                   
victims of  domestic violence  by health care  facilities and                                                                   
other providers.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The audit request, dated April  25, to the Legislative Budget                                                                   
and  Audit  Committee  requires   an  2008  update  on  these                                                                   
outstanding audit  issues  - as mentioned in  the House State                                                                   
Affair's  letter of  intent -  as well  as an  update on  the                                                                   
Council's  Strategic Plan, including  Missions and  Measures.                                                                   
Chairman Therriault agrees that  this audit is an appropriate                                                                   
tool  to use  to  satisfy the  concerns  of  the House  State                                                                   
Affairs Committee and the Legislature.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
The sponsor respectively  requests that the  letter of intent                                                                   
not be  adopted since  the audit  request is moving  forward.                                                                   
Also,  in  the  Sunset  Audit,  on  page  11  -  the  Auditor                                                                   
recommends that  the Legislature  amend the Council  statutes                                                                   
related to the  appointment of Council members.   The Council                                                                   
is  comprised   of  seven   members,  three  public   members                                                                   
appointed by the  Governor and the four  statutory designated                                                                   
department heads  or their designees (Law,  Education, Health                                                                   
and Social Services, and Public Safety.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Current  law requires  the Network on  Domestic Violence  and                                                                   
Sexual  Assault  (Network),  a   non-profit  corporation,  to                                                                   
submit a list  of recommended candidates to  the Governor for                                                                   
appointment  when  a  vacancy   occurs.    Further,  statutes                                                                   
require  that  the Governor  fill  any  unexpired term  of  a                                                                   
Council  member after  consultation with  the Network.   This                                                                   
language is  passive, in that  the Governor does not  have to                                                                   
choose from the Network list.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The Network annually receives  a grant from the Council for a                                                                   
legal advocacy project and the  appearance of conflict exists                                                                   
when  a  Council  member  reviews,  evaluates,  approves  and                                                                   
monitors a grant to the same nonprofit  organization that may                                                                   
have  been responsible  for recommending  that individual  be                                                                   
appointed to the Council.   SB  250, in its previous version,                                                                   
contained language that removed  both statutory references to                                                                   
the Network.  The House State  Affairs Committee deleted this                                                                   
language.   Senator  Therriault respectively  asks the  House                                                                   
Finance   Committee   to   consider   reinstatement.      The                                                                   
legislative  auditor  can  provide   more  detail  about  the                                                                   
genesis of this  apparent conflict, and why  it was important                                                                   
enough to address in this bill.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Maher concluded  that there  are two  fiscal notes  that                                                                   
have been corrected.   As funds for the Council  are included                                                                   
in the Governor's  FY07 Operating Budget Request  and adopted                                                                   
in the  House and Senate Operating  Budget, there will  be no                                                                   
additional  fiscal  impact  due   to  the  extension  of  the                                                                   
Council.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:23:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAT   DAVIDSON,  LEGISLATIVE   AUDITOR,   LEGISLATIVE   AUDIT                                                                   
DIVISION, spoke to the sunset  review last year that resulted                                                                   
in two recommendations.   One was that the  council deal with                                                                   
a statutory requirement to coordinate  with the Department of                                                                   
Education  and  with  the Department  of  Health  and  Social                                                                   
Services.   There was  also a  recommendation from  the prior                                                                   
audit  about the  elimination  of the  Network from  statute.                                                                   
She related  the history  of the  Network modification.   The                                                                   
Governor  is able  to appoint  anyone  to the  council.   The                                                                   
audit  suggested  it  would  be   helpful  to  eliminate  any                                                                   
appearance of conflict of interest.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:26:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NANCY  SCHEET-FREYMILLER,  ANCHORAGE,  spoke  as  a  previous                                                                   
council member and previous executive  director of the Abused                                                                   
Woman's Program.  She spoke in  support of retaining language                                                                   
that would  preserve the Network  because it would  allow for                                                                   
quality  appointments.   The  Network  is an  association  of                                                                   
organizations  in the  communities  and it  has insight  into                                                                   
domestic  violence  and  assault  problems.    She  spoke  in                                                                   
support  of the  concept of  having the  Network included  as                                                                   
part of the Council in order to  provide consistent, valuable                                                                   
input.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:29:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRENDA  STANFILL,  ALASKA WOMEN'S  CENTER  FOR  NON-VIOLENCE,                                                                   
FAIRBANKS, reminded  the committee  that the Network  is made                                                                   
up of  the 21-member  programs  from around  the state.   She                                                                   
described  how  Network  members  are chosen.    The  Network                                                                   
represents the community  well.  She opined  that the process                                                                   
is  working.    She asked  for  the  language  regarding  the                                                                   
Network  to be  kept in  the bill.   She  suggested that  the                                                                   
three public members be more clearly defined.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:32:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA  MASON,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,   COUNCIL  ON  DOMESTIC                                                                   
VIOLENCE  AND  SEXUAL  ASSAULT, explained  that  the  Council                                                                   
consists  of seven  members,  four  from state  agencies  and                                                                   
three public members.  She spoke  highly of the Council.  The                                                                   
Council  reviews  reports at  each  quarterly  meeting.   She                                                                   
described the  follow-up procedure of  reports.  Each  of the                                                                   
members are  very active, involved,  and knowledgeable.   The                                                                   
recommendation of  the sunset audit  was that the  Council is                                                                   
meeting statutory  requirements.   The Council is  working on                                                                   
recommendations  related  to  the Department  of  Health  and                                                                   
Social  Services  and  the  Department  of  Education.    She                                                                   
offered to  provide more  information on  those issues.   She                                                                   
concluded  that the  Council  supports  extending the  sunset                                                                   
audit date.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:36:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  MOVED to ADOPT Conceptual Amendment  1, which                                                                   
would change the date on page 1, line 6, from 2008 to 2010.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  explained that  the committee is  working off                                                                   
of the State Affairs  CS.  He suggested that there  is a need                                                                   
for more time, therefore the proposed extension until 2010.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Maher stated support for the amendment.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Davidson related  that  the funds  were  also looked  at                                                                   
under the federal compliance review.   The recommendation for                                                                   
an 8-year  extension was made  with other audit  processes in                                                                   
mind.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch asked  what the original sunset date                                                                   
was.  Mr. Maher replied that it  was for 8 years, until 2014.                                                                   
Representative Weyhrauch  asked if that was  changed in House                                                                   
State Affairs Committee.  Mr. Maher said yes.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:39:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Stoltze  WITHDREW his objection.   There being                                                                   
NO further OBJECTION, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 2:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 2                                                                                                             
     After "Assault"                                                                                                            
     Insert ";  and eliminative  statutory references  to the                                                                   
     network on domestic violence and sexual assault"                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, Insert new section                                                                                                 
     Section 1. AS 18.66.020(a) is amended to read:                                                                             
          (a) The council consists of                                                                                           
               (1)  three persons  appointed by the  governor                                                                   
               [AFTER   CONSULTATION  WITH  THE   NETWORK  ON                                                                   
               DOMESIC   VIOLENCE  AND   SEXUAL  ASSAULT,   A                                                                   
               NONPROFIT   CORPORATION;    THE   NETWORK   ON                                                                   
               DOMESTIC  VIOLENCE  AND SEXUAL  ASSAULT  SHALL                                                                   
               SUBMIT  A  LIST  TO THE  GOVERNOR  OF  PERSONS                                                                   
               RECOMMENDED FOR APPOINTMENT];                                                                                    
               (2) the  commissioner of public  safety or the                                                                   
               designee   of  the   commissioner  of   public                                                                   
               safety;                                                                                                          
               (3)  the  commissioner  of health  and  social                                                                   
               services  or the designee of  the commissioner                                                                   
               of health and social services;                                                                                   
               (4)  the commissioner  of education  and early                                                                   
               development    or   the   designee    of   the                                                                   
               commissioner    of    education   and    early                                                                   
               development; and                                                                                                 
               (5)  the attorney general  or the  designee of                                                                   
               the attorney general.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, Insert new section                                                                                                 
     Section 2. AS 18.66.020(b) is amended to read:                                                                             
          (b) The term of office of a member appointed under                                                                    
     (a)(1)  of  this  section   is  two  years.    A  member                                                                   
     appointed  under (a)(1)  of this  section serves  at the                                                                   
     pleasure  of the governor  and may  not serve  more than                                                                   
     two consecutive  terms.  A vacancy on the  council shall                                                                   
     be filled for  the unexpired term by appointment  by the                                                                   
     governor  [AFTER   CONSULTATION  WITH  THE   NETWORK  ON                                                                   
     DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT].                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the remaining section accordingly.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule OBJECTED.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Maher spoke  in favor of Amendment 2.  He  noted that the                                                                   
Network has  done a great job  and the bill is not  trying to                                                                   
lessen the Network's  importance.  The Committee  issued this                                                                   
recommendation  after  presenting   a  case,  which  analyzed                                                                   
problems.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule WITHDREW his objection.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch OBJECTED  for discussion  purposes.                                                                   
He asked what the  length of the term of office  is now.  Ms.                                                                   
Davidson replied  that Section 2  (b) is the other  part that                                                                   
is required when the Governor  consults the Network.  Now the                                                                   
Governor would not have to consult with the Network.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch noted  that the amendment deals with                                                                   
the term  of office.   Mr. Maher clarified  that the  term of                                                                   
office is not being changed.   A statutory reference is being                                                                   
removed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:42:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Stoltze agreed with  the intent of  Amendment                                                                   
2,  especially  Public  Safety's   involvement.    Mr.  Maher                                                                   
replied that Public Safety would still be involved.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch  said  he was  concerned  that  the                                                                   
amendment  removes   the  action  between  the   Council  and                                                                   
Governor.  He MAINTAINED his OBJECTION  to adopting Amendment                                                                   
2.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer said his  understanding  that the Network  is                                                                   
still allowed to provide recommendations to the Governor.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Kelly, Stoltze, Foster, Meyer                                                                                         
OPPOSED: Moses, Weyhrauch, Holm, Joule                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Amendment 2 FAILED 4-4.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Amendment  3 was not  taken up  because it  was dependent  on                                                                   
Amendment 2 passing.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:46:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster MOVED  to REPORT  SB 250, as  amended,                                                                   
with individual  recommendations and the  accompanying fiscal                                                                   
notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HCSSB  250 (FIN) was  REPORTED  out of Committee  with  a "no                                                                   
recommendation" and with two new  Department of Public Safety                                                                   
fiscal notes prepared by the House Finance Committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:48:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 237(FIN)                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act relating  to the compensation  of justices  and                                                                   
     judges, and  to increasing the number of  superior court                                                                   
     judges  designated  for the  third  and fourth  judicial                                                                   
     districts; and providing for an effective date."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN  PARKS,  DEPUTY ATTORNEY  GENERAL,  CRIMINAL  DIVISION,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF LAW,  spoke in support of CSSB 237  (FIN).  She                                                                   
described  the impetus behind  the bill,  a concern  with how                                                                   
long it  was taking to  get cases to  trial.  In  Anchorage a                                                                   
homicide case  typically takes two  to three years to  get to                                                                   
trial. There  was a strong  feeling among district  attorneys                                                                   
that there were  not enough resources available  to get cases                                                                   
to trail.  It was agreed to work  together to give the system                                                                   
what it needed to improve.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Parks  related that the  original bill proposed  four new                                                                   
Superior Court Judges around the  state.  The current version                                                                   
of the  bill would  add six  more judges.   Felony  referrals                                                                   
around the  state are  up 64  percent in  the last 10  years.                                                                   
Caseloads are up, there has been  an increase in prosecutors,                                                                   
and  police resources,  and more  crimes  have been  created.                                                                   
Cases  have become  more  complex  and victims'  rights  have                                                                   
impacted  cases, which  slows down  the system  and takes  up                                                                   
more resources.   These additional judges are  needed because                                                                   
the system is not working efficiently.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:52:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Parks noted that Palmer is  the number one priority.  The                                                                   
number of cases there increased  from 595 felony referrals in                                                                   
2002, to  869 in 2005.   Anchorage  currently has  28 pending                                                                   
murder  trials.   Kenai  is  another  area  in need  of  more                                                                   
support.   Fairbanks  has seen  an  increase in  crime.   She                                                                   
urged support for the bill.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:53:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Holm asked about  the 50 percent  increase in                                                                   
the  amount of  money earmarked  for judges,  from $9,200  to                                                                   
$13,000 per month.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS  CHRISTENSEN,  STAFF  COUNSEL,   ALASKA  COURT  SYSTEM,                                                                   
observed  that  there  are  more   police  officers  so  more                                                                   
perpetrators are caught and brought  to justice.  In the past                                                                   
the ACS  has been  frugal in their  requests for  new judges.                                                                   
Now the  Department  of Law feels  the need  to request  this                                                                   
increase.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:56:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Christensen  addressed the  issue  of the  judicial  pay                                                                   
raise.  Judges are appointed and  elected and that has caused                                                                   
some salary  issues.  Up  until 1990, salaries  matched those                                                                   
of federal judges.   Since 1990, those salaries  have dropped                                                                   
42 percent.  Today, Alaskan judges'  salaries are 47th out of                                                                   
48  states   and  they   make  substantially   less   than  a                                                                   
commissioner.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:59:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SB  237  was   heard  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 306                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act making certain land available for selection by                                                                     
     the Matanuska-Susitna Borough."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HB 306 was scheduled but not heard.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 9:58 AM.                                                                                           

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