Legislature(2007 - 2008)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/21/2007 01:30 PM FINANCE


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01:43:54 PM Start
01:46:34 PM HB95 || HB96
04:15:39 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
+= HB 95 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held; Assigned to Subcommittee
+= HB 96 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Amendments
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       March 21, 2007                                                                                           
                         1:43 P.M.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Chenault called the House Finance Committee meeting                                                                   
 to order at 1:43:54 PM.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                         
 Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                           
 Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                        
 Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                  
 Representative Les Gara                                                                                                        
 Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                     
 Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                    
 Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                      
 Representative Mary Nelson                                                                                                     
 Representative Bill Thomas Jr.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 SUMMARY                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 HB 95     An Act making appropriations for the operating and                                                                   
           loan  program expenses  of  state  government,  for                                                                  
           certain programs, and  to capitalize funds;  making                                                                  
           appropriations   under   art.   IX,   sec.   17(c),                                                                  
           Constitution of the State of Alaska; and providing                                                                   
           for an effective date.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
           HB 95  was HEARD &  HELD in  Committee for  further                                                                  
           consideration.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 HB 96     An Act making appropriations for the operating and                                                                   
           capital   expenses  of   the   state's  integrated                                                                   
           comprehensive mental health program; and providing                                                                   
           for an effective date.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
           HB 96  was HEARD &  HELD in  Committee for  further                                                                  
           consideration.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
           AMENDMENTS:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
           Department of Education & Early Development                                                                          
          Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                              
          Department of Health and Social Services                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 HOUSE BILL NO. 95                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
      An Act making appropriations for the operating  and loan                                                                  
      program  expenses  of  state  government,  for   certain                                                                  
      programs,    and    to    capitalize    funds;    making                                                                  
      appropriations under art.  IX, sec. 17(c), Constitution                                                                   
      of the State of Alaska;  and providing for an  effective                                                                  
      date.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 HOUSE BILL NO. 96                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
      An  Act making  appropriations  for  the  operating  and                                                                  
      capital    expenses   of    the    state's   integrated                                                                   
      comprehensive mental health  program; and providing  for                                                                  
      an effective date.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & EARLY DEVELOPMENT                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara MOVED to WITHDRAW DEED 4, which would be                                                                   
 replaced by DEED 6.  There being NO OBJECTION, DEED 4 was                                                                      
 withdrawn.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara MOVED to ADOPT DEED 6.  Co-Chair Meyer                                                                     
 OBJECTED.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Language Section                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Fund Capitalization                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Education Loan Fund                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 ADD:                The sum of $20,000,000 is appropriated                                                                     
                    from Alaska Student Loan Corporation                                                                        
                    receipts to the education loan fund (AS                                                                     
                    14.42.210).                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 FUNDING SOURCE:     Alaska Student Loan Corporation receipts                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara   explained  that  the  amendment   would                                                                  
appropriate  money to  fund needs-based  education grants  for                                                                  
students  attending  Alaskan  institutions,  reinserting   the                                                                  
language  section of  the  Governor's  original budget.    The                                                                  
transfer  of  $20   million  from  the  Alaska  Student   Loan                                                                  
Corporation  (ASLC) to the  Education Loan  Fund will  provide                                                                  
approximately  $1  million/year  in  income  to  be  used  for                                                                  
needs-based financial  aid grants.  Because it would  restrict                                                                  
use  of corporate  assets  to  a non-loan  purpose,  the  ASLC                                                                  
regards  the appropriation  as  a  return of  capital  to  the                                                                  
State.  ASLC intends  to complete the return of capital in  FY                                                                  
09 with a $40 million  dollar transfer of bond proceeds.   The                                                                  
principal will not be spent and could be returned to the                                                                        
State for appropriation for other future purposes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Meyer  thought the  dollar amount  should be  placed                                                                  
 into the General Fund.  He pointed out that Alaska is  placed                                                                  
 in the  national lower  third for offering  adequate  tuition                                                                  
 rates.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
 1:46:34 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Joule spoke  in favor of the amendment  noting                                                                  
 that it would provide  opportunities to students outside  the                                                                  
 top 10%.    DEED  6 provides  opportunity  to  the "average"                                                                   
 students.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Crawford stressed  that 48 other states  offer                                                                  
 the option  and that Alaska  is not  placing enough  students                                                                  
 into college.   He recommended the  endowment program as  the                                                                  
 way to help.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Nelson  commented on  the need  for a  trained                                                                  
 Alaskan workforce.   She  pointed out  that  many schools  no                                                                  
 longer offer a vocational technical program.  People  need to                                                                  
 be trained  for  the  skilled  jobs  to  be  offered  through                                                                  
 building a  Alaska  Gas  Line.   There  are  many unemployed                                                                   
 residents that are not qualified for those jobs.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 1:55:10 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 A roll call vote was taken on DEED 6.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 IN FAVOR:      Crawford, Gara, Joule, Nelson,                                                                                  
 OPPOSED:       Hawker, Kelly, Stoltze, Thomas, Meyer,                                                                          
                Chenault                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Foster was not present for the vote.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 The MOTION FAILED (4-6).                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 1:56:02 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Meyer MOVED to ADOPT  DEC 1, indicating that he  co-                                                                  
 sponsored    it    with    Representative    Bill     Thomas.                                                                  
 Representative Gara OBJECTED.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Environmental Health                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Laboratory Services                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 ADD:                New language section:                                                                                      
                     The sum of  $80,000 is appropriated  from                                                                  
                     the    Commercial    Passenger     Vessel                                                                  
                     Environmental  Compliance  Fund   to  the                                                                  
                     Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                   
                     for   paralytic    shellfish   poisoning                                                                   
                     testing for commercial shellfish  farmers                                                                  
                     and dive  fishermen for  the fiscal  year                                                                  
                     ending June 30, 2008.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 FUNDING SOURCE:     Commercial        Passenger        Vessel                                                                  
                     Environmental   Compliance   Fund   (Fund                                                                  
                     code: 1166)                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Bill  Thomas  explained  that  the amendment                                                                   
 would provide  funding to  offset the  fee increase  ($35  to                                                                  
 $125) shellfish farmers and  dive fishermen face in FY08  for                                                                  
 paralytic shellfish poisoning testing.  Funds are granted  on                                                                  
 a one-time  basis with  the understanding  that the  industry                                                                  
 would continue to  work with interested  parties to find  new                                                                  
 fund sources in the future.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Bill   Thomas  continued,   funds  from   the                                                                  
 Commercial Passenger  Vessel  Environmental  Compliance  Fund                                                                  
 may be appropriated for  "the department's operational  costs                                                                  
 necessary  to carry  out  activities  under  Alaska  Statutes                                                                  
 46.03.490 relating  to  commercial  passenger vessels."    AS                                                                  
 46.03.488(2) allows  for "monitoring and  studying of  direct                                                                  
 or indirect environmental effects of those vessels".   Excess                                                                  
 funds would be available in  FY08; they may not be available                                                                   
 in the future.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara  understood  that  the  request  was  to                                                                  
 offset a  fee  increase to  $35 dollars  from  $125  dollars.                                                                  
 Representative  Thomas   stated  that   the  additional   fee                                                                  
 prohibits any "ma & pa"  type business from participating  as                                                                  
 it  is  a struggling   new  industry.   Representative   Gara                                                                  
 suggested it be placed in the Capital Budget.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Meyer interjected this would be a one time  funding;                                                                  
 next year, it will  need to be justified.   He did not  think                                                                  
 it was appropriate to place it in the Capital Budget.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara questioned  if the money would come  from                                                                  
 the new  cruise  ship initiative.    Co-Chair Meyer  said  it                                                                  
 would not.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Thomas  noted that previously,  the State  did                                                                  
 provide the shell fish testing.   Now the service burden  has                                                                  
 been  placed  on  the  back  of  the  State  residents.    He                                                                  
 reiterated  that  the  rates  are  too  high  for  the  small                                                                  
 business people.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 AT EASE:       2:02:12 PM                                                                                                    
 RECONVENE:     2:02:52 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara  WITHDREW his OBJECTION,  noting that  he                                                                  
 would judge  future amendment  as to  the importance  of  the                                                                  
 service being offered.  Co-Chair Chenault suggested  speaking                                                                  
 with each Committee member regarding the way a vote  is made.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Chenault  OBJECTED to DEC  1.  He  offered to  AMEND                                                                  
 DEC 1,  changing the  funding code  to one  time item  (OTI).                                                                  
 Co-Chair  Meyer  agreed.    Co-Chair  Chenault  WITHDREW  his                                                                  
 initial OBJECTION.   There being NO  further OBJECTIONS,  the                                                                  
 amended DEC 1 was adopted.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 2:04:57 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara  MOVED to ADOPT  DEC 2.   Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                  
 OBJECTED.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Water                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Water Quality                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 ADD:                n/a                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara   pointed   out   the  intent   of   the                                                                  
 Legislature that  the  Department submit  a FY08  request  to                                                                  
 fund the positions  needed to provide  Ocean Ranger  services                                                                  
 not already  provided by  other cruise  ship  personnel.   If                                                                  
 that is consistent  with the  statutory language,  it is  the                                                                  
 intent that Ocean Rangers  board cruise ships to perform  the                                                                  
 work at the first available Alaskan port of call.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair   Meyer   responded    that   the   Department    of                                                                  
 Environmental  Conservation  is  working  diligently  on  the                                                                  
 issue as  is the  Legislature.   He  mentioned the  "host  of                                                                  
 problems" facing the initiative.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara did not  want to wait for the other  bill                                                                  
 and recommended  coming  up with  a program  consistent  with                                                                  
 what the citizens  voted upon and  funding it as efficiently                                                                   
 as possible.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 2:07:45 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 IN FAVOR:      Crawford, Gara, Nelson                                                                                          
 OPPOSED:       Hawker, Kelly, Joule, Thomas, Meyer, Chenault                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Foster & Vice  Chair Stoltze were not  present                                                                  
                for the vote.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 The MOTION FAILED (3-6).                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 2:08:58 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara  MOVED to ADOPT  DEC 3.   Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                  
 OBJECTED.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department        of       Environmental                                                                   
                     Conservation                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Administration                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Unallocated Reduction                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 ADD:                $500,000                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 FUNDING SOURCE:     Oil and Hazardous Substance Release                                                                        
                     Prevention and Response Fund                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara  explained  that  the  amendment   would                                                                  
 assure continued funding  for existing core spill prevention                                                                   
 and response  programs  without  a delay  of  newly  proposed                                                                  
 flow-line  integrity  activities.     The  bill  reflects   a                                                                  
 departmental  unallocated  reduction  in  the  Response  Fund                                                                  
 spending authority of  $500,000 dollars.   The reduction  was                                                                  
 predicated on  a lapse report  showing that  the Division  of                                                                  
 Spill  Prevention  and  Response  had approximated   $800,000                                                                  
 dollars in unspent  expenditure authority  during FY06.   The                                                                  
 Division  has  been  working  to  reduce  lapse  for  several                                                                  
 years, with  the  FY06  amount being  much  less  than  prior                                                                  
 years.  Although it is  necessary to retain some flexibility                                                                   
 for unexpected  events,  potential excess  authorization  was                                                                  
 again  reduced  $775,000  dollars  through  the  FY07  budget                                                                  
 process  with  the  expectation   that  lapse  would   become                                                                  
 insignificant.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara  continued, current  projections  suggest                                                                  
 that there will be very  little, if any, response fund  lapse                                                                  
 at the end of  FY07.  Without lapse,  a further reduction  of                                                                  
 $500,000 dollars  for  FY08 will  impact current  core  spill                                                                  
 prevention and response  programs or  could delay activities                                                                   
 planned to address flow line integrity.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair  Meyer   noted   the  handouts   provided   to   the                                                                  
 Subcommittee by  the  Department addressing  these concerns.                                                                   
 (Copy on File).                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 AT EASE:       2:13:00 PM                                                                                                    
 RECONVENE:     2:13:41 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara  understood  it  was  the  position   of                                                                  
 Department that they might not be able to make the requested                                                                   
 budget savings.  He stated that by not providing the  funding                                                                  
 could jeopardize  the safety  monitoring of  the North  Slope                                                                  
 pipeline.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Chenault advised that dollars had been put  into the                                                                  
 supplemental for such programs;  if they do run out of  money                                                                  
 next year, the Departmental  could then request supplemental                                                                   
 funding.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 2:15:35 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 IN FAVOR:      Crawford, Gara, Joule, Nelson,                                                                                  
 OPPOSED:       Hawker, Kelly, Stoltze, Thomas, Meyer,                                                                          
                Chenault                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Foster was not present for the vote.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 The MOTION FAILED (4-6).                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 2:16:24 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Chenault  MOVED  to ADOPT  HSS  1.   Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                  
 OBJECTED.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department   of    Health   and    Social                                                                  
                     Services                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Behavioral Health                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Behavioral Health Grants                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 DELETE:             Enhanced     Detoxification    &     Dual                                                                  
                     Diagnosis Treatment in Anchorage                                                                           
                     $300.0 General Fund                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Chenault explained  that HSS  1 deletes funding  for                                                                  
 enhanced detox and dual diagnosis treatment in Anchorage.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker  counseled the  Committee  on making  a                                                                  
 significant  contribution  to  a  detox  program,  which   he                                                                  
 thought was  only  "sobering-up".   The  initial  budget  did                                                                  
 include  the  Fairbanks   Medical  Center   &  is  ready   to                                                                  
 assimilate  the   additional  funding.     Social  detox   in                                                                  
 Anchorage was  not met  with  a lot  of support  in  previous                                                                  
 processes.   He recommended  that a  community requesting  to                                                                  
 establish those services should do a better job of front-end                                                                   
 loading the request to the Legislature.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Crawford noted that the people suffering  from                                                                  
 a dual diagnosis are often  the ones that self-medicate.   He                                                                  
 emphasized  the  serious  need  for  the requested   funding,                                                                  
 strongly disagreed with removing it from the budget.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara questioned  what a "social" detox  center                                                                  
 was.   Co-Chair  Chenault  understood  it  was  a supervised                                                                   
 sleep-off clinic,  offering  peer  support.   Representative                                                                   
 Hawker noted that the American Society of Addiction  Medicine                                                                  
 (ASM)  description,  which   provides  24-hour  supervision,                                                                   
 observation support  for  patients  that are  intoxicated  or                                                                  
 experiencing withdrawal.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara   referenced   Representative   Hawker's                                                                  
 statement that the spending  on these concerns does not  "get                                                                  
 out of control".  He stated  it is the "lack of funding  that                                                                  
 is getting out of control".  Alaska provides less than  ½ the                                                                  
 funding provided in 2002.  He stated that he did not  support                                                                  
 the amendment.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 2:26:19 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair  Meyer  WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.    Representative                                                                   
 Crawford OBJECTED.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 IN FAVOR:      Hawker, Kelly, Stoltze, Thomas, Meyer,                                                                          
                Chenault                                                                                                        
 OPPOSED:       Crawford, Gara, Joule, Nelson                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Foster was not present for the vote.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 The MOTION PASSED (6-4).                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 2:27:19 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker MOVED to  ADOPT HSS 2.  Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                  
 OBJECTED.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department   of    Health   and    Social                                                                  
                     Services                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Boards & Commissions                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Governor's Council on Disabilities &                                                                       
                     Special Education                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 ADD:                $100,000                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 FUNDING SOURCE:     Mental  Health Trust  Authority  Receipts                                                                  
                     (MHTAAR)                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker  explained that  during  the March  12,                                                                  
 2007 Mental  Health Trust  meeting,  the members  approved  a                                                                  
 change of intent for  the Micro Enterprise Designated  Grant.                                                                  
 The change  of intent  would transfer  $100 thousand  dollars                                                                  
 (MHTAAR) funding to the Governor's Council on Disabilities  &                                                                  
 Special Education to manage  the Micro Enterprise Designated                                                                   
 Grant program.  That program is an element of a portfolio  of                                                                  
 services  that  support  self-employment  opportunities   for                                                                  
 beneficiaries in collaboration  with the Mental Health  Trust                                                                  
 Authority.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair  Meyer WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.    There  being  NO                                                                  
 further OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 2:28:37 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker MOVED to  ADOPT HSS 3.  Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                  
 OBJECTED.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department   of    Health   and    Social                                                                  
                     Services                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Division of Social Services                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Health Planning & Infrastructure                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 ADD:                $30,000                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 FUNDING SOURCE:     Mental     Health     Trust    Authority                                                                   
                     Authorized Receipts (MHTAAR)                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker explained  that at the March 12,  2007,                                                                  
 Mental  Health  Trust  meeting,   the  members  approved   an                                                                  
 increase of  $30  thousand  MHTAAR funding  dollars  for  the                                                                  
 Comprehensive   Integrated   Mental   Health   Plan.      The                                                                  
 Department has made  significant progress  in developing  the                                                                  
 plan  and  the  additional   amount  would  ensure   adequate                                                                  
 funding for the development of the project.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair  Meyer WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.    There  being  NO                                                                  
 further OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 2:29:03 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker MOVED to  ADOPT HSS 4.  Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                  
 OBJECTED.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department of Health & Social Services                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Health Care Services                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Medical Assistance Administration                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 DELETE:             $190.9   1189:  Senior Care Fund                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Senior and Disabilities Services                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Senior    and    Disabilities    Services                                                                  
                     Administration                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 DELETE:             $66.1      1189:  Senior Care Fund                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Department Support Services                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Information Technology Services                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 DELETE:             $7.5      1189:  Senior Care Fund                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Hawker   explained  that   the  Senior   Care                                                                  
 Program is  scheduled  to sunset  on June  30, 2007  and  the                                                                  
 associated Senior Care  Fund will become  an invalid  funding                                                                  
 source in FY08.  The  amendment removes the remaining  Senior                                                                  
 Care  funding  from  the   Department  of  Health  &   Social                                                                  
 Services three allocations  within the FY08  budget.  If  the                                                                  
 Legislature  chooses to  extend  the  Senior  Care  Program's                                                                  
 funding, it could be included in a fiscal note.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Meyer WITHDREW his  OBJECTION.  Representative  Gara                                                                  
 OBJECTED.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara  stated that  he had  every intention  to                                                                  
 fund a Senior Care Program this year; to delete funding  that                                                                  
 will be placed back into the program is not efficient.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker  countered that this  is a Senior  Care                                                                  
 fund source, which  has no money  in it at  this time &  that                                                                  
 there will  be no more  money placed  into it.   It is  empty                                                                  
 authority.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara understood  that the funding was part  of                                                                  
 the General  Fund  and that  the  Legislature could  put  any                                                                  
 amount into that account.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 IN FAVOR:      Crawford, Hawker, Joule, Nelson, Kelly,                                                                         
                Stoltze, Thomas, Meyer, Chenault                                                                                
 OPPOSED:       Gara                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Foster was not present for the vote.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 The MOTION PASSED (9-1).                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 2:33:25 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker MOVED to  ADOPT HSS 5.  Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                  
 OBJECTED.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department of Health and Social  Services                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:       Behavioral Health                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:          Behavioral Health Grants                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 DELETE:              1,000.0 I/A Receipts - TANF Bonus                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker  explained that in  an effort to  fully                                                                  
 fund the federal shortfall  of $3,203.2 dollars and  maintain                                                                  
 Behavioral Health  Grants funding  at the  FY07 continuation                                                                   
 levels,  the  House Finance  Subcommittee   proposed  funding                                                                  
 sources of  $2,203.2 dollars  in General  Funds and  $1,000.0                                                                  
 Temporary Assistance  to Needy  Families (TANF)  Bonus.   The                                                                  
 Department has indicated  programs funded through Behavioral                                                                   
 Health Grants do not meet the TANF spending requirements.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 2:40:46 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Kelly questioned  the  affect  the amendment                                                                   
 would  have  on the  State's  anticipated  federal   funding.                                                                  
 Representative Hawker explained that in meeting obligations,                                                                   
 the Department  was able  to cover  funding for  the  current                                                                  
 year.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair  Meyer WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.    There  being  NO                                                                  
 further OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 2:41:42 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara   MOVED  to  ADOPT   Amendment  HSS   6.                                                                  
 Representative Hawker OBJECTED.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department   of    Health   and    Social                                                                  
                     Services                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Senior and Disabilities Services                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Senior    and    Disabilities    Medicaid                                                                  
                     Services                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 ADD:                N/A                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara explained  that it is  the intent of  the                                                                  
 Legislature  that  the   Department  of  Health  and   Social                                                                  
 Services  shall  review  and  propose  regulations   Medicaid                                                                  
 reimbursement   rates  for   assisted   living   homes   that                                                                  
 compensate for  the cost and  care and reflect  the needs  of                                                                  
 individuals with different acuities.   It is the intent  that                                                                  
 it provide  the appropriation  need  to the  Legislature  for                                                                  
 the cost  of implementing  the regulations.   The Department                                                                   
 shall review actual costs  of providing services and  develop                                                                  
 rates that  reimburse  providers at  rates that  reflect  the                                                                  
 acuity of  the residents  and their corresponding  needs  for                                                                  
 assistance on an  annual basis.   It is the  intent that  the                                                                  
 Department  propose  regulations  to  determine  the   proper                                                                  
 reimbursement  rate,   and  the   proper  annual  adjustment                                                                   
 similar  to the  annual  adjustment  given  to  nursing  home                                                                  
 facilities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker  spoke  against the  amendment,  noting                                                                  
 that it  was  an  issue of  reimbursement  rates  facing  the                                                                  
 Department.   Within  the Medicaid  system, there  are  three                                                                  
 driving  cost   factors,  services   &  eligibility.      The                                                                  
 Legislature   has    made    policy    decisions   regarding                                                                   
 determination of  the level of  service.   There is  evidence                                                                  
 that the  Department  has  a  regular  recurring  process  to                                                                  
 prioritize.  There  are competing needs  that must be  judged                                                                  
 each year.   He felt  the need for  further discussions  with                                                                  
 the Department  for rate  and priority  changes.   He  argued                                                                  
 that the budget and subcommittee process has been successful                                                                   
 with the  Department  and  did  not agree  with  the  use  of                                                                  
 "proper"  use.    He   emphasized  that  there  are   limited                                                                  
 resources and infinite needs.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara   recommended  a   friendly  amendment,                                                                   
 changing "proper"  for another  word.   He mentioned  concern                                                                  
 voiced  by  the Department,   but reiterated   that  assisted                                                                  
 living homes have remained  flat funded and now are having  a                                                                  
 hard time recruiting  personnel since the  rate has not  gone                                                                  
 up and wages have remained low.  He maintained the action  is                                                                  
 needed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 IN FAVOR:      Crawford, Gara, Joule, Nelson                                                                                   
 OPPOSED:       Hawker, Kelly, Stoltze, Thomas, Chenault                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Foster & Co-Chair  Meyer were not present  for                                                                  
 the vote.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 The MOTION FAILED (4-5).                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 2:51:04 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara   MOVED  to  ADOPT   Amendment  HSS   7.                                                                  
 Representative Hawker OBJECTED.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department of Health and Social Services                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Office of Children Services                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Foster Care Base Rate                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara  noted  that it  was  the intent  of  the                                                                  
 Legislature that the Department of Health and Human  Services                                                                  
 should  update  reimbursement  rates  for  foster  care   and                                                                  
 provide  the   appropriate  appropriation   request  to   the                                                                  
 Legislature for  the  cost of  implementing  the regulation.                                                                   
 The reimbursement rates have been frozen for eight years  and                                                                  
 the Office  of Children Services  (OCS) highlighted  it as  a                                                                  
 part of their plan to address the foster family shortage.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Crawford  noted for  the record that  he is  a                                                                  
 foster care  parent.  Many  hopeful foster  families can  not                                                                  
 afford to take  more children at the  rates being offered  in                                                                  
 Alaska.   Basic day-care  costs are  higher than  the  amount                                                                  
 allocated  to a  family  for  a foster  care  child.    These                                                                  
 children are at  risk for being  safe.  He  supported a  rate                                                                  
 adjustment, emphasizing that the current path is "wrong".                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker acknowledged  the compelling arguments                                                                   
 for increased funding, but questioned if the intent  language                                                                  
 was appropriate.  Constitutionally,  the Governor determines                                                                   
 the request level, which the Legislature accepts or  rejects.                                                                  
 He noted the policy call  of what degree the State of  Alaska                                                                  
 should compensate the foster  care program.  The question  is                                                                  
 whether the program is based on human charity or a financial                                                                   
 cash-incentive program.  He worried about those outcomes.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Joule pointed  out that the current system  is                                                                  
 based  on   reimbursement.     He  asked   if   there  is   a                                                                  
 differentiation based  upon where the  foster child is  taken                                                                  
 in [lives].   Representative Hawker advised  that the  Alaska                                                                  
 system is complex with  cost-of-living adjustments for  areas                                                                  
 around the State.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Joule hoped that the Department could  address                                                                  
 concerns  of  the  costs   associated  in  raising  a   child                                                                  
 especially throughout rural Alaska.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Nelson was  disturbed  by  comments  made  by                                                                  
 Representative Hawker  regarding the motives  of some  people                                                                  
 taking in foster  children.  She  asserted that outfitting  a                                                                  
 child is very expensive.   Representative Nelson pointed  out                                                                  
 that no  longer are  there  children homes  in Alaska.    She                                                                  
 emphasized  that  a  foster   parent  does  not  make   money                                                                  
 especially a working parent.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Kelly  acknowledged  the  merit in  the  above                                                                  
 arguments; however, pointed  out that some foster parents  do                                                                  
 not need  financial  assistance  to  apply  what  those  kids                                                                  
 really need, which is love.   He acknowledged that it is  not                                                                  
 a simple matter.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara clarified  that different foster  parents                                                                  
 need different  amounts  and types  of help.   There  are  no                                                                  
 foster parents  in Alaska that  are making a  profit.   Being                                                                  
 compensated at $7,000 a year, is not a handsome profit.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara  argued   that  the  Governor  had   not                                                                  
 requested the funding, but  that the Department did  indicate                                                                  
 a need.  The rates have been frozen for many years and  there                                                                  
 is a shortage of foster  parents throughout Alaska and it  is                                                                  
 a  major  problem  in  the  State.    He  stressed  that  the                                                                  
 Department needs to upgrade their reimbursement rate.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Thomas noted  he had been  raised in a  foster                                                                  
 home.  He  commented that  he and his  wife had contemplated                                                                   
 becoming a foster family;  however, the amount of paper  work                                                                  
 associated   with   that    attempt   was   overwhelming    &                                                                  
 discouraging.  He recommended cutting the paperwork.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Chenault commented that  he too was a foster  parent                                                                  
 and acknowledged the problem existing throughout Alaska.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 3:13:08 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 IN FAVOR:      Gara, Joule, Crawford                                                                                           
 OPPOSED:       Hawker, Kelly, Stoltze, Thomas, Meyer,                                                                          
                Chenault                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Nelson  &  Representative  Foster  were   not                                                                  
 present for the vote.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 The MOTION FAILED (3-6).                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 3:14:15 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara  MOVED to  ADOPT HSS  8.  Representative                                                                   
 Hawker OBJECTED.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department of Health and Social  Services                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Senior and Disabilities Services                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Senior    and    Disabilities    Medicaid                                                                  
                     Services                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 ADD:                N/A                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara  noted  that it  was  the intent  of  the                                                                  
 Legislature that the  Department should review reimbursement                                                                   
 rates to determine  the rate necessary  to provide a  minimum                                                                  
 of a 10% increase to  the individual providing Personal  Care                                                                  
 Assistant (PCA)  services to  offset inflation  for  personal                                                                  
 care attendants  since  the  rate  was last  adjusted.    The                                                                  
 reimbursement rate  has been frozen  since 2003.   It is  the                                                                  
 intent that the Department  propose regulations to  determine                                                                  
 the  proper  reimbursement   rate,  and  the  proper   annual                                                                  
 adjustment similar to the annual adjustment given to  nursing                                                                  
 home facilities.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker acknowledged  that these are difficult                                                                   
 choices.  The  PCA was started  six years ago  and was an  $8                                                                  
 million dollar  net program that  has escalated  into a  $100                                                                  
 million dollar program in a  short period of time.  The  most                                                                  
 significant  efforts have  directed  the  Department  to  not                                                                  
 increase  the  program  but  rather  to  get  services  under                                                                  
 control.   He  stated that  it  is premature  to  direct  the                                                                  
 Department to  determine a 10%  increase.   He worried  about                                                                  
 the usage of "proper" & recommended a no vote.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara  offered to  change "proper"  to "fair  &                                                                  
 appropriate" services.   He  reiterated that  there are  many                                                                  
 problems  with the  PCA  statewide  services  and identified                                                                   
 concerns not addressed by the  amendment.  The rate paid  has                                                                  
 been frozen  since  2003  and  can no  longer  keep  up  with                                                                  
 inflation.   The  Department  has cut  back  too far  on  the                                                                  
 number of hours.  The amendment addresses the hourly rate.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara MOVED to  AMEND HSS 8 to delete the  word                                                                  
 "proper" and insert the words "fair and appropriate".   There                                                                  
 being NO OBJECTION, the change was made.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Kelly  worried about  the growing  budget  for                                                                  
 the Department of Health  & Social Services.  He recommended                                                                   
 that only the "neediest of the needy" in the State should  be                                                                  
 given any  assistance.   He believed  that Government  should                                                                  
 not sustain the growth rate  spending; it is not the  State's                                                                  
 responsibility.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 3:28:01 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara wrapped  up, noting  that a family  would                                                                  
 not  receive PCA  services  unless  they  are  very  sick  or                                                                  
 disabled.  He  emphasized that the  services are provided  to                                                                  
 families that otherwise would  send their family member to  a                                                                  
 nursing home, costing the State much more money.  He  thought                                                                  
 that  the  amendment  would  save  money  for  the  State  by                                                                  
 compensating workers.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Kelly  was familiar with  the statewide  need.                                                                  
 He believed that nursing  homes and Medicaid will eventually                                                                   
 collapse because they are unsustainable.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 3:29:39 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 IN FAVOR:      Crawford, Gara, Nelson                                                                                          
 OPPOSED:       Hawker, Kelly, Stoltze, Thomas, Meyer,                                                                          
                Chenault                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Joule  &   Representative  Foster  were   not                                                                  
 present for the vote.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 The MOTION FAILED (3-6).                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 3:30:25 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara  MOVED to  ADOPT  HSS  9.    Vice  Chair                                                                  
 Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 DEPARTMENT:         Department of Health and Social  Services                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 APPROPRIATION:      Children's Services                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 ALLOCATION:         Front Line Social Workers                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 ADD:                $1,065.1 Front Line Social Workers                                                                         
                     $349.1 Front Line Support Staff                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 FUNDING SOURCE:     General Funds                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Gara  commented  that  the  amendment   would                                                                  
 implement the  Office  of Children  Services  (OCS)  workload                                                                  
 study recommendations for the  front line foster care  social                                                                  
 workers and  support  staff  as recommended  by  that  office                                                                  
 through the "Statewide  Social Worker Study."   In 2005,  OCS                                                                  
 responded to  the  Legislature's request  to  commission  the                                                                  
 study in order to assess  the true social worker and  support                                                                  
 staff shortage.   The  study  found that  OCS is  short  (19)                                                                  
 nineteen social workers and (6) six support staff statewide.                                                                   
 It would cost  $360 thousand dollars  to fund the additional                                                                   
 four social  workers and  $175 thousand  dollars  to fund  an                                                                  
 additional  three  support   staff  to  implement  half   the                                                                  
 workload study recommendation for FY 2008.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 3:34:25 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Hawker  responded  that  this  year's  budget                                                                  
 includes ½ the  study amount and that  OCS would be  shifting                                                                  
 some of  their administrative  functions.   He worried  about                                                                  
 sustainability of the issue.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara disagreed  & said that  was not what  the                                                                  
 Department has  advised.   He  read from  a letter  by  Janet                                                                  
 Clarke,  Assistant  Commissioner,  Division  of  Finance  and                                                                  
 Management  Services,   Department  of   Health  and   Social                                                                  
 Services, indicating  a staffing  shortage.   He stressed  it                                                                  
 was more  than  ½  the  number  presented  by Representative                                                                   
 Hawker.  The  Department needs six  more social workers  this                                                                  
 year for  a total of  nineteen &  support staff  in order  to                                                                  
 free up social worker's time.  He urged support of HSS 9.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Hawker submitted that the Governor's  proposed                                                                  
 budget   to    the    Subcommittee   made    no   additional                                                                   
 recommendations   to  the   Department   for   funding   that                                                                  
 component.  (Copy on File).                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara requested that the Department testify.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 AT EASE:       3:43:39 PM                                                                                                    
 RECONVENE:     4:11:15 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Chenault  noted that following  discussion with  the                                                                  
 Department, the intent  was ½ the study  or ½ the employees.                                                                   
 He understood that ½ the  study would be sufficient & it  was                                                                  
 funded by the Subcommittee.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Gara countered that both parties were  correct                                                                  
 using different points.   He pointed out that the Department                                                                   
 needs will not be completely met and that he knew they  would                                                                  
 still be short-staffed.   He  recommended that  the study  be                                                                  
 implemented now.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 4:14:51 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 IN FAVOR:      Gara, Crawford                                                                                                  
 OPPOSED:       Hawker, Nelson, Stoltze, Thomas, Meyer,                                                                         
                Chenault                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Representatives Foster, Kelly & Joule were not present for                                                                     
 the vote.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 The MOTION FAILED (2-6).                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 4:15:39 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Chenault concluded that the intent was to finish                                                                      
 with the amendment process at next scheduled meeting on                                                                        
 3/22/07.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 HB 95 & HB 96 were HELD in Committee for further                                                                               
 consideration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 P.M.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects