Legislature(2007 - 2008)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/13/2008 01:30 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 194 FINES AND OFFENSES TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ HB 324 LOW-INCOME HOUSING; HOMELESSNESS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ HB 417 NONUNION PUBLIC EMPLOYEE SALARY & BENEFIT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 359 PROBATION AND MINOR CONSUMING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 359(FIN) Out of Committee
+= HB 364 NOTICE & CONSENT FOR MINOR'S ABORTION TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
                  HOUSE F INANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                       March 13, 2008                                                                                           
                         1:46 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 1:46:04 PM.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
Representative Bill Thomas Jr.                                                                                                  
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mary Nelson                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Kevin    Brooks,   Deputy    Commissioner,   Department    of                                                                   
Administration;  Chris  Christensen,   Deputy  Administrative                                                                   
Director,  Alaska   Court  System;  Bruce   Ludwig,  Business                                                                   
Manager,  Alaska Public  Employees  Association; Fred  Yates,                                                                   
Self;   Annette   Kreitzer,   Commissioner,   Department   of                                                                   
Administration;  Chris  Christensen,  Staff  Counsel,  Alaska                                                                   
Court System;  Representative Jay Ramras;  Suzanne Armstrong,                                                                   
Staff,  Co-Chair  Kevin  Meyer;   Dan  Fauske,  CEO/Executive                                                                   
Director, Alaska  Housing Finance Corporation,  Department of                                                                   
Revenue  and Chairman,  Governor's Council  on the  Homeless;                                                                   
Jeff Jesse,  Executive Director,  Alaska Mental Health  Trust                                                                   
Authority;  Bryan Butcher,  Public  Affairs Director,  Alaska                                                                   
Housing Finance Corporation.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 324    An Act  relating to  the Alaska housing  trust fund                                                                   
          and to the Alaska Council on the Homeless; and                                                                        
          providing for an effective date.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          HB 324 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                    
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 359    An  Act relating  to probation  and the offense  of                                                                   
          minor consuming or in possession or control of                                                                        
          alcohol.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          CSHB 359 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with                                                                     
          a  "do  pass"  recommendation   and  with  attached                                                                   
          fiscal  note #1  by the  House Judiciary  Committee                                                                   
          and new fiscal note by the Alaska Court System.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 364    An  Act  relating  to  notice  and  consent  for  a                                                                   
          minor's   abortion;  relating   to  penalties   for                                                                   
          performing  an  abortion;  relating to  a  judicial                                                                   
          bypass  procedure  for  an  abortion;  relating  to                                                                   
          coercion of  a minor to have an  abortion; relating                                                                   
          to  reporting  of abortions  performed  on  minors;                                                                   
          amending   Rule  24(a),   Alaska  Rules   of  Civil                                                                   
          Procedure,  amending  Rule  220,  Alaska  Rules  of                                                                   
          Appellate  Procedure, and  Rule 20, Alaska  Probate                                                                   
          Rules,   relating  to   judicial   bypass  for   an                                                                   
          abortion; and providing for an effective date.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          HB 364 SCHEDULED and not HEARD.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 417    An  Act relating  to the  compensation for  certain                                                                   
          public  officials,   officers,  and  employees  not                                                                   
          covered   by  collective   bargaining   agreements;                                                                   
          relating to  pay increments for longevity  in state                                                                   
          service; and providing for an effective date.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
          HB 417 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                    
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 417                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating  to the compensation for  certain public                                                                   
     officials,  officers,  and   employees  not  covered  by                                                                   
     collective  bargaining   agreements;  relating   to  pay                                                                   
     increments   for  longevity   in   state  service;   and                                                                   
     providing for an effective date.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN    BROOKS,   DEPUTY    COMMISSIONER,   DEPARTMENT    OF                                                                   
ADMINISTRATION,  introduced  HB  417  by  section.  The  bill                                                                   
addresses  pay   issues  for  non-covered   state  employees,                                                                   
including   employees   in  the   executive,   judicial   and                                                                   
legislative branches.  The bill restates the  salary schedule                                                                   
to  reflect  a  5.5%  retroactive   increase  and  identifies                                                                   
several positions that need adjustment.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   · Sec. 1 adjusts pay for the members of the Limited Entry                                                                    
     Commission from range 26, step C to range 27 with no                                                                       
     step designation.                                                                                                          
   · Sec. 2 conforms HB 417 to the Alaska State Defense                                                                         
     Force statute.                                                                                                             
   · Sec. 3 adjusts pay for the chief procurement officer                                                                       
     position, which has been functioning in dual roles,                                                                        
     from  range  24  to  range  27,  consistent  with  other                                                                   
     directors. Senate Bill 171 does the same.                                                                                  
   · Sec.   4  removes   a   step  designation   for   deputy                                                                   
     commissioners upon appointment.                                                                                            
   · Sec. 5  restates the salary  schedule effective  July 1,                                                                   
     2007 to reflect a 5.5% increase.                                                                                           
   · Sec. 6  provides language  adjusting the schedule  by 3%                                                                   
     for FY 09.                                                                                                                 
   · Sec. 7 adjusts the schedule another 3% for FY 10.                                                                          
   · Sec.  8 creates  pay increments  computed at  a rate  of                                                                   
     3.75% for employees  who have attained step  F. A person                                                                   
     could be eligible for a merit  increase every two years.                                                                   
    A subsection allows the same for legislative staff.                                                                         
   · Sec.  9  moves  the  Regulatory   Commission  of  Alaska                                                                   
     commissioners from range 26C to 27 without steps.                                                                          
   · Sec. 10 repeals  longevity steps and replaces  them with                                                                   
     pay increments.                                                                                                            
   · Sec.   11  clarifies   executive   branch  pay.   Anyone                                                                   
     currently  receiving  a  salary  override,  as  well  as                                                                   
     commissioners  whose pay was  adjusted three  years ago,                                                                   
     would  not  receive  the  5.5%  or  the  3%.  There  are                                                                   
     mechanisms in  place that compensates  those individuals                                                                   
     adequately; the intent is to close the gap.                                                                                
   · Sec.  12  provides  for   increments  for  the  judicial                                                                   
     branch.                                                                                                                    
   · Sec.  13  gives  employees   of  the  University  salary                                                                   
     increases in accordance with  the compensation policy of                                                                   
     the Board of Regents.                                                                                                      
   · Sec.   14   stipulates  that   the   salary   increments                                                                   
     identified earlier are prospective.                                                                                        
   · Sec.  15   provides  transition  language   so  that  no                                                                   
     individual is harmed by the  bill, but credited for time                                                                   
     served.                                                                                                                    
   · Sec. 17 makes the first 5.5% adjustment retroactive.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:59:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara referred  to Sec. 5  and asked  how many                                                                   
steps were currently in place.  Mr. Brooks answered A through                                                                   
F. Representative Gara asked if  the only additional step was                                                                   
the 3.75% every  two years. Mr. Brooks explained  the current                                                                   
longevity steps and  said the bill removes limits  on how far                                                                   
a person can go. There was a discussion  regarding details of                                                                   
how the steps can be used to address  recruitment difficulty.                                                                   
Representative  Gara did  not think  the longevity  allowance                                                                   
addressed the difficulty.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:05:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS  CHRISTENSEN,  DEPUTY ADMINISTRATIVE  DIRECTOR,  ALASKA                                                                   
COURT SYSTEM,  pointed out that  the judicial branch  has the                                                                   
largest  and lowest paid  group of  non-covered employees  in                                                                   
state government  outside the  University. Approximately  70%                                                                   
of  employees  are range  15  or  below.  This means  a  high                                                                   
turnover rate,  which translates  to high training  costs and                                                                   
other inefficiencies.  In  spite of this,  the employees  are                                                                   
hardworking and committed. He  noted that over the past three                                                                   
years,  court   employees  have   received  cost   of  living                                                                   
adjustments (COLA)  substantially lower than the  actual rate                                                                   
of inflation.  He thought the  change in longevity  pay would                                                                   
help the courts keep mid-level workers longer.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Christensen spoke to two provisions  in the bill that the                                                                   
court system  is not  in accord with.  First, while  the bill                                                                   
gives COLA to  magistrates and judges, it does  not give them                                                                   
the retroactive  pay raise for  the current fiscal  year, nor                                                                   
does it give  magistrates longevity changes.  The majority of                                                                   
magistrates are underpaid compared  to similar workers in the                                                                   
executive  branch. Second,  he was  concerned about  grouping                                                                   
judges together  with political  appointees in the  executive                                                                   
branch.  Judges  do  not  get   longevity  increases,  unlike                                                                   
regular state employees, who can  get step increases equal to                                                                   
around 35%  of their salary over  an 18-year career.  A judge                                                                   
working for  18 years earns  as much  as a new judge,  making                                                                   
judges uniquely  dependent on  COLA. In two decades,  Alaskan                                                                   
judges  have gone  from being  the highest  paid state  court                                                                   
judges  in  the  country  to next  to  last.  It  has  become                                                                   
difficult  to  retain judges  and  to  recruit new  ones.  He                                                                   
wanted the salaries  to keep up with inflation  (Statement on                                                                   
File).                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:12:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Crawford thought  the same story could be told                                                                   
across all state employment.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE  LUDWIG,  BUSINESS  MANAGER,  ALASKA  PUBLIC  EMPLOYEES                                                                   
ASSOCIATION  (APEA/AFT), spoke  for two  groups within  state                                                                   
government,  the  state  supervisors   and  the  confidential                                                                   
employees.   The   supervisory    unit   recently   completed                                                                   
negotiations, which  he described.  He referred to  a handout                                                                   
(On File) showing average state  service. Supervisors are the                                                                   
employees with the highest longevity.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Ludwig  added that  APEA/AFT would like  to see  the bill                                                                   
amended  so that  it  would not  be effective  for  executive                                                                   
branch  employees until  offered to  classified employees  as                                                                   
well.  The  second  handout  (On File)  shows  who  the  bill                                                                   
targets;  APEA/AFT proposes  amending  it so  that many  more                                                                   
people are affected.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:18:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harris asked if  the members of the groups Mr.                                                                   
Ludwig  listed were  represented  through union  negotiations                                                                   
and contracts. He asked if the  people talked about in HB 417                                                                   
had  a  bargaining  unit.  Mr.  Ludwig  answered  that  their                                                                   
bargaining unit  was the commissioner. He said  the longevity                                                                   
increases had  been denied in  bargaining because it  was not                                                                   
authorized. Representative Harris  surmised that the only way                                                                   
the people  classified under  HB 417  would get increases  is                                                                   
through statute.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:20:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Chenault   sought  clarification   regarding   the                                                                   
offering  and denying  of the  longevity steps.  He asked  if                                                                   
APEA/AFT had gone  to arbitration and accepted  the decision.                                                                   
Mr. Ludwig replied that they bargained it with the State.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:21:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
FRED YATES, SELF, testified in  favor of the bill. He thought                                                                   
the people  covered deserve what  is being offered.  He asked                                                                   
for  the longevity  steps  to  be  included as  incentive  to                                                                   
retain people.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:23:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNETTE     KREITZER,     COMMISSIONER,     DEPARTMENT     OF                                                                   
ADMINISTRATION,   described   the   two  tracks   for   state                                                                   
employees:  those represented  by  collective bargaining  and                                                                   
those who are not. The bill is for the later group.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner   Kreitzer  clarified   some  of  Mr.   Ludwig's                                                                   
remarks. She said the entire offer  had to be accepted, which                                                                   
is what the union  did. There are many components  to a labor                                                                   
contract; it's dangerous  to separate one out.  The State has                                                                   
the  same  challenges  as any  other  employer  dealing  with                                                                   
recruitment  and  retention.   The  Department  wants  to  be                                                                   
equitable.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  talked  about  the  difference  between                                                                   
union and non-union employees.  He understood that collective                                                                   
bargaining governs union pay and  the bill should govern non-                                                                   
union pay. He stated that the  place where the two groups are                                                                   
the same relates to longevity,  and thought it made sense for                                                                   
everyone  to have  a  two year  increase  after reaching  the                                                                   
final step.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Kreitzer described  her job  as looking  at the                                                                   
full cost  of each  negotiated contract  and judging  whether                                                                   
the cost was sustainable.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara restated his  concern regarding longevity                                                                   
as  a problem  that applied  to  union as  well as  non-union                                                                   
employees.  He wanted  the bill  to address  the problem  for                                                                   
both groups.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Kreitzer maintained  that she would not separate                                                                   
out one  piece of  a contract.  Representative Gara  asked if                                                                   
union  employees  had the  same  problem with  getting  stuck                                                                   
after  reaching   the  final   step.  Commissioner   Kreitzer                                                                   
acknowledged that they did.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:30:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Kreitzer  commented that the union  had accepted                                                                   
the  agreement. Representative  Gara  questioned whether  the                                                                   
employees meant to  convey that they were satisfied  with the                                                                   
longevity  situation. Commissioner  Kreitzer reiterated  that                                                                   
she had to keep union and non-union issues separate.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly pointed out  that union members pay dues                                                                   
to get someone  to bargain. He thought it would  be a serious                                                                   
mistake to legislate that process.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:33:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker tried to  find a broader  perspective.                                                                   
Although   he  thought  non-union   employees  deserved   the                                                                   
recognition  proposed in  the bill, he  understood the  State                                                                   
had  to prioritize  financially.  He talked  about  important                                                                   
human service workers  who have endured pay  freezes for many                                                                   
years  and  wondered how  Commissioner  Kreitzer  prioritized                                                                   
giving a raise to the highest paid state employees.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:37:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Kreitzer  disagreed that the people  targeted in                                                                   
the  bill  were   the  highest  compensated   employees.  She                                                                   
stressed that  the bill is  about non-covered  employees. She                                                                   
described  the aging of  the workforce  and the pressures  to                                                                   
solve  the retention  and  recruitment  problems  as soon  as                                                                   
possible.  She  suggested moving  one  step  at a  time.  She                                                                   
thought HB 417 was a reasonable step forward.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:39:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  stated that  he  was not  comfortable                                                                   
with the  legislation, given the  resources available  to the                                                                   
State in relationship to the State's greatest needs.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly said he could  support a bargaining/non-                                                                   
bargaining  wage  freeze, but  he  could not  support  saving                                                                   
money on just one  group. He did not want the  Legislature to                                                                   
interfere with union activity.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:43:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Crawford asked  about the  40-hour work  week                                                                   
and  wondered if  what was  given up  for that.  Commissioner                                                                   
Kreitzer  responded that  many  state employees  are  already                                                                   
working  more  than 40  hours.  The  service steps  were  the                                                                   
inducement for the  40-hour work week.  Her goal  was to move                                                                   
towards  the 40-hour work  week for  non-union employees  and                                                                   
later for management, although it would be expensive.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:47:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer MOVED to ADOPT Amendment #1.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page  5,  line 3:  Following  "employees",  Insert  "and                                                                   
     magistrates"; Page 5, line  4: Following "than":, Delete                                                                   
     "magistrates  and judicial  officers", Insert  "justices                                                                   
     and  judges"; Page  5, line  11: Following  "employees",                                                                   
     Insert  "and  magistrates";  Following  "than":,  Delete                                                                   
     "magistrates  and judicial  officers", Insert  "justices                                                                   
     and  judges";  Page  5, line  13:  Following  "courts":,                                                                   
     Insert  "and"; Page  5,  line 14:  Following  "courts":,                                                                   
     Delete ",and  magistrates"; Page  5, line 16:  Following                                                                   
     "AS 22.15.220":, Delete "(b) and".                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker OBJECTED.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Christensen  said the Amendment would allow  the judicial                                                                   
branch  magistrates  to  get   the  retroactive  pay  and  to                                                                   
participate in the longevity step increases.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Chenault asked  if  the new  fiscal  note would  be                                                                   
adjusted to the  Amendment. Mr. Christensen said  the size of                                                                   
the note would increase by $217,000.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:49:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Thomas  asked for clarification  regarding the                                                                   
Amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further OBJECTION, Amendment #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer referred  to the changes needed  in the fiscal                                                                   
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB  417  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:51:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 359                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to probation and the offense of minor                                                                      
     consuming or in possession or control of alcohol.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker MOVED to ADOPT Amendment #1.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2,  line 11: After  "AS 12.55.051;",  insert "and";                                                                   
     Page  2, line  13: After  "probation",  Delete ";  and",                                                                   
     Insert "."; Page 2, line  14-15, Delete "(5) continuance                                                                   
     of    the   probation   would    interfere   with    the                                                                   
     rehabilitation and growth of the person."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer OBJECTED for discussion purposes.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  explained the amendment  follows up on                                                                   
previous Committee  conversation  regarding the vagueness  of                                                                   
the phrase "rehabilitation and growth of the person."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JAY  RAMRAS,   SPONSOR,  said  the  Judiciary                                                                   
Committee  had wrestled with  the same  issue. He agreed  the                                                                   
language was ambiguous.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer  WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.   There  being  NO                                                                   
further OBJECTION, Amendment #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:54:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Thomas  MOVED  to  ADOPT  Amendment  #2  (25-                                                                   
LS1377\L.4,  Luckhaupt,  3/10/08).     Representative  Hawker                                                                   
OBJECTED for discussion purposes.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara expressed  his support for the Amendment.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Thomas explained  the Amendment would  reduce                                                                   
probation for the  first and second offenses to up  to a year                                                                   
instead  of five  years  mandatory. It  does  not change  the                                                                   
penalty  for  the third  offense,  which  includes  probation                                                                   
until 21.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:56:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Ramras  thought  the Amendment  improved  the                                                                   
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer expressed concern  with inconsistencies in the                                                                   
Amendment, especially that judges  could apply it differently                                                                   
and unfairly.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SUZANNE  ARMSTRONG,  STAFF, CO-CHAIR  KEVIN  MEYER,  reported                                                                   
that the  Department of Law  was concerned about  setting the                                                                   
probation  for  up  to  one  year   for  the  first  offense.                                                                   
Magistrates  could  give  zero  through  up to  a  year.  The                                                                   
Department  of Law  felt a set  standard, such  as one  year,                                                                   
should be applied across the state.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara reminded  the Committee  that the  first                                                                   
two violations  are  not a crime.  This is  the only  finable                                                                   
offense with  automatic probation.  He thought judges  should                                                                   
have  the freedom  to  discern the  length  of the  probation                                                                   
depending  on  the  individual   situation.  He  also  wanted                                                                   
flexibility for  minors who are  just under 21 years  old. He                                                                   
stated he would vote for the bill.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:00:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Armstrong said the Department  of Law had also raised the                                                                   
point  of  the minor's  ability  to  petition the  court  for                                                                   
termination of  probation. It could  take six months  for the                                                                   
minor to complete the requirements of the termination.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly thought  there should  be something  in                                                                   
the bill that punishes the minor.  He did not want the option                                                                   
of no probation. He did not support the Amendment.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:02:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Crawford related a  personal story  about his                                                                   
son.  His  son did  not  get charged  because  the  penalties                                                                   
pertaining to probation were too  harsh, but he still learned                                                                   
a valuable lesson.  Representative Crawford thought  that the                                                                   
statute  as  it  stands  is  not  workable  and  he  said  he                                                                   
supported the bill and the Amendment.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  wondered  what  should  be  done  about                                                                   
probation  for someone  who is  nearly 21.  He suggested  the                                                                   
Amendment could say one year or until the age of 21.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:05:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Thomas related a  personal story.  In smaller                                                                   
towns the  magistrate knows the  kids involved and  can apply                                                                   
that knowledge when determining the length of probation.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Ramras stated his  concern regarding  a minor                                                                   
consuming that would turn 21 during  the probation period. He                                                                   
wanted punishment.  He thought a  condition of a  full year's                                                                   
probation should  be maintained even  after the legal  age is                                                                   
reached. He mentioned a crime  bill that intends to introduce                                                                   
three  days  of jail  time  for  someone who  contributes  by                                                                   
purchasing  alcohol for  a minor.  He said  he supported  the                                                                   
Amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:08:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker removed his OBJECTION.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly OBJECTED.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Thomas, Crawford, Harris, Gara, Hawker                                                                                
OPPOSED: Kelly, Chenault, Meyer                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Absent from the vote: Joule, Nelson, Stoltz                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION PASSED (5/3). Amendment #2 was ADOPTED.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:10:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara informed  the  Committee  that when  the                                                                   
original bill passed,  it was written so that  the fine would                                                                   
be as stiff as possible without  requiring a public defender,                                                                   
which would  be too expensive.  The Court said that  went too                                                                   
far,  and  put  in five  years  probation,  even  though  the                                                                   
offense is  not a crime.  Now the Public Defender  represents                                                                   
the kids. The only way to remove  the Public Defender cost is                                                                   
to impose a fine of $500, with  $1000 for the second offense,                                                                   
for example. He did not think  there should be probation with                                                                   
a fine, although probation for  the third offense made sense.                                                                   
He preferred getting rid of the  whole probation requirement.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer thought  the topic might  pertain to  another                                                                   
bill. He wanted to deter underage drinking.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ramras commented  on the seriousness of minors                                                                   
consuming any amount.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  stated for the record that  he disagreed                                                                   
that it was a  condemnable offense for a 20-year  old to have                                                                   
a beer.  He thought  it was a  family matter. Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                   
wanted tough laws to back parents up.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:13:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer referred  to  the new  fiscal  note from  the                                                                   
Courts.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Chenault MOVED  to  report CSHB  359  (FIN) out  of                                                                   
Committee  with   individual  recommendations   and  attached                                                                   
fiscal  note #1  by  the House  Judiciary  Committee and  new                                                                   
fiscal note by the Alaska Court System.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CSHB  359 (FIN)  was REPORTED  out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                   
pass" recommendation and with  attached fiscal note #1 by the                                                                   
House Judiciary Committee  and new fiscal note  by the Alaska                                                                   
Court System.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There was a  discussion regarding how many  votes were needed                                                                   
in Committee to pass an amendment.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 324                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to the Alaska housing trust fund and to                                                                    
     the Alaska Council on the Homeless; and providing for                                                                      
     an effective date.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DAN FAUSKE,  CEO/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  ALASKA HOUSING  FINANCE                                                                   
CORPORATION, DEPARTMENT  OF REVENUE AND CHAIRMAN,  GOVERNOR'S                                                                   
COUNCIL ON THE  HOMELESS, explained that HB  324 would create                                                                   
a  housing  trust  fund within  the  Alaska  Housing  Finance                                                                   
Corporation to address homelessness  in Alaska and codify the                                                                   
role  of the  Governor's  Council  on  the Homeless.  He  has                                                                   
learned a great deal regarding  the issue of homelessness and                                                                   
the costs  associated. Society  is paying  a heavy  price for                                                                   
homelessness; incarceration is more expensive than housing.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:19:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEFF JESSE,  EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  ALASKA MENTAL HEALTH  TRUST                                                                   
AUTHORITY, reviewed a few points regarding homelessness:                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
    · 45% of the homeless in Alaska are families with                                                                           
      children.                                                                                                                 
    · The average age is nine years.                                                                                            
    · The price paid for homelessness includes poor                                                                             
      performance in school, emergency room visits, and                                                                         
      criminal justice system involvement.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Jesse emphasized  that the most important  feature of the                                                                   
housing trust is the linking of  support services to housing.                                                                   
Over 30 states  have developed housing trusts  with excellent                                                                   
results.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:22:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRYAN  BUTCHER,  PUBLIC  AFFAIRS   DIRECTOR,  ALASKA  HOUSING                                                                   
FINANCE CORPORATION pointed out a change in a fiscal note.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer asked if the appropriations  were for one year                                                                   
or five years.  Mr. Butcher said one year,  for projects with                                                                   
a  five-year cycle.  Mr.  Jesse  restated the  importance  of                                                                   
combining  support services  with housing.  Out of the  first                                                                   
year's  appropriation of  ten  million dollars,  some of  the                                                                   
resources  would  be  obligated  for  five to  ten  years  of                                                                   
support  service  funding.  Otherwise,   non-profit  partners                                                                   
would not participate in developing the services.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:25:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  wanted  clarification  regarding  the                                                                   
one-time $10 million appropriation.  He thought the testimony                                                                   
earlier in  the session indicated  a sequence of  $10 million                                                                   
appropriations  for  ten years.  Mr.  Jesse  agreed that  the                                                                   
intent  was  for the  appropriation  to  be annual.  The  $10                                                                   
million on the  table is for the first year,  but the process                                                                   
is on-going.  He thought $15 million  per year for  ten years                                                                   
would better address the current homeless problem.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Fauske added that he is convinced  there is a problem. He                                                                   
thought the problem  would grow worse as the  cost of heating                                                                   
oil rose. He agreed with Mr. Jesse  that the problem will not                                                                   
be solved with  a one-time $10 million appropriation,  but it                                                                   
would start the trust.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:29:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara asked  for more  information. Mr.  Jesse                                                                   
said the  trust was not being  set up on an  endowment model.                                                                   
Mr. Fauske said  there was currently a $10  million line item                                                                   
in the  capital budget. Mr.  Butcher clarified that  the item                                                                   
is in  the mental  health bill  which is  within the  capital                                                                   
budget.  Mr. Jesse  said  there  were roughly  3500  homeless                                                                   
people  statewide  on  any  given   night  and  outlined  the                                                                   
strategic plan.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:34:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Fauske  said there  has been  $2 million  in the  capital                                                                   
budget for homelessness  for many years. He  pointed out that                                                                   
most people  coming out of jail  don't have a place  to stay.                                                                   
He would like better coordination to address the issues.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Crawford asked  for more information on how to                                                                   
identify  homeless people  and give  them a  hand. Mr.  Jesse                                                                   
described the  process of setting  up housing units  and then                                                                   
providing  case  management  to  help  people  solve  a  wide                                                                   
variety of  problems that  contribute to their  homelessness.                                                                   
He gave  examples  of skills that  people need  to learn.  He                                                                   
described  how  the  Gates  Foundation  approached  assisting                                                                   
homeless families.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:41:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB  324  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 364                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An  Act relating  to notice  and consent  for a  minor's                                                                   
     abortion;  relating  to   penalties  for  performing  an                                                                   
     abortion;  relating to a  judicial bypass procedure  for                                                                   
     an abortion; relating to  coercion of a minor to have an                                                                   
     abortion; relating  to reporting of  abortions performed                                                                   
     on minors;  amending Rule  24(a), Alaska Rules  of Civil                                                                   
     Procedure, amending Rule  220, Alaska Rules of Appellate                                                                   
     Procedure, and  Rule 20, Alaska Probate  Rules, relating                                                                   
     to judicial bypass for an abortion; and providing for                                                                      
     an effective date.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 364 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 3:43 PM.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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