Legislature(2007 - 2008)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/11/2008 08:30 AM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 231 LOW-INCOME HOUSING; HOMELESSNESS TELECONFERENCED
Moved HCS CSSB 231(FIN) Out of Committee
+= SB 218 CHILD SAFETY SEATS & SEAT BELTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+= SB 120 UNEMPLOYMENT COMP: BENEFITS/RECORDS TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+= SB 259 EFFECTIVE DATE: MEDICAL ASSISTANCE LAWS TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+= SB 201 PUBLIC FINANCE WEBSITE TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 11, 2008                                                                                           
                         8:51 A.M.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 8:51:21 AM.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
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                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hollis  French;  Kathryn  Kurtz,  Assistant  Statute                                                                   
Reviser,   Legislative   Legal   Services;   Bryan   Butcher,                                                                   
Legislative  Liaison,  Alaska  Housing  Finance  Corporation;                                                                   
Marie Darlin, AARP; Suzanne Armstrong,  Staff, Representative                                                                   
Kevin Meyer; Allison Biastock,  Staff, Senator Hollis French;                                                                   
Mary Siroky, Special Assistant,  Department of Transportation                                                                   
and  Public  Facilities;  Michelle  Sydeman,  Staff,  Senator                                                                   
Wielechowski;  Kim Garnero,  Director,  Division of  Finance,                                                                   
Department of Administration, Director                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Chris Nelson, Alaskans for Tax Reform, Anchorage                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 120(FIN)                                                                                                                  
          An   Act   relating   to  disclosure   of   certain                                                                   
          information  from the records of the  Department of                                                                   
          Labor  and Workforce  Development and limiting  the                                                                   
          use  of  the  disclosed  information,  and  to  the                                                                   
          calculation    and    payment    of    unemployment                                                                   
          compensation   benefits;  and   providing  for   an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          CS SB  120(FIN) was REPORTED out of  Committee with                                                                   
          a "do  pass" recommendation  and with a  new fiscal                                                                   
          note  by  the  Department   of  Administration  and                                                                   
          fiscal  note  #2 by  the  Department  of Labor  and                                                                   
          Workforce Development.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 201(FIN)                                                                                                                  
          An   Act   relating   to  the   establishment   and                                                                   
          maintenance   of  an  Internet  website   providing                                                                   
          public  finance  information; and  identifying  the                                                                   
          information   to  be  available  on   the  Internet                                                                   
          website.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          CS SB  201(FIN) was REPORTED out of  Committee with                                                                   
          a "no recommendation"  and with zero note #1 by the                                                                   
          Department of Administration.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 218(FIN)                                                                                                                  
          An Act  relating to use  of child safety  seats and                                                                   
          seat belts.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
          CS SB  218(FIN) was REPORTED out of  Committee with                                                                   
          a  "do pass"  recommendation  and with  a new  zero                                                                   
          note  by  the  House   Finance  Committee  for  the                                                                   
          Department of Transportation  and Pubic Facilities.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 231(HES)                                                                                                                  
          An Act  relating to  the Alaska housing  trust fund                                                                   
          and  to the  Alaska  Council on  the Homeless;  and                                                                   
          providing for an effective date.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          CS SB  231(FIN) was REPORTED out of  Committee with                                                                   
          a  "do pass"  recommendation  and with  a new  zero                                                                   
          note by the House Finance  Committee for the Alaska                                                                   
          Housing  Finance Corporation,  zero note #2  by the                                                                   
          Department  of Public Safety,  zero note #3  by the                                                                   
          Department  of Health and Social Services  and zero                                                                   
         note #4 by the Department of Corrections.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SB 259    An Act repealing certain provisions relating to                                                                       
          applications   for  medical  assistance   coverage;                                                                   
          making  certain  provisions of  ch.  96, SLA  2006,                                                                   
          retroactive;  providing  for an  effective date  by                                                                   
          repealing an effective  date section in ch. 96, SLA                                                                   
          2006; providing  for an effective date  for certain                                                                   
          sections of ch. 96,  SLA 2006; and providing for an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          SB 259 was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do                                                                       
          pass" recommendation  and with zero note  #1 by the                                                                   
          Department  of Health and Social Services  and zero                                                                   
          note #2 by the Legislative Affairs Agency.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:52:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 259                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     An  Act   repealing  certain   provisions  relating   to                                                                   
     applications  for  medical assistance  coverage;  making                                                                   
     certain  provisions of  ch. 96,  SLA 2006,  retroactive;                                                                   
     providing  for   an  effective  date  by   repealing  an                                                                   
     effective  date section in  ch. 96, SLA 2006;  providing                                                                   
     for an  effective date for  certain sections of  ch. 96,                                                                   
     SLA 2006; and providing for an effective date.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
KATHRYN  KURTZ, ASSISTANT  REVISER  OF STATUTES,  LEGISLATIVE                                                                   
LEGAL SERVICES, clarified that  SB 259 addresses an effective                                                                   
date  problem.   In  the original  2006  bill,  there was  an                                                                   
                                                           st,                                                                  
effective date  that was suppose to start  on either July 1                                                                     
when the State received federal  approval of the revised plan                                                                   
or whatever  came  later.  The  problem is  that the  federal                                                                   
approval process  was piece-mealed.   Many of the  changes in                                                                   
the  original billed  did  not  need to  be  approved by  the                                                                   
federal government.  The manner  in which the bill was worded                                                                   
left  some  sections  without  an effective  date.    SB  259                                                                   
provides  the  effective  date   for  those  sections.    The                                                                   
Department of Law supports the bill.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:54:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  MOVED to REPORT  SB 259 out  of Committee                                                                   
with  individual recommendations  and  with the  accompanying                                                                   
fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SB  259  was REPORTED  out  of  Committee  with a  "do  pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and with zero  note #1  by the Department  of                                                                   
Health  and  Social   Services  and  zero  note   #2  by  the                                                                   
Legislative Affairs Agency.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:54:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 231(HES)                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to the Alaska  housing trust fund and to                                                                   
     the Alaska  Council on the  Homeless; and  providing for                                                                   
     an effective date.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze MOVED  to ADOPT  work draft  25-GS2006\M,                                                                   
Cook,  4/10/08  as  the  version   of  the  bill  before  the                                                                   
Committee.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BRYAN  BUTCHER,   PUBLIC  AFFAIRS   DIRECTOR  &   LEGISLATIVE                                                                   
LIAISON,   ALASKA   HOUSING   FINANCE   CORPORATION   (AHFC),                                                                   
ANCHORAGE,  explained   the  bill.     He  stated   that  the                                                                   
legislation  creates  a housing  trust  fund  within AHFC  to                                                                   
address  concerns of  homelessness  in the  State of  Alaska.                                                                   
The  bill increases  AHFC's  flexibility  in addressing  long                                                                   
term solutions  for homelessness.   SB  231 would codify  the                                                                   
role of  the Governor's  Council on  the Homeless,  which has                                                                   
been  operating under  Administrative  Order.   The  original                                                                   
bill is  the culmination  of many  years of  work by  several                                                                   
statewide  advocacy groups  and  is a  recommendation of  the                                                                   
Governor's Council on the Homeless.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Butcher  noted that  homelessness  is  one of  the  most                                                                   
important social issues facing Alaska.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   ·    3,500 Alaskans are homeless on any given night,                                                                         
        including 1,600 people in families with children;                                                                       
   ·    4,000 Alaskan households are on the waiting list for                                                                    
        public housing programs, most are families with                                                                         
        children; and                                                                                                           
   ·    20,000 low-income Alaskan households spend more than                                                                    
        half their income on housing, placing them at risk                                                                      
        of homelessness.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Butcher pointed  out  that  the development  of  housing                                                                   
alone  is  not  enough  to  provide  permanent  solutions  to                                                                   
homeless  crisis.   People who  are  homeless or  at risk  of                                                                   
becoming homeless, frequently  need supportive services to be                                                                   
successful,  such as treatment,  crisis intervention,  tenant                                                                   
education,  financial  literacy,   job  counseling  and  life                                                                   
skills  training.    Placing  a  housing  trust  within  AHFC                                                                   
expands  the   services  of   the  State  without   expanding                                                                   
government's size.   SB 231 provides AHFC the  flexibility to                                                                   
address homelessness in Alaska.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Butcher  concluded  that the  Governor's  proposed  FY09                                                                   
capital budget includes a $10  million dollar request for the                                                                   
establishment of the Housing Trust  Fund.  The $10 million is                                                                   
made up of funds from four different sources:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   ·    AHFC dividends                                                                                                          
   ·    Mental Health Trust Authority receipts                                                                                  
   ·    State General Funds                                                                                                     
   ·    Contributions from other private sources                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:57:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  asked how the draft differed  from the                                                                   
original version of  the bill.  The original  request was for                                                                   
a $150 million dollar commitment for a ten year project.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Butcher explained  that  the  State currently  offers  a                                                                   
Homeless  Assistance Program.   AHFC  has been  administering                                                                   
the residential  side of  that program.   AFHC is  the agency                                                                   
for the  State in  dealing with  homelessness.   The bill  no                                                                   
longer  includes  putting  the   Governor's  Council  on  the                                                                   
Homeless into  statute.  That  action is not  necessary since                                                                   
it was created by an Administrative Order.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker offered  his  continued assistance  in                                                                   
addressing homelessness in the  State of Alaska.  He proposed                                                                   
a greater  buy-in  from the  Department of  Health and  Human                                                                   
Services.    He  encouraged  that  the  Mental  Health  Trust                                                                   
Authority (AMHTA)  expand their outreach to  legislators.  If                                                                   
embarking  on a  $150 million  dollar  building program,  the                                                                   
entire legislature  will need to  accept it.  He  pointed out                                                                   
that  the capital  budget  added $6  million  dollars to  the                                                                   
homeless programs at AHFC for foundation building.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:02:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Butcher  added  that  Jeff  Jesse,  Executive  Director,                                                                   
Alaska Mental  Health Trust Authority, was supportive  of the                                                                   
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault directed comments  to the conversations his                                                                   
office has  had with  the Mental  Health Trust Board  funding                                                                   
for the program.  He acknowledged the outreach needs.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly indicated  that he was not in support as                                                                   
the program  appears to be a  State "entitlement".   He noted                                                                   
for the  record that  he is "very  concerned" with  the long-                                                                   
term effect the program will have on the State.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:04:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  understood  from testimony  that  there                                                                   
would be  no funding  included for the  Housing Trust  in the                                                                   
current  budget.    Mr.  Butcher   explained  that  yesterday                                                                   
[5/10/08],  during  the Mental  Health  Conference  Committee                                                                   
meeting established a Homeless  Assistance Program that would                                                                   
operate on $2 million dollars  per year.  The amount would be                                                                   
generated  from  $1  million   AHFC  dividend  dollars,  $500                                                                   
hundred thousand  dollars of General  Fund Mental  Health and                                                                   
$500 thousand  from the AMHTA  receipts.  Funding  would have                                                                   
ceased  if the $10  million for  the Trust  had been  funded.                                                                   
The Conference  Committee  moved $6 million  dollars  of that                                                                   
amount to  $2 million and moved  $2.5 million of  AHFC raised                                                                   
funds from private  sources, which moves the  program from $2                                                                   
million funding dollars to $8  million funding dollars.  Next                                                                   
year,  AHFC will  come back  to  revisit the  situation.   He                                                                   
added,  the  Governor's  Council  has  been  increased  to  a                                                                   
membership of an additional five members.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:06:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  emphasized that the work  draft puts the                                                                   
Housing Trust  on hold  for another year.   Mr. Butcher  said                                                                   
yes.    Representative  Gara strongly  disagreed  with  that,                                                                   
noting that  the Housing Trust  has been deliberating  on the                                                                   
issue  for a  long time.   The  intent is  to transition  the                                                                   
homeless  into  permanent  housing.   He  stressed  that  the                                                                   
program is good  and that he strongly disagrees  with putting                                                                   
it off for another year.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer responded  it is an attempt to  transition the                                                                   
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:07:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARIE DARLIN,  CAPITAL CITY TASK FORCE, AARP,  voiced support                                                                   
for the  intention behind the  bill.  The bill  addresses the                                                                   
situation  from  a long-term  plan  at  providing  supportive                                                                   
services.   She  maintained  it  is important  to  accomplish                                                                   
addressing  the  concerns  with   homelessness.    She  urged                                                                   
passage of the bill from the Committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:09:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
RECESS:        9:10:13 AM                                                                                                     
RECONVENE:     10:49:52 AM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SUZANNE   ARMSTRONG,  STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE  KEVIN   MEYER,                                                                   
addressed the  fiscal note,  which enumerates information  on                                                                   
the  additional  funds  added  to  HB  312  for  the  current                                                                   
program.  HB 231  allows AHFC to expand the  general power of                                                                   
limitations.    The  additional funds will  be used  for that                                                                   
expansion.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:51:36 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  MOVED to REPORT HCS CSSB  231(FIN) out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal  notes. There being NO OBJECTION,  it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS  SB 231(FIN)  was REPORTED  out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                   
pass" recommendation  and with a  new zero note by  the House                                                                   
Finance   Committee   for   the    Alaska   Housing   Finance                                                                   
Corporation,  zero  note  #2  by  the  Department  of  Public                                                                   
Safety, zero note  #3 by the Department of  Health and Social                                                                   
Services and zero note #4 by the Department of Corrections.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:56:19 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 218(FIN)                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to use of child safety seats and seat                                                                      
     belts.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLIS  FRENCH, SPONSOR,  introduced SB 218,  stating                                                                   
that booster seats save lives.   The National Highway Traffic                                                                   
Safety Administration recommends  that children under 80# and                                                                   
under 57"  tall use a child  safety seat or  belt positioning                                                                   
booster seat.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SB 218 stipulates that:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   ·    Children under one year of age or older but under                                                                       
        20#, shall be secured in a rear facing child safety                                                                     
        seat;                                                                                                                   
   ·    Children one to four years old who weight over 20#                                                                      
        shall be secured in a child restraint device or                                                                         
        seat;                                                                                                                   
   ·    Children four to eight who are under 57" tall and                                                                       
        under 80# shall be secured in a booster seat or a                                                                       
        child restraint system;                                                                                                 
   ·    Children over 4 who are taller than 57" and weigh                                                                       
        over 80# shall be properly secured in a seat belt,                                                                      
        just like adults;                                                                                                       
   ·    Children over eight years of age but under sixteen                                                                      
        years old, who are under 57" tall and 80# shall be                                                                      
        restrained by the proper safety device or a seat                                                                        
        belt, whichever is appropriate.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator French pointed out that  all safety devices, boosters                                                                   
and child seats must meet or exceed  the standards set out by                                                                   
the United  States (U.S.) Department  of Transportation.   At                                                                   
the present  time, thirty nine  other states mandate  booster                                                                   
seat use.  While any restraint  is better than none, national                                                                   
studies  have shown  booster seats  are 60%  safer than  seat                                                                   
belts alone.  The  cost of a booster seat ranges  from $25 to                                                                   
$100 dollars, depending  on the model.  Senator  French urged                                                                   
support of the legislation.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault  asked if the  bill imposes any  new fines.                                                                   
Senator  French replied  it  does not;  it  remains the  same                                                                   
penalty for someone having a baby  behind a seat belt instead                                                                   
of being  placed in a  booster chair.   The penalty is  a $50                                                                   
dollar ticket for  the first time offense and if  the seat is                                                                   
purchased, the fine does away.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault  asked if there was an  educational program                                                                   
available   to  inform   parents   about   the  new   federal                                                                   
requirement.  Senator French explained  that there is a group                                                                   
that provides  information  and funnels  money if the  parent                                                                   
needs help purchasing the seat.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:59:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ALLISON BIASTOCK,  STAFF, SENATOR  HOLLIS FRENCH,  added that                                                                   
the main group  operating in Alaska is called Safe  Kids.  It                                                                   
is a  non profit  & devoted  to child  safety.  They  operate                                                                   
through statewide  hospitals.   Another group is  called Kids                                                                   
on the Move program, which offers  booster seat assistance to                                                                   
families on a sliding scale base.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
11:00:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Thomas inquired if  there were federal  funds                                                                   
tied to  conforming the  program.   Senator French  responded                                                                   
there  are and that  the State  of Alaska  will receive  $200                                                                   
thousand dollars per year from the federal government.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Thomas pointed  out in previous years, funding                                                                   
went  to the  Driving While  Intoxicated  (DWI) programs  and                                                                   
Bush Alaska never received any of those funds.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
11:01:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  recalled when  the bill was  presented in                                                                   
       th                                                                                                                       
the  13  Legislature.    He did  not want  to  see the  issue                                                                   
micro-managed.     Senator  French  shared   those  concerns;                                                                   
however, pointed out that safety is the main issue.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair   Stoltze  worried   about   children  that   have                                                                   
handicaps  and  how the  bill  would  impact them.    Senator                                                                   
French  indicated  that language  on  Page 2  addresses  that                                                                   
concern; the choice is actually left to the parents.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
11:04:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  concluded that the "education"  actually                                                                   
happens when  the person is pulled  over, at which  time they                                                                   
are given  a "fixable" ticket.   Senator French  acknowledged                                                                   
that was correct and added that  the fine could be off-set by                                                                   
purchasing a safety chair.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
In response  to Representative  Gara, Ms. Biastock  explained                                                                   
that  current  State law  clarifies  that children  four  and                                                                   
under need to be  in an appropriate device.   The bill adopts                                                                   
the federal guidelines  and adds the age group  four to eight                                                                   
for booster use or appropriate devices.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara pointed out  the letter of  support from                                                                   
Automobile Dealer's Association.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:06:49 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  recalled that in the 1980's,  the peek-a-                                                                   
boo program  provided free  child seats.   He commented  that                                                                   
the best use for  the funds is to provide free  seats through                                                                   
the Department of Transportation and Pubic Facilities.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
11:08:04 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARY SIROKY, SPECIAL ASSISTANT,  DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION                                                                   
AND  PUBLIC FACILITIES,  explained  that 50%  of the  federal                                                                   
funds would be  used for purchasing child  protection devices                                                                   
and the remainder dollars used for educational purposes.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  asked if the educational  effort would be                                                                   
weaned after  the second year.   Ms. Siroky did not  know the                                                                   
specifics of the federal requirement.   Senator French agreed                                                                   
the split between  purchasing seats and education  was a fair                                                                   
use of funds.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:09:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Chenault asked  if  the funding  could  be used  to                                                                   
enhance the  current program.   Ms. Siroky  did not  know the                                                                   
amount currently allocated for education and seat belt use.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:10:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:10:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Armstrong explained the zero  note from the Department of                                                                   
Transportation  and Pubic  Facilities,  clarifying that  $194                                                                   
thousand  dollars  had been  included  in  HCS SB  221  (FIN)                                                                   
allocation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:11:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze MOVED  to REPORT  CS SB  218(FIN) out  of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal  note. There  being NO OBJECTION,  it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS  SB 218(FIN)  was REPORTED  out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                   
pass" recommendation  and with a  new zero note by  the House                                                                   
Finance Committee  for the  Department of Transportation  and                                                                   
Pubic Facilities.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
11:12:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 120(FIN)                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     An  Act relating  to disclosure  of certain  information                                                                   
     from  the  records  of  the   Department  of  Labor  and                                                                   
     Workforce  Development  and  limiting  the  use  of  the                                                                   
     disclosed  information,   and  to  the  calculation  and                                                                   
     payment  of  unemployment   compensation  benefits;  and                                                                   
     providing for an effective date.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:13:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker suggested  that  future concerns  with                                                                   
the legislation  be addressed through the  regulatory process                                                                   
in upcoming sessions.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:14:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze MOVED  to REPORT  CS SB  120(FIN) out  of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal  note. There  being NO OBJECTION,  it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS  SB 120(FIN)  was REPORTED  out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                   
pass"  recommendation  and with  a  new  fiscal note  by  the                                                                   
Department  of  Administration  and  fiscal note  #2  by  the                                                                   
Department of Labor and Workforce Development.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
11:14:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 201(FIN)                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to the establishment  and maintenance of                                                                   
     an   Internet    website   providing    public   finance                                                                   
     information;  and  identifying  the  information  to  be                                                                   
     available on the Internet website.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:15:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE   SYDEMAN,   STAFF,   SENATOR   BILL   WIELECHOWSKI,                                                                   
explained the  intent of SB  201, the Alaska  Open Government                                                                   
Act, to mandate  creation of a free, searchable  website that                                                                   
provides Alaskans  with easy  access to detailed  information                                                                   
on State  spending.  She pointed  out that such  websites are                                                                   
happening  across  the  country.   In  2006,  President  Bush                                                                   
signed the  Federal Funding  Accountability and  Transparency                                                                   
Act.  The Act calls for creation  of a searchable website for                                                                   
federal  contracts  and  grants  of more  than  $25  thousand                                                                   
dollars.  Ms. Sydeman reported  that the legislation had been                                                                   
introduced  years  ago by  a  bipartisan  team of  four  U.S.                                                                   
senators, including John McCain and Barak Obama.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
She  added,  real  accountability  and  good  decision-making                                                                   
requires  an informed  public with access  to information  on                                                                   
government  spending.  The  Governor endorses  the bill.   SB                                                                   
201  places the  requirement  for free,  publicly  searchable                                                                   
database in  statute, so that  all future governors  show the                                                                   
same commitment to transparency and accountability.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Sydeman maintained  the bill is good public  policy as it                                                                   
provides  guidance  as to  the  type  of information  that  a                                                                   
public finance  website should contain.   The bill  calls for                                                                   
inclusion of information that  will provide a context for the                                                                   
lay  person  regarding  daily  spending  expenditures.    The                                                                   
fiscal note is  zero because it can be accomplished  by using                                                                   
the  existing  webmasters  and  finance  staff.    She  urged                                                                   
support for the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:18:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Thomas referenced  the title "public finance";                                                                   
he wondered  if it  could open-up  the possibility  of public                                                                   
financing  for  elections.   Ms.  Sydeman  had not  heard  of                                                                   
anyone  discussing  or  considering   that  possibility;  she                                                                   
added,   Senator   Wielechowski   would   not   support   it.                                                                   
Representative Thomas  worried that it could  come forward as                                                                   
an  amendment  on  the  House  floor.    Representative  Gara                                                                   
believed that  any language such  as that would not  pass the                                                                   
House floor.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  was  not  convinced  that  he  should                                                                   
support the bill.  Crossing the  line and forcing disclosures                                                                   
often does not  mesh with statewide regulations.   He pointed                                                                   
out that  the State is  being asked to  create a new  type of                                                                   
information  and accounting reporting  system on  information                                                                   
given  in  isolation  without   context.    He  worried  that                                                                   
adopting the  change would  not be  good; clarifying  that it                                                                   
becomes  a "professional  issue"  for him.    He proposed  an                                                                   
alternative,  requesting  that  the  Department  determine  a                                                                   
better  "cap stone"  index  for  the State  system  currently                                                                   
used.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:23:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Sydeman advised  that the Senate Finance  Committee (SFC)                                                                   
did  determine a  number  of items  that  are  clear for  the                                                                   
public  to understand  & determined  what  the public  should                                                                   
know from  State accountants to  help put the  State spending                                                                   
in  context.   Nothing has  been duplicated  in the  proposed                                                                   
system and there are no risks associated with the proposal.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  argued that once the  integrity of the                                                                   
document  is violated  by  removing it  out  of context,  the                                                                   
document then no  longer carries the authority or  is part of                                                                   
the audit.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara advised  that Sections  2 & 3,  describe                                                                   
the  information  that  should   be  made  available  on  the                                                                   
website.     He  understood   that  information,   the  State                                                                   
currently  prepares.    Ms.  Sydeman  said it  is  and  could                                                                   
automatically be  transferred to the website  through the new                                                                   
accounting system.   There would  be no additional  costs for                                                                   
doing that.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:26:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  clarified that the  Administration has                                                                   
already  undertaken  an  effort  in  that  direction  without                                                                   
making it a statutory  mandate.  When in statute,  there is a                                                                   
benchmark,  which could  be taken  to Court.   He  maintained                                                                   
that the proposed  change would not be good for  the State of                                                                   
Alaska.   He  recommended a  professional  evaluation of  the                                                                   
language being proposed.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS NELSON,  ALASKANS FOR TAX REFORM,  ANCHORAGE, testified                                                                   
via  teleconference,  spoke  in   favor  of  the  bill.    He                                                                   
explained that it  is part of an effort  happening nationally                                                                   
to provide  greater public access  to information.   He noted                                                                   
that he had  researched legislative spending  extensively and                                                                   
that information is difficult  to find.  The legislation will                                                                   
organize  the  information  and   make  it  accessible.    He                                                                   
commended  the  Legislature  for its  openness,  but  worried                                                                   
about  future legislatures.    He urged  the  bill pass  from                                                                   
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:31:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KIM  GARNERO, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION OF  FINANCE, DEPARTMENT  OF                                                                   
ADMINISTRATION,   DIRECTOR,   added   comments   to   address                                                                   
Representative  Hawker's  concerns.   She  pointed  out  that                                                                   
Senator  Wielechowski's office  had worked  closely with  the                                                                   
Department  to identify  items  within  the financial  report                                                                   
that would be of interest to Alaskans  and that they could be                                                                   
lifted from  a website  without misleading  the public.   She                                                                   
added that the information will  provide some context for the                                                                   
public.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  pointed out that all the  information is                                                                   
definable and currently  in print.  He stated  that a concern                                                                   
regarding lawsuit filings was mute.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly  referenced information provided  by the                                                                   
Department, which the Administration  does not believe should                                                                   
be  necessary  codified   in  statute.    He   asked  if  the                                                                   
Administration  supports   the  legislation.     Ms.  Sydeman                                                                   
responded that the Governor has  indicated to her personally,                                                                   
she supports placing it in statute.   Ms. Garnero had not yet                                                                   
received that information to date.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE:       11:35:39 AM                                                                                                    
RECONVENE:     11:37:26 AM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  MOVED  to  ADOPT Amendment  1.    The                                                                   
amendment  was drafted  to Page  1, Line  7, following  SHORT                                                                   
TITLE:                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Delete "This  Act may be  known as the Alaska  Open                                                                        
     Government Act"  and insert "This Act may  be known                                                                        
     as the Alaska Clear and Transparent  Open Access to                                                                        
     Alaskan  State  Government  Financing  for  Dummies                                                                        
     Act."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED for discussion purposes.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  offered   the  amendment  because  he                                                                   
observed there are better ways  to provide access to existing                                                                   
data.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  cautioned against using "dummies"  in the                                                                   
title.  Representative  Hawker suspected  copyright violation                                                                   
would  prevail since  it  is a  trademark  name; he  WITHDREW                                                                   
Amendment 1.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
11:41:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer highlighted  the zero  note submitted  by the                                                                   
Department of Administration.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker disagreed  with offering  a zero  note                                                                   
when the Department  is required to write  a cross-referenced                                                                   
data system.   He  did not  believe that  the proposed  scope                                                                   
could be accomplished  with no further funding.   Ms. Garnero                                                                   
responded   that  the   zero   note  was   predicated  on   a                                                                   
presentation using Microsoft Excel.   She agreed that if they                                                                   
moved into  a different type  technology, the note  would not                                                                   
be zero.  She mentioned the Alaska  Data Enterprise Reporting                                                                   
System  is currently  being  built to  replace  the now  used                                                                   
twenty-there year  old system.   The data warehouse  has made                                                                   
the Department able to generate the excel spreadsheet.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  reiterated that the  language proposed                                                                   
in  the  bill  does  not take  the  State  in  the  direction                                                                   
referred to by the Department.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly  worried  if the  process  could  drive                                                                   
private  business  away  from continuing  business  with  the                                                                   
State  of  Alaska  because  of   the  amount  of  information                                                                   
required.  He  recommended adding a sunset date  to track the                                                                   
development.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara interjected  that Page  4 describes  the                                                                   
confidentiality  statement  and   that  nothing  confidential                                                                   
would be allowed on the website.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:44:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze MOVED to REPORT CSSB 201(FIN) out of                                                                         
Committee with individual recommendations and with the                                                                          
accompanying zero note.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker OBJECTED.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Nelson, Stoltze, Thomas, Crawford, Gara,                                                                         
               Joule, Meyer                                                                                                     
OPPOSED:       Hawker, Kelly                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Chenault and Representative Foster were not                                                                      
present for the vote.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (7-2).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 201(FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a "no                                                                         
recommendation" and with zero note #1 by the Department of                                                                      
Administration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 11:47 A.M.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects