Legislature(2015 - 2016)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/04/2015 01:00 PM FINANCE


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Audio Topic
01:12:46 PM Start
01:12:57 PM HB72 || HB73
01:14:44 PM Public Testimony: Barrow, Dillingham, and Fairbanks
04:02:01 PM Public Testimony: Bethel, Cordova, Kotzebue, Nome, Valdez, Wrangell and "offnet" Sites
07:01:40 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
+= HB 72 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony -- Limited to 2 minutes each
+= HB 73 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony -- Limited to 2 minutes each
1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Barrow, Dillingham & Fairbanks
4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Bethel, Cordova, Kotzebue,
Nome, Valdez, Wrangell & "Off Net" Sites
Testimony Instructions:
- Please arrive 15 min. early for sign-in process
- Please arrive 15 min. prior to end of allotted
time or testimony will close early
- Select a spokesperson if you are part of a
group with the same message
- "Off Net" callers (communities with no LIO):
call only during designated time slot, 3/4/15
- If unable to testify during times allotted,
please send written testimony to:
lhscfin@akleg.gov
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       March 4, 2015                                                                                            
                         1:12 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:12:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Neuman  called the House Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 1:12 p.m.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mark Neuman, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Steve Thompson, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Dan Saddler, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Lynn Gattis                                                                                                      
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
Representative Cathy Munoz                                                                                                      
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Sam Kito  III; Representative  Dan Ortiz  in                                                                    
the audience.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Tom    Saxton,   KBRW    Radio,    Barrow;   Peggy    Cowan,                                                                    
Superintendent,   North  Slope   Borough  School   District,                                                                    
Barrow;  Mary Sage,  North  Slope  Borough School  District,                                                                    
Barrow; Alys Osborn, KBRW Radio,  Barrow; Geoff Carrol, KBRW                                                                    
Radio,  Barrow;   Cyd  Hanns,  KBRW  Radio,   Barrow;  Ethel                                                                    
Patkotak,  KBRW Radio,  Barrow; Lester  E. Parks,  Southwest                                                                    
Region  Schools,  Dillingham;   Susie  Jenkins-Brito,  Self,                                                                    
Dillingham;  Steve   Noonkesser,  Associate  Superintendent,                                                                    
Southwest   Region   Schools,  Dillingham;   David   Piazza,                                                                    
Southwest   Region  Schools,   Dillingham;  Danny   Frazier,                                                                    
Dillingham  School  District, Dillingham;  Rebekah  Fonkert,                                                                    
Imagination Library,  Dillingham; Jenny  Bennis, Imagination                                                                    
Library,  Dillingham;  Robyn  Chaney,  Imagination  Library,                                                                    
Dillingham;  Karen  Carpenter, Services  Coordinator,  SAFE,                                                                    
Dillingham;  John Marx,  Library, Dillingham;  Kim Williams,                                                                    
Parent,  Dillingham; Jodi  Sykes,  Self, Dillingham;  Victor                                                                    
Martin, Self, Fairbanks; Mary  Segreti, Self, Fairbanks; Max                                                                    
Honft, Self, Fairbanks;  Warren Christian, Doyon Associated,                                                                    
Fairbanks;  Scott Eickholt,  Local 942  Laborers, Fairbanks;                                                                    
Lance  Roberts,  Self,  Fairbanks; Bryan  Imus,  Local  942,                                                                    
Fairbanks; John  Plutt, Local 375, Fairbanks;  Jeremy Holan,                                                                    
Local 959,  Fairbanks; Alonzo Young, Local  375, North Pole;                                                                    
Albert   Pagh,  Self,   Fairbanks;   Diane  Preston,   Self,                                                                    
Fairbanks; Paul Reichart,  Former Educator, Fairbanks; David                                                                    
Withoff, Self,  Fairbanks; Sue Sherif, Self,  Fairbanks; Tom                                                                    
Lamal,  Self, Fairbanks;  Wendy  Dominique, Fairbanks  North                                                                    
Star  School District,  Fairbanks;  Theresa Williams,  Self,                                                                    
Fairbanks;  Jennifer   Jolis,  Breadline   Inc.,  Fairbanks;                                                                    
Sandra Kawalski, Assistant  Superintendent, Fairbanks School                                                                    
District, Fairbanks; Laura  Volmert, Self, Fairbanks; Alysha                                                                    
Childs,   Executive  Director,   North  Star   Youth  Court,                                                                    
Fairbanks;  Allison  Baldock,  Board  President  North  Star                                                                    
Youth  Court,  Fairbanks;  John Ferree,  Assistant  Business                                                                    
Manager,   IBEW,   Fairbanks;  Kirsten   McGraw,   Self/Deaf                                                                    
Individual,  Fairbanks;  Taber   Rehbaum,  Arctic  Alliance,                                                                    
Fairbanks;    Wendell   Whistler,    Training   Coordinator,                                                                    
Kornfield  Training,  Fairbanks;   Maggie  Matos,  Self/Deaf                                                                    
Individual,  Fairbanks;  Varnell Allen,  Interpreter,  Hands                                                                    
Helping Hearts,  Fairbanks; Joe  Hardenbrook, Office  of the                                                                    
Mayor, Fairbanks  North Star  Borough, Fairbanks;  Don Gray,                                                                    
Self,  Fairbanks; Doug  Tansy, President,  Fairbanks Central                                                                    
Labor  Council,  Fairbanks;   Walter  Robinson,  IBEW  1547,                                                                    
Fairbanks;   Sue   Hull,   Self,  Fairbanks;   Kelvin   Lee,                                                                    
President,   No  Limits,   Inc.,  Fairbanks;   Judi  Morack,                                                                    
Registered  Nurse,  National  Alliance  on  Mental  Illness,                                                                    
Fairbanks;  Mike   Prax,  Self,  North  Pole;   Janet  Cobb,                                                                    
Executive Director, Technology  Department, Fairbanks School                                                                    
District,  Fairbanks;  Andy   Harrington,  Self,  Fairbanks;                                                                    
Brenda  Stanhil,  Self,  Fairbanks;  Roger  Burggraf,  Self,                                                                    
Fairbanks;  Jazzanne   Gordon-Fretwell,  North   Star  Youth                                                                    
Court,  Fairbanks;  Afuat  Demola,  Alaska  Legal  Services,                                                                    
Fairbanks;  Cheryl  Kilgore,  Executive  Director,  Interior                                                                    
Community Health  Centers, Fairbanks; Will  Putman, Forestry                                                                    
Director,  Tanana  Chiefs   Conference,  Fairbanks;  Charles                                                                    
Mason, Teacher,  University of Alaska  Fairbanks, Fairbanks;                                                                    
Gail  Gallou,   Self,  Fairbanks;  Steve   Masterman,  Self,                                                                    
Fairbanks;  Darlene Supplee,  Executive Director,  Fairbanks                                                                    
Senior Center, Fairbanks;  Barry Donnellan, Self, Fairbanks;                                                                    
John  O'Brien,   Self,  Fairbanks;   Doreen  Schenkenberger,                                                                    
Executive Director,  Partners for Progress,  Anchorage; Doug                                                                    
Walrath, Director, Northwestern  Alaska Career and Technical                                                                    
Center   (NACTEC),  Nome;   Marguerite  LaRiviere,   Library                                                                    
Director,  Keogoyah Kogza  Library, Nome;  Alana Tousignant,                                                                    
Chiniak Public  Library, Chiniak; Sue Baker,  Chiniak Public                                                                    
Library,  Chiniak;  George   Pierce,  Self,  Kasilof;  Kathy                                                                    
Hanson,  KYUK, Bethel;  Rick Robb,  Mayor, Bethel;  Michelle                                                                    
Dewitt,  KYUK,  Bethel;  Nicholas  Hoover,  Social  Services                                                                    
Director  for  Association  of  Village  Council  Presidents                                                                    
(AVCP),  Bethel;  John  McIntyre, Temporary  Assistance  for                                                                    
Needy Families (TANF) Director,  AVCP, Bethel; Susan Murphy,                                                                    
KYUK, Bethel;  Amy Marshall, Director Craig  Public Library,                                                                    
Craig; John  Holst, Superintendent, Denali  School District,                                                                    
Healy;   Rob  Goldberg,   Chair,  Haines   Borough  Planning                                                                    
Commission,  Haines; Jennifer  Gibbins,  Cordova Chamber  of                                                                    
Commerce, Cordova; Steve  Graves, Nicholas Backdoor Company,                                                                    
Cordova;  Kendra   Apodaca,  Cordova   Imagination  Library,                                                                    
Cordova;  David Glasen,  Coach, Cordova  Iceworm Swim  Team,                                                                    
Cordova;  Curt Herschleb,  Self,  Cordova; Barclay  Kopchak,                                                                    
Self,   Cordova;   David   Otness,  Self,   Cordova;   Randy                                                                    
Robertson, City  Manager, City of Cordova,  Cordova; Deborah                                                                    
Eckley,  Self, Cordova;  Steven Angasan,  Executive Director                                                                    
of  Southwest Alaska  Vocational  Education Center  (SAVEC),                                                                    
King  Salmon; Annette  Skarhus,  Technical  Director of  the                                                                    
Bering Strait School  District, Unalakleet; Phyllis Swetzof,                                                                    
Acting  City Manager,  St. Paul  Island; John  Strasenburgh,                                                                    
Self, Talkeetna;  Ruth wood, Self, Talkeetna;  Pearl Brower,                                                                    
President, Illisagvik  College, Barrow; Ben Glover,  Dean of                                                                    
Community  and  Workforce Development,  Illisagvik  College,                                                                    
Barrow;  Sally Dybdahl,  School  Board  Member, Hoonah  City                                                                    
School District, Hoonah;  Bill Hill, Superintendent, Bristol                                                                    
Bay  Borough School  District;  James  Squyers, Self,  Delta                                                                    
Juction;   Pamela  Goode,   Self,   Delta  Junction;   Misty                                                                    
Fitzpatrick,   City  Administrator,   Coffman  Cove;   Brian                                                                    
Okonek,   Self,  Talkeetna;   Robin  Gray,   Superintendent,                                                                    
Yakutat School District; Scott  Hahn, City manager, Skagway;                                                                    
John Tronrud, Owner, Whitehouse  Bed and Breakfast, Skagway;                                                                    
Wendy  Anderson, Skagway  Convention  and Visitor's  Bureau;                                                                    
Jacqui Taylor, President, Golden  Circle Chapter, AK Tourism                                                                    
Industry  Association,  Skagway;   Chris  Valentine,  Owner,                                                                    
Sergeant  Preston's Lodge,  Skagway; Paul  Reichert, Tempsco                                                                    
Helicopter,  Inc., Skagway;  Mark Schaffer,  Mayor, Skagway;                                                                    
Katie  Fry, Self,  Anaktuvuk Pass;  PJ  Ford Slack,  Interim                                                                    
Superintendent, Hoonah School  District, Hoonah; Joe Plesha,                                                                    
Trident Seafoods,  Seattle; Carolyn Sayer,  Self, Talkeetna;                                                                    
Ellen  Woolf,  Self,  Talkeetna; Molly  Wood,  Self,  Chase;                                                                    
Sarah  Hanuske-Hamilton,  Interim  Superintendent,  Iditarod                                                                    
School  District,  Grayling;  Doug Smith,  Self,  Talkeetna;                                                                    
Mark Vink, Business Manager,  Bering Strait School District,                                                                    
Unalakleet;  Steve Atwater,  Vice President,  K-12 Outreach,                                                                    
University   of   Alaska,    Fairbanks;   Norma   Holmgaard,                                                                    
Superintendent,  Yupiit  School District,  Akiachak;  Mathew                                                                    
Allen, Self, McGrath;  Anthony Cravalho, Maniilaq Government                                                                    
Council,  Kotzebue;  Clara  Henry,  Kotzebue  Public  Radio,                                                                    
Kotzebue;  Willi  Prittie,  Self,  Sunshine;  Elenor  Henke,                                                                    
Self,  Sunshine; Diane  Brown, Self,  Denali National  Park;                                                                    
Benjamin  Brown, Self,  Denali National  Park; Bill  Thomas,                                                                    
Self,  Haines; Naomi  Norvack, Self,  McGrath; Norm  Carson,                                                                    
Pelican  Chamber of  Commerce,  Pelican;  Jackie Ray,  Self,                                                                    
Soldotna; Randall John Rosencrans,  Self, Galena; Rob Brown,                                                                    
Self, Ruby; Marla Howard, Self,  Kake; Barbara Mannix, Self,                                                                    
Talkeetna;  Grete  Perkins,  Self,  Talkeetna;  Jack  Walsh,                                                                    
Superintendent,  Craig   School  District,   Craig;  Whitney                                                                    
Wolff,  Chair,   Talkeetna  Community   Council,  Talkeetna;                                                                    
Heather  Leba, Self,  Talkeetna; Janet  Balice, Nome  Public                                                                    
Schools,  Nome; Luisa  Machuca,  Northwestern Alaska  Career                                                                    
and Technical  Center (NACTEC), Nome; Angie  Gorn, President                                                                    
and  CEO,  Norton  Sound Health  Corporation  (NSHC),  Nome;                                                                    
Mathew Michels,  Nome Eskimo Community, Nome;  Debi Baldwin,                                                                    
Child Development Director, Rural  CAP, Nome; Brian Merritt,                                                                    
Wrangell Fish  and Game  Advisory Committee,  Wrangell; Jeff                                                                    
Jabusch,  Borough Manager,  City  and  Borough of  Wrangell,                                                                    
Wrangell;  Ruth  Stough,   Self,  Wrangell;  Patrick  Mayer,                                                                    
Superintendent, Wrangell Public  Schools, Wrangell; Michelle                                                                    
Galla,  Self, Wrangell;  Zach Fansler,  Councilman, City  of                                                                    
Bethel, Bethel;  Kara Johnson,  Self, Cordova;  Kathy Leary,                                                                    
Workforce Development Training  Manager, Illisagvik College,                                                                    
Barrow;  Tyler Rose,  Executive  Directive,  White Pass  and                                                                    
Yukon Route Railroad, Skagway;                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 72     APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          HB 72 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 73     APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          HB 73 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 72                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain    programs,    capitalizing   funds,    making                                                                    
     reappropriations, and making  appropriations under art.                                                                    
     IX, sec.  17(c), Constitution of  the State  of Alaska,                                                                    
     from  the  constitutional   budget  reserve  fund;  and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 73                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive mental health  program; and providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:12:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Neuman  discussed  the meeting  agenda.  He  asked                                                                    
testifiers  to  limit  their comments  to  two  minutes.  He                                                                    
discussed  the  meeting agenda  for  the  following day.  He                                                                    
recognized Representative Adam Wool in the committee room.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY: BARROW, DILLINGHAM, AND FAIRBANKS                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:14:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM SAXTON,  KBRW RADIO, BARROW (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
against the proposed 60 percent  cut to public broadcasting.                                                                    
He emphasized the draconian nature  of the proposed cuts. He                                                                    
relayed that  rural communities relied solely  on the single                                                                    
radio stations  serving hub communities  as the  only source                                                                    
of  major information  for news,  public affairs,  emergency                                                                    
communication and  other. He  stressed that  the substantial                                                                    
cuts  would  be  very  difficult  to  handle;  budgets  were                                                                    
already stretched tightly.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Neuman  noted testifiers  that staff was  doing its                                                                    
best to take notes on testimony that came in.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:17:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PEGGY  COWAN,  SUPERINTENDENT,  NORTH SLOPE  BOROUGH  SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT, BARROW (via  teleconference), testified in support                                                                    
of  funds  for  education.  She thanked  the  committee  for                                                                    
providing education  funding the prior year.  She understood                                                                    
the legislature  had difficult decisions to  make related to                                                                    
finances.  She  testified  in   support  of  broadband;  the                                                                    
internet  and  modern  technology were  critical  for  rural                                                                    
schools. She  pointed to matching  federal funds  that would                                                                    
have more than  doubled an increment for  the community. She                                                                    
asked for the restoration of one-time funds.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:19:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY SAGE, NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH  SCHOOL DISTRICT, BARROW (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke in  favor of  funding for  broadband                                                                    
internet  services. She  stated that  the students  with the                                                                    
smallest schools  and the least  number of  course offerings                                                                    
also  had   [slow]  internet  access  that   challenged  the                                                                    
students' ability  to take advantage of  distance education.                                                                    
The recent increase in bandwidth  speed was not extravagant.                                                                    
She feared that the slow  internet service would be the next                                                                    
educational divide. She encouraged  the committee to restore                                                                    
the budget to 2015 levels.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:20:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALYS OSBORN, KBRW RADIO,  BARROW (via teleconference), spoke                                                                    
against cuts  to public broadcasting. She  communicated that                                                                    
the  cuts  could  potentially eliminate  the  Alaska  Public                                                                    
Radio Network  (APRN). She stressed  that the  community had                                                                    
no daily newspaper  or other means to  receive state, local,                                                                    
or   world  news;   it  depended   heavily   on  the   radio                                                                    
programming. She detailed that  major outages due to weather                                                                    
were  reported  on  the  radio;   the  radio  also  provided                                                                    
emergency  broadcasting for  missing individuals  and other.                                                                    
She noted that  there would be no way to  inform villages of                                                                    
meetings  and  of  sporting events.  The  health  department                                                                    
informed communities on  many issues on a  weekly basis. She                                                                    
stressed the critical nature of the programming.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:22:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GEOFF  CARROL,  KBRW  RADIO,  BARROW  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified   in  favor   of  restored   funding  for   public                                                                    
broadcasting.  He  stated  that the  significant  cut  would                                                                    
result  in workforce  and  services  reductions. He  relayed                                                                    
that KBRW was  a vital link to the North  Slope. He detailed                                                                    
the importance of the broadcasting  to notify communities of                                                                    
weather,  local  events,  meetings, sports,  and  other.  He                                                                    
believed  the  broadcasting  was particularly  critical  for                                                                    
rural  communities. He  understood  that cuts  needed to  be                                                                    
made,  but  he believed  a  cut  of  the proposed  size  was                                                                    
drastic.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:25:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CYD HANNS,  KBRW RADIO,  BARROW (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
against cuts  to public broadcasting. She  agreed with prior                                                                    
testimony  in favor  of  KBRW. She  relayed  that the  radio                                                                    
station acted  as a vital  element for  communication within                                                                    
communities. She stressed that  the radio acted as essential                                                                    
backup for emergency communications.  She relayed that there                                                                    
were public  fundraisers, but there  was only so  much local                                                                    
support that could be provided.  She stated that it would be                                                                    
drastic for the community to lose APRN.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:27:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ETHEL  PATKOTAK, KBRW  RADIO,  BARROW (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  favor of  the restoration  of funds  to public                                                                    
broadcasting.  She  stressed that  the  59  percent cut  was                                                                    
drastic; the cut equated to a  loss of $80,000 for KBRW. She                                                                    
detailed that  the station already operated  on a bare-bones                                                                    
budget. She  shared that the  station pooled  resources with                                                                    
other non-profit stations related  to reporting. The station                                                                    
relied  heavily  on   friendly  commercial  operators  whose                                                                    
employees traveled  to villages to lend  technical employees                                                                    
to trouble  shoot problems that  may arise in  the villages.                                                                    
People depended on  the station as a news  source and other.                                                                    
She  stressed that  the public  broadcasting was  a critical                                                                    
communications link in rural Alaska.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:30:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LESTER E.  PARKS, SOUTHWEST REGION SCHOOLS,  DILLINGHAM (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in support  of the  Alaska Broadband                                                                    
Assistance  Grant.  He  had additionally  submitted  written                                                                    
testimony.  He  discussed that  the  grant's  intent was  to                                                                    
reach  a speed  of 10  megabits per  second per  school; the                                                                    
increase  was not  extravagant  (the Federal  Communications                                                                    
Commission considered 25 megabits  as high speed broadband).                                                                    
He provided further detail about  the schools' past internet                                                                    
speeds.  He discussed  the  schools'  reliance on  increased                                                                    
internet  speed  especially in  light  of  new state  online                                                                    
testing.  He  noted  that  for   $1.00  spent  the  district                                                                    
received $9.00 through the e-Rate  program. He stressed that                                                                    
the district  could not afford to  offer increased broadband                                                                    
without assistance.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:33:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUSIE JENKINS-BRITO, SELF,  DILLINGHAM (via teleconference),                                                                    
spoke  in favor  of public  radio and  Best Beginnings.  She                                                                    
discussed  that the  community relied  heavily on  the radio                                                                    
station to provide up to  date fisheries reports (especially                                                                    
during  commercial fishing  season  when  the Department  of                                                                    
Fish and  Game commercial  fishing openers  were announced).                                                                    
She emphasized  that services provided by  the radio station                                                                    
were imperative to the Bristol  Bay region. She did not know                                                                    
what the  community would do  without the radio.  She stated                                                                    
that a  59 percent  cut was disproportionate  and excessive.                                                                    
She asked the committee to  consider a more realistic cut of                                                                    
10  percent.  She  spoke against  cuts  to  the  Imagination                                                                    
Library and Best Beginnings.  She provided information about                                                                    
the program  that provided books  to children via  mail. She                                                                    
stressed that early literacy was imperative.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:35:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE   NOONKESSER,   ASSOCIATE  SUPERINTENDENT,   SOUTHWEST                                                                    
REGION SCHOOLS,  DILLINGHAM (via teleconference),  asked for                                                                    
a reinstatement  of funding for the  Alaska Learning Network                                                                    
(AKLN). He disputed reports that  the program was a failure;                                                                    
it  was far  from the  truth. He  shared that  AKLN was  the                                                                    
result of over  20 years of efforts by  Alaskan educators to                                                                    
provide  a  program that  offered  varied  and high  quality                                                                    
offerings  to   all  students  regardless  of   location  or                                                                    
individual circumstances. He detailed  that over 100 courses                                                                    
were currently offered; the majority  of which addressed the                                                                    
Alaska Performance Scholarship  requirements. Students in 47                                                                    
of Alaska's  school districts took courses  through AKLN. He                                                                    
stressed that the program was worthy of continued funding.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:37:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID  PIAZZA,  SOUTHWEST  REGION SCHOOLS,  DILLINGHAM  (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  in support of  the reinstatement                                                                    
of $32  million in  one-time education  funds that  had been                                                                    
approved the prior  session as part of  a three-year funding                                                                    
package. He  elaborated that  districts understood  that the                                                                    
one-time  funds would  be reduced  each year,  subsequently,                                                                    
the  district had  been working  on its  long-range plan  to                                                                    
keep instructional  programs intact. The  currently proposed                                                                    
cut meant  an immediate  $388,000 funding cliff.  He relayed                                                                    
that the  district's students had  already lost  music, fine                                                                    
arts, and  many of  the career  and technical  pathways. The                                                                    
significant  reduction in  funding would  mean cuts  to core                                                                    
academic instruction.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:39:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DANNY FRAZIER,  DILLINGHAM SCHOOL DISTRICT,  DILLINGHAM (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke in support  of the restoration of $32                                                                    
million  in one-time  education funds.  He was  in favor  of                                                                    
increased  broadband  access.  He  urged  the  committee  to                                                                    
restore the funds, which were  vital to rural Alaskan school                                                                    
districts.  He  stressed  that students  deserved  the  same                                                                    
opportunities  in  rural Alaska  as  they  would receive  in                                                                    
urban  areas.  He expounded  that  the  one-time funds  were                                                                    
often provided in  place of an increase to  the Base Student                                                                    
Allocation   (BSA);  the   money   was   used  to   maintain                                                                    
facilities, pay  utility bills, and  to supplement  the cost                                                                    
of food service. He stressed that  a loss of the funds could                                                                    
delay major maintenance projects.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:41:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REBEKAH  FONKERT,   IMAGINATION  LIBRARY,   DILLINGHAM  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified  in  favor  of  the  Imagination                                                                    
Library  and   the  Best  Beginnings  program.   She  shared                                                                    
information about  the program. She relayed  that children's                                                                    
brain  development  was  enhanced   by  early  learning  and                                                                    
education. She  relayed that 60  percent of  American prison                                                                    
inmates  were   illiterate  and   85  percent   of  juvenile                                                                    
offenders had  reading problems.  She discussed  benefits of                                                                    
early  learning;  there  was a  direct  correlation  between                                                                    
reading to  children and success  in later life.  She stated                                                                    
that investing  in young children made  good economic sense;                                                                    
every $1.00  invested yielded back many  dollars in societal                                                                    
savings.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:42:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JENNY   BENNIS,   IMAGINATION   LIBRARY,   DILLINGHAM   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  strongly   encouraged  the   committee  to                                                                    
maintain  funding  for  the  Best  Beginnings  program.  She                                                                    
stressed that the program helped  rural Alaska. She provided                                                                    
information   about  the   program   that  supported   early                                                                    
childhood  development.  She  noted  that  the  program  may                                                                    
provide  the  only access  to  books  for children  in  some                                                                    
villages.  She   asked  the  committee  to   keep  making  a                                                                    
difference in children's lives.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:43:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBYN   CHANEY,   IMAGINATION   LIBRARY,   DILLINGHAM   (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in favor  of a restoration  of funds                                                                    
to the  Best Beginnings  program. She communicated  that she                                                                    
was  an  adoptive  and foster  parent  to  five  school-aged                                                                    
children.  The  Dillingham   Imagination  Library  currently                                                                    
served  over  205  children in  Dillingham,  Koliganek,  and                                                                    
Aleknagik.  She elaborated  that  every child  aged zero  to                                                                    
five in  both Koliganek and  Aleknagik were enrolled  in the                                                                    
program;  the program  provided the  sole source  of reading                                                                    
material. She stressed that the  program was affordable. She                                                                    
relayed that  kindergarten readiness was in  crisis in rural                                                                    
Alaska.  She  shared  that  the  books  provided  to  foster                                                                    
children  in   the  region  was   often  one  of   the  only                                                                    
possessions the children had with their name on them.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:45:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KAREN  CARPENTER,  SERVICES  COORDINATOR,  SAFE,  DILLINGHAM                                                                    
(via  teleconference), spoke  against cuts  to Alaska  Legal                                                                    
Services  that   provided  legal  services  to   victims  of                                                                    
violence.   She  highlighted   that  there   was  only   one                                                                    
practicing  private attorney  in  Bristol Bay.  There was  a                                                                    
single Alaska  Legal Services attorney  funded cooperatively                                                                    
through   a  state   grant  and   the  Bristol   Bay  Native                                                                    
Association. The  majority of the clientele  were low income                                                                    
and  had no  other legal  representation. She  spoke to  the                                                                    
high caseload  of the public  defender's office.  She stated                                                                    
that the service was the  only one available; a reduction in                                                                    
funding for Alaska Legal Services  would result in a loss of                                                                    
the  attorney's position,  which would  threaten the  health                                                                    
and safety of individuals.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:47:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN MARX,  LIBRARY, DILLINGHAM (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support of funding for  broadband access. He relayed that                                                                    
video  conferencing  enabled the  library  to  connect to  a                                                                    
multitude  of other  libraries  and training  opportunities.                                                                    
The service  provided internet  access to  local individuals                                                                    
who would not have access  otherwise. He elaborated that the                                                                    
service  gave   residents  the  ability  to   fill  out  job                                                                    
applications, do research, and  communicate with loved ones.                                                                    
He relayed  that the service provided  a tremendous resource                                                                    
to  rural Alaska.  He spoke  in support  of the  Online with                                                                    
Libraries program.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:49:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KIM  WILLIAMS,  PARENT,   DILLINGHAM  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke in support of funding  for education. She communicated                                                                    
that one  of the state's constitutional  requirements was to                                                                    
provide education  for its children.  She spoke to  the high                                                                    
cost of  education for children  in rural Alaska.  She asked                                                                    
the committee to reinstate one-time  funding that had passed                                                                    
the prior  year. She asked  the committee to  fund education                                                                    
to the maximum extent possible.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:50:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JODI   SYKES,   SELF,   DILLINGHAM   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
requested  that  proposed  cuts to  public  broadcasting  be                                                                    
reduced.  She discussed  three stations  that served  all of                                                                    
Western and  Southwest Alaska; the stations  provide news to                                                                    
the regions. She  stressed that the proposed  59 percent cut                                                                    
would be  drastic and  damaging; it  would mean  staff cuts.                                                                    
She thanked the  legislature for funding in  prior years for                                                                    
water  and  sewer  projects.  She spoke  in  support  of  $7                                                                    
million in funds for the community jail.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:52:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICTOR MARTIN,  SELF, FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support  of funds  for interpreter services.  He provided                                                                    
information on  his life as  a deaf person in  Fairbanks. He                                                                    
stressed that as  a deaf person it was important  to have an                                                                    
interpreter  help  communicate  at doctor  appointments  and                                                                    
other.  He added  that it  was difficult  to make  it around                                                                    
without an interpreter.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:54:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY  SEGRETI, SELF,  FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
through  an  interpreter.  She stressed  the  importance  of                                                                    
interpreters  for  deaf  people. She  elaborated  that  deaf                                                                    
people  needed interpreters  in hospitals,  police stations,                                                                    
and many  other locations.  She encouraged the  committee to                                                                    
not  stop  listening  to  deaf   people.  She  implored  the                                                                    
committee  to keep  funding  interpreters.  She stated  that                                                                    
many deaf  people were present  to convey  their frustration                                                                    
at the  possibility of not having  interpreters. She thanked                                                                    
the committee for its time.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:56:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAX HONFT,  SELF, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
support  of  public  broadcasting and  Best  Beginnings.  He                                                                    
relayed that  public broadcasting played a  very significant                                                                    
role  in  Fairbanks.  The  stations  in  Fairbanks  provided                                                                    
access  to  a  wide  demographic  of  individuals  including                                                                    
children and adults. He stated  that news was crucial to the                                                                    
Interior;  maintaining a  strong  ability  to produce  local                                                                    
news was  vitally important for  the community.  He remarked                                                                    
on  the fundraising  success for  the  station; despite  the                                                                    
efforts  the  station was  still  facing  staffing cuts.  He                                                                    
reiterated his support of Best Beginnings.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:58:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WARREN   CHRISTIAN,   DOYON   ASSOCIATED,   FAIRBANKS   (via                                                                    
teleconference), asked  for the restoration of  funds to the                                                                    
Construction  Education  Foundation  in  the  Department  of                                                                    
Labor  and Workforce  Development.  He relayed  that it  was                                                                    
important  to  provide  training  to Alaskans  for  jobs  in                                                                    
state. He spoke to a  specialized 4.5 month accelerated pipe                                                                    
welding program.  He shared that  the company  employed over                                                                    
500 people  on the North  Slope and prided itself  on hiring                                                                    
Alaskans. He stressed  that the program was  great and asked                                                                    
the committee to keep it alive.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:59:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT   EICKHOLT,  LOCAL   942   LABORERS,  FAIRBANKS   (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke in support  education programs in the                                                                    
Department  of Labor  and Workforce  Development. He  stated                                                                    
that the administrative branch  was charged with determining                                                                    
how  to best  use funds  to run  an effective  and efficient                                                                    
government service; therefore,  targeting specific positions                                                                    
was  inappropriate. He  elaborated  that  the Department  of                                                                    
Education  and Early  Development was  responsible for  core                                                                    
learning   curriculum   to   prepare  children   to   become                                                                    
knowledgeable; however,  the education did not  teach people                                                                    
how to  enter into the  workforce with the  expectations and                                                                    
demands of  safe and responsible  workers. He  spoke against                                                                    
pitting programs  against each  other and observed  that the                                                                    
programs were  designed to help  people enter  the workforce                                                                    
safely. He  remarked on the  legislature only  cutting 0.001                                                                    
percent of  its own  budget. He  supported a  restoration of                                                                    
funds to the governor's proposed level.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:01:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LANCE ROBERTS,  SELF, FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in  favor  of cuts  to  spending  to provide  a  sustainable                                                                    
budget.  He was  against  use  of the  Permanent  Fund or  a                                                                    
statewide  income  tax. He  believed  the  budget should  be                                                                    
brought   below  $4.5   billion   in  three   years  to   be                                                                    
sustainable.  He urged  the committee  to  keep looking  for                                                                    
cuts. He  had heard the Senate  was aiming for cuts  of $700                                                                    
million, which  he believed  was a good  place to  start. He                                                                    
remarked   on  deleted   funding   for  the   Administrative                                                                    
Regulation  Review Committee.  He strongly  believed it  was                                                                    
critical to  cut regulation to increase  economic diversity.                                                                    
He   stated  that   regulation  clogged   up  business   and                                                                    
economies.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:04:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRYAN  IMUS,  LOCAL  942,  FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  against  cuts  to the  Department  of  Labor  and                                                                    
Workforce Development. He worked on  a daily basis to ensure                                                                    
that employers  followed the law including  wage, local-hire                                                                    
and per  diem, safety  and workers' compensation,  and other                                                                    
laws.  He  stressed  that  the laws  were  enforced  by  the                                                                    
Department  of Labor  and Workforce  Development. He  stated                                                                    
that eliminating the positions was  an attack on all Alaskan                                                                    
workers.  He spoke  in support  of  public broadcasting.  He                                                                    
supported the governor's proposed budget.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:05:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  PLUTT,  LOCAL  375,  FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke in opposition  to cuts to the Department  of Labor and                                                                    
Workforce  Development. He  stated that  the elimination  of                                                                    
training  programs   would  position  employers   to  import                                                                    
employees from  out-of-state, which was an  ongoing problem.                                                                    
He encouraged  the committee to  restore funding  to current                                                                    
training program levels. The  training would enable Alaskans                                                                    
to  seek good  paying jobs  and careers  in order  to better                                                                    
provide for themselves and their families.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:06:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEREMY  HOLAN, LOCAL  959,  FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference),                                                                    
asked  for the  restoration  of cuts  to  the Department  of                                                                    
Labor  and  Workforce  Development.  He  stressed  that  the                                                                    
elimination of  training funding  would increase  the number                                                                    
of  out  of  state  workers in  the  construction  field  in                                                                    
Alaska.  He elaborated  that when  the  problem worsened  it                                                                    
would mean more Alaskans would  leave the state in search of                                                                    
work and  more affordable  living conditions.  He emphasized                                                                    
the importance of increasing or  maintaining the funding for                                                                    
training for  local Alaskans,  which would  prepare Alaskans                                                                    
to build the state's infrastructure.  He was against cuts to                                                                    
OSHA,  which  would  increase the  numbers  of  injuries  to                                                                    
workers. He reiterated his opposition to the cuts.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:07:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALONZO YOUNG,  LOCAL 375,  NORTH POLE  (via teleconference),                                                                    
asked  for  full  funding   of  the  Construction  Education                                                                    
Foundation  in   the  Department  of  Labor   and  Workforce                                                                    
Development budget. He spoke to  his experience in a welding                                                                    
program funded  by the state;  without the program  he would                                                                    
not be employed on the North Slope.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:08:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALBERT   PAGH,   SELF,   FAIRBANKS   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
discussed  his former  ownership  of a  logging and  sawmill                                                                    
business in Fairbanks. He spoke  in support of Fairbanks and                                                                    
Delta   foresters,   who   had   done   an   excellent   job                                                                    
administrating   the   Tanana   Valley  State   Forest.   He                                                                    
communicated that the Delta and  Tok areas had a significant                                                                    
amount of  downed timber that  would be  lost if it  was not                                                                    
salvaged. He stressed that it  took many hours and hard work                                                                    
to  put up  sales  to salvage  wood that  had  no value.  He                                                                    
relayed that  if the  wood was not  salvaged there  would be                                                                    
lost value  to the state,  lost jobs in the  private sector,                                                                    
and a  loss of cheaper  heating fuel. He  discussed firewood                                                                    
operations  in the  Fairbanks area  that were  creating many                                                                    
jobs in the private sector.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:11:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DIANE   PRESTON,  SELF,   FAIRBANKS  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
recalled  a   recent  statement   the  state's   budget  was                                                                    
experiencing "terrible  times." She contended  that terrible                                                                    
times meant  people were  losing their  jobs and  that there                                                                    
was no  money in  savings. She remarked  that the  state had                                                                    
$66 billion in  the bank including $13  billion in reserves.                                                                    
She  spoke  against  cuts  to  education,  senior  services,                                                                    
public broadcasting, arts, and  music. She suggested looking                                                                    
at using  the budget reserves  to provide time  to determine                                                                    
what to  do about  the budget. She  testified in  support of                                                                    
Medicaid funds.  She spoke in  favor of capping the  PFD and                                                                    
for statewide income tax.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:13:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAUL    REICHART,    FORMER   EDUCATOR,    FAIRBANKS    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified in  support of  higher education                                                                    
for the University of Alaska  system. He believed there were                                                                    
no state  supported programs that  were more  important than                                                                    
public education.  He discussed that  instructional research                                                                    
and public  service programs provided  by the  University of                                                                    
Alaska were  incredibly valuable to  the state. He  spoke to                                                                    
the  contributions of  university graduates.  He provided  a                                                                    
personal example about  the success of his  children who had                                                                    
graduated  from  the  University  of  Alaska  Fairbanks.  He                                                                    
highlighted  different ways  University  of Alaska  students                                                                    
positively impacted  the state. He commented  on the Alaskan                                                                    
Grown brand.  He was  concerned about  the magnitude  of the                                                                    
proposed  cuts and  about  legislative mandates  designating                                                                    
where  cuts  would  be  taken. He  asked  the  committee  to                                                                    
consider spreading the cuts over several years.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:16:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID   WITHOFF,  SELF,   FAIRBANKS  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in  support  of  the  university.  He  urged  the                                                                    
legislature   to  exercise   oversight   to  encourage   the                                                                    
university to make cuts that  minimized impacts on students.                                                                    
He  communicated   that  the  university  was   planning  to                                                                    
eliminate  term staff,  adjunct faculty,  and programs  that                                                                    
had  no  politically  savvy advocates;  the  university  had                                                                    
selected the  areas to  cut not because  they were  the best                                                                    
place to cut,  but because they were easy places  to cut. He                                                                    
stated that  the chosen  positions tended to  be at  the low                                                                    
end of the pay scale;  therefore more positions needed to be                                                                    
cut to obtain  much savings. He stated that  the cuts tended                                                                    
to  have a  disproportionate  impact on  students. He  noted                                                                    
that  there may  be  higher paid  employees  that were  more                                                                    
difficult to  get rid  of; however, he  believed it  was not                                                                    
impossible. He  reasoned that if  the university  could make                                                                    
the cuts at a higher  level they could achieve the requested                                                                    
budget reductions with less impact on students.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:17:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUE SHERIF, SELF, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference), urged the                                                                    
restoration  of  the  Online  with  Libraries  program.  She                                                                    
stated  that the  broadband subsidies  for  67 rural  public                                                                    
libraries combined  with local  funding to leverage  over $2                                                                    
million  in federal  e-rate funding.  She  relayed that  the                                                                    
small and  remote libraries operated on  modest budgets that                                                                    
were often less  than $50,000 per year.  She emphasized that                                                                    
the  high bandwidth  costs were  unaffordable without  state                                                                    
and federal  assistance. She highlighted that  OWL funds had                                                                    
supported  a  videoconference  network  for  all  97  public                                                                    
libraries  in the  state. She  provided examples  related to                                                                    
the importance of the services.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:20:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM   LAMAL,    SELF,   FAIRBANKS    (via   teleconference),                                                                    
recommended changes  to the way  the Department of  Fish and                                                                    
Game   generated  revenue.   He   stated   that  the   guide                                                                    
requirement   for   non-resident   hunters  needed   to   be                                                                    
eliminated, which mean  the hunter would pay  the state more                                                                    
for  non-resident  tags.  He  reasoned  that  if  the  guide                                                                    
requirement for  sheep, goat, and bear  hunting was removed,                                                                    
an  increased  number  of   non-residents  would  apply  for                                                                    
permits  and the  state would  generate  revenue by  selling                                                                    
more  tags. Additionally,  the state  could sell  preference                                                                    
points, which  increased a hunter's  chances of  being drawn                                                                    
in subsequent  years. He  relayed that  in other  states the                                                                    
preference points were generally $30  to $50 per species per                                                                    
year. He  provided information  about the  costs of  tags in                                                                    
other  states.  He  stressed  that  license  fees  for  non-                                                                    
residents  needed  to  be  aligned  with  what  out-of-state                                                                    
hunters  were  charged  in  other  states.  He  opined  that                                                                    
resident  Alaskans  needed   to  contribute  financially  by                                                                    
paying  for the  tags they  used. He  further discussed  the                                                                    
cost of tag fees.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:22:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WENDY  DOMINIQUE,  FAIRBANKS  NORTH  STAR  SCHOOL  DISTRICT,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),   spoke  against  cuts  to                                                                    
education.  She  supported  a  reinstatement  of  the  $32.2                                                                    
million  one-time   education  funds  passed   the  previous                                                                    
legislative  session. She  shared  that the  FY 16  proposed                                                                    
budget  anticipated  a  shortfall  of  $7.5  million,  which                                                                    
included  the  supplemental  revenue promised  the  previous                                                                    
session. The  district would be  facing a shortfall  of over                                                                    
$11  million  if the  one-time  funds  were eliminated.  She                                                                    
communicated that  88 percent of the  district's budget went                                                                    
to salary and benefits. She  stressed that cuts would result                                                                    
in   increased  class   sizes   and   cuts  to   counselors,                                                                    
administrative support, arts, and other important areas.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:24:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THERESA  WILLIAMS,  SELF,  FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
requested  the  reinstatement  of funding  for  the  McGrath                                                                    
Department  of Natural  Resources (DNR)  camp. She  detailed                                                                    
that the  Southwest region encompassed  88 million  acres of                                                                    
land.  She   elaborated  that   statute  and   DNR's  master                                                                    
agreement  made  the  state responsible  for  covering  fire                                                                    
suppression  in the  region. She  relayed that  the cut  had                                                                    
been  proposed, but  there was  no  plan on  how to  provide                                                                    
coverage. She  stressed that the  cuts would  increase costs                                                                    
and  danger  for the  region.  She  communicated that  smoke                                                                    
jumpers only  covered the first one  to two days of  a fire.                                                                    
She stated that the  reduction would negatively impact rural                                                                    
areas and would make fire suppression difficult.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:27:17                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER    JOLIS,    BREADLINE   INC.,    FAIRBANKS    (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  in support of the  human service                                                                    
community match  grant program. She stated  that governments                                                                    
at all levels  took care of services  that individuals could                                                                    
not. For  example, the volunteer  fire department  could put                                                                    
out a residential  fire when a resident could  not; the fire                                                                    
department in  turn depended on  funding from  another area.                                                                    
She  stressed   the  importance   of  supporting   the  most                                                                    
vulnerable neighbors (e.g. seniors,  youths, and other). She                                                                    
relayed that  in the current  year there were  15 applicants                                                                    
for funds  provided through community service  match grants.                                                                    
She stressed  the importance  of providing  individuals with                                                                    
three   essential  things   including  food,   shelter,  and                                                                    
education.  She  implored  the  committee  to  refrain  from                                                                    
cutting the grant program.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:29:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SANDRA KAWALSKI, ASSISTANT  SUPERINTENDENT, FAIRBANKS SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT,  FAIRBANKS  (via   teleconference),  testified  in                                                                    
support of public education funding.  She explained that the                                                                    
funding would  decrease the already very  large class sizes.                                                                    
Smaller class  sizes are  proven to  be more  beneficial for                                                                    
education,  and  students  in   smaller  classes  were  more                                                                    
successful than those in large classes.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:31:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LAURA VOLMERT,  SELF, FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), urged                                                                    
support  of public  school  funding. Teacher  sustainability                                                                    
was at  risk, if  the funding was  reduced. She  shared that                                                                    
she was  a parent of  elementary age children.  She stressed                                                                    
that the  students would not  be given a second  chance. She                                                                    
felt  that an  income  tax, the  permanent  fund, and  other                                                                    
taxes should  be considered as  other forms of  revenue. She                                                                    
felt that recognizing that children  were the most important                                                                    
investment.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:33:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALYSHA CHILDS,  EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORTH STAR  YOUTH COURT,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), spoke  in favor  of funding                                                                    
for  therapeutic  courts. She  shared  that  409 cases  were                                                                    
heard in  2014. She felt  that the funding would  save money                                                                    
that would  be used  in public  safety. Those  that graduate                                                                    
from  youth court  often complete  high school  and college.                                                                    
She shared  that she  was one  of the  first teachers  for a                                                                    
drug and alcohol class. One  of her former students was able                                                                    
to  use the  knowledge that  he  learned in  her class,  and                                                                    
shared a story with her.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:35:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALLISON  BALDOCK, BOARD  PRESIDENT NORTH  STAR YOUTH  COURT,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), spoke  in favor  of funding                                                                    
for  therapeutic courts.  She felt  that the  members should                                                                    
examine  the  programs  more   closely.  She  remarked  that                                                                    
students  who participate  in the  youth court  program were                                                                    
more  successful citizens.  Removing the  youth court  would                                                                    
result  in  a higher  recidivism  rate  and  put more  of  a                                                                    
financial  burden on  public safety.  She stressed  that the                                                                    
youth  court  would reduce  the  cost  of other  aspects  of                                                                    
government.  She  stated that  the  youth  court provided  a                                                                    
greater  savings  to the  state  across  other agencies  and                                                                    
organizations.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:37:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  FERREE, ASSISTANT  BUSINESS  MANAGER, IBEW,  FAIRBANKS                                                                    
(via teleconference), testified in  support of Department of                                                                    
Labor  and  Workforce  Development  programs  including  the                                                                    
Alaska  Construction  Academy.  He felt  that  the  programs                                                                    
acted  as transitioning  assistance  for  those leaving  the                                                                    
military.   The  programs   provided  the   opportunity  for                                                                    
building  and   developing  a  strong   infrastructure.  The                                                                    
academy  provided  free, entry-level  construction  training                                                                    
for adults who  want to work in construction  in Alaska. The                                                                    
program  depended   entirely  on  grant  funding   from  the                                                                    
Department  of  Labor  and Workforce  Development  to  train                                                                    
Alaskans,  and  teach   necessary  skills  for  construction                                                                    
careers.  It was  the only  program in  the state  that gave                                                                    
adults  access to  high quality  construction training  at a                                                                    
reasonable  cost.  Training  was  offered in  a  variety  of                                                                    
fields to  meet the current  and future demands  of Alaska's                                                                    
construction industry.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:39:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KIRSTEN   MCGRAW,  SELF/DEAF   INDIVIDUAL,  FAIRBANKS   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified   in  support  of   funding  for                                                                    
interpreters for  deaf individuals  in order  to communicate                                                                    
accurately. She stressed that the  deaf individuals would be                                                                    
faced with greater challenges, and  it was important for her                                                                    
to participate in her community.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:41:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TABER    REHBAUM,    ARCTIC   ALLIANCE,    FAIRBANKS    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  urged support  of  funding  for the  Human                                                                    
Services Community  Matching Grants.  She stressed  that the                                                                    
funding provided essential human  services across the state.                                                                    
The program  saved $900,000 per year  is youth incarceration                                                                    
costs. She  felt that  the program should  be funded  at the                                                                    
governor's proposed level.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:43:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WENDELL WHISTLER, TRAINING  COORDINATOR, KORNFIELD TRAINING,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),  testified in  support  of                                                                    
funding for  labor standards training. He  also testified in                                                                    
support of the business  partnerships, to enhance vocational                                                                    
training in schools. He felt  that skilled tradespeople must                                                                    
be trained by  providing a funding source. He  also spoke in                                                                    
support of the Alaska Construction Academy.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:45:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAGGIE   MATOS,   SELF/DEAF   INDIVIDUAL,   FAIRBANKS   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified   in  support  of   funding  for                                                                    
interpreter programs.  She shared  that she had  worked with                                                                    
many  interpreters  and   remarked  that  interpreters  were                                                                    
essential  to communication  in  society. Interpreters  were                                                                    
needed for technology expansion,  and enhancing a quality of                                                                    
life. She remarked that deaf people were capable.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:47:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VARNELL ALLEN, INTERPRETER,  HANDS HELPING HEARTS, FAIRBANKS                                                                    
(via teleconference),  spoke in support of  funding for deaf                                                                    
interpreters.   He  shared   that  he   often  donated   his                                                                    
interpreter services  for individuals  who could  not afford                                                                    
the  services.   He  almost  did  not   interpret  the  deaf                                                                    
individuals, in  order to put  the members in  an empathetic                                                                    
position.  Interpreters  were  necessary  for  communication                                                                    
among   the  deaf   individuals.  He   stressed  that   deaf                                                                    
individuals were  members of society, and  should be allowed                                                                    
to communicate effectively.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:50:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOE HARDENBROOK,  OFFICE OF THE MAYOR,  FAIRBANKS NORTH STAR                                                                    
BOROUGH,  FAIRBANKS   (via  teleconference),   testified  in                                                                    
support  of   funding  for   Best  Beginnings;   Parents  as                                                                    
Teachers;  education broadband  access; Medicaid  expansion;                                                                    
the  Alaska  Construction  Academy; youth  courts;  Wildfire                                                                    
Academy;  public   broadcasting;  Adult  Day   Services  and                                                                    
respite   care;   family   preservation   grants;   literacy                                                                    
projects;   and  Pre-K   programs.  He   felt  that   budget                                                                    
reductions increased  competition among strong  programs. He                                                                    
felt  that the  reductions  in these  services and  programs                                                                    
prevented advancement within the state.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:52:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DON  GRAY, SELF,  FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
support  of  funding  education  including  early  childhood                                                                    
education and  public K-12  schools. He  specifically voiced                                                                    
support  of the  per capita  student funding  allocation, or                                                                    
base  student allocation  (BSA). He  also voiced  support of                                                                    
the  addition  of the  one-time  funding  from the  previous                                                                    
session  HB  278. He  urged  support  of the  University  of                                                                    
Alaska  system  budget   and  the  post-secondary  workforce                                                                    
development  programs.  He  also  testified  in  support  of                                                                    
public broadcasting.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:54:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOUG  TANSY,  PRESIDENT,  FAIRBANKS CENTRAL  LABOR  COUNCIL,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference),  spoke  in  support of  the                                                                    
Alaska Construction  Academy. The  academy served  all types                                                                    
of  Alaskans.  He  shared  that   the  academy  provided  an                                                                    
opportunity  for  military  veterans  to  enter  the  Alaska                                                                    
workforce. The reductions in the  program would undercut the                                                                    
veterans and their efforts.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:56:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WALTER ROBINSON, IBEW  1547, FAIRBANKS (via teleconference),                                                                    
testified in support of funding  for the Alaska Construction                                                                    
Academy.  He stressed  that the  program  was essential  for                                                                    
individuals who hoped to work  in the construction industry.                                                                    
The  academy   provided  job   training  for   thousands  of                                                                    
individuals.  He   remarked  that  the   large  construction                                                                    
projects in the state increased  the demand for the academy.                                                                    
He stressed that  the academy filled the  void of vocational                                                                    
training  throughout  the  state.   He  shared  some  recent                                                                    
statistics related to the program.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:58:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUE  HULL, SELF,  FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
support   of   funding   for  early   childhood   education,                                                                    
specifically  Best Beginnings.  She shared  that the  fourth                                                                    
grade test scores  in Alaska were the lowest  in the nation.                                                                    
She urged the  committee to maintain its  promise of funding                                                                    
from the previous session.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:00:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KELVIN  LEE,  PRESIDENT,  NO LIMITS,  INC.,  FAIRBANKS  (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified in support  of the Human Services                                                                    
Community  Matching   Grants  at  the   governor's  proposed                                                                    
funding level.  He believed that  it was vital  component to                                                                    
provide services  for residents  returning to  society after                                                                    
incarceration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:01:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JUDI MORACK,  REGISTERED NURSE, NATIONAL ALLIANCE  ON MENTAL                                                                    
ILLNESS,  FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), spoke  in support                                                                    
of funding  for Medicaid  expansion; a double  tiered system                                                                    
in  rural  Alaska; and  the  Human  Services Matching  Grant                                                                    
Program. Single males in Alaska  were greatly underserved in                                                                    
Medicaid.  She stressed  that mental  illnesses can  lead to                                                                    
substance abuse, medical emergencies, and homelessness.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:03:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE PRAX, SELF, NORTH  POLE (via teleconference), testified                                                                    
in  support  of the  budget  reductions.  He felt  that  the                                                                    
committee was  making the essential reductions,  because the                                                                    
oil revenue  was very  low. He did  not believe  that public                                                                    
broadcasting  was an  essential  service. He  felt that  the                                                                    
funds could be found in other areas like private entities.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:05:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JANET  COBB,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  TECHNOLOGY  DEPARTMENT,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS SCHOOL  DISTRICT, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference),                                                                    
testified in support of reinstating  the previous $3 billion                                                                    
from the  bill in a  previous session. The  reductions would                                                                    
result in limited vocational training.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:07:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANDY  HARRINGTON,  SELF,   FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke  in support  of enacting  an  income tax  in order  to                                                                    
maintain  programs.  He urged  support  of  funding for  the                                                                    
Human Services Community Matching  Grants. He also testified                                                                    
in  support of  Alaska Legal  Services Centers.  He remarked                                                                    
that the  centers provided legal  aid for Alaskans  who were                                                                    
not accused of a crime. He  also testified in support of the                                                                    
University of Alaska.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:09:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRENDA STANHIL, SELF,  FAIRBANKS (via teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in  support  of  funding   for  recidivism  reduction,  like                                                                    
Parents  as Teachers  and the  Alaska Construction  Academy.                                                                    
She felt  that the  programs were  aligned with  the state's                                                                    
proposed  recidivism-reduction plan.  She remarked  that the                                                                    
reductions in  the programs did  not match the  efforts that                                                                    
she felt  that the  legislature should  consider priorities.                                                                    
She felt  that all  programs could  work together  to reduce                                                                    
recidivism in the entire state.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:11:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROGER BURGGRAF, SELF,  FAIRBANKS (via teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support  of funding  for positions  in the  Department of                                                                    
Natural  Resources Division  of  Geological and  Geophysical                                                                    
Survey:   the   Divisions   Operations   Manager   and   the                                                                    
Publications  Specialist. He  explained that  the division's                                                                    
responsibility  was to  identify the  areas of  high mineral                                                                    
and   oil  potential;   and   to   conduct  geological   and                                                                    
geophysical studies  in hazardous  areas that pose  a threat                                                                    
to Alaskans  from earthquakes  and volcanic  activities. The                                                                    
employees  were highly  skilled people  in their  respective                                                                    
fields,  and   have  assisted  the   state  in   final  land                                                                    
selections under the Statehood Act.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:14:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAZZANNE GORDON-FRETWELL, NORTH  STAR YOUTH COURT, FAIRBANKS                                                                    
(via teleconference), testified in  support of youth courts.                                                                    
She shared  that the  program had a  positive impact  on the                                                                    
state.  The  program  resulted in  lower  recidivism  rates,                                                                    
therefore saving money that would  be spent on incarceration                                                                    
and corrections.  She offered  that every  one of  the cases                                                                    
saved money for  the state in a number of  ways. Youth court                                                                    
has impacted recidivism rates and  saved thousands of future                                                                    
dollars otherwise spent on  the traditional criminal justice                                                                    
system. She asked  the committee to fully  restore the youth                                                                    
court funding that was cut in the budget.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:16:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AFUAT   DEMOLA,  ALASKA   LEGAL  SERVICES,   FAIRBANKS  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified  in  support of  funding  Alaska                                                                    
Legal Services Center.  She explained that she  had used the                                                                    
Alaska Legal Services Center, and  felt that they provided a                                                                    
great service.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:17:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHERYL  KILGORE,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  INTERIOR  COMMUNITY                                                                    
HEALTH  CENTERS, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference),  testified                                                                    
in  support  of funding  for  the  Human Services  Community                                                                    
Matching Grants.  She explained  that the  community centers                                                                    
often  served  as  safety net  providers  for  primary  care                                                                    
services  in  communities.  The  centers  provided  medical,                                                                    
preventive,   integrated  behavioral   health,  and   dental                                                                    
services to  Alaska's most vulnerable residents.  She stated                                                                    
that,  in 2014,  her  health center  saw  6,205 people,  and                                                                    
4,356 had  incomes at  or below 200  percent of  the federal                                                                    
poverty  level.   She  shared  that  some   individuals  had                                                                    
insurance,  but stressed  that they  even needed  help using                                                                    
the  sliding   fee  with  deductibles,  copays,   and  other                                                                    
uncovered services.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:19:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILL  PUTMAN, FORESTRY  DIRECTOR, TANANA  CHIEFS CONFERENCE,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),  testified in  support  of                                                                    
funding  for Department  of  Natural  Resources Division  of                                                                    
Forestry Firefighting  Training Academy. He stated  that the                                                                    
program provided  a very  productive opportunity  to elevate                                                                    
firefighters to  a career wild  land fire. He felt  that the                                                                    
reductions  impeded the  Division of  Forestry's ability  to                                                                    
provide  adequate   fire  protection.   He  felt   that  the                                                                    
reductions to  the resource management staff  throughout the                                                                    
division  would have  significant  negative  impacts to  the                                                                    
local  economies  and  private   sector  jobs,  through  the                                                                    
reduced  ability   to  provide  raw  materials   for  forest                                                                    
products from state lands.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:21:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES  MASON,  TEACHER,  UNIVERSITY OF  ALASKA  FAIRBANKS,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),  testified in  support  of                                                                    
funding for  youth courts. He  stated that the  youth courts                                                                    
saved  the state  $1.312 million  per year,  if those  cases                                                                    
were  conducted  in  the   regular  state  juvenile  justice                                                                    
system.  The savings  was due  to the  youth court's  mostly                                                                    
volunteer   staff.  The   proposed  budget   elimination  of                                                                    
$530,900, which paid  for 409 cases in the year  prior at an                                                                    
average cost of $1300 per  case. The youth court elimination                                                                    
would  result  in  an  additional   cost  to  the  state  of                                                                    
$771,000.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:23:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GAIL GALLOU, SELF, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
support of  funding for  Alaska Legal  Services Corporation.                                                                    
She shared that  the reductions would reduce  the Alaska Pro                                                                    
Bono program,  which cut the  ability for low  income people                                                                    
to  get the  legal  services.  She felt  that  there was  no                                                                    
convenient way to provide necessary services.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:25:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  MASTERMAN,  SELF,   FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  support of funding for  necessary services. He                                                                    
urged the  members to  consider the budget  in terms  of the                                                                    
ability to  affect the state's  future revenue.  He remarked                                                                    
that there  should be  a greater  focus on  diversifying the                                                                    
economy and revenue stream to state government.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:27:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DARLENE  SUPPLEE,   EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,   FAIRBANKS  SENIOR                                                                    
CENTER,   FAIRBANKS  (via   teleconference),  testified   in                                                                    
support  of  funding  for  senior  programs  and  the  Human                                                                    
Services  Community  Matching  grant.   She  felt  that  the                                                                    
proposed  cuts  would  create a  negative  effect  on  other                                                                    
public  programs. She  shared that  the Fairbanks  community                                                                    
continued  to  struggle  with aging  issues.  The  Fairbanks                                                                    
Senior Center  was targeted to provide  48,000 meals through                                                                    
the Meals-on-Wheels  program to homebound seniors  in FY 15,                                                                    
and was projected to deliver over 50,000 meals in FY 16.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:30:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARRY  DONNELLAN,  SELF,   FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in  support  of the  funding  for  the  Fairbanks                                                                    
Office of  the Bureau  of Vital  Statistics. He  shared that                                                                    
many  people   that  attended   the  office   were  military                                                                    
personnel. The office was necessary  for many people who did                                                                    
not   have   proper,   essential   paperwork   for   various                                                                    
requirements.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:32:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN   O'BRIEN,   SELF,  FAIRBANKS   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified against  the budget reductions for  the Department                                                                    
of Natural Resources Division  of Geological and Geophysical                                                                    
Survey; and the Division of  Forestry. He stated that he and                                                                    
his associates were biologists and  foresters that worked in                                                                    
the  industry   and  state  agencies  that   regulate  those                                                                    
industries. He  shared that there were  eight positions that                                                                    
had been  eliminated, and had  adverse effect on  the timber                                                                    
industry.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:34:57 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:01:43 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY: BETHEL,  CORDOVA, KOTZEBUE, NOME, VALDEZ,                                                                  
WRANGELL and "OFFNET" SITES                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thompson  invited the one person  from the audience                                                                    
to come forward to testify.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:02:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOREEN  SCHENKENBERGER,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  PARTNERS  FOR                                                                    
PROGRESS,  ANCHORAGE  (via   teleconference),  testified  in                                                                    
favor of  funding for therapeutic courts.  She discussed the                                                                    
benefits  of the  program. She  named the  locations of  the                                                                    
courts and  explained that the  Partners Reentry  Center was                                                                    
opened in FY  14 with a legislative grant  of $600 thousand,                                                                    
the  first of  three  years of  funding.  The second  year's                                                                    
funding  went  to  the  Department   of  Health  and  Social                                                                    
Services. She  reported increased attendance.  She indicated                                                                    
that  to  keep  the  doors   open  an  additional  $600  was                                                                    
necessary.  She summarized  that  investing  in cost  saving                                                                    
recidivism programs was what  she emphasized. She reiterated                                                                    
her request for support of the program.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:05:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOUG  WALRATH,  DIRECTOR,  NORTHWESTERN  ALASKA  CAREER  AND                                                                    
TECHNICAL CENTER (NACTEC),  NOME (via teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in favor  of funding  for the  training center.  He provided                                                                    
information about  the regional training center.  He relayed                                                                    
that  at the  core of  NACTEC  training was  the mission  of                                                                    
workforce  development. He  included statistics  marking the                                                                    
training  center's ongoing  growth and  success. The  center                                                                    
had  support  from  industry, school  districts,  and  state                                                                    
support.  The  center  had   two  primary  funding  sources;                                                                    
general  funds  and  TVEP   funding.  He  requested  gradual                                                                    
funding reductions  over multiple  years in order  to secure                                                                    
replacement funds and to be able to continue operating.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:07:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARGUERITE  LARIVIERE,  LIBRARY   DIRECTOR,  KEOGOYAH  KOGZA                                                                    
LIBRARY, NOME  (via teleconference),  testified in  favor of                                                                    
the  Online  with  Libraries   program.  She  explained  the                                                                    
benefits of  the program  to the  community. She  also noted                                                                    
the role that the program  played in video conferencing. She                                                                    
asked that funding for the OWL program be restored.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:09:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALANA  TOUSIGNANT,  CHINIAK  PUBLIC  LIBRARY,  CHINIAK  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified  in  favor of  the  Online  with                                                                    
Libraries program. She relayed  the benefits the OWL project                                                                    
in her community. Since high  speed internet service was put                                                                    
in  place the  library has  seen a  600 percent  increase in                                                                    
patron usage.  She also used  the program to  catalog books.                                                                    
She urged the committee to restore funding for the project.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:11:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUE   BAKER,   CHINIAK    PUBLIC   LIBRARY,   CHINIAK   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified  in  favor of  the  Online  with                                                                    
Libraries program  and broadband in schools.  She elaborated                                                                    
that  the services  are used  widely by  the community.  She                                                                    
used  the   program  for  cataloging  purposes.   She  urged                                                                    
continued funding of the OWL program.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thompson  reminded callers on the  off-net lines to                                                                    
make sure  to hang-up  after giving  testimony to  allow for                                                                    
lines to be available for other callers.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:13:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE   PIERCE,   SELF,   KASILOF   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  favor of reduced spending  and opposed funding                                                                    
non-profit  organizations and  special  interest groups.  He                                                                    
expounded on the deficit the  state was facing. He expressed                                                                    
concerns with  the possibility of the  state going bankrupt.                                                                    
He opined that non-profits  needed to be self-supporting. He                                                                    
mentioned other  potential means  of support  for non-profit                                                                    
entities.  He  referenced  the City  of  Kenai  giving  away                                                                    
monies  to a  non-profit.  He reiterated  his opposition  to                                                                    
funding non-profits.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:14:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHY HANSON,  KYUK, BETHEL  (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
support of funding public broadcasting  and KYUK, the public                                                                    
radio  station for  the Y-K  Delta. She  discussed the  role                                                                    
KYUK  played in  spreading  safety  information and  warning                                                                    
notifications  to the  region.  She also  offered that  KYUK                                                                    
listeners informed. She stated that  a 59 percent budget cut                                                                    
would be devastating  to KYUK. She emphasized  that KYUK was                                                                    
a critical part of infrastructure in the region.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:16:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICK ROBB, MAYOR, BETHEL  (via teleconference), testified in                                                                    
support  of funding  for Medicaid  expansion. He  understood                                                                    
that  budget  cuts  were  necessary.   He  opined  that  the                                                                    
expansion  would  save  Alaskans  money,  bring  in  federal                                                                    
revenue,  create job,  and reduce  the  dependence on  state                                                                    
grants.   He  provided   some   statistics  about   Medicaid                                                                    
expansion.  He felt  that the  program was  a good  deal for                                                                    
Alaska.  He  referenced Obamacare  and  stated  that it  was                                                                    
unpopular in many circles. He  encouraged the legislature to                                                                    
do  what  was best  for  Alaskans  and to  support  Medicaid                                                                    
expansion.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:18:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE  DEWITT, KYUK,  BETHEL (via  teleconference), urged                                                                    
the committee  to restore  funding for  public broadcasting.                                                                    
She outlined  KYUK's role in providing  news and information                                                                    
as  well  as  emergency   alerts.  She  indicated  that  and                                                                    
stressed  that the  radio station  in Bethel  operated on  a                                                                    
shoestring budget. She encouraged  the committee to identify                                                                    
a way to mitigate the proposed cuts to public broadcasting.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:19:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NICHOLAS  HOOVER, SOCIAL  SERVICES DIRECTOR  FOR ASSOCIATION                                                                    
OF   VILLAGE   COUNCIL   PRESIDENTS  (AVCP),   BETHEL   (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in support of the  Alaska Affordable                                                                    
Heating  Program  which  supplemented the  Low  Income  Home                                                                    
Energy   Assistance   Program.   He   explained   that   the                                                                    
association administered  the energy assistance  program for                                                                    
37  villages.  He  continued to  provide  information  about                                                                    
AVCP's role and  discussed the high cost of  living in rural                                                                    
Alaska. He relayed some examples  of prices for items in the                                                                    
villages. He  stated the importance of  assisting low income                                                                    
families  and   objected  to  budget  cuts   to  the  Alaska                                                                    
Affordable Heating Program.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:21:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  MCINTYRE,  TEMPORARY  ASSISTANCE  FOR  NEEDY  FAMILIES                                                                    
(TANF)  DIRECTOR, AVCP,  BETHEL (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in  opposition  of  any  budget cuts  related  to  TANF.  He                                                                    
provided  information  on  the   program  and  reported  the                                                                    
expansive  service area  it served.  He explained  that some                                                                    
TANF  recipients have  no other  income  available to  them.                                                                    
Each year  AVCP has  received state  funding to  operate the                                                                    
TANF program.  He mentioned the  buying power of  the dollar                                                                    
in the region  versus in higher populated areas  on the road                                                                    
system.  He asserted  that AVCP  TANF did  not have  room to                                                                    
decrease its  services as  it was gearing  up to  serve more                                                                    
clients in FY 15.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:23:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN MURPHY,  KYUK, BETHEL (via teleconference),  urged the                                                                    
committee to  restore funding  for public  broadcasting. She                                                                    
discussed the  importance of KYUK  radio station and  how it                                                                    
served  the region  by  disseminating information  including                                                                    
information  on domestic  violence  and suicide  prevention.                                                                    
She stressed that the radio  station provided a link between                                                                    
villages  and   Bethel.  She  appreciated  having   time  to                                                                    
testify.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:26:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AMY  MARSHALL, DIRECTOR  CRAIG  PUBLIC  LIBRARY, CRAIG  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke in  favor  of the  OWL program.  She                                                                    
outlined  the advantages  of the  program. She  relayed that                                                                    
OWL  was  the  sole  source of  broadband  internet  to  the                                                                    
community of Craig. She conveyed  all of the activities that                                                                    
came  from having  access to  OWL. She  continued to  read a                                                                    
list of  the programs accessed  due to the Owl  program. She                                                                    
relayed  the library's  moto, "You  can see  the world  from                                                                    
here." The owl connection made it possible.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:28:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  HOLST, SUPERINTENDENT,  DENALI SCHOOL  DISTRICT, HEALY                                                                    
(via  teleconference), spoke  in favor  of full  funding for                                                                    
Pre-K  programs   including  Best  Beginnings,   Parents  As                                                                    
Teachers, and  Pre-K grants. The  three programs made  up 25                                                                    
percent  of  the total  cuts  to  education. He  recommended                                                                    
limiting  the  cuts  to  areas  of  the  state  where  other                                                                    
programs  were  available  such as  Anchorage,  Mat-Su,  and                                                                    
Juneau.  He  also spoke  in  favor  of protecting  the  AKLN                                                                    
program and  the Teacher Mentoring  program. He  also wanted                                                                    
the  one-time  funding  restored for  school  districts.  He                                                                    
thanked the committee for hearing his testimony.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:30:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROB  GOLDBERG, CHAIR,  HAINES  BOROUGH PLANNING  COMMISSION,                                                                    
HAINES  (via teleconference),  voiced opposition  to funding                                                                    
cuts to the  Alaska Marine Highway System.  He discussed the                                                                    
impact on  the small  communities in Southeast  Alaska would                                                                    
be tremendous.  He equated it  to closing the  Glenn Highway                                                                    
between Palmer and Anchorage three  days a week. He provided                                                                    
a  number  of  negative   effects  of  the  proposed  budget                                                                    
reduction that  were possible. He thanked  the committed for                                                                    
taking his testimony.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:32:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER GIBBINS, CORDOVA CHAMBER  OF COMMERCE, CORDOVA (via                                                                    
teleconference), voiced  opposition to  funding cuts  to the                                                                    
Alaska Marine  Highway System. She acknowledged  that budget                                                                    
reductions were  a reality. However she  was concerned about                                                                    
the  implications  of  funding  decreases to  the  AMHS.  On                                                                    
behalf  of  the Chamber  of  Commerce,  she urged  committee                                                                    
members  to avoid  or  minimize making  cuts  in areas  that                                                                    
generate income and jobs. She  listed a number of businesses                                                                    
dependent on  the ferry system.  She asked the  committee to                                                                    
consider the effects of the cuts to the AMHS.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:33:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  GRAVES,  NICHOLAS   BACKDOOR  COMPANY,  CORDOVA  (via                                                                    
teleconference), voiced  opposition to  funding cuts  to the                                                                    
Alaska  Marine Highway  System. He  explained the  nature of                                                                    
his  business  and  how  the   AMHS  was  essential  to  his                                                                    
business.  He stated  that his  business used  the ferry  at                                                                    
least  two times  per week  year-round  buying from  Alaskan                                                                    
farmers and the  box stores in Anchorage.  He suggested with                                                                    
the  ferry cuts  he would  likely have  to do  business with                                                                    
vendors outside of  the state and would  potentially have to                                                                    
raise prices.  He urged the committee  to consider restoring                                                                    
the AMHS funding.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:35:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KENDRA  APODACA, CORDOVA  IMAGINATION LIBRARY,  CORDOVA (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in favor  of full funding  for Pre-K                                                                    
programs  especially  Best  Beginnings.  She  discussed  the                                                                    
benefits  of the  program and  informed  members that  there                                                                    
were over 100 children enrolled  in Cordova. She pointed out                                                                    
that Best  Beginnings as made  early learning  possible. She                                                                    
shared some  of her  personal experience teaching  music and                                                                    
the  contribution  of the  Best  Beginnings  program to  her                                                                    
class.  She urged  the  support for  the  program and  early                                                                    
education.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:37:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID  GLASEN, COACH,  CORDOVA  ICEWORM  SWIM TEAM,  CORDOVA                                                                    
(via teleconference),  voiced opposition to funding  cuts to                                                                    
the Alaska Marine  Highway System. He shared  that the ferry                                                                    
was the  only method of  travel for Cordova's swim  team. He                                                                    
shared  that  the team  raised  all  of  its own  money  for                                                                    
travel. He  opined that if teams  had to depend only  on the                                                                    
airlines,  the  swim  team's  travel  would  be  drastically                                                                    
reduced.  He reiterated  that the  AMHS was  crucial to  the                                                                    
community.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:38:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CURT  HERSCHLEB, SELF,  CORDOVA (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in general about  appropriate cuts to the  budget and proper                                                                    
investments  to  return  to  sustainability.  He  encouraged                                                                    
members  to  trim  fairly  and   across  the  board  without                                                                    
slashing to the point of  crippling rural economies. He also                                                                    
mentioned  the  importance  of the  legislative  information                                                                    
offices  and   expressed  his  appreciation   for  Cordova's                                                                    
branch.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:40:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARCLAY KOPCHAK,  SELF, CORDOVA (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in favor of restoring funding  Best Beginnings and the AMHS.                                                                    
She  encouraged  maintaining  programs  that  fuel  Alaska's                                                                    
economy. She  expressed her concern with  limiting the ferry                                                                    
system  schedule.  She  urged  the  legislature  to  restore                                                                    
funding for the AMHS, a lifeline for Cordova.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:42:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID OTNESS,  SELF, CORDOVA (via  teleconference), conveyed                                                                    
his appreciation  for the legislative information  office in                                                                    
Cordova.  He   complimented  its   staff.  He   thanked  the                                                                    
committee for its time.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:44:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RANDY  ROBERTSON, CITY  MANAGER,  CITY  OF CORDOVA,  CORDOVA                                                                    
(via teleconference),  voiced opposition to funding  cuts to                                                                    
the Alaska  Marine Highway System.  He told a story  about a                                                                    
visit with  Representative Austerman  in which he  asked his                                                                    
department heads  to pull  their Costco  cards out  of their                                                                    
wallets. There  were 13  people with  cards. He  relayed the                                                                    
narrative to  emphasize that the economies  of Anchorage and                                                                    
the  Mat-Su   Valley  were  supported  by   constituents  of                                                                    
Cordova. He requested that lawmakers  keep his story in mind                                                                    
when considering budget cuts.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:46:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEBORAH  ECKLEY, SELF,  CORDOVA (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in favor  of the  AMHS. She believed  that the  ferry system                                                                    
was  a lifeline  to Cordova.  She shared  some her  personal                                                                    
experience  in  using  the ferry  system.  She  thanked  the                                                                    
committee for listening to her testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:48:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVEN  ANGASAN,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR  OF  SOUTHWEST  ALASKA                                                                    
VOCATIONAL  EDUCATION  CENTER   (SAVEC),  KING  SALMON  (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in favor of restoring  its Technical                                                                    
and   Vocational  Education   Program  (TVEP)   funding.  He                                                                    
explained  the value  of the  vocational training  center in                                                                    
the  region and  detailed some  of the  programs the  center                                                                    
offered. He  emphasized training  for fishermen and  that in                                                                    
Bristol  Bay fishing  was the  region's economic  engine. He                                                                    
reported  that   SAVEC  worked   in  partnership   with  the                                                                    
University   of  Alaska   and   with   Bristol  Bay   Native                                                                    
Association  and other  regional corporations.  He continued                                                                    
to provide additional information  about classes offered. He                                                                    
thanked the committee for hearing his testimony.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:50:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNETTE  SKARHUS, TECHNICAL  DIRECTOR OF  THE BERING  STRAIT                                                                    
SCHOOL DISTRICT,  UNALAKLEET (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
favor of full  funding for broadband in  schools. She talked                                                                    
about  education's reliance  on the  internet. She  stressed                                                                    
the  difficulty for  a small  school district  to keep  pace                                                                    
with  expensive  technology.  Her school  district  turn  to                                                                    
vendors  to post  items on  the internet  which saved  on IT                                                                    
costs. She provided other services  her school district uses                                                                    
to save on technology  costs. She expressed her appreciation                                                                    
for  the  broadband  assistance  grant  reporting  increased                                                                    
student engagement.  She emphasized  that the impact  on the                                                                    
classrooms has  been significant. She thanked  the committee                                                                    
members for their time and consideration.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:52:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PHYLLIS SWETZOF,  ACTING CITY MANAGER, ST.  PAUL ISLAND (via                                                                    
teleconference), urged the committee  to restore funding for                                                                    
public broadcasting and the ARCS  program. She reported that                                                                    
the  radio   was  one  of   the  most  reliable   source  of                                                                    
communication.  She  relayed  the  types  of  communications                                                                    
transmitted. She  urged the legislature to  keep rural radio                                                                    
broadcasting in place and to  avoid the substantial proposed                                                                    
cuts. She  also spoke  on behalf of  funding for  the Alaska                                                                    
Rural  Communications  System  (ARCS). She  asked  that  the                                                                    
legislature  please reconsider  the proposed  cuts affecting                                                                    
Rural Alaska.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:55:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  STRASENBURGH,  SELF, TALKEETNA  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke   in  opposition   to   funding  the   Susitna-Wantana                                                                    
Hydroelectric Project. He did  not any addition money wasted                                                                    
on the  project. He  suggested that  the remaining  funds in                                                                    
the amount of $33 million  should be used elsewhere. He also                                                                    
spoke in  favor of public  broadcasting. He felt that  a cut                                                                    
of  59  percent would  be  devastating  to his  local  radio                                                                    
station, KTNA.  He reviewed  the value  of public  radio and                                                                    
urged proper funding.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:58:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RUTH WOOD,  SELF, TALKEETNA (via  teleconference), testified                                                                    
in  support of  funding  for Medicaid  expansion and  public                                                                    
broadcasting. She also mentioned the  funds that AEA had for                                                                    
the  Susitna-Wantana  Hydroelectric  Project  and  how  they                                                                    
could be better spent in the current fiscal crisis.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:59:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PEARL  BROWER, PRESIDENT,  ILLISAGVIK  COLLEGE, BARROW  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke in  favor of  its TVEP  funding. She                                                                    
cited  some  of  the  success   statistics  related  to  the                                                                    
college. She  indicated the college had  been receiving more                                                                    
and   more   request   for  courses   supporting   workforce                                                                    
development.  She   urged  the  committee  to   restore  the                                                                    
proposed budget cut for its funding.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
5:01:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHY   LEARY,  WORKFORCE   DEVELOPMENT  TRAINING   MANAGER,                                                                    
ILLISAGVIK  COLLEGE, BARROW  (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
opposition to the  TVEP funding budget cut.  She shared that                                                                    
the  TVEP   allocation  of   $300  thousand   for  workforce                                                                    
development  training  was  only  a part  of  the  college's                                                                    
needed  funding.  She  informed   the  committee  about  the                                                                    
workforce  trainings.   She  asserted  that   the  college's                                                                    
request was  less than  2 percent  of the  college's overall                                                                    
budget. She asked the legislature to restore its funding.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
5:04:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BEN  GLOVER, DEAN  OF COMMUNITY  AND WORKFORCE  DEVELOPMENT,                                                                    
ILLISAGVIK  COLLEGE, BARROW  (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
support of  reinstating the $300 thousand  TVEP funding that                                                                    
was removed from the budget.  He talked about the importance                                                                    
of  building  local  talent   in  vocational  and  technical                                                                    
careers. He reported some statistics  on the classes offered                                                                    
at the  college. He  believed that the  TVEP funds  had been                                                                    
used wisely in the past. He  asked that the state funding be                                                                    
restored. He thanked members for their time.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:06:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SALLY  DYBDAHL,  SCHOOL  BOARD MEMBER,  HOONAH  CITY  SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT,  HOONAH (via  teleconference), spoke  in favor  of                                                                    
supporting the AKLN program. She  appreciated the wide range                                                                    
of  courses available  to students  through  AKLN. She  also                                                                    
voiced  opposition  to funding  cuts  to  the Alaska  Marine                                                                    
Highway System.  She encouraged lawmakers to  "think rural."                                                                    
She thanked the committee for listening to her testimony.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
5:07:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL  HILL,  SUPERINTENDENT,   BRISTOL  BAY  BOROUGH  SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT (via  teleconference), spoke in favor  of education                                                                    
funding.  He   outlined  the   changes  to   the  district's                                                                    
education program  in order to  maintain a  balanced budget.                                                                    
He mentioned doing cutting as  well as implementing creative                                                                    
programing.  He mention  the  district's strong  partnership                                                                    
with Lake  and Peninsula  School District which  resulted in                                                                    
the development of a career  and technical education program                                                                    
and  joint staff  training. He  relayed that  in the  school                                                                    
district's  approach it  has managed  to leverage  bandwidth                                                                    
and  technology  and he  cited  some  specific examples.  He                                                                    
appreciated the forward funding  approach implemented in the                                                                    
previous  year.  He appreciated  every  effort  made by  the                                                                    
legislature to  maintain what  was included  in HB  278, the                                                                    
omnibus education bill passed in 2014.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:10:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMES  SQUYERS, SELF,  DELTA  JUCTION (via  teleconference),                                                                    
supported the proposed cuts  and encouraged additional cuts.                                                                    
He  encouraged  the  use  of the  Institute  of  Social  and                                                                    
Economic   Research   (ISER)   model.  He   criticized   the                                                                    
legislature for  leverage spending  and claimed that  it had                                                                    
raised the  baseline dependency of Alaskans.  He discouraged                                                                    
betting on  future oil  pricing, as  it was  extremely risky                                                                    
and  not conservative.  He advised  members  to embrace  the                                                                    
ISER  model. He  stated that  the legislature  was still  $1                                                                    
billion short without a plan.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
5:12:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA  GOODE, SELF,  DELTA  JUNCTION (via  teleconference),                                                                    
recommended additional  cuts to the budget.  She opined that                                                                    
the  fiscal  crisis  had   been  avoidable.  She  encouraged                                                                    
leaders to make additional cuts  and to make a strong stand.                                                                    
She mentioned  a target  level of $4.5  billion and  to make                                                                    
the cuts now  rather than later. She  expounded that deficit                                                                    
spending was  wrong as was  Medicaid expansion.  She advised                                                                    
members  to  let   the  tough  leaders  lead   and  to  make                                                                    
appropriate cuts.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:15:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MISTY  FITZPATRICK, CITY  ADMINISTRATOR,  COFFMAN COVE  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified  in  favor of  the  Online  with                                                                    
Libraries program.  She conveyed that the  community did not                                                                    
otherwise  have internet  service or  cellular service.  She                                                                    
relayed the  services offered by  the library  and described                                                                    
it as the  hub of the community. She added  that the library                                                                    
was operated  by volunteers. She urged  continued support of                                                                    
the OWL program  and broadband support. She  relayed her own                                                                    
experience using  the public library  and made it  clear the                                                                    
importance of restoring funding to the OWL program.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
5:19:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN  OKONEK, SELF,  TALKEETNA (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in opposition  to funding the  Susitna-Wantana Hydroelectric                                                                    
Project.  He encouraged  the use  of the  $33 million  to be                                                                    
used  for  other  funding  items. He  did  not  support  the                                                                    
project  or the  effects it  would potentially  have on  the                                                                    
environment. He  also was  concerned with  the real  cost of                                                                    
the project.  He felt that  there were less  invasive energy                                                                    
alternatives.  He  wanted  the   legislature  to  put  money                                                                    
towards  projects that  were sure  to  be a  benefit to  the                                                                    
economy of Alaska and environmentally  sound. He thanked the                                                                    
committee for its hard work.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:21:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN  GRAY, SUPERINTENDENT,  YAKUTAT  SCHOOL DISTRICT  (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in favor  of restoring  the one-time                                                                    
broadband  funding and  the funding  for AKLN.  She detailed                                                                    
some of  the effects  of recent  funding reductions  for the                                                                    
school  district. She  asked that  the one-time  funding for                                                                    
broadband  assistance   and  for   AKLN  be   restored.  She                                                                    
continued to  outline recent program losses  and spoke about                                                                    
the district's  technology needs and challenges.  She talked                                                                    
about the  requirements for the  new state  assessments were                                                                    
an  issue   because  of  the   quality  of   the  district's                                                                    
equipment. She appreciated being able to testify.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:23:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT  HAHN,  CITY  MANAGER, SKAGWAY  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
voiced  opposition  to funding  cuts  to  the Alaska  Marine                                                                    
Highway System.  He referenced the  benefits that  the ferry                                                                    
system provided. He talked  about the potential consequences                                                                    
of  the proposed  reductions to  the ferry  system. He  felt                                                                    
that it  did not show  good ethics to  dishonor already-made                                                                    
reservations. He asked  about the cost to  health and social                                                                    
services   for    Alaskans.   He   mentioned    many   other                                                                    
repercussions  from  the  planned reductions.  He  advocated                                                                    
good  investments   that  create   capital.  He   urged  the                                                                    
committee to save the remaining economy.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
5:26:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN TRONRUD,  OWNER, WHITEHOUSE BED AND  BREAKFAST, SKAGWAY                                                                    
(via teleconference),  voiced opposition to funding  cuts to                                                                    
the Alaska Marine  Highway System. He detailed  the value of                                                                    
the ferry  system and conveyed  his experience as  a lodging                                                                    
owner. He opined  that the ferry system was a  vital link to                                                                    
the entire  state. He anticipated that  the reduced capacity                                                                    
would  create a  bottleneck. He  discussed his  bookings for                                                                    
the following  summer season and  maintained that  the state                                                                    
should  consider at  least maintaining  funding through  the                                                                    
upcoming Labor  Day to honor  the commitments the  state has                                                                    
made. He  also brought  up a concern  about the  priority of                                                                    
freight shipments in the winter time.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
5:28:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TYLER ROSE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTIVE,  WHITE PASS AND YUKON ROUTE                                                                    
RAILROAD,  SKAGWAY (via  teleconference), voiced  opposition                                                                    
to  funding cuts  to the  Alaska Marine  Highway System.  He                                                                    
outlined the potential catastrophic  results of the proposed                                                                    
cuts to  the budget. The  railroad system would  be impacted                                                                    
due to  the transportation of railroad  patrons traveling on                                                                    
the ferry system.  Many of the railroad's  tour partners and                                                                    
suppliers utilized  the services of the  AMHS. Interruptions                                                                    
to  the   movement  of  people   and  goods  could   have  a                                                                    
detrimental effect to businesses  and families. He asked for                                                                    
a reconsideration on the funding for Alaska's ferry system.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
5:30:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WENDY  ANDERSON,  SKAGWAY  CONVENTION AND  VISITOR'S  BUREAU                                                                    
(via  teleconference), spoke  in favor  of restored  funding                                                                    
for AMHS. She discussed the  significance of the cuts to the                                                                    
system  and  the  economic  impacts   to  the  community  of                                                                    
Skagway.  She  talked  about   the  current  schedule  being                                                                    
honored  through restored  finding.  She cited  some of  the                                                                    
significant impacts  of the decreases.  She opined  that the                                                                    
cuts  to the  budget needed  to  be applied  to a  different                                                                    
program.  She asked  again that  the  appropriation for  the                                                                    
AMHS be restored.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:31:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JACQUI TAYLOR, PRESIDENT, GOLDEN  CIRCLE CHAPTER, AK TOURISM                                                                    
INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION,  SKAGWAY (via  teleconference), voiced                                                                    
opposition  to funding  cuts to  the  Alaska Marine  Highway                                                                    
System. She  discussed the economic  impact of  the proposed                                                                    
cuts to  Skagway and other  communities. She  also described                                                                    
the uniqueness  of traveling via Alaska's  ferry system. She                                                                    
expressed  concerns  on  behalf  of the  chapter  and  urged                                                                    
members to  restore funding for the  published schedule. She                                                                    
also asked  that the extreme  cuts that were  proposed would                                                                    
be reconsidered.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
5:33:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS  VALENTINE, OWNER,  SERGEANT PRESTON'S  LODGE, SKAGWAY                                                                    
(via teleconference),  voiced opposition to funding  cuts to                                                                    
the  Alaska  Marine Highway  System.  As  a lodge  owner  he                                                                    
reported that he had already  taken hundreds of reservations                                                                    
for the current year and continued  to do so. He spoke about                                                                    
the  difficulties  imposed  on  small business  due  to  the                                                                    
budget  cut.  He thanked  the  committee  members for  their                                                                    
time.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
5:34:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAUL  REICHERT,  TEMPSCO   HELICOPTER,  INC.,  SKAGWAY  (via                                                                    
teleconference), requested restored funding  to the AMHS for                                                                    
this year. He  explained the benefit of the  ferry system to                                                                    
many  places  in  Alaska.  He  believed  there  would  be  a                                                                    
reverberating  effect  and   anticipated  severe  damage  to                                                                    
commerce in  Alaska. He  referred to  Skagway and  Haines as                                                                    
corridors into and  out of the state. He  was concerned with                                                                    
previous  bookings not  being  honored.  He urged  continued                                                                    
funding for at least through the next fiscal cycle.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
5:36:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK SCHAFFER,  MAYOR, SKAGWAY (via  teleconference), voiced                                                                    
opposition  to funding  cuts to  the  Alaska Marine  Highway                                                                    
System.  He referred  to  the ferry  system  as am  economic                                                                    
engine to the  region. He feared that the  proposed cuts had                                                                    
the potential  to devastate  economies and  small businesses                                                                    
throughout   the  state   and  the   Yukon.  He   urged  the                                                                    
legislature to avoid  dismantling the infrastructure already                                                                    
in place. He  also read a letter from Dan  Curtis, the mayor                                                                    
of  White  Horse. The  letter  outline  the city's  concerns                                                                    
regarding  the proposed  budget  cuts to  the AMHS.  Tourism                                                                    
made  up  much  of  the  economy of  the  city.  The  letter                                                                    
furthered  that  White  Horse  and  Skagway  shared  a  very                                                                    
economic  link. It  cited statistics  from 2014.  The letter                                                                    
also  urged   the  House  Finance  Committee   to  carefully                                                                    
consider all of the effects,  intended or unintended, of the                                                                    
proposed budget reductions.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
5:38:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATIE FRY, SELF, ANAKTUVUK  PASS (via teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in  support of  the  Healthy Futures  Program,  part of  the                                                                    
Obesity  Prevention and  Wellness  grant.  She reviewed  the                                                                    
value of the  program and its function. It  was a successful                                                                    
program in  the village that encouraged  school-aged kids to                                                                    
look  for  healthy activities  to  participate  in. It  also                                                                    
helped  to  support  physical  activity  after  school.  The                                                                    
Obesity Prevention  and Wellness grant helped  in purchasing                                                                    
various equipment  that promoted a healthier  community. She                                                                    
reiterated her support for the Healthy Futures program.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
5:41:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PJ  FORD   SLACK,  INTERIM  SUPERINTENDENT,   HOONAH  SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT,  HOONAH (via  teleconference), spoke  in favor  of                                                                    
early childhood  education and in particular  the Parents as                                                                    
Teachers  program.  She  opined   that  any  cuts  to  early                                                                    
childhood  programs was  a step  backwards.  She asked  that                                                                    
committee members support broadband  services as well as the                                                                    
OWL  program. She  emphasized  prioritizing early  childhood                                                                    
education.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
5:44:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Neuman  recognized Representative Sam Kito  III and                                                                    
Representative Dan Ortiz in the audience.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
5:45:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOE PLESHA, TRIDENT  SEAFOODS, SEATTLE (via teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in  support  of   the  Alaska  Seafood  Marketing                                                                    
Institute  (ASMI). He  explained that  Trident Seafoods  had                                                                    
processing  facilities throughout  the State  of Alaska.  He                                                                    
reported the  seafood industry currently suffered  from very                                                                    
bad exchange rates and difficult  markets. He commended ASMI                                                                    
for  the  job  it  has done  in  promoting  Alaska  seafood,                                                                    
helping to  increase the value  of the harvest,  and helping                                                                    
to raise the raw fish  tax revenues that coastal communities                                                                    
receive. He  asked that ASMI's  cuts were more in  line with                                                                    
the general cuts to the general fund.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
5:46:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAROLYN SAYER,  SELF, TALKEETNA (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in opposition  to funding the  Susitna-Wantana Hydroelectric                                                                    
Project. She did not want  any additional funds spent on the                                                                    
project  and wanted  the  monies that  were  held by  Alaska                                                                    
Energy Authority  to be used  for other pressing  needs. She                                                                    
expressed  her support  of education  and  health care.  She                                                                    
also spoke  in favor of supporting  public broadcasting. She                                                                    
reiterated her wish for the  legislature to stop funding the                                                                    
Susitna-Wantana Hydroelectric  Project. She  appreciated the                                                                    
committee's time.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:48:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELLEN WOOLF, SELF, TALKEETNA  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
opposition  to  funding  the  Susitna-Wantana  Hydroelectric                                                                    
Project.  She suggested  using the  $33  million the  Alaska                                                                    
Energy  Authority was  holding to  help fund  school, public                                                                    
radio, home weatherization and  other deserving programs and                                                                    
projects. She urged the legislature  to stop the dam project                                                                    
and to use its funds for other projects.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
5:49:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MOLLY  WOOD,  SELF,  CHASE (via  teleconference),  spoke  in                                                                    
opposition  to  funding  the  Susitna-Wantana  Hydroelectric                                                                    
Project.  She  urged halting  the  Susitna  Dam project  and                                                                    
using the monies for other  programs and to help resolve the                                                                    
state's fiscal crisis. She also  spoke in favor of continued                                                                    
funding for  public broadcasting  and the AMHS.  She thanked                                                                    
the committee for considering her testimony.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:51:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARAH  HANUSKE-HAMILTON,  INTERIM  SUPERINTENDENT,  IDITAROD                                                                    
SCHOOL  DISTRICT, GRAYLING  (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
favor  of  full  funding  for   broadband  in  schools.  She                                                                    
indicated  that   the  district  had  purchased   an  online                                                                    
curriculum covering  four subject  areas for grades  K-12. A                                                                    
six-year lease was signed by  the school district because of                                                                    
increased  bandwidth  for  its  schools.  She  continued  to                                                                    
outline the  importance of broadband support.  She cited the                                                                    
significance  of  leveraging  the  eRate  from  the  federal                                                                    
government increasing the state  grant from $209 thousand to                                                                    
almost $1  million. She thanked the  committee for listening                                                                    
to her testimony.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:53:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOUG SMITH,  SELF, TALKEETNA (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
opposition  to  funding  the  Susitna-Wantana  Hydroelectric                                                                    
Project and in  favor of cutting unessential  items from the                                                                    
state budget. He supported  funding education, public radio,                                                                    
and  the  ferry  system.   He  stated  financial  statistics                                                                    
concerning  the  spending of  the  Susitna  Dam project.  He                                                                    
expressed   concern  with   interfering   with  the   salmon                                                                    
resource. He  opined that the  project was no  longer needed                                                                    
and urged that the project be shut down.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
5:56:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK VINK, BUSINESS MANAGER,  BERING STRAIT SCHOOL DISTRICT,                                                                    
UNALAKLEET  (via teleconference),  spoke in  support of  the                                                                    
broadband assistance  grant. He  expressed that  the program                                                                    
has been of great help  to the school district. He mentioned                                                                    
being  able to  leverage  state dollars  to gain  additional                                                                    
federal  dollars.   Many  of   the  required   testing  were                                                                    
accessible  online. He  reported  that  his school  district                                                                    
needed  the extra  bandwidth to  carry out  the assessments.                                                                    
Her thanked committee members for their time.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
5:57:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE ATWATER, VICE PRESIDENT,  K-12 OUTREACH, UNIVERSITY OF                                                                    
ALASKA, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference),  spoke in  favor of                                                                    
the restoration of $750 thousand  of general funds that were                                                                    
reduced for  the statewide  mentoring program.  He expressed                                                                    
his  concern  about   recruitment  challenges.  He  provided                                                                    
statistics concerning  the supply of teachers  in the United                                                                    
States.   The  Alaska   Statewide   Mentoring  Program   was                                                                    
essential in retaining teachers.  He understood the need for                                                                    
the state  to reduce expenditures  but the reduction  to the                                                                    
particular  program would  have long-term  implications that                                                                    
would  lead to  increased expenses  by school  districts. He                                                                    
prompted the legislature to reinstate  the $750 thousand for                                                                    
the  statewide mentoring  program.  He  thanked members  for                                                                    
their consideration of his testimony  and for their work for                                                                    
the citizens of Alaska.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
5:59:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NORMA  HOLMGAARD,  SUPERINTENDENT, YUPIIT  SCHOOL  DISTRICT,                                                                    
AKIACHAK (via  teleconference), spoke in favor  of restoring                                                                    
funding  for the  broadband assistance  program and  the $32                                                                    
million  in one-time  funding  for  education. The  one-time                                                                    
funding  would  allow  the school  district  to  expand  and                                                                    
upgrade the  career and technical education  program as well                                                                    
as to  make needed to  improvements to teacher  housing. She                                                                    
referred to  the issues  in Tuluksak  which cost  the school                                                                    
district tens of  thousands of dollars in  repairs of frozen                                                                    
pipes  and  outdated  infrastructure.  She  asked  that  the                                                                    
committee   reconsider   funding   for  the   programs   she                                                                    
mentioned.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:00:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MATHEW  ALLEN, SELF,  MCGRATH  (via teleconference),  voiced                                                                    
his  concerns with  the cuts  to the  McGrath Department  of                                                                    
Natural  Resources fire  camp. He  told the  committee about                                                                    
his  twenty five  years of  experience in  fire-fighting. He                                                                    
stated  that  the  plan  called  for  smoke  jumper  use  to                                                                    
suppress fires  in the area.  He was concerned  with getting                                                                    
smoke  jumper response  to the  Southwest area  and provided                                                                    
some  examples of  the challenges  faced  with the  proposed                                                                    
cut. He thanked the committee members for their time.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:02:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANTHONY  CRAVALHO,  MANIILAQ  GOVERNMENT  COUNCIL,  KOTZEBUE                                                                    
(via teleconference), relayed that  Mayor Maija Lukin had to                                                                    
leave but supported  fully funding the jail  in Kotzebue. He                                                                    
spoke in  support of behavioral  health funding  and complex                                                                    
behavior funding.  He asserted  that cutting  these programs                                                                    
and  services would  not save  the state  money in  the long                                                                    
term, surmising  that a lack  of these services  would cause                                                                    
an influx  of consumers of  emergency services and  jail. He                                                                    
spoke to a  high rate of suicide. He added  that the highest                                                                    
demand on the services was  from young Alaska Native men who                                                                    
are   not   eligible   for   Medicaid,   and   make   up   a                                                                    
disproportionately  high percentage  of those  incarcerated.                                                                    
He urged  the committee  to not make  it more  difficult for                                                                    
rural communities to access behavioral health services.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
6:05:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CLARA   HENRY,   KOTZEBUE   PUBLIC  RADIO,   KOTZEBUE   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke in  support of  public broadcasting.                                                                    
She relayed  that KPR provided  important search  and rescue                                                                    
information;  as  well  as   news,  weather,  and  important                                                                    
information  for  11  villages.   She  asked  for  continued                                                                    
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
6:06:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILLI  PRITTIE, SELF,  SUNSHINE (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support of funding for  public broadcasting. He urged the                                                                    
committee  to  go  about  making   cuts  in  a  careful  and                                                                    
thoughtful way. He  spoke against a proposed  59 percent cut                                                                    
to public broadcasting.  He did not want rural  Alaska to go                                                                    
by the  wayside. He suggested  taking money from  the Alaska                                                                    
Energy  Authority  (AEA);  and specifically  referred  to  a                                                                    
$33.5  million  increment  for a  mega-dam  on  the  Susitna                                                                    
River.  He  opined that  this  proposal  was unwanted,  ill-                                                                    
advised,  economically  unfeasible,  and  was  dangerous  to                                                                    
salmon habitat.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ELENOR   HENKE,   SELF,   SUNSHINE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
supported  funding  for   public  broadcasting.  She  echoed                                                                    
comments about  funding for public radio.  She stressed that                                                                    
the  59 percent  cut  could  be fatal  for  the local  radio                                                                    
station. She spoke to the  community's reliance on radio for                                                                    
emergency announcements,  news, and  other. She  stated that                                                                    
AEA was sitting  on $33 million to pursue a  license for the                                                                    
ill-advised Susitna  Dam, and suggested it  be redirected to                                                                    
more important programs.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
6:10:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DIANE    BROWN,   SELF,    DENALI    NATIONAL   PARK    (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified in support  of ANSWER 2.0, a STEM                                                                    
education  program.  She   provided  information  about  the                                                                    
program, which  focused on middle  school students  in rural                                                                    
areas across  Alaska. She urged  the committee to  invest in                                                                    
the program and students who were Alaska's future.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
6:11:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BENJAMIN   BROWN,   SELF,    DENALI   NATIONAL   PARK   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke  in  support  of  a  STEM  education                                                                    
program.  He related  that he  had been  looking forward  to                                                                    
participating  in  the  program  for  quite  some  time.  He                                                                    
highlighted   the   importance   of  investing   in   future                                                                    
generations.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
6:12:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL   THOMAS,  SELF,   HAINES  (via   teleconference),  was                                                                    
concerned  about  cuts  to   the  Alaska  Seafood  Marketing                                                                    
Institute (ASMI), Tourism and  Marketing, and the Department                                                                    
of  Natural Resources  Division  of  Forestry. He  expressed                                                                    
concerned about  the lack  in timber  sales. He  stated that                                                                    
without a  forester there would  be cutting  without permits                                                                    
and  a subsequent  increase in  violations.  He spoke  about                                                                    
past  legislative  bodies  working  to  improve  the  salmon                                                                    
industry through supporting  agency budgets, including ASMI.                                                                    
He  was  concerned that  the  impacts  would hurt  Southeast                                                                    
Alaska,  as well  as  impact other  agency  budgets with  an                                                                    
increase  in  drug  and  alcohol  abuse.  He  spoke  to  the                                                                    
Department  of  Fish  and  Game and  a  recent  king  salmon                                                                    
release in  Haines, which he considered  to be unsuccessful.                                                                    
He supported intent language in  the DFG that would stop the                                                                    
department  from cutting  the budgets  for state-owned  fish                                                                    
streams  on  state  land.  He  stressed  the  Constitution's                                                                    
protection  of state  fisheries. He  noted that  the Chilkat                                                                    
and Chilkoot systems  were the only river  systems in Alaska                                                                    
that  are not  under the  purview of  Canada or  the federal                                                                    
government.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
6:15:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NAOMI   NORVACK,   SELF,   MCGRATH   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified against the  cut to the Division  of Forestry. She                                                                    
elaborated that the southwest are  covered millions of acres                                                                    
with villages  and remote  cabins scattered  throughout. She                                                                    
noted that  smoke jumpers  get deployed  to area  fires, and                                                                    
without a base in McGrath  support could be greatly delayed.                                                                    
She elaborated  that the  McGrath Bell  212 helicopter  is a                                                                    
shared resource  and cannot cuts  would diminish the  use of                                                                    
the helicopter  due to acceptable flight  time and distance.                                                                    
She mentioned  annual training  of emergency  personnel. She                                                                    
discussed that  eliminating six  positions from  McGrath was                                                                    
not  the  only  option.  She   noted  that  the  absence  of                                                                    
personnel in the area would  mean other people would have to                                                                    
cover  the  service.  She  discussed  her  job  duties.  She                                                                    
specified that  most fires were  near villages  and response                                                                    
time was  critical. She hoped  there would not  be increased                                                                    
disasters due to a slow response time.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
6:18:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NORM  CARSON,  PELICAN  CHAMBER OF  COMMERCE,  PELICAN  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  requested  full   funding  of  the  Alaska                                                                    
Marine Highway System (AMHS). He  declared that the AMHS was                                                                    
a necessity for Pelican rather  than a convenience. He asked                                                                    
the committee to  give AMHS a chance to  provide service. He                                                                    
shared that  the community  was not on  the road  system. He                                                                    
stated that tourism, fisheries,  and other business were all                                                                    
dependent  on  the  marine  highway  schedule.  He  proposed                                                                    
consideration  of a  dedicated  stream of  revenue for  AMHS                                                                    
through an  additional tax on  fuel, including  marine fuel.                                                                    
He thanked the committee for its time.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
6:19:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JACKIE RAY,  SELF, SOLDOTNA  (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
support  of education  funding and  public broadcasting.  He                                                                    
stated that the Alaska  Highway was strategically important;                                                                    
money had been invested over many  years and it was not okay                                                                    
to just  drop the ball.  He stated that more  investment was                                                                    
needed. He believed there would  be increased tourism in the                                                                    
state caused by reality  television shows. He discussed that                                                                    
the highway could support  Cordova, Whittier, Kodiak, Homer,                                                                    
and  Dutch Harbor.  He mentioned  independent travelers  and                                                                    
their use of the  highways. He supported public broadcasting                                                                    
and  education.  He  characterized  the  Susitna  Dam  as  a                                                                    
tremendous  waste  of money,  which  was  not good  for  the                                                                    
ecosystem.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:22:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RANDALL JOHN ROSENCRANS,  SELF, GALENA (via teleconference),                                                                    
spoke  in   strong  support  for  public   broadcasting.  He                                                                    
emphasized that  the radio provided news  and information to                                                                    
the community, and was a  critical service to the region. He                                                                    
understood that it was difficult  to make cuts and that they                                                                    
had to be  made, but he asked the committee  to consider the                                                                    
impact it would have.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:24:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROB  BROWN, SELF,  RUBY (via  teleconference), testified  in                                                                    
support  of public  broadcasting. He  spoke to  the services                                                                    
the radio provided and described  it as a lifeline. He noted                                                                    
that it has saved lives and it was a worthy investment.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
6:25:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARLA  HOWARD, SELF,  KAKE  (via teleconference),  testified                                                                    
against  cuts to  the Alaska  Marine Highway  System (AMHS).                                                                    
She discussed that  schools used the AMHS  for sports trips.                                                                    
She noted  that there  would be an  increase in  small plane                                                                    
crashes  as well  as smaller  boat traffic  if the  AMHS was                                                                    
cut. She  discussed the high  costs for perishable  goods in                                                                    
the  community.   She  asked   the  committee  to   cut  out                                                                    
extravagances and take care of rural Alaska.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
6:27:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA MANNIX, SELF,  TALKEETNA (via teleconference), asked                                                                    
the  committee to  withdraw funds  for the  proposed Susitna                                                                    
dam  project, which  totaled over  $30  million. She  stated                                                                    
that the project  made no fiscal sense  and characterized it                                                                    
as  an  "environmental  travesty." She  believed  the  funds                                                                    
should be  freed up for  use on needed public  services such                                                                    
as early  childhood education,  broadband access,  AMHS, and                                                                    
public broadcasting.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
6:29:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GRETE   PERKINS,  SELF,   TALKEETNA  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified   against  cuts   to  AMHS,   broadband  internet,                                                                    
education,  and  public   broadcasting.  She  stressed  that                                                                    
public broadcasting  provided a lifeline for  her community;                                                                    
they depended  on radio for information  on emergencies. She                                                                    
asked the  committee to release  the funds intended  for the                                                                    
Susitna River dam. She stressed that the dam was bad news.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:31:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JACK  WALSH, SUPERINTENDENT,  CRAIG  SCHOOL DISTRICT,  CRAIG                                                                    
(via teleconference),  spoke against  cuts to  education. He                                                                    
testified  in  support  for broadband  internet  access  and                                                                    
early  childhood  programs.  He  stated that  he  hoped  the                                                                    
legislature would  find solutions  that would  not devastate                                                                    
education and the future of the state.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
6:31:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WHITNEY   WOLFF,   CHAIR,   TALKEETNA   COMMUNITY   COUNCIL,                                                                    
TALKEETNA (via  teleconference), spoke against  the Susitna-                                                                    
Watana Hydroelectric Project. She noted  that she had been a                                                                    
licensing participant in the process  since 2011. She stated                                                                    
that  it  was  troubling  to hear  the  information  on  the                                                                    
projected  licensing plans  from  the AEA.  She stated  that                                                                    
AEA's timeline  was overoptimistic  and simplistic.  She did                                                                    
not  believe  $100  million  in 2008.  She  alluded  to  the                                                                    
escalating construction  costs, and opined that  the project                                                                    
and  its associated  costs were  out  of Alaska's  financial                                                                    
reach  during  the  current difficult  budget  climate.  She                                                                    
discussed  the  importance of  cleaning  up  the river,  and                                                                    
suggested   that   the   appropriated   funds   should   she                                                                    
reallocated  for that  as well  as other  essential services                                                                    
mentioned   by   previous  testifiers.   Additionally,   she                                                                    
supported investment in the gas pipeline.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:34:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER  LEBA, SELF,  TALKEETNA (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in opposition of  any continued funding for  the Susitna Dam                                                                    
project. She noted  that she was a  fisheries biologist, and                                                                    
urged  the  committee  to discontinue  funding  any  further                                                                    
studies  on this  poorly designed  project. She  pointed out                                                                    
the recreational  activities that  took place on  the river,                                                                    
which  was  also  robust salmon  habitat.  She  opined  that                                                                    
education,  AMHS, public  radio, and  health care,  were all                                                                    
better investments.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
6:36:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JANET    BALICE,   NOME    PUBLIC    SCHOOLS,   NOME    (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in favor of funding  Pre-K programs.                                                                    
She  relayed  the  successes  of   students  in  her  school                                                                    
district due  to Head  Start and  other Pre-K  programs. She                                                                    
talked  about   the  cost  per   student  in   Pre-K  versus                                                                    
elementary  school and  the money  saved by  combining Pre-K                                                                    
and K-12.  She pointed out  that there was less  money spent                                                                    
on  remedial  education and  other  services  when Pre-K  is                                                                    
utilized. She mentioned  that the state had  not applied for                                                                    
federal grants for  Pre-K in the amount of  $10 million, and                                                                    
mentioned the  program Race  to the Top  as an  example. She                                                                    
encouraged looking into the future and to support funding.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:38:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LUISA  MACHUCA,  NORTHWESTERN  ALASKA CAREER  AND  TECHNICAL                                                                    
CENTER (NACTEC),  NOME (via teleconference), spoke  in favor                                                                    
of  funding  for  vocational education.  She  spoke  of  the                                                                    
opportunities  that  NACTEC has  offered  for  youth in  the                                                                    
region, and  referred to a  correlation with  increased high                                                                    
school  graduation rates.  She  expressed concern  regarding                                                                    
increased drug and alcohol  use, dropouts, increased at-risk                                                                    
behaviors,   and   suicide  without   important   vocational                                                                    
programs for youth. She thanked the committee for its time.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
6:41:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANGIE  GORN,   PRESIDENT  AND   CEO,  NORTON   SOUND  HEALTH                                                                    
CORPORATION  (NSHC),  NOME  (via teleconference),  spoke  in                                                                    
support of NACTEC and funding  for vocational education. She                                                                    
related  that NSHC  is the  largest employer  in the  Bering                                                                    
Strait  region, and  has a  partnership with  NACTEC through                                                                    
which high school students  received training for healthcare                                                                    
careers. She  relayed the training center  provided training                                                                    
for  over 90  certified nursing  assistants in  the past  12                                                                    
years, which are the backbone  of the tribal nursing home in                                                                    
the region. She  pointed out that the nursing  home is among                                                                    
the top  40 best  nursing homes in  the nation,  which would                                                                    
not  have  been  possible   without  locally  trained  staff                                                                    
produced  by  the NACTEC  program.  She  mentioned that  the                                                                    
partnership had  developed a local  nursing program  and had                                                                    
celebrated   5  graduates   from  the   program,  which   is                                                                    
affiliated with  the University of Alaska  Anchorage and the                                                                    
University of Alaska Fairbanks.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
6:43:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MATHEW   MICHELS,   NOME   ESKIMO   COMMUNITY,   NOME   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke  in  favor of  education  and  youth                                                                    
services. He stated  he was a new tribal  council member. He                                                                    
related that education is a  fundamental right and should be                                                                    
the last  thing that  is ever cut.  He noted  youth services                                                                    
programs such  as Lego Robotics, Guys  Read, and afterschool                                                                    
programs for students. He emphasized  the importance of Pre-                                                                    
K  funding   as  well.  He   felt  that  Pre-K   provided  a                                                                    
fundamental  foundation  for   education.  He  stressed  the                                                                    
importance of  fully funding education  to invest  in future                                                                    
generations of  productive citizens  that can earn  a living                                                                    
wage and were not dependent upon social programs.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
6:45:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEBI BALDWIN,  CHILD DEVELOPMENT  DIRECTOR, RURAL  CAP, NOME                                                                    
(via teleconference),  spoke against cuts to  Pre-K funding,                                                                    
Parents as  Teachers, and Best  Beginnings. She  opined that                                                                    
it  was  short-sighted  to  defund  needed  early  childhood                                                                    
programs in  rural areas, and  would not result in  short or                                                                    
long term  savings to  the state.  She spoke  of anticipated                                                                    
higher short-term  costs in  remedial education,  and higher                                                                    
long-term  costs   in  health  care  and   adult  supportive                                                                    
services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:46:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN MERRITT,  WRANGELL FISH  AND GAME  ADVISORY COMMITTEE,                                                                    
WRANGELL  (via teleconference),  spoke in  favor of  funding                                                                    
the Alaska  State Trooper  position. He noted  that he  is a                                                                    
current elementary teacher with  25 years of experience, and                                                                    
spoke  in favor  of restoring  funding for  the OWL  program                                                                    
(Online  with Libraries).  He added  that the  program helps                                                                    
with  the summer  reading program  and greatly  enhances his                                                                    
student's  ability to  retain what  they learned  during the                                                                    
school  year. He  proposed that  the  committee imagine  the                                                                    
state closed  down the  Alaska-Canada for  four days  a week                                                                    
each summer, as analogy to  cuts to AMHS. He supported fully                                                                    
funding  the AMHS.  He suggested  cutting positions  by half                                                                    
rather than fully cutting state positions as proposed.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
6:48:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEFF  JABUSCH,   BOROUGH  MANAGER,   CITY  AND   BOROUGH  OF                                                                    
WRANGELL, WRANGELL  (via teleconference), urged  support for                                                                    
community  jails  and revenue  sharing.  He  noted that  the                                                                    
combination  of  these   two  reductions  might  necessitate                                                                    
closing  the  Wrangell   jail  and  transferring  prisoners,                                                                    
thereby  costing the  state. He  also advocated  funding for                                                                    
the  AMHS. He  expressed  the benefits  of  the highway  and                                                                    
highlighted  its  importance  to  economic  development.  He                                                                    
favored support  of the public broadcasting  and highlighted                                                                    
the importance of  the local radio station. He  was in favor                                                                    
of funding for the six LIO offices proposed to be cut.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
6:51:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RUTH STOUGH,  SELF, WRANGELL (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
favor of  funding the AMHS.  She also expressed  her support                                                                    
of the Wrangell LIO.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
6:52:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK  MAYER,  SUPERINTENDENT,  WRANGELL  PUBLIC  SCHOOLS,                                                                    
WRANGELL   (via   teleconference),   spoke   in   favor   of                                                                    
reinstating  the   $32  million  in  one-time   funding  for                                                                    
education. He  relayed some of  the effects of  the proposed                                                                    
cuts, including the potential loss  of one certified teacher                                                                    
and several aids.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
6:53:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE GALLA,  SELF, WRANGELL (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in favor of  funding for AKLN. She related  that the program                                                                    
served  several hundred  students from  47 school  districts                                                                    
across  the  state.  She   discussed  the  courses  offered,                                                                    
including  credit  recovery,  dual credit,  honors  classes,                                                                    
college prep,  career training, and a  variety of electives.                                                                    
She  indicated  that  distance   learning  allowed  them  to                                                                    
successfully  serve  students  in large  and  small  schools                                                                    
across the entire state.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
6:55:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ZACH  FANSLER,  COUNCILMAN,  CITY  OF  BETHEL,  BETHEL  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  supported  continued revenue  sharing  and                                                                    
opposed  the $57  million proposed  cut. He  noted that  the                                                                    
funds  were  vital  to  the  local  communities,  and  cited                                                                    
several  examples  from  Bethel.  He spoke  against  the  59                                                                    
percent  cut   to  public   broadcasting,  which   would  be                                                                    
devastating. He characterized the  local station, KYUK, as a                                                                    
lifeline. He supported  a state income tax  to alleviate the                                                                    
dire budget situation.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
6:58:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KARA JOHNSON, SELF,  CORDOVA (via teleconference), advocated                                                                    
for  funding  of  the  AMHS.  She  indicated  that  she  was                                                                    
affiliated with the Cordova Arts  and Pageants Board and the                                                                    
Parks  and Recreation  Commission;  both of  which would  be                                                                    
affected drastically.  She referred  to negative  impacts on                                                                    
tourism and  fisheries, as well  as the increased  burden of                                                                    
higher prices  of goods  and services.  She referred  to the                                                                    
ferry  system  as a  life  line,  and  noted that  the  AMHS                                                                    
provides  basic needs  to the  residents  of Prince  William                                                                    
Sound. She appreciated being heard.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB  72  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HB  73  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Neuman reviewed  the  schedule  for the  following                                                                    
day.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
7:01:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 7:01 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 72 Public Testimony Pkt 2.pdf HFIN 3/4/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 72