Legislature(2017 - 2018)HOUSE FINANCE 519

01/25/2018 01:30 PM FINANCE

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Audio Topic
01:32:46 PM Start
01:34:52 PM Overview: Department of Education and Early Development
02:12:22 PM Overview: Department of Environmental Conservation
02:54:50 PM Overview: Alaska Court System
03:31:32 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 286 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 285 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ FY19 Dept. Budget Overview: TELECONFERENCED
- Dept. of Education & Early Development
- Dept. of Environmental Conservation
- AK Court System
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                     January 25, 2018                                                                                           
                         1:32 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:32:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  called the House Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 1:32 p.m.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Paul Seaton, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Les Gara, Vice-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Jason Grenn                                                                                                      
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Cathy Tilton                                                                                                     
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Michael Johnson,  Commissioner, Department of  Education and                                                                    
Early   Development;   Sana  Efird,   Deputy   Commissioner,                                                                    
Department  of   Education  and  Early   Development;  Heidi                                                                    
Teshner, Division of  Administrative Services, Department of                                                                    
Education    and    Early   Development;    Larry    Hartig,                                                                    
Commissioner,  Department   of  Environmental  Conservation;                                                                    
Thomas   Cherian,  Director,   Division  of   Administrative                                                                    
Services,  Department  of Environmental  Conservation;  Doug                                                                    
Wooliver,  Deputy  Administrative   Director,  Alaska  Court                                                                    
System;  Rhonda  McLeod,   Chief  Financial  Officer,  Court                                                                    
System, Judiciary.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 285    APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                          
          HB 285 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 286    APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          HB 286 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
FY 19 BUDGET OVERVIEWS:                                                                                                         
          DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT                                                                         
          DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION                                                                              
          ALASKA COURT SYSTEM                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 285                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "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."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 286                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;    capitalizing   funds;   amending                                                                    
     appropriations;  making   supplemental  appropriations;                                                                    
     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."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton reviewed the agenda for the day.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
^OVERVIEW: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:34:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL JOHNSON,  COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF  EDUCATION AND                                                                    
EARLY  DEVELOPMENT,  introduced  himself and  several  other                                                                    
staff  present from  the Department  of Education  and Early                                                                    
Development   (DEED).    He   introduced    the   PowerPoint                                                                    
presentation:  "Alaska  Department  of Education  and  Early                                                                    
Development: Department Overview:  House Finance Committee."                                                                    
He read  from slide  2: "Department  of Education  and Early                                                                    
Development":                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
    Alaska Constitution Article 7, Sec. 1                                                                                    
     The  legislature shall  by  general  law establish  and                                                                    
     maintain  a  system  of  public  schools  open  to  all                                                                    
     children of the State and  may provide for other public                                                                    
     educational institutions.  Schools and  institutions so                                                                    
     established shall  be free  from sectarian  control. No                                                                    
     money shall  be paid from  public funds for  the direct                                                                    
     benefit of  any religious or other  private educational                                                                    
     institution.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
    State Education Policy: AS 14.03.015                                                                                     
     It  is the  policy of  this state  that the  purpose of                                                                    
     education  is to  help ensure  that  all students  will                                                                    
     succeed in  their education and work,  shape worthwhile                                                                    
     and  satisfying  lives  for themselves,  exemplify  the                                                                    
     best values  of society, and be  effective in improving                                                                    
    the character and quality of the world about them.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
    Mission: An excellent education for every student                                                                        
     every day.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:36:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HEIDI   TESHNER,   DIVISION  OF   ADMINISTRATIVE   SERVICES,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND  EARLY DEVELOPMENT, reviewed the                                                                    
chart on  slide 3:  "Education and Early  Development Budget                                                                    
Compared  to All  Agencies  Budgets  (Non-Formula Only)  (GF                                                                    
Only)." She reported that the  total non- formula department                                                                    
budget was  $46.113 million  in Undesignated  and Designated                                                                    
General Funds (UGF)  (DGF) of which $32 million  was UGF and                                                                    
$14 million  was DGF. The  budget had been reduced  by $25.3                                                                    
million  or 44.2  percent since  FY 15.  She noted  that the                                                                    
overall budget  had increased in  FY 15 from the  passage of                                                                    
HB 278  - Education  [Chapter 15 SLA  14 -  05/13/2014]. She                                                                    
moved  to the  chart  on  slide 4:  "DEED  Formula and  Non-                                                                    
Formula Funding (Non-Retirement) (GF  Only)." She noted that                                                                    
the chart  on the  previous slide was  reflected in  blue on                                                                    
the current  slide. She indicated that  the formula programs                                                                    
comprised approximately  96 percent of the  total budget and                                                                    
the  non-formula  was  roughly  4  percent  of  the  overall                                                                    
budget.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton recognized  that Representative Birch joined                                                                    
the meeting in the audience.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:38:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Teshner continued  to slide  5: "DEED  Non-Formula Line                                                                    
Item  Comparisons (All  Funds)."  She pointed  out that  the                                                                    
chart denoted  line items and fund  sources. She highlighted                                                                    
that the  increase in FY  10 was attributed to  the American                                                                    
Recovery  and  Reinvestment  Act   (ARRA)  funding  and  the                                                                    
increase  in  FY 12  was  due  to the  Broadband  Technology                                                                    
Opportunity Program (BTOP).                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  asked  about  the  increase  in  the                                                                    
commodities number  from $1.512 million  in FY 18  to $1.643                                                                    
million in  FY 19. Ms.  Teshner was uncertain  and responded                                                                    
that she would follow up with the committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Teshner  continued to slide 6:  "Department of Education                                                                    
and  Early Development  Non-Formula  Budget Comparisons  (by                                                                    
Appropriations)   (All  Funds)."   She  reported   that  the                                                                    
Education  Support  and  Administrative  Services  comprised                                                                    
largest  share of  the non-formula  budget represented  as a                                                                    
blue line  on the  graph. She  explained that  in FY  19 two                                                                    
appropriations  were  combined;  the Teaching  and  Learning                                                                    
Support and  Education Support  Services were  combined into                                                                    
the  Education  Support  and  Administrative  Services.  The                                                                    
peaks on the  blue line were due to federal  funding for the                                                                    
Education Jobs Fund and other programs.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:40:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Teshner  advanced to slide  7: "Department  of Education                                                                    
and  Early Development  Non-Formula  Budget Comparisons  (by                                                                    
Appropriations)   (GF  Only)."   She  reiterated   that  the                                                                    
Education  Support  and   Administrative  Services  was  the                                                                    
largest appropriation in  the non-formula budget represented                                                                    
as  a pink  line  on the  graph. The  increases  from FY  09                                                                    
through  FY  13  included  funding  for  the  Alaska  Native                                                                    
Science  and Engineering  program, Best  Beginnings, Parents                                                                    
as Teachers,  and other grant  funding. The  reductions from                                                                    
FY  15 through  FY 17  were due  to the  repeal of  the high                                                                    
school   graduation  qualifying   exam  and   reductions  in                                                                    
personal services.  The department  lost 81  positions since                                                                    
FY 15.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt wanted to  better understand the State                                                                    
Facilities  Rent   appropriation.  He  wondered   about  the                                                                    
decrease of $2  million in all funds  for the appropriation.                                                                    
Ms. Teshner  responded that the  department had  reduced its                                                                    
lease space which  contributed to the decrease and  in FY 19                                                                    
and several other allocations  within the appropriation were                                                                    
moved into different appropriations.  She offered that state                                                                    
facilities  maintenance  for   the  Mt.  Edgecumbe  Boarding                                                                    
School  was moved  into the  Mt.  Edgecumbe Boarding  School                                                                    
appropriation. In addition, the  Andrew P. Kashevaroff (APK)                                                                    
Building that  housed the Alaska  State Museum  and Archives                                                                    
was moved to the Alaska Library and Museum appropriation.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  acknowledged Representative  Guttenberg had                                                                    
joined the meeting.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:43:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Ortiz  referenced  Ms.  Teshner's  statement                                                                    
that  since  FY  15  the department's  budget  decreased  44                                                                    
percent. Representative  Ortiz asked how many  positions had                                                                    
been reduced.  Ms. Teshner answered  that 81  positions were                                                                    
eliminated  in  the  non-formula   portion  of  the  budget.                                                                    
Representative Ortiz  asked if  the reductions  impacted the                                                                    
department's ability to fulfill its mission.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SANA  EFIRD, DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT OF  EDUCATION                                                                    
AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT, replied that  DEED was experiencing a                                                                    
shift  in  the  balance  of  federally  supported  positions                                                                    
versus the  positions funded through GF.  She expounded that                                                                    
currently,  the department  had  roughly  25 positions  that                                                                    
were fully funded by GF.  The department was struggling with                                                                    
the  ability  to  provide support  services  that  were  not                                                                    
federally  mandated.   She  provided  the  example   of  the                                                                    
elimination of  the content  specialist position.  She noted                                                                    
that cuts were experienced across the board.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:46:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ortiz inquired whether  the cuts had a direct                                                                    
impact  on  the quality  or  delivery  of education  in  the                                                                    
classroom.   Commissioner   Johnson   responded   that   the                                                                    
reduction's  impacts   were  felt   the  hardest   in  rural                                                                    
classrooms. The  department was less  able to  support small                                                                    
districts  and   small  schools  with   "compliance  issues"                                                                    
related  to "federal  work."  The work  was  shifted to  the                                                                    
school  itself.  He  suggested that  DEED  could  help  with                                                                    
compliance   by  supplying   staff   development  and   data                                                                    
reporting  for   each  school,   which  were   services  the                                                                    
department had  provided but  were eliminated.  He commended                                                                    
DEED's staff for providing exemplary  service in the face of                                                                    
budget cuts.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:49:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt  asked about  rents for  Mt. Edgecumbe                                                                    
Boarding  School. He  inquired  whether  rent or  facilities                                                                    
increases for the school contributed  to the increase in its                                                                    
budget. Ms. Teshner replied that  the FY 19 increase for Mt.                                                                    
Edgecumbe  was  for  additional  federal  receipt  authority                                                                    
totaling  $250 thousand  to avoid  the  use of  Reimbursable                                                                    
Services Agreements (RSA) with DEED to expend grant funds.                                                                      
The other  increase was in  the amount of $250  thousand for                                                                    
interagency  receipt   authority.  The   remaining  increase                                                                    
encompassed the appropriation switch  that added the funding                                                                    
that  was  previously  part of  the  State  Facilities  Rent                                                                    
appropriation.  Representative  Pruitt requested  additional                                                                    
clarity  regarding how  much funding  would be  appropriated                                                                    
from the trust fund for  Mt. Edgecumbe. Ms. Teshner answered                                                                    
that  $4.6 million  would be  appropriated  from the  Public                                                                    
School  Trust  Fund  for  Mt.   Edgecumbe  and  was  not  an                                                                    
increase.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Guttenberg referenced  the Broadband  Access                                                                    
Grant data listed  on the graph. He asked  whether the slide                                                                    
showed the contribution after the  E-Rate had been paid. Ms.                                                                    
Teshner answered  that the grants were  designed to increase                                                                    
schools'  download  speed to  10  megabits  per second.  She                                                                    
explained that  the funding  was included in  HB 278  and it                                                                    
paid for a portion of the school's internet charges.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:53:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Guttenberg asked  whether  the  grant was  a                                                                    
capital  or  operating expense  and  was  merely paying  for                                                                    
higher  downloading capacity.  Ms.  Teshner  replied in  the                                                                    
negative  and  added  that  the  grant  paid  for  increased                                                                    
internet  speeds.  Representative Guttenberg  asked  whether                                                                    
matching  funds were  required.  Ms.  Teshner answered  that                                                                    
school  districts were  still eligible  for E-Rates  and the                                                                    
increment was  the "offset" cost.  Representative Guttenberg                                                                    
asked   whether  the   districts  were   rural,  urban,   or                                                                    
statewide.  He  requested  further information  regarding  a                                                                    
breakdown   of  E-Rates   by  federal,   state,  and   local                                                                    
contributions.  Ms. Teshner  replied  that  the program  was                                                                    
statewide. She  offered to provide  a list of  districts and                                                                    
the E-Rate charges.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Teshner  turned  to  slide   8:  "K-12  Aid  to  School                                                                    
Districts (Formula,  All Funds)."  She highlighted  that the                                                                    
blue bars  represented formula funding  and the  red portion                                                                    
depicted  pupil transportation.  The  green  portion of  the                                                                    
bars reflected funding outside of  the formula. She moved to                                                                    
slide 9:  "K-12 Aid  to School  Districts RDU:  K-12 Support                                                                    
RDU"  She   explained  the  structure  of   the  table  that                                                                    
reflected  the  budget  detail   contained  in  the  Results                                                                    
Delivery  Units  (RDU).  She  noted  that  the  tables  were                                                                    
included  through slide  15. The  table  columns listed  the                                                                    
Allocation and Program, Funding,  Number of Alaskans Served,                                                                    
Cost Through Fees, and Rating  of Importance to Mission. The                                                                    
department had given itself grades  A, B, or C. She provided                                                                    
detail on the meaning of each  grade. The grade of "A" meant                                                                    
the "job  was getting  done," "B"  grade indicated  room for                                                                    
improvement, and  "C" designated  failure with  limited room                                                                    
for  improvement.  The   remaining  3  categories  indicated                                                                    
whether  programs  were  required  either  constitutionally,                                                                    
federally, or via state statute.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:56:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Teshner highlighted  items  on the  slides. She  shared                                                                    
that the  base foundation  formula was  fully funded  in the                                                                    
amount  of  $5.930  thousand and  pupil  transportation  was                                                                    
fully funded based on the statutory formula.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  observed  that  the  department  had                                                                    
given itself  an "A"  in the  Foundation Program.  She asked                                                                    
how the  department determined whether  the job  was getting                                                                    
done.  She  noted  the  failing   grades  in  her  district.                                                                    
Commissioner   Johnson   answered  that   the   department's                                                                    
accountability  system   was  the  federal   "Every  Student                                                                    
Succeeds Act" (ESSA) plan and  was designed to determine the                                                                    
effectiveness in schools. He  referenced his prior statement                                                                    
regarding  local  data  and  looking   at  how  each  school                                                                    
performed. Representative Wilson asked  what happened if the                                                                    
department had a  conversation with a school  and the scores                                                                    
did  not change.  Commissioner  Johnson  answered that  ESSA                                                                    
targeted  the  appropriate  levels   of  support.  The  plan                                                                    
identified mechanisms and things  the department could do to                                                                    
support   the   districts   in   improving   their   student                                                                    
achievement.  Representative  Wilson  wanted  to  know  what                                                                    
happened in  a deficient situation. She  provided an example                                                                    
of  a third  grader not  being  able to  read. She  wondered                                                                    
whether DEED had  a plan to utilize state  resources to make                                                                    
improvements other  than talking  with the  school district.                                                                    
Commissioner  Johnson replied  that he  wished, particularly                                                                    
for children who could not  read, that there was a checklist                                                                    
of five  things that he could  do to fix it.  He voiced that                                                                    
schools  reflected  our  society.   He  explained  that  the                                                                    
legislature spent money on things  like the opioid epidemic,                                                                    
crime, health issues, etc. Societal  impacts were brought to                                                                    
school  with  the  children.  He  wished  concrete  measures                                                                    
existed,  so the  children's needs  could  be met.  However,                                                                    
most of the  authority in the local  school districts rested                                                                    
with the school boards,  leaving the department without much                                                                    
authority.  However,  the  department endeavored  to  impact                                                                    
needed change through its local relationships.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:02:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Gara  asked the commissioner  to return  to slide                                                                    
8.  He recalled  that  in the  prior  year some  legislative                                                                    
member's  suggested education  reductions  amounting to  $70                                                                    
million  that  included  pre-K.  He  asked  whether  it  was                                                                    
"realistic   to   expect   academic  achievement"   in   the                                                                    
"atmosphere" of  budget cuts. Commissioner  Johnson believed                                                                    
that academic  achievement was  more difficult  with limited                                                                    
resources.  He  noted  the complexities  in  the  system  he                                                                    
mentioned to Representative Wilson  and felt that the amount                                                                    
of resources  impacted the  department's ability  to address                                                                    
the complexities.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Teshner  turned to slide  10 and 11:  "Education Support                                                                    
and Administrative  Services RDU."  She highlighted  that in                                                                    
the  governor's   budget  there   was  a   one-time  funding                                                                    
increment  for  $100  thousand UGF  in  Student  and  School                                                                    
Achievement for updating science  standards that were not in                                                                    
compliance  with ESSA.  Another increment  was $1.2  million                                                                    
for  Early  Learning  Coordination  to  continue  the  Pre-K                                                                    
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:05:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Teshner advanced  to slide 12: "Alaska  State Council on                                                                    
the  Arts RDU:  Commissions  and Boards  RDU: Mt.  Edgecumbe                                                                    
Boarding   School  RDU."   She  noted   that  7   facilities                                                                    
maintenance   employees  were   being  transferred   to  the                                                                    
Department  of Transportation  and  Public Facilities  (DOT)                                                                    
Division  of Facilities  Services. She  turned to  slide 13:                                                                    
"State   Facilities  Rent   RDU:  Alaska   State  Libraries,                                                                    
Archives  and  Museums  RDU."  She  reported  a  $135.9  DGF                                                                    
appropriation  from the  Higher  Education  Fund to  Library                                                                    
Operations for the Broadband Access  Grants that brought the                                                                    
balance into  alignment with  the demand  for the  grant. In                                                                    
addition,  she  noted  a  $105.6  UGF  reduction  in  Museum                                                                    
Operations  by the  elimination  of funding  for the  Museum                                                                    
Grant and  Aid program. She  continued to slide  14: "Alaska                                                                    
State  Libraries, Archives  and  Museums  RDU (con't)."  She                                                                    
pointed  to  the  separate  allocation  for  the  Andrew  P.                                                                    
Kashevaroff Facilities Maintenance.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:07:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Teshner scrolled  to  slide  15: "Alaska  Postsecondary                                                                    
Education  Commission  RDU: Alaska  Performance  Scholarship                                                                    
Awards  RDU:  Alaska  Student  Loan  Corporation  RDU."  She                                                                    
reported  an  increment  of $81.6  thousand  for  the  WWAMI                                                                    
Medical  Education  allocation for  contractual  obligations                                                                    
appropriated from the Higher Education Fund.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Pruitt expressed  concern about  how funding                                                                    
the  other   budget  items'   increases  would   affect  the                                                                    
longevity of the  Higher Education fund. He  asked about the                                                                    
stability of  the fund. Ms.  Teshner could not speak  to the                                                                    
stability  of the  fund  since  it was  not  managed by  the                                                                    
department.   She  deferred   to  the   Legislative  Finance                                                                    
Division (LFD).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Teshner turned  to the  last slide,  slide 16:  "Health                                                                    
Care Costs."  She reported  that DEED's  departmental health                                                                    
care  costs  had  decreased  to 1.5  percent  of  its  total                                                                    
budget.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  assumed that the health  care costs applied                                                                    
only to  the department  and not schools  in the  state. Ms.                                                                    
Teshner responded in the affirmative.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:10:18 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:12:15 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
^OVERVIEW: DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:12:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LARRY  HARTIG,  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT  OF  ENVIRONMENTAL                                                                    
CONSERVATION,   introduced   himself.  He   introduced   the                                                                    
PowerPoint   presentation:   "Department  of   Environmental                                                                    
Conservation: House Finance Committee." He turned to slide                                                                      
2: "DEC's Mission."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Protect Human Health and the Environment                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     It is  the policy  of the  state to  conserve, improve,                                                                    
     and protect  its natural resources and  environment and                                                                    
     control  water, land,  and air  pollution, in  order to                                                                    
     enhance the  health, safety, and welfare  of the people                                                                    
     of  the state  and  their overall  economic and  social                                                                    
     well-being.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     It  is  the   policy  of  the  state   to  improve  and                                                                    
     coordinate the environmental  plans, functions, powers,                                                                    
     and  programs of  the state,  in  cooperation with  the                                                                    
     federal government,  regions, local  governments, other                                                                    
     public   and  private   organizations,  and   concerned                                                                    
     individuals,  and  to  develop  and  manage  the  basic                                                                    
     resources of water,  land, and air to the  end that the                                                                    
     state may fulfill its responsibility  as trustee of the                                                                    
    environment for the present and future generations.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The Department shall:                                                                                                      
          .notdefCoordinate and Develop policies, programs, and                                                                 
          planning related to the environment                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
          .notdefAdopt and enforce regulations for the prevention                                                               
          and   abatement  of   all  potential   sources  of                                                                    
          environmental pollution                                                                                               
          .notdefPromote and develop programs for the protection                                                                
          and control of the environment                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          .notdefPrevent and control public health nuisances                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          .notdefSet standards of cleanliness and sanitation for                                                                
          establishments in  which a lack of  sanitation may                                                                    
          create a condition that causes disease                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          .notdefRegulate food offered to the public or sold,                                                                   
          including  inspection   of  food   products,  food                                                                    
          handling   sanitation  standards,   labeling,  and                                                                    
          training                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          .notdefRegulate the control and eradication of pests                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          .notdefEnforce hazard analysis critical control point                                                                 
          programs for seafood processing                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          .notdefSet standards of sanitation for dairies offering                                                               
          or selling milk to the public                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
          .notdefSet standards and conditions of aquatic farms                                                                  
          and related hatcheries                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          .notdefIssue orders or permits relating to animals or                                                                 
          animal products in order to  prevent the spread of                                                                    
          pests or  contagious or infectious disease,  or to                                                                    
          promote the  safe or  sanitary conditions  for the                                                                    
          animals or animal products                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
          .notdefDesignate points of entry of the admission of                                                                  
         animals or animal products into the state                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     AS 46.03.010, AS 44.46.020, AS 17.20.005, AS 03.05.011                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Hartig explained DEC's  mission as having three                                                                    
interconnected circles that  were inextricably linked; human                                                                    
health,  animal   health,  and  environmental   health.  The                                                                    
concept was considered the "One  Health Concept" that guided                                                                    
federal and state agencies in policy development.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:14:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Hartig  mentioned   that  further  information                                                                    
links could be found on slide  3: "Sources." He moved to the                                                                    
chart on slide 4:  "Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                    
Share of  Total Agency  Operations (GF Only)"  that included                                                                    
UGF and DGF.  He observed the peak  in FY 14 due  to the 404                                                                    
permitting project  which was eliminated the  following year                                                                    
with continued  budget declines. He elucidated  that in FY19                                                                    
governor's request  the average  annual growth rate  for the                                                                    
period  was 0.85  percent and  UGF was  0.38 percent  of the                                                                    
state's  budget. He  pointed to  the  box on  the left  that                                                                    
explained that  UGF declined by  $2.2 million  (13 percent),                                                                    
but DGF increased by $5.2  million (27 percent). He detailed                                                                    
that  the  DGF increase  included  permitting  fees and  the                                                                    
Response Fund. He expected the  amounts to level off because                                                                    
the department  was reaching its  statutory limits  for fees                                                                    
and fees for indirect costs.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Hartig continued  to slide  5: "Department  of                                                                    
Environmental  Conservation  Line  Items  (All  Funds)."  He                                                                    
reported   that  most   of  the   department  spending   was                                                                    
associated  with personal  services. He  mentioned that  all                                                                    
areas of the  department's budget had declined  since FY 14.                                                                    
However,  he  anticipated  an increase  in  travel  for  the                                                                    
purpose of inspections and training.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton asked  about Commissioner  Hartig's comment                                                                    
regarding  statutory limits.  Commissioner Hartig  responded                                                                    
that the statutory  barrier had to do  with permitting fees.                                                                    
He explained that  two statutes capped the  amount of direct                                                                    
expenses  that could  be recovered  through permit  fees and                                                                    
prohibited recouping indirect expenses via permitting fees.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:18:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Hartig advanced  to  slide 6:  "Appropriations                                                                    
within  the Department  of  Environmental Conservation  (All                                                                    
Funds)."  The   slide  denoted  the  divisions   within  the                                                                    
department and  graphed their appropriations. He  noted that                                                                    
Air  Quality  Division was  largely  fee  supported and  had                                                                    
little UGF. He  highlighted the green bar  representing  the                                                                    
Division  of Environmental  Health (EH)  and pointed  to the                                                                    
drop  having to  do with  the reduction  in inspections.  He                                                                    
noted that  two divisions in  DEC utilized most of  its UGF;                                                                    
Environmental Health,  specifically, the Drinking  Water and                                                                    
Food Safety  Divisions and the  Division of Water.  Both had                                                                    
experienced reductions.  He offered that the  exemptions for                                                                    
municipalities   and  utilities   attached   to  the   Spill                                                                    
Prevention and  Response Fund (SPAR)  increase to  9.5 cents                                                                    
on  refined products  presented a  challenge; the  exemption                                                                    
reduced the  projected amount of income  by approximately $1                                                                    
million.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:22:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Pruitt  asked  whether  Commissioner  Hartig                                                                    
viewed the  actual balance falling below  the predictions as                                                                    
a  future  concern.  Commissioner   Hartig  replied  in  the                                                                    
affirmative. He  noted that  shortfalls were  anticipated in                                                                    
FY 2025  but that depended  on crude oil production  and how                                                                    
much refined  product would  be used.  Representative Pruitt                                                                    
asked whether the increased oil   production had stemmed the                                                                    
challenge   in   the   short-term.   Commissioner   Hartig's                                                                    
responded that  his "short  answer was,  not significantly."                                                                    
He  elaborated that  the department  had been  able to  live                                                                    
from  the  fund's  savings  since the  period  of  high  oil                                                                    
production.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative    Ortiz   asked    a   question    regarding                                                                    
transboundary  mining. He  wondered  to what  level DEC  had                                                                    
been asked  to respond to  the issues that might  arise from                                                                    
the activity.  He asked whether DEC  received any additional                                                                    
appropriation   regarding   transboundary   mining   issues.                                                                    
Commissioner Hartig  responded that Governor Walker  and the                                                                    
Premier  of   British  Columbia,   Canada  entered   into  a                                                                    
Memorandum  of Understanding  (MOU) calling  for cooperation                                                                    
in addressing  transboundary mining concerns.  He elaborated                                                                    
that  under the  MOU a  Statement of  Cooperation (SOC)  was                                                                    
created. One measure DEC undertook  was through reporting on                                                                    
water quality in  parts of the state  using existing federal                                                                    
funding from  the Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA). He                                                                    
moved the four  year study to South East  Alaska in response                                                                    
to  transboundary  mining.   The  department  was  currently                                                                    
drawing on existing  funding to support the  SOC efforts and                                                                    
was looking  for other  sources. Representative  Ortiz asked                                                                    
whether the  water study had  resulted in new  water testing                                                                    
activities  in Southeast.  Commissioner Hartig  responded in                                                                    
the affirmative.  In addition,  requests had  been submitted                                                                    
to Senator  Murkowski from  Southeast tribes  for additional                                                                    
resources.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:27:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Hartig  turned  to  slide  7:  "Appropriations                                                                    
within   the   Department  of   Environmental   Conservation                                                                    
(General  Funds)."  He  reported  that  DEC's  total  FY  19                                                                    
operating budget  was roughly $80  million with UGF  at 18.9                                                                    
percent,   38.6  percent   DGF,   federal  funds   comprised                                                                    
approximately  28.8  percent  and   other  funds  were  21.7                                                                    
percent. The department used a  significant amount of UGF to                                                                    
leverage  other   funding  sources.   He  remarked   on  the                                                                    
divisions'  GF   spending  trend.   He  spoke   to  concerns                                                                    
regarding the severe  cut to Drinking Water  and Food Safety                                                                    
and Sanitation.  He worried that  the public's  health could                                                                    
be   compromised.  He   provided  the   example  of   budget                                                                    
reductions  in Flint,  Michigan resulting  in systemic  lead                                                                    
poisoning.  He  appreciated  the  co-chair  of  the  finance                                                                    
subcommittees meeting to discuss  the risks caused by budget                                                                    
cuts.  He  noted  that the  budget  cuts  to  administrative                                                                    
services were due to consolidations and efficiencies.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:31:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson spoke  to  the  issues regarding  air                                                                    
quality  in  the  North  Star  Borough.  She  asked  if  the                                                                    
commissioner had  been working  with the  EPA to  loosen the                                                                    
grant    restrictions   on    certified   heating    stoves.                                                                    
Commissioner  Hartig  explained that  Representative  Wilson                                                                    
was talking  about targeted air  shed grants  that purchased                                                                    
more efficient heating stoves or  conversions to natural gas                                                                    
to enable  heating sources associated  with less  sources of                                                                    
smoke. The  restrictions occurred at the  federal level over                                                                    
the objections  of the  state. He  was optimistic  DEC would                                                                    
receive  an  additional grant  by  EPA  that eliminated  the                                                                    
restrictions.  Representative  Wilson noted  that  residents                                                                    
were  receiving fines  for using  their stoves.  She related                                                                    
more  concerns  regarding  the  issue.  Commissioner  Hartig                                                                    
indicated  the  department  was attempting  to  address  the                                                                    
issues.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:35:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner   Hartig  alerted   the   committee  that   the                                                                    
remaining  slides contained  the RDU  tables. He  pointed to                                                                    
slide  8: "Division  of Administration."  He commented  that                                                                    
the division  had been  very supportive  regarding reduction                                                                    
measures  taken  in  other  divisions.  He  pointed  to  the                                                                    
Commissioner's Office.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  asked  about  the  department's  intention                                                                    
regarding   vacancy  factors   and   wondered  whether   the                                                                    
department  was reallocating  funds to  other fund  sources.                                                                    
Commissioner  Hartig  answered  that DEC's  overall  vacancy                                                                    
factor  was  4 percent  and  DEC  had  given up  any  excess                                                                    
spending authority.  He exemplified that in  the Division of                                                                    
Environmental  Heath 121  positions were  filled out  of 124                                                                    
and he  intended to  fill the 3  open positions.  He pointed                                                                    
out that the department's  budget reflected its expenses and                                                                    
needs. Co-Chair  Seaton clarified  that he was  asking about                                                                    
the  authority for  other types  of funding  other than  UGF                                                                    
that he was not receiving and needed to backfill with UGF.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:38:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS   CHERIAN,  DIRECTOR,   DIVISION  OF   ADMINISTRATIVE                                                                    
SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF  ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, replied                                                                    
that  DEC  had  identified  any excess  authority  in  every                                                                    
program that added up to $2 million in FY 19.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Ortiz asked  whether  the  2.5 positions  in                                                                    
Shellfish were  associated with testing  the levels  of PCP.                                                                    
Commissioner Hartig commented that  the allocation was under                                                                    
EH and was for working  with shellfish growers. He commented                                                                    
that  Representative Ortiz  was referring  to the  Shellfish                                                                    
and Food  Safety Testing  allocation listed  on slide  12 in                                                                    
connection with  the EH lab.  He noted the $25  thousand DGF                                                                    
in   fees  from   non-commercial  non-regulated   shellfish.                                                                    
Representative  Ortiz asked  whether  the  testing was  only                                                                    
performed  in Anchorage.  Commissioner Hartig  answered that                                                                    
the testing  could only be  accomplished through the  EH lab                                                                    
in Anchorage.  He indicated that FDA  approval was necessary                                                                    
to sell  the shellfish out  of state or  internationally and                                                                    
the  method  the  lab  in  Sitka  tried  did  not  gain  FDA                                                                    
approval.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Hartig   moved  to   slide  9:   "Division  of                                                                    
Environmental Health."  He noted  that the  allocations were                                                                    
related to the laboratory.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:42:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner   Hartig  reviewed   slide  10:   "Division  of                                                                    
Environmental   Health   (Con't)."   He   pointed   to   the                                                                    
Manufactured  Food/Seafood  Processors  allocation  of  $930                                                                    
thousand in  federal dollars.  He explained  that DEC  had a                                                                    
contract with the  FDA to perform food  inspections for food                                                                    
sold outside  of Alaska. Heavy  standards had to be  met and                                                                    
DEC's performance had decreased with the budget reductions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton asked  if  there was  a  reason the  Public                                                                    
Facilities   allocation   had   zero  recovery   of   funds.                                                                    
Commissioner Hartig replied that  the facilities were small,                                                                    
and he  doubted that fee  recovery would be  cost effective.                                                                    
He  noted  that  the  Retail Food  program  was  87  percent                                                                    
supported   by  fees.   He  expounded   that  overall,   the                                                                    
department  had  $15 million  in  UGF  and approximately  $7                                                                    
million  was  used  for  programs  that  could  not  be  fee                                                                    
supported. The department could  collect up to approximately                                                                    
$2 million if  the statute limitations on  fees were removed                                                                    
but had  to be balanced  by the amount the  industries could                                                                    
afford.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson  did not  understand why he  could not                                                                    
charge  the  businesses that  fell  under  the zero  percent                                                                    
recovery  and  could  not  be   assessed  fees  while  small                                                                    
businesses  in the  Retail Food  program were.  Commissioner                                                                    
Hartig would  follow up with  more information.  He reported                                                                    
that Mr. Cherian performed an  audit of recoverable fees and                                                                    
a DEC  economist reviewed  the fee  impact on  the regulated                                                                    
industry. The  department took a systematic  approach to fee                                                                    
assessment.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:46:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Hartig   explained  slide  11:   "Division  of                                                                    
Environmental Health  (Con't)." He pointed to  the "heavily"                                                                    
federally  funded  Drinking  Water  program  that  regulated                                                                    
public water systems statewide and  only recovered 4 percent                                                                    
of  GF through  fees. He  moved to  the Solid  Waste program                                                                    
that only recovered 22 percent of  its GF. He noted that the                                                                    
Pesticide program  was largely  fee supported. He  turned to                                                                    
slide 12:  "Division of  Environmental Health  (Con't)" that                                                                    
was associated  with the  Laboratory Services  Component. He                                                                    
reported  that  the state  purposely  did  not compete  with                                                                    
private  industry. The  lab work  was mandated  or performed                                                                    
research or activities a private  lab would or could not do.                                                                    
He  emphasized   that  the   state  lab   performed  crucial                                                                    
services.   He  continued   to   slide   13:  "Division   of                                                                    
Environmental  Health  (Con't)."  He pointed  to  the  Dairy                                                                    
Programs  that served  the two  Alaskan dairies  with a  UGF                                                                    
spend  of  $413 thousand.  He  highlighted  the Fish  Tissue                                                                    
Testing  allocation that  was  supported  through the  Ocean                                                                    
Ranger Program at 100 percent.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Hartig  continued with  slide 14:  "Division of                                                                    
Air  Quality." He  reported that  the  entire division  fell                                                                    
under  one  component that  was  largely  fee supported.  He                                                                    
advanced  to  slide  15: "Division  of  Spill  Prevention  &                                                                    
Response."  He  reported  that the  division  was  primarily                                                                    
supported  by DGF.  He  pointed to  slide  16: "Division  of                                                                    
Water."  He  indicated  that   the  division  received  $1.2                                                                    
million  in   reductions  shifted   from  UGF  to   DGF.  He                                                                    
delineated that when the state  assumed primacy of the Waste                                                                    
Water Discharge  Permitting Program in 2009  it was designed                                                                    
to be  increasingly supported  through fees  and was  in the                                                                    
third year of fee increases.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:51:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Hartig continued  to  slide  17: "Division  of                                                                    
Water (Con't)."  He related that  the water program  had two                                                                    
parts: permitting  and standards and  facilities. Facilities                                                                    
included  the Village  Safe Water  Municipal Grant  and Loan                                                                    
Program.  He  noted  that  fees  were  increased  under  the                                                                    
Engineering Support & Plan Review allocation.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Hartig  examined  the last  slide,  slide  18:                                                                    
"Division  of  Water  (Con't)."  He  noted  that  under  the                                                                    
Village Safe  Water (VSW) program  75 percent  was federally                                                                    
funded  for planning,  design, and  construction grants  for                                                                    
water and sewer  for communities of 1000 or  less. The state                                                                    
matched 25 percent  via the capital budget  that allowed for                                                                    
some capital  dollars for operating costs.  He mentioned the                                                                    
final  program,  Technical  Assistance  and  Financing  that                                                                    
included the Remote Maintenance Worker program.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton thanked the presenter.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:54:12 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:54:42 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
^OVERVIEW: ALASKA COURT SYSTEM                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:54:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOUG WOOLIVER, DEPUTY  ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR, ALASKA COURT                                                                    
SYSTEM,  introduced himself.  He  introduced the  PowerPoint                                                                    
presentation: "House Finance  Committee: Alaska Court System                                                                    
Overview."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Wooliver began  with reading  the mission  statement on                                                                    
slide 2: "Mission Statement":                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The mission  of the Alaska  Court System is  to provide                                                                    
     an  accessible   and  impartial  forum  for   the  just                                                                    
     resolution of  all cases  that come  before it,  and to                                                                    
     decide  such   cases  in   accordance  with   the  law,                                                                    
     expeditiously and with integrity.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Wooliver maintained that  budget reductions impacted the                                                                    
Court System's ability to  provide accessibility and perform                                                                    
expeditiously. He   moved to slide 3:  "Judiciary's Share of                                                                    
Total  Agency  Operations  (GF Only)."  He  noted  that  the                                                                    
budget use to  increase and currently it  was decreasing. He                                                                    
spoke  to the  prior cost  drivers of  statewide pay  raises                                                                    
and placing  all the costs  associated with  the Therapeutic                                                                    
Costs into the Court System budget.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:57:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Wooliver  continued to slide  4: "Judiciary:  Line Items                                                                    
(All  Funds)." He  reported that  Personal Services  was the                                                                    
largest slice of the Court  System's budget. He related that                                                                    
the Contractual Service Line was  the only other area of the                                                                    
budget that changed due to  the inclusion of the Therapeutic                                                                    
Courts budget. Recently, the  contractual services shrank by                                                                    
$900  thousand through  reduced internet  service costs.  He                                                                    
pointed to  slide 5:  "Judiciary Appropriations  (GF Only)."                                                                    
He mentioned the  inclusion of the two  small stable budgets                                                                    
for  the Judicial  Council and  the  Commission on  Judicial                                                                    
Conduct.  He  specified that  the  following  chart was  All                                                                    
Funds. He turned to slide  6: "Judiciary Appropriations (All                                                                    
Funds)."  He noted  the similarity  with the  previous chart                                                                    
since the Court System was operated via GF at 97 percent.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson asked how  the Therapeutic Courts were                                                                    
funded.  Mr. Wooliver  replied that  the Therapeutic  Courts                                                                    
was  funded using  UGF. Representative  Wilson wondered  why                                                                    
only UGF was spent. Mr.  Wooliver explained that most of the                                                                    
offenders  were  indigent.  The   court  never  charged  for                                                                    
services  associated  with plea  agreements.  Representative                                                                    
Wilson  suggested  establishing  fees  based  on  a  sliding                                                                    
scale.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:01:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Wooliver reviewed  slide  7: "UGF  Budget  Cuts FY16                                                                       
FY18":                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
    FY16  $3,430.4 (3.1%)*                                                                                                   
    FY17  $3,805.0 (3.5%)                                                                                                    
    FY18  $3,671.8 (3.5%)**                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
    * The FY16 cut was offset by a 2.5% salary increase                                                                         
   resulting in a net reduction of $1,427.6.                                                                                    
 ** The FY18 cut was offset by increased healthcare costs                                                                       
   resulting in a net reduction of $1,821.4.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Wooliver advanced to slide  8: "Examples of Cost-Savings                                                                    
Measures":                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
    E-Distribution Project                                                                                                   
    In FY18, Deleted 29 PFT, 14 PPT, and 2 Temporary                                                                         
     Positions for a total of 45 Deleted Positions                                                                              
    Salary Schedules Capped at "R" Step                                                                                      
    Holding 32 Positions Vacant                                                                                              
    Continuing with Friday Afternoon Closures                                                                                
    Expanded Use of Videoconferencing                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Wooliver  indicated  that most  of  the  Court  Systems                                                                    
reductions were  taken from personal  services and  in other                                                                    
areas like travel and using email versus postal services.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Guttenberg asked  Mr. Wooliver  to speak  to                                                                    
the  savings  having  to do  with  bandwidth.  Mr.  Wooliver                                                                    
deferred the  answer to the  Chief Financial Officer  of the                                                                    
Court System.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:03:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RHONDA  MCLEOD,  CHIEF   FINANCIAL  OFFICER,  COURT  SYSTEM,                                                                    
JUDICIARY,  answered   that  the  Court   System  previously                                                                    
purchased  internet directly  from broadband  providers. The                                                                    
system's  Information  Technology   (IT)  staff  implemented                                                                    
using  a  Meraki  Device that  routed  and  prioritized  its                                                                    
traffic,  so  the bandwidth  could  be  channeled to  first,                                                                    
video  services,  then  data,  and  finally,  regular  email                                                                    
services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Ortiz  asked  whether the  shortened  Friday                                                                    
hours created  a growing backlog  of cases or if  the impact                                                                    
was minimal. Mr. Wooliver responded  that there had not been                                                                    
a significant  change, and that  benefits from  the closures                                                                    
were reported within the Court  System and in other agencies                                                                    
that had  time to  do with time  management. He  believed it                                                                    
was more efficient than full  position layoffs. He noted the                                                                    
system's "clearance rate"  that was a measure of  the  Court                                                                    
System's  effectiveness.   Currently,  the   clearance  rate                                                                    
showed that work was still done on time.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:07:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ortiz just discovered  the Friday closure was                                                                    
a 1.5 hour  reduction. He was under the  impression that the                                                                    
closure  resulted in  4 hours  less pay  for employees.  Mr.                                                                    
Wooliver  responded in  the affirmative  and added  that the                                                                    
pay decrease was 4 percent.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kawasaki asked  if customers  had complained                                                                    
about the closure on Friday  at noon. Mr. Wooliver responded                                                                    
in  the affirmative  but indicated  that emergency  services                                                                    
were available.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  asked about  the  32  positions that  were                                                                    
being held  over as vacant  and wondered whether they   were                                                                    
attributed to  a vacancy factor.  Ms. McLeod  responded that                                                                    
the  court system  was holding  them open  as a  significant                                                                    
reduction in personal services.  She added that the division                                                                    
maintained  a  vacancy  factor   as  well.  Co-Chair  Seaton                                                                    
inquired whether the vacancies were  being held in the event                                                                    
it was necessary to fill any of them.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Wooliver  interjected that the  court system  received a                                                                    
huge  benefit with  the  expanded  use of  videoconferencing                                                                    
that produced  massive cost savings and  efficiencies in the                                                                    
Court System and other agencies.  He provided the example of                                                                    
substantial   savings    using   videoconferencing   between                                                                    
correctional facilities and court houses.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:11:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Wooliver advanced  to slide  9: "FY19  Operating Budget                                                                    
Increases":                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
    $ 510.0 Jury Expenses                                                                                                    
        square4 FY18 2nd quarter trial rates for Bethel and                                                                     
        square4 Dillingham are up 50% from FY16 2nd quarter                                                                     
        square4 and up 36% from FY17 2nd quarter trial rates                                                                    
    $ 96.3 Veterans' Court                                                                                                   
        square4 Funding is for a dedicated Veterans' Court                                                                      
        square4 coordinator                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Wooliver  explained  that  the  amounts  reflected  the                                                                    
amount  necessary for  court system  operations. He  relayed                                                                    
that  when the  trial rate  decreased savings  were realized                                                                    
but when  trial rates  increased costs increased,  mostly in                                                                    
jury  travel and  fees. The  court system  simply could  not                                                                    
absorb the increased  costs. The increment was  based on the                                                                    
trial  increases over  the prior  several  months that  kept                                                                    
increasing.  He  reported  that  the  Veterans'  Court  main                                                                    
purpose  reacquainted   veterans  with   services  available                                                                    
through the Veterans Administration.  He noted that everyone                                                                    
associated  with  the Veterans'  Court  was  a veteran.  The                                                                    
court was  becoming more  popular and  was at  full capacity                                                                    
creating a critical need for a Veterans' Court coordinator.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:16:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Wooliver described  slide  10:  "Judiciary." The  slide                                                                    
showed all the funding sources  for Judiciary. He pointed to                                                                    
the filing  fees which  had been  recently increased  by and                                                                    
estimated $600  thousand and had  a prior increase  as well.                                                                    
Alaska was  in the  average range of  court filing  fees and                                                                    
waivers were available.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Pruitt asked  what amount  was generated  by                                                                    
the initial  fee increase. Mr.  Wooliver answered  that $800                                                                    
thousand in additional funds were collected.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kawasaki asked  how  much of  the fines  and                                                                    
fees were collected. Mr. Wooliver  indicated that the filing                                                                    
fees were fully collected. He  suggested that a much smaller                                                                    
collection rate was associated with other mandatory fees.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:21:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Wooliver  scrolled to  slide  11:  "Alaskans Served  in                                                                    
2017":                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
    121,636 new cases filed (trial and appellate)                                                                            
 7,000 contacts through the Family Law Self Help Center                                                                      
    24,112 jurors reported for service                                                                                       
    8,856 law library patrons                                                                                                
    672,829 citizens passed through security screening                                                                       
    5,056,210 visits to the court's website                                                                                  
    1,145,167 CourtView searches                                                                                             
    19,109 online payments made                                                                                              
    525 therapeutic court participants                                                                                       
    Thousands of on-line court forms accessed or                                                                             
     downloaded                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Wooliver  remarked  on some  of  the  positive  results                                                                    
listed in  the data  contained on slide  11. He  advanced to                                                                    
the remaining  slide, slide  12: "Effectiveness  Ratings and                                                                    
Measures":                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
    Case Clearance Rates                                                                                                     
    Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs                                                                                  
    Customer Surveys                                                                                                         
    Jurors and Vendors Paid Timely                                                                                           
    Electronic Efficiencies                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Wooliver  reiterated the  court system's  high clearance                                                                    
rate of  98 to 99  percent. He commented on  the alternative                                                                    
dispute resolution  programs that  mostly dealt  with family                                                                    
law.  He reported  on the  success  of the  Family Law  Help                                                                    
Center and  the Early  Resolution Program. He  explained how                                                                    
they  worked  and  the  high success  rates.  He  noted  the                                                                    
reduction in  time between filing  a case and  a resolution,                                                                    
which previously  took 172 days  and was currently  about 50                                                                    
days.  The  program  offers  a 1  day  resolution,  was  not                                                                    
adversarial, and had no legal fees.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton reviewed the agenda for the following day.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:31:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 3:31 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
DEED HFIN Overview 1.25.18 FINAL.pdf HFIN 1/25/2018 1:30:00 PM
FY19 Presentation for House Finance 1 25 18 Courts Final.pdf HFIN 1/25/2018 1:30:00 PM
HFIN-Courts Budget Overview
HFC Department Overview 01.25.18 (reduced file size).pdf HFIN 1/25/2018 1:30:00 PM
HFIN-DEC Budget Overview
01.26.2018 - DEC Response to HFC 01.25.18 Questions.pdf HFIN 1/25/2018 1:30:00 PM