Legislature(2019 - 2020)ADAMS ROOM 519

05/14/2019 09:00 AM House FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
<Companion Bill to HB 22>
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       May 14, 2019                                                                                             
                         9:00 a.m.                                                                                              
9:00:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Wilson  called the House Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 9:00 a.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Tammie Wilson, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Jennifer Johnston, Vice-Chair                                                                                    
Representative Dan Ortiz, Vice-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Ben Carpenter                                                                                                    
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Representative Gary Knopp                                                                                                       
Representative Bart LeBon                                                                                                       
Representative Kelly Merrick                                                                                                    
Representative Colleen Sullivan-Leonard                                                                                         
Representative Cathy Tilton                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Erika  McConnell, Director,  Alcohol  and Marijuana  Control                                                                    
Office,  Department  of  Commerce,  Community  and  Economic                                                                    
Development;  Kris   Curtis,  Legislative   Auditor,  Alaska                                                                    
Division  of  Legislative  Audit; Kris  Curtis,  Legislative                                                                    
Auditor, Alaska  Division of  Legislative Audit;  Gary Zepp,                                                                    
Staff, Senator  David Wilson;  Jacob Garish,  Staff, Senator                                                                    
Scott Kawasaki.                                                                                                                 
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
William Harrington,  Self, Anchorage; Jerome  Hertel, Alaska                                                                    
State   Fair,  Homer;   Codie   Costello,  Vice   President,                                                                    
Strategic Development and  Communications, Alaska Center for                                                                    
the  Performing  Arts,  Anchorage; Tiffany  Hall,  Executive                                                                    
Director, Recover Alaska,  Anchorage; Sarah Oates, President                                                                    
and CEO, Cabaret Hotel  Restaurant and Retailers Association                                                                    
(CHARR), Anchorage; Sharon Fishel, Education Specialist,                                                                        
School   Health,   Safety,    and   Alternative   Education,                                                                    
Department of Education and Early Development.                                                                                  
HB 159    MEDICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM                                                                                             
          HB 159 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                   
SB 10     EXTEND SUICIDE PREVENTION COUNCIL                                                                                     
          SB 10 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
CSSB 16(FIN)                                                                                                                    
          ALCOHOL LIC:FAIRS,THEATRES,CONCERTS;BONDS                                                                             
          CSSB 16(FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                      
          further consideration.                                                                                                
CSSB 43(FIN)                                                                                                                    
          EXTEND BIG GAME BOARD; OUTFITTER LICENSE                                                                              
          CSSB 43(FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                      
          further consideration.                                                                                                
9:00:52 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:01:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 16(FIN)                                                                                                
     "An   Act  relating   to  certain   alcoholic  beverage                                                                    
     licenses and permits; relating  to the bond requirement                                                                    
     for  certain alcoholic  beverage  license holders;  and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
9:01:32 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson noted the committee would continue public                                                                       
testimony from the previous afternoon.                                                                                          
WILLIAM  HARRINGTON, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference),                                                                    
did not support  alcohol at sporting events  and other fairs                                                                    
where  children  were  present.   He  shared  a  story  from                                                                    
personal experience. He did not  believe rehab worked and he                                                                    
did not like  the idea of serving alcohol  at Eaglecrest Ski                                                                    
area in  Juneau. He  stressed that it  was easy  to purchase                                                                    
alcohol  in  the state.  He  believed  that serving  alcohol                                                                    
around children was harmful.                                                                                                    
9:04:02 AM                                                                                                                    
JEROME    HERTEL,   ALASKA    STATE    FAIR,   HOMER    (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in support of the  bill. He believed                                                                    
that the  bill would  enable the fair  to continue  to serve                                                                    
alcoholic beverages as it had for the prior 37 years.                                                                           
Co-Chair Wilson  asked whether the  fair had  any violations                                                                    
during the time the fair  held the license. Mr. Hertel would                                                                    
have to check. He believed  that the fair was violation free                                                                    
for most  of the time  they had  held the license.  He would                                                                    
follow up  for accuracy. Co-Chair Wilson  clarified that she                                                                    
wanted to point out on the  record that the issue was not in                                                                    
response  to  any  improper  action  by  the  fair  and  was                                                                    
responding  to  the  reinterpretation of  the  license.  Mr.                                                                    
Hertel answered that  there had been no  problems brought on                                                                    
by the fair.                                                                                                                    
Representative   Josephson   interpreted   that   the   bill                                                                    
grandfathered in the fair even if  the bill did not create a                                                                    
new fair  license. Mr. Hertel  affirmed that the  fair would                                                                    
be grandfathered in as a recreational site license.                                                                             
9:07:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CODIE  COSTELLO, VICE  PRESIDENT, STRATEGIC  DEVELOPMENT AND                                                                    
COMMUNICATIONS,  ALASKA  CENTER  FOR  THE  PERFORMING  ARTS,                                                                    
ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference),  spoke  in  support of  the                                                                    
legislation.  The bill  provided  clarity  and stability  to                                                                    
allow  the center  to  move forward  and  grow its  business                                                                    
responsibly.  She indicated  that the  center never  had any                                                                    
prior incidences with the license.                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Wilson clarified  that the  bill grandfathered  in                                                                    
the exact  prior activities allowed  under the  license. Ms.                                                                    
Costello affirmed the statement.                                                                                                
9:08:14 AM                                                                                                                    
TIFFANY HALL, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, RECOVER ALASKA, ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via teleconference),  requested an amendment for  the bill.                                                                    
She shared that the  organization worked to reduce excessive                                                                    
alcohol use and reduce high  risk drinking by promoting best                                                                    
practices. She  elaborated that the  harm caused  by alcohol                                                                    
use  cost the  state $1.84  billion annually.  Alaskans were                                                                    
dying  at  a  rate  three times  higher  than  the  national                                                                    
average. She emphasized that  any legislation that increased                                                                    
the  outlets for  alcohol  consumption  was antithetical  to                                                                    
best practices.  She understood many  of the  businesses had                                                                    
already been  serving alcohol. She  voiced that she  was not                                                                    
speaking  against  the bill  but  hoped  that the  committee                                                                    
would  consider adding  health and  safety  measures to  the                                                                    
bill.  She suggested  amending  the bill  to  include a  keg                                                                    
registration and noted that was  a national best practice to                                                                    
ensure that  if a person  purchased alcohol for  an underage                                                                    
person, they would be held  liable. She recommended that the                                                                    
state regulate internet sales.  She communicated that Alaska                                                                    
was one of the only states  that did not have any regulation                                                                    
against purchasing  alcohol from out of  state. Currently, a                                                                    
teenager  could   order  alcohol   from  the   internet.  In                                                                    
addition,  Alaska was  not collecting  any taxes  on alcohol                                                                    
internet sales.                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Wilson asked if she  realized that the bill was not                                                                    
authorizing  any  new  licensing. Ms.  Hall  understood  and                                                                    
appreciated the comment.  She advised that it  would be wise                                                                    
to include public health and  safety practices in SB 16. Co-                                                                    
Chair Wilson  alerted Ms. Hall  that a Title IV  rewrite was                                                                    
expected and was the best way to address her concerns.                                                                          
9:11:30 AM                                                                                                                    
SARAH  OATES,  PRESIDENT  AND   CEO,  ALASKA  CABARET  HOTEL                                                                    
RESTAURANT  AND  RETAILERS  ASSOCIATION  (CHARR),  ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via teleconference), testified in  support of the bill. She                                                                    
reported  that  the  association  represented  most  of  the                                                                    
alcohol licensees  in the state. The  organization supported                                                                    
grandfathering in  the existing licensees and  returning the                                                                    
license of  business who had  lost their license due  to the                                                                    
change in enforcement.                                                                                                          
9:13:21 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Wilson  asked what activities were  allowed under a                                                                    
recreational  license.  She  requested  that  Ms.  McConnell                                                                    
recount  exactly when  the interpretation  changed, and  the                                                                    
first licensee was notified.                                                                                                    
ERIKA  MCCONNELL, DIRECTOR,  ALCOHOL  AND MARIJUANA  CONTROL                                                                    
OFFICE,  DEPARTMENT  OF  COMMERCE,  COMMUNITY  AND  ECONOMIC                                                                    
DEVELOPMENT,   answered  that   the  statute   AS  04.11.210                                                                    
pertaining to a Recreational  Site License allowed a license                                                                    
holder to sell alcohol during  and one hour before and after                                                                    
a recreational event  that was not a school  event. She read                                                                    
the  following  from  the   statute,   A  recreational  site                                                                    
included a  location that baseball games,  car races, hockey                                                                    
games,  dog  sled  racing  events  or  curling  matches  are                                                                    
regularly  held during  a season.   She elucidated  that the                                                                    
board began  looking at  the issue around  2010 or  2011 and                                                                    
crafted  a  policy  that  it   implemented  for  two  years.                                                                    
Subsequently,  the office  undertook  a regulations  project                                                                    
that  was   not  implemented.  In   2014  and  in   2017,  a                                                                    
legislative audit cited the board  for issuing licenses that                                                                    
were  not in  compliance  with the  section  of statue.  She                                                                    
shared that the  board had struggled with the  issue for the                                                                    
past 10 years.                                                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Wilson  asked  when  the  board  first  alerted  a                                                                    
license  holder they  no longer  fit under  the recreational                                                                    
license. Ms.  McConnell replied  that the  2018/2019 license                                                                    
renewal period was  the first time the board  issued a final                                                                    
renewal for  two years  along with  a notice  of non-renewal                                                                    
subsequent to the end of the two-year period.                                                                                   
9:16:30 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair   Wilson  inquired   what   license  options   were                                                                    
available  when  they  were  no  longer  able  to  obtain  a                                                                    
recreational license. Ms. McConnell  replied that the answer                                                                    
depended on  the type of  business affected.  She elaborated                                                                    
that  two  businesses were  able  to  find a  restaurant  or                                                                    
eating  place license  and others  did not  attempt to  find                                                                    
other options like a beverage  dispensary license. She noted                                                                    
that a  beverage dispensary license was  only available from                                                                    
the secondary  market and  were tremendously  expensive. Co-                                                                    
Chair  Wilson asked  why the  board  had not  looked at  the                                                                    
possibility  of   grandfathering  the  businesses   in.  She                                                                    
pointed out that the result  would have shut down businesses                                                                    
that  were not  at  fault. Ms.  McConnell  answered that  no                                                                    
provision existed  in statute for  the board  to grandfather                                                                    
in  businesses.  However,  the  Title  IV  rewrite  steering                                                                    
committee   in  2012,   proposed  granting   a  noncompliant                                                                    
recreational site licensee  an 8 year phase  out period. Co-                                                                    
Chair Wilson  asked if the action  opened the state up  to a                                                                    
lawsuit.   She  continued   that  the   state  had   allowed                                                                    
businesses to  grow based  on a  legally issued  license and                                                                    
through  no fault  of their  own  they had  been told  their                                                                    
license was invalid. Ms. McConnell  replied that she was not                                                                    
an attorney and was not able to answer the question.                                                                            
9:18:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative Knopp deduced  that the recreational licenses                                                                    
had been issued  liberally at one time. He  thought that the                                                                    
reason  they   were  not  in  compliance   was  because  the                                                                    
recreational  activities  definitions  were not  in statute.                                                                    
He  inquired  whether  Ms.  McConnell felt  that  it  was  a                                                                    
 little  unreasonable  to  expect  that  a legislative  body                                                                    
could   identify   every   recreational   opportunity.   Ms.                                                                    
McConnell  responded that  under  the  situation the  common                                                                    
guidance  was to  refer to  the  list of  examples given  in                                                                    
statute and  evaluate the new proposal  to determine whether                                                                    
it met  the commonalities of  the examples. She  was unaware                                                                    
why the  prior boards  made the  decisions it  had 15  to 20                                                                    
years  earlier. She  noted  that they  did  appear to  issue                                                                    
licenses to  businesses that did not  operate seasonally and                                                                    
whose activities  did not  match the  commonalities included                                                                    
on the list in statute.  Representative Knopp was frustrated                                                                    
and  disappointed  that  the  past  director  had  not  come                                                                    
forward to  the legislature when  the issue had  occurred to                                                                    
ask   for  a   remedy.  He   commented  that   instead,  the                                                                    
legislature  spent numerous  years  trying to  fix what  the                                                                    
board  was  trying  to  undo.  The  businesses  operated  in                                                                    
compliance  and  in  the  restrictive  manner  laid  out  in                                                                    
statute. He  asked if Ms. McConnell  thought the legislature                                                                    
should address  recreation  holistically  in statute and not                                                                    
try to define it via example.                                                                                                   
9:22:07 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. McConnell answered  that the board did not  wish to take                                                                    
licenses  away  from  businesses.  She  wanted  clarity  and                                                                    
boundaries  from the  legislature.  She  suggested that  the                                                                    
more clarity the  better in terms of  what businesses should                                                                    
be  able to  obtain  liquor  licenses. Representative  Knopp                                                                    
maintained that under  some circumstances legislative intent                                                                    
had to suffice.                                                                                                                 
Representative  Josephson asked  if Ms.  McConnell had  been                                                                    
present  at the  recent House  Labor and  Commerce Committee                                                                    
meetings.   Ms.   McConnell  believed   so.   Representative                                                                    
Josephson  indicated  that the  prior  version  of the  bill                                                                    
repealed surrendering  the caterers permit. He  noted the CS                                                                    
did  not include  the  provision. He  asked  whether it  was                                                                    
significant. Ms.  McConnell answered that the  provision was                                                                    
not  significant. She  reported that  the permit  was issued                                                                    
via email  and the licensee  was not required to  return the                                                                    
permit after the event.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair Wilson asked  if any of the  11 impacted businesses                                                                    
had  been given  notice or  renewed. Ms.  McConnell answered                                                                    
that one of  the 11 businesses that had  been denied claimed                                                                    
they had not been noticed  and was currently working through                                                                    
an appeal process. She added  that the other businesses were                                                                    
given  notice. Co-Chair  Wilson understood  that one  of the                                                                    
ski  facilities was  renewed last  year.  She asked  whether                                                                    
they received  a notice  that it was  the last  renewal. Ms.                                                                    
McConnell  answered  that  the  ski area  had  been  renewed                                                                    
without  notice. Co-Chair  Wilson asked  why. Ms.  McConnell                                                                    
was  not privy  to why  the board  renewed the  license. Co-                                                                    
Chair Wilson noted that the ski  area did not fall under the                                                                    
interpretation of statute and  asked whether she advises the                                                                    
board. Ms.  McConnell responded that  she advised  the board                                                                    
to  deny  the renewal.  Co-Chair  Wilson  remarked that  the                                                                    
board renewed anyway. Ms.  McConnell affirmed the statement.                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson  related that based  on the  renewal another                                                                    
ski  area  applied  for  the license  and  was  denied.  Ms.                                                                    
McConnell  answered that  the applicant  had written  to her                                                                    
and acknowledged  that a  ski area did  not comply  with the                                                                    
statute  guidelines  but  noted  the  history  of  approving                                                                    
recreational site licenses for other ski resorts.                                                                               
9:26:32 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Wilson restated  her  question  regarding one  ski                                                                    
resort renewal prompting  another ski area to  apply only to                                                                    
be denied.  Ms. McConnell responded in  the affirmative. Co-                                                                    
Chair Wilson noted that there  were numerous issues going on                                                                    
with  the  Alcoholic  Beverage   Control  (ABC)  Board.  She                                                                    
reiterated  her  previously  stated concerns  regarding  the                                                                    
issue. She notified  the committee that the  denied ski area                                                                    
had their application fee returned  but had wasted much time                                                                    
and investment applying. She also  noted the issue regarding                                                                    
hours for  playing music  and reported  that the  bill would                                                                    
allow an organization to revert  to their prior practices if                                                                    
they reapplied  for a  recreation site  license even  if the                                                                    
business had  surrendered its license and  purchased another                                                                    
type of license.  The bill authorized that  the business had                                                                    
to choose  which license  they wanted  to operate  under and                                                                    
sell the other. She asked  Ms. McConnell if she was correct.                                                                    
Ms.  McConnell answered  in the  affirmative. She  clarified                                                                    
that a business could only operate under one license.                                                                           
9:29:00 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Knopp asked  whether  a  statute guided  the                                                                    
entertainment  hours under  the  recreational site  license.                                                                    
Ms. McConnell  answered that the recreational  site licenses                                                                    
lacked any  entertainment restrictions. However,  there were                                                                    
entertainment restrictions for restaurant licenses.                                                                             
Co-Chair  Wilson  asked  to   hear  from  Legislative  Audit                                                                    
regarding  future  auditing  problems with  passage  of  the                                                                    
KRIS  CURTIS,   LEGISLATIVE  AUDITOR,  ALASKA   DIVISION  OF                                                                    
LEGISLATIVE   AUDIT,  answered   that  auditors   looked  at                                                                    
criteria   and   audited    regarding   the   statutes   and                                                                    
regulations.  She affirmed  that  providing  clarity to  the                                                                    
board,  auditors, and  the public  was  very important.  Co-                                                                    
Chair Wilson  ascertained that the  statute had  allowed for                                                                    
much  interpretation.   She  understood  that   the  statute                                                                    
required clarity.  Ms. Curtis voiced that  the statutes were                                                                    
very  clear   and  listed   the  specific   activities  that                                                                    
qualified  a  business.  She listed  the  licensed  entities                                                                    
found in  the audit such  as a  spa, pool hall,  travel tour                                                                    
company,  etc.   were   clearly   not  in   accordance  with                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson  wanted to truly  right some  wrongs related                                                                    
to licensees but did not want to grant new licenses.                                                                            
9:32:19 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Knopp maintained  his concern  regarding the                                                                    
entertainment  hours  of  operation in  the  bill.  Co-Chair                                                                    
Wilson  replied   that  if  a   business  went  back   to  a                                                                    
recreational  license they  would be  allowed to  operate in                                                                    
the prior manner.                                                                                                               
CSSB 16(FIN)  was HEARD  and HELD  in committee  for further                                                                    
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 43(FIN)                                                                                                
     "An Act extending the termination  date of the Big Game                                                                    
     Commercial  Services  Board;  relating  to  a  person's                                                                    
     eligibility  to   hold  a   registered  guide-outfitter                                                                    
     license,  master  guide-   outfitter  license,  class-A                                                                    
     assistant  guide license,  assistant guide  license, or                                                                    
     transporter  license; and  providing  for an  effective                                                                    
9:33:48 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Wilson relayed  that she  would hold  the bill  in                                                                    
committee. She  expected that an amendment  was forthcoming.                                                                    
She  indicated  that  some   concerns  regarding  the  board                                                                    
lingered.  She   asked  to   hear  from   Legislative  Audit                                                                    
regarding  the recommended  5 year  period of  extension and                                                                    
consequences of a shorter extension period.                                                                                     
KRIS  CURTIS,   LEGISLATIVE  AUDITOR,  ALASKA   DIVISION  OF                                                                    
LEGISLATIVE AUDIT, shared that more  than 800 hours had gone                                                                    
into the  audit and it  had cost approximately  $70,000. She                                                                    
shared  that  the division  had  just  recently audited  the                                                                    
board; three years prior in 2015  and again in 2018. She had                                                                    
recommended a  two year  extension in  the past  for another                                                                    
board due  to serious  public safety concerns.  Typically, a                                                                    
three year  extension meant they  had serious  concerns. She                                                                    
indicated that they could begin  another audit in the coming                                                                    
year. However, she did not  believe they would find anything                                                                    
to draw  a different conclusion.  The term of  extension was                                                                    
exclusively  a   legislative  decision.   Legislative  Audit                                                                    
Division would place the audit first  in a queue and make it                                                                    
a priority if the legislature made it a priority.                                                                               
Co-Chair Wilson  wondered why the division  only recommended                                                                    
a  5    year audit  versus and  8    year audit.  Ms. Curtis                                                                    
answered  that  the  division  had  recommended  a  six-year                                                                    
extension.  The Senate  Finance  Committee  had changed  the                                                                    
period to five years  over concerns about the investigation.                                                                    
She  clarified that  the  audit did  not  conclude that  the                                                                    
board  did a  poor job  with investigations.  The audit  did                                                                    
conclude  that there  had been  no documentation  to support                                                                    
periods  of inactivity.  The division  was  not required  to                                                                    
report on  the quality of the  investigatory decisions, only                                                                    
the efficiency  with which decisions  were made.  The eleven                                                                    
sunset audit criteria that were  listed in the back of every                                                                    
audit  report were  used unless  directed  otherwise by  the                                                                    
Legislative Budget and Audit Committee (LBA).                                                                                   
9:38:06 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson  asked about the statement  that an                                                                    
audit would be prioritized  if requested by the legislature.                                                                    
He  asked  for  details.   Ms.  Curtis  clarified  that  the                                                                    
division always  prioritized items that carried  a statutory                                                                    
requirement.  She  delineated   that  any  legislator  could                                                                    
request  a performance  audit through  LBA and  if approved,                                                                    
the  audit  was placed  first  in  the  que of  audits.  The                                                                    
division  would  address  the audit  as  resources  allowed.                                                                    
Sunset  audits  were  statutorily required  and  were  given                                                                    
Representative  Knopp  asked that  for  every  board with  a                                                                    
sunset requirement  the division was mandated  to perform an                                                                    
audit regardless of the extension.  Ms. Curtis answered that                                                                    
not all  boards had  an audit  requirement. She  pointed out                                                                    
that  not all  entities  with  a sunset  date  had an  audit                                                                    
requirement.  She elaborated  that many  occupational boards                                                                    
had the  sunset requirement. When  a sunset date was  put in                                                                    
statute the  division performed an  audit one year  prior to                                                                    
the sunset. Representative Knopp deduced  that if he did not                                                                    
want  an  audit  when  the board  sunset  the  division  was                                                                    
required to  perform one regardless. Ms.  Curtis answered in                                                                    
the affirmative.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilson  deduced  that   a  remedy  for  a  concern                                                                    
regarding  the length  of  time  investigations were  taking                                                                    
would be better addressed via statute versus an audit.                                                                          
9:40:17 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Curtis  answered that LBA  wanted a specific focus  on a                                                                    
sunset audit  the committee could request  that the division                                                                    
add an  audit criterion.  She restated  that besides  the 11                                                                    
sunset criteria there  was the ability to  look at something                                                                    
more deliberately.                                                                                                              
Representative  LeBon   asked  for  verification   that  the                                                                    
division  would do  an audit  one year  prior to  the sunset                                                                    
date of  2024 in the  bill. Ms. Curtis nodded  in agreement.                                                                    
Representative LeBon  asked for clarification  regarding who                                                                    
could request a performance  audit. Ms. Curtis answered that                                                                    
any  legislator  could  request an  audit  through  the  LBA                                                                    
committee.   She  reiterated   that  completing   the  audit                                                                    
depended on  the divisions   available resources.  She noted                                                                    
that the  division was completing  an audit at  present that                                                                    
began in  2015. A  special performance audit  typically took                                                                    
one year before the audit process began.                                                                                        
Representative   Knopp  surmised   that   when  there   were                                                                    
additional  concerns  with the  board  not  included in  the                                                                    
audit it  would require a  special audit request  that might                                                                    
take three to four more years to address.                                                                                       
Co-Chair  Wilson interjected  that  if  there were  specific                                                                    
concerns about  the board  sunset it  should be  included in                                                                    
the  current extension  bill. She  asked how  the additional                                                                    
concerns should  be included  in the audit  via a  letter or                                                                    
amending the bill. She wondered what the process was.                                                                           
Representative Knopp questioned whether  a request had to be                                                                    
made in  a special audit or  if they could be  addressed via                                                                    
the  sunset   bill.  Ms.  Curtis  answered   that  the  most                                                                    
efficient way was to include  the concerns in a sunset audit                                                                    
bill. She  cautioned the committee  that she  usually worked                                                                    
with someone making audit requests  - audits needed specific                                                                    
criteria in  order to answer  the question and could  not be                                                                    
9:44:06 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Knopp   relayed  that  he  had   heard  many                                                                    
concerns  about the  board, and  he planned  to recommend  a                                                                    
shorter extension period of two years.                                                                                          
Co-Chair Wilson thought  there was time to reach  out to Ms.                                                                    
Curtis  to  ensure the  committee  provided  a framework  to                                                                    
address the concerns  in the bill. She was  uncertain that a                                                                    
two  year  extension  was  enough  time  to   get  questions                                                                    
answered.   Co-Chair  Wilson suggested  that  Representative                                                                    
Knopps    office  contact   Ms.  Curtis   for  consultation.                                                                    
Representative Knopp declined to consult with Ms. Curtis.                                                                       
Representative  LeBon referenced  Ms. Curtis's  phrase "best                                                                    
practices." He shared that in  the banking industry the term                                                                    
was used often.  He believed that it was  a  very intangible                                                                    
concept.  He  cautioned that  best practices  were carefully                                                                    
crafted and sometimes not to the benefit of the auditee.                                                                        
9:47:07 AM                                                                                                                    
GARY ZEPP, STAFF, SENATOR DAVID  WILSON, shared that Senator                                                                    
Wilson appreciated the work the committee had done.                                                                             
Co-Chair Wilson  noted there was possibly  another amendment                                                                    
coming forward and  would hold the bill  until the following                                                                    
CSSB 16(FIN)  was HEARD  and HELD  in committee  for further                                                                    
SENATE BILL NO. 10                                                                                                            
     "An Act extending the termination date of the                                                                              
     Statewide Suicide Prevention Council; and providing                                                                        
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
9:47:52 AM                                                                                                                    
JACOB  GARISH, STAFF,  SENATOR SCOTT  KAWASAKI, thanked  the                                                                    
committee  for  hearing  the  bill  that  would  extend  the                                                                    
council  for  another  eight years  as  recommended  by  the                                                                    
Co-Chair Wilson spoke to the  new fiscal note from the House                                                                    
Finance Committee  for the Department  of Health  and Social                                                                    
Services  (DHSS). She  relayed that  she changed  the fiscal                                                                    
note  due to  the lack  of response  from the  Department of                                                                    
Education and  Early Development (DEED) to  her requests for                                                                    
further  information  regarding  the list  of  grantees  and                                                                    
specifics about the award amounts  and how they utilized the                                                                    
grant.  She understood  the importance  of  the council  and                                                                    
believed that  it needed additional  funding for  travel and                                                                    
services to respond to emergencies.  She elucidated that she                                                                    
deleted $ 461.7 thousand  from the Grants and  Benefits line                                                                  
and added $61.7 thousand to  the governors  request of $51.3                                                                    
to the Services line to enable  the council to respond to an                                                                    
emergency  in   any  area  of   the  state.   She  expressed                                                                    
discomfort with authorizing funding  for pass through grants                                                                    
without accountability.                                                                                                         
Mr. Garish  pointed out that  AS 14.30.362 (a) and  read the                                                                    
following from the statute:                                                                                                     
     (a) A school district  and the department shall provide                                                                    
     youth   suicide  awareness   and  prevention   training                                                                    
     approved   by  the   commissioner   to  each   teacher,                                                                    
     administrator,   counselor,  and   specialist  who   is                                                                    
     employed  by  the  district or  department  to  provide                                                                    
     services to  students in a  public school in  the state                                                                    
     at no  cost to  the teacher,  administrator, counselor,                                                                    
     or specialist.                                                                                                             
Mr. Garish indicated that currently  the funding through the                                                                    
grant program  was the  only money  available to  the school                                                                    
districts  for   youth  suicide  awareness   and  prevention                                                                    
training.  He was  uncertain  how  the administration  would                                                                    
respond if  the funding was eliminated.  Co-Chair Wilson did                                                                    
not  care how  the administration  was going  to respond  to                                                                    
actions  taken  by  the committee.  She  asserted  that  she                                                                    
understood statute  and countered  that the grants  were not                                                                    
being  utilized for  the intended  purpose. Online  training                                                                    
was currently available at no  cost to the school districts.                                                                    
She  was aware  that the  grant funding  was not  awarded to                                                                    
every district.  She wondered  whether he  had documentation                                                                    
showing how  the grant  money was  spent and  what districts                                                                    
received  the  funding.  Mr. Garish  noted  that  not  every                                                                    
school district received the  grant funding. Co-Chair Wilson                                                                    
maintained that every district was  required to abide by the                                                                    
statute. She asked if her  statement was correct. Mr. Garish                                                                    
replied  in the  negative. Co-Chair  Wilson reiterated  that                                                                    
the  grants were  not going  to every  school district.  She                                                                    
attempted  to get  specifics from  DEED  regarding what  the                                                                    
grants were  being spent  on in the  current year  since the                                                                    
training  was online  and available  to every  district. She                                                                    
restated  her  request  for documentation  about  the  grant                                                                    
awards and purpose. Mr. Garish answered in the negative.                                                                        
9:51:39 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Foster  concurred that  he would  like to  see more                                                                    
complete information concerning the grants.                                                                                     
Co-Chair Wilson emphasized that she  had tried for one month                                                                    
to  get  the  information.  The grants  passed  through  the                                                                    
department and  she did  not know  what the  districts spent                                                                    
the  money  on. She  reiterated  her  concern that  not  all                                                                    
districts  received a  grant and  that  online training  was                                                                    
available  and was  not an  unfunded  mandate. She  recalled                                                                    
testimony  from  Representative  Tarr  stating  the  council                                                                    
mobilized to  an area when  a suicide happened  and provided                                                                    
services, which  was the reason she  appropriated additional                                                                    
funding to the services line.                                                                                                   
Representative   Josephson   asked  if   Co-Chair   Wilsons                                                                     
proposal  was   to  move  away  from   intervention  and  to                                                                    
prevention. Co-Chair  Wilson answered  in the  negative. She                                                                    
clarified that  she had been  unable to get  any information                                                                    
about the grants;  therefore, she moved some  of the funding                                                                    
to services. She determined that  a very valuable service of                                                                    
the  council was  to  provided services  to  a community  in                                                                    
response  to suicide.  She  appropriated approximately  $110                                                                    
thousand  to   the  council  to  carry   out  the  emergency                                                                    
9:53:33 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson  remembered that the  committee had                                                                    
previously  approved the  $400 thousand  for grant  funding.                                                                    
Co-Chair  Wilson agreed  with the  statement. She  recounted                                                                    
that she  had no response  from DEED  on what the  funds had                                                                    
been  spent  on. The  training  was  online  at no  cost  to                                                                    
teachers. Representative Josephson asked  how the other body                                                                    
saw the  matter. He asked  whether the fiscal note  had been                                                                    
funded  by the  Operating Budget  Conference Committee.  Co-                                                                    
Chair Wilson  responded that the  funding was included  in a                                                                    
fiscal  note   and   was   completely  different   than  the                                                                    
operating  budget  and  was a   totally  different piece  of                                                                    
legislation.  She  was unaware  of what  the other  body was                                                                    
Mr. Garish  answered that $70,000  of the grant  funding was                                                                    
appropriated  to the  online modules  and the  other funding                                                                    
went to  various things including competitive  grants in the                                                                    
amount  of $25  thousand  that school  district could  apply                                                                    
for. Co-Chair Wilson asked what  specifically the $25,000 in                                                                    
grant funding  was being used  for. Mr. Garish  replied that                                                                    
he included  supporting documents in the  committee packets.                                                                    
He deferred to the department for details.                                                                                      
Co-Chair  Wilson asked  for  specific information  regarding                                                                    
what the  grants were used  for and why some  districts were                                                                    
chosen over others.                                                                                                             
9:55:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SHARON FISHEL, EDUCATION  SPECIALIST, SCHOOL HEALTH, SAFETY,                                                                    
AND  ALTERNATIVE  EDUCATION,  DEPARTMENT  OF  EDUCATION  AND                                                                    
EARLY DEVELOPMENT  (via teleconference), indicated  that she                                                                    
managed  the  councils   grant   funds.  She  detailed  that                                                                    
currently  9 school  districts  received  grant funding  for                                                                    
suicide prevention.  She reported that the  Anchorage School                                                                    
District used  the funding  in its most  at risk  schools to                                                                    
train staff.  She listed the following  schools: McLaughlin,                                                                    
New Path  High School, AVAIL, Benson  Secondary/SEARCH, SAVE                                                                    
High  School, and  Crossroads School.  The funding  was used                                                                    
for  Safe  and  Civil   Schools  training  that  fostered  a                                                                    
positive  school climate.  The Mat-Su  School District  used                                                                    
its  funding for  the You  Are Not  Alone Club  that trained                                                                    
students on  peer to peer  modeling to teach  other students                                                                    
on the  warning signs of suicide  prevention. Currently, the                                                                    
district  had trained  over 1,400  students since  November.                                                                    
She  furthered  that  the Kenai  School  District  used  the                                                                    
funding for  the Sources  of Strength  program, which  was a                                                                    
peer  to peer  model. She  informed the  committee that  the                                                                    
Juneau  School   District  also  employed  the   Sources  of                                                                    
Strength  program   and  used   much  of  the   funding  for                                                                    
restorative  practices  at   the  Yaakoosge  Daakahidi  High                                                                    
School.  The  Petersburg  School  District  used  the  grant                                                                    
funding  to provide  mental health  counseling and  positive                                                                    
behavioral  support for  all schools.  The Fairbanks  School                                                                    
District  used  their  funding  for  the  Signs  of  Suicide                                                                    
Prevention  Program  (SOS) in  all  its  schools. The  North                                                                    
Slope District  used the  funding for  restorative practices                                                                    
and  positive  behavioral   intervention  and  support.  The                                                                    
Bering Straits School District directed  its funding for the                                                                    
Youth Leader  Program in coordination  with the  Nome School                                                                    
District, which  trained the students  to become  leaders in                                                                    
suicide awareness  and prevention practices. She  added that                                                                    
the Lower  Yukon School District  used the same  program. In                                                                    
addition  to suicide  prevention in  the schools,  the youth                                                                    
leaders reached out to elders in the community.                                                                                 
10:01:22 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Wilson asked to receive  the information in writing                                                                    
during the current day.                                                                                                         
SB  10  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
10:01:50 AM                                                                                                                   
The meeting was adjourned at 10:01 a.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 10 NEW FN DHSS BH SPC 5.14.19.pdf HFIN 5/14/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
SB010 Sponsor Statement 5.3.19.pdf HFIN 5/14/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
SB010 Letters of Support 5.3.19.pdf HFIN 5/14/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
SB010 Supporting Document SSPC White Paper 5.3.19.pdf HFIN 5/14/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
HB0159 Supporting Document - ASMA letter of support 5.13.19.pdf HFIN 5/14/2019 9:00:00 AM
HB 159
SB010 Supporting Document SSPC Legislative Audit Report 5.3.19.pdf HFIN 5/14/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
HB0159 Supporting Document - UW Medicine letter of support 5.13.19.pdf HFIN 5/14/2019 9:00:00 AM
HB 159
SB 10 Response DEED Grants.pdf HFIN 5/14/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
HB 79 PERS Plan Comparison.pdf HFIN 5/14/2019 9:00:00 AM
HB 79
SB 43 NEW FN DCCED CBPL 5.12.19.pdf HFIN 5/14/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 43