Legislature(2019 - 2020)ADAMS 519

02/27/2020 09:00 AM FINANCE

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Audio Topic
09:05:28 AM Start
09:06:48 AM HB205 || HB206
09:06:54 AM Amendments
12:45:20 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                     February 27, 2020                                                                                          
                         9:05 a.m.                                                                                              
9:05:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Foster called the House Finance Committee meeting                                                                      
to order at 9:05 a.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Jennifer Johnston, Co-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                                                                                                     
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Michael   Partlow,  Fiscal   Analyst,  Legislative   Finance                                                                    
Division; Representative Tiffany  Zulkosky; Neil Steininger,                                                                    
Director,  Office of  Management and  Budget, Office  of the                                                                    
Governor;  Kelly  Cunningham, Analyst,  Legislative  Finance                                                                    
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
John    Binder,   Deputy    Commissioner,   Department    of                                                                    
Transportation and Public Facilities                                                                                            
HB 205      APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                
            HB 205 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                          
            further consideration.                                                                                              
HB 206      APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                        
            HB 206 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                          
            further consideration.                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Foster reviewed  the meeting  agenda. He  provided                                                                    
the schedule for the afternoon  meeting. The committee would                                                                    
resume budget amendments.                                                                                                       
HOUSE BILL NO. 205                                                                                                            
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain    programs;    capitalizing   funds;    making                                                                    
     appropriations under art.  IX, sec. 17(c), Constitution                                                                    
     of the State of  Alaska, from the constitutional budget                                                                    
    reserve fund; and providing for an effective date."                                                                         
HOUSE BILL NO. 206                                                                                                            
     "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."                                                                                                        
9:06:48 AM                                                                                                                    
9:06:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Foster  directed members to the  next amendment. He                                                                    
noted that  the committee had  left off  on page 12  [of the                                                                    
"2020 Legislature  - Operating  Budget Transaction  Detail -                                                                    
House  Structure"   document  (copy  on   file)],  Amendment                                                                    
H DPS 5. [Note: amendments  were heard on 2/25/20 during the                                                                    
1:30 p.m. meeting and 2/26/20  during the 9:30 a.m. and 1:30                                                                    
p.m. meetings. See separate minutes for detail.]                                                                                
Representative      Josephson     requested      to     roll                                                                    
Amendment H DPS  5 to the bottom of the  list to provide him                                                                    
with an opportunity to review the information.                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Foster  asked  the amendment  sponsor  if  he  was                                                                    
amenable to the request.                                                                                                        
Representative Knopp agreed.                                                                                                    
Representative Josephson  MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment H  DOT 1                                                                    
(copy on file):                                                                                                                 
     Highways, Aviation and Facilities                                                                                          
     H DOT 1 - Funding for State Management of Kwinhagak                                                                        
     1004 Gen Fund (UGF) 90.0                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Johnston OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                      
Representative Josephson explained  the amendment that would                                                                    
provide  $90,000  for  state  management  of  the  Kwinhagak                                                                    
airport. He  detailed that the  Native village  of Kwinhagak                                                                    
requested that  the Department of Transportation  and Public                                                                    
Facilities (DOT)  resume operation  of the runway  through a                                                                    
resolution.  He detailed  that the  village had  constructed                                                                    
the  runway   in  1999.  In   2004,  the  tribe   took  over                                                                    
maintenance  and  operations  with no  assistance  from  the                                                                    
state;  however, the  community  lacked  funding for  runway                                                                    
maintenance. He  elaborated that permafrost  degradation had                                                                    
resulted in dips  and bumps in the runway  and had destroyed                                                                    
the lighting systems.  Due to the damage,  flights were only                                                                    
possible during daytime hours.                                                                                                  
Representative  Josephson  stated  that the  combination  of                                                                    
lack of  maintenance and limited landing  times constitute a                                                                    
public health issue. The  department previously operated and                                                                    
maintained  the runway.  He reported  that according  to the                                                                    
Yukon  Kuskokwim  Health   Corporation,  the  community  was                                                                    
entirely  dependent  on  airline transportation  to  receive                                                                    
supplies  and  transport   patients  to  receive  healthcare                                                                    
outside  of Kwinhagak  in the  winter  and limited  daylight                                                                    
hours. He explained that air  was the only viable year-round                                                                    
mode of  transportation for the village's  600 residents. He                                                                    
stressed that a  functional airport was vital  to the health                                                                    
and safety of the community.                                                                                                    
9:09:39 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster  spoke  in support  of  the  amendment.  He                                                                    
shared  that  he  had  spoken  with  Representative  Tiffany                                                                    
Zolkosky  about the  topic. He  detailed that  the community                                                                    
was located  in the  Bethel region  (House district  40). He                                                                    
explained  that  virtually  every small  rural  airport  was                                                                    
state  maintained.  At some  point  in  the past  the  local                                                                    
community had taken  control of the maintenance.  He did not                                                                    
know  whether  the  community had  received  federal  tribal                                                                    
highway  and  airport  funding, but  the  funding  had  been                                                                    
diminishing over the years. He  believed Kwinhagak wanted to                                                                    
return to having a state maintained airport.                                                                                    
Representative  Carpenter wanted  a better  understanding of                                                                    
why the  state maintenance had  been moved away from  in the                                                                    
first place.                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster did  not have  the information.  He relayed                                                                    
that  the  community  had  thought  it  could  maintain  the                                                                    
airport with  the other  funding it  had been  receiving. He                                                                    
did not know any additional detail.                                                                                             
Representative Josephson  read from a letter  dated February                                                                    
14,  2020 from  Darren  Cleveland, President  of the  Native                                                                    
Village of Kwinhagak:                                                                                                           
     The Native  village of Kwinhagak  built the  runway and                                                                    
     owns the private  airport. Over the years  our funds to                                                                    
     maintain the  runway have dwindled.  The result  we now                                                                    
     see with the runway  condition deteriorating could also                                                                    
     be  attributed  to  the  absence  of  maintenance  fund                                                                    
     assistance from the state's DOTPF.                                                                                         
Representative  Josephson   believed  the   information  was                                                                    
similar  to information  contained  in  other documents  [in                                                                    
members' packets]. Resolutions were also included.                                                                              
Representative Knopp did  not know why the  state moved away                                                                    
from maintaining  the airport.  He knew  the state  had made                                                                    
efforts   over  the   years   to   relinquish  airports   to                                                                    
communities   if  the   communities   were  interested.   He                                                                    
understood  that  DOT  had  met with  the  village  and  the                                                                    
department  was   more  than   willing  to  take   over  the                                                                    
maintenance of  the Kwinhagak  airport. He  highlighted that                                                                    
without the switch to state  maintenance, the village had no                                                                    
means  to repair  the lighting  or continue  maintenance and                                                                    
the airport would likely be  mothballed. He recalled hearing                                                                    
in a meeting  that the medevac flights had not  been able to                                                                    
operate at night due to the [broken] lighting.                                                                                  
9:13:31 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative Sullivan-Leonard thought  it was important to                                                                    
hear from  DOT. She did  not recall hearing about  the issue                                                                    
in subcommittee.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Foster  suggested withdrawing  the motion  to adopt                                                                    
Amendment H  DOT 1 in order  to have staff reach  out to DOT                                                                    
for answers.                                                                                                                    
Representative  Josephson WITHDREW  Amendment H  DOT 1  with                                                                    
intent to offer it later in the amendment process.                                                                              
Co-Chair  Foster requested  that committee  members ask  any                                                                    
questions they may have for the department to follow up on.                                                                     
Representative Merrick asked if  the $90,000 included in the                                                                    
amendment had been provided by DOT or the village.                                                                              
9:15:04 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:16:05 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster  noted that  Amendment  H  DOT 1  would  be                                                                    
rolled to the  bottom of the amendment list. [Note:  H DOT 1                                                                    
was heard at 10:11 a.m.]                                                                                                        
9:16:31 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Josephson asked  to hear  Amendment H  DOT 2                                                                    
after Amendment H DOT 1.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair Foster agreed.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair Johnston MOVED to ADOPT  Amendment H UOA 1 (copy on                                                                    
     University of Alaska                                                                                                       
     H UOA 1 - Restore Funding to Compact Level                                                                                 
     1004 Gen Fund (UGF) -10,500.0                                                                                              
Representative Carpenter OBJECTED.                                                                                              
Co-Chair Johnston explained the  amendment that would remove                                                                    
$10.5   million  that   had  been   added  by   the  finance                                                                    
subcommittee.  She stated  it was  no secret  that the  past                                                                    
year had been a catastrophic  budget year for the University                                                                    
of Alaska.  She hoped committee members  all remembered that                                                                    
the budget  veto was $135  million and what had  happened to                                                                    
the  University  as  it  tried   to  address  the  cut.  She                                                                    
highlighted  what  had  taken place  as  students  began  to                                                                    
decide not to enroll and  when good professors had been lost                                                                    
because  they  could  not deal  with  the  instability.  She                                                                    
detailed that  the situation had brought  the University and                                                                    
the  Dunleavy administration  together where  a compact  had                                                                    
been  agreed upon,  which was  less  catastrophic than  $135                                                                    
million in one year. The  compromise resulted in a reduction                                                                    
of $70 million  spread over three years ($25  million in the                                                                    
first year, $25 million in  the second year, and $20 million                                                                    
the third year).  She stressed that there  had been numerous                                                                    
cuts  in the  past  ten years.  However,  she was  concerned                                                                    
about  ignoring the  compact and  putting the  University in                                                                    
another state of flux.                                                                                                          
Co-Chair  Johnston explained  that  the legislature  already                                                                    
knew  where  the  administration  stood on  the  issue.  She                                                                    
thought there  was no question it  would be a hard  lift for                                                                    
the University to add the  $10.5 million to the compact. She                                                                    
would be very  concerned that the money would  not remain in                                                                    
the  budget  if  added.  She did  not  think  including  the                                                                    
increment   would  be   helpful  to   the  faculty   or  the                                                                    
University.  She would  prefer to  see the  legislature help                                                                    
the University  do what it  needed to  do, as painful  as it                                                                    
was, with  consistency. For the aforementioned  reasons, she                                                                    
did  not  support   the  subcommittee's  recommendation  and                                                                    
wanted to remove the $10.5 million increment.                                                                                   
9:20:20 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative Wool  opposed the  amendment. He  stated that                                                                    
the issue  had been around  for some  time and he  had given                                                                    
the  subject much  thought  in the  past  several years.  He                                                                    
detailed that  the University  had been  cut every  year but                                                                    
one during his  tenure in the legislature.  He detailed that                                                                    
he  was the  one  lobbying for  additional  funding for  the                                                                    
University  on an  annual basis.  He was  well aware  of the                                                                    
compact and believed it was  a desirable situation under the                                                                    
circumstances. He  thought it equated to  the administration                                                                    
telling the University it would  cut off its foot instead of                                                                    
a leg. He  stated the compact was made under  duress and the                                                                    
University would do  anything to not lose a  leg. He thought                                                                    
morale at the  University was at an all time  low. He shared                                                                    
that  he had  many  friends  who worked  and  taught at  the                                                                    
University, some of whom were retiring for various reasons.                                                                     
Representative  Wool  had been  made  aware  of the  reduced                                                                    
reduction by $10.5 million made  by the finance subcommittee                                                                    
to  offset salary  increases, which  the University  had not                                                                    
received  in   several  years.  He  reasoned   that  because                                                                    
student, faculty,  and staff  morale was  so low,  the $10.5                                                                    
million  was a  good thing.  He noted  that the  funding was                                                                    
under  half  of the  $25  million  cut  in the  compact.  He                                                                    
thought  it was  a step  that showed  the legislature  cared                                                                    
about  the  University and  that  it  would not  necessarily                                                                    
accept  a  compact  made  outside  of  the  legislature.  He                                                                    
respected the individuals  at the University who  had to cut                                                                    
the  deal  with the  administration.  He  stressed that  the                                                                    
University  had escaped  a very  bad situation.  He remarked                                                                    
that  if  the full  $135  million  cut  had been  made,  the                                                                    
University  would   be  in  a   much  different   world.  He                                                                    
emphasized that the University had  its wings clipped and he                                                                    
thought the legislature should do  what it could to help. He                                                                    
reiterated  that the  amount was  not even  half of  the $25                                                                    
million  reduction.  He  reiterated his  opposition  to  the                                                                    
amendment.  He   supported  adding  funding  back   for  the                                                                    
9:24:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Josephson associated  his  remarks with  the                                                                    
colleague to  his right [Representative  Wool]. He  spoke in                                                                    
opposition to  the amendment. He  stated that  accepting the                                                                    
compact had  some logic because  the parties central  to the                                                                    
issue had  agreed to its  terms; however, he noted  that the                                                                    
legislature was  also central  to the  issue. He  noted that                                                                    
the governor was  in a position to say that  the compact was                                                                    
a reduction of $25 million and  he would veto to the compact                                                                    
amount.  However, he  believed the  climate and  context had                                                                    
Representative  Josephson was  happy  that the  subcommittee                                                                    
had determined  that the  legislature was  not party  to the                                                                    
compact and  it was the  appropriating body. He  stated that                                                                    
the  specific   item  had  arisen  from   regents'  policies                                                                    
regarding salary  adjustments that started after  Labor Day.                                                                    
He  knew that  some would  argue that  the salary  increases                                                                    
were not  needed. However, he  stressed that  the University                                                                    
was  hemorrhaging  programs.  He   elaborated  that  in  the                                                                    
current  week   the  University  would   lose  anthropology,                                                                    
English,  early childhood  special  education, theater,  and                                                                    
the master's  in clinical  psychology. Additionally,  it was                                                                    
hemorrhaging   professors  who   were  being   poached  from                                                                    
elsewhere.  He detailed  that  the  situation was  occurring                                                                    
partly due  to morale  and the demise  of programs  and also                                                                    
because professors were not paid  within the 90th percentile                                                                    
of their peers.  The regents had decided  that the situation                                                                    
was  unacceptable and  unprofessional. The  subcommittee had                                                                    
stood with the regents' action.                                                                                                 
Representative Josephson clarified that  the regents had not                                                                    
asked for the extra $10.5  million because they were subject                                                                    
to the  compact. He had  not heard  from any regents  on the                                                                    
$10.5 million.  He reported that the  regents had determined                                                                    
an  adjustment   was  needed  because  they   needed  to  do                                                                    
something  to protect  staff. The  impact of  the adjustment                                                                    
was  effectively  a  $35  million cut  because  of  the  $25                                                                    
million cut under the compact  and an additional $10 million                                                                    
needed for the additional expenses.                                                                                             
Representative  Josephson shared  that the  subcommittee had                                                                    
heard  from the  chief justice  that salary  increments were                                                                    
needed,  and  they did  not  come  in  the way  the  general                                                                    
government  unit came  for public  employees. He  noted that                                                                    
the University  was in the  class with the court  system and                                                                    
its   staff.  For   the  reasons   he  had   mentioned,  the                                                                    
subcommittee had  added back $10.5 million.  He acknowledged                                                                    
that if  the legislature  tried to add  back $25  million it                                                                    
would be a confusing message;  however, he would support it.                                                                    
He  did not  believe the  $10.5  million reduced  cut was  a                                                                    
confusing message. He did not support the amendment.                                                                            
9:28:11 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Ortiz  associated  his  comments  with  the  two                                                                    
previous speakers.  He reminded  committee members  that the                                                                    
past  proposed  $135 million  cut  was  preceded by  several                                                                    
years of cuts to the  University. He stated that the compact                                                                    
had   been  made   outside  of   the   legislature  as   the                                                                    
appropriating body.  He emphasized  they were  talking about                                                                    
the impact on the state's youth,  the people who at one time                                                                    
had been  turning to the  University as their  first choice.                                                                    
He shared  that he  was a former  teacher at  Ketchikan High                                                                    
School. Particularly  in the last  five or six years  of his                                                                    
teaching career he had seen  more and more students choosing                                                                    
the University  of Alaska system  as their first  choice. At                                                                    
that time, cuts had not yet  been made to the University and                                                                    
it  had been  offering a  wide variety  of programs  and two                                                                    
scholarship programs.                                                                                                           
Vice-Chair  Ortiz  relayed  that  he  had  spoken  with  the                                                                    
counselor at  Ketchikan High School  and in the past  six to                                                                    
seven  years, fewer  and fewer  students  were choosing  the                                                                    
University  of Alaska  system as  their  primary choice.  He                                                                    
stressed that the impact of  the most recent cuts had caused                                                                    
a greater reduction in the  number of people applying to the                                                                    
university  system. He  highlighted that  if the  state lost                                                                    
its  youth  to  outside  schools it  greatly  increased  the                                                                    
chance  they  would  not  return   to  work  in  Alaska.  He                                                                    
emphasized  that they  were  watching  the dismantlement  of                                                                    
what had  been a prized  jewel of Alaska. He  recognized the                                                                    
need  for fiscal  responsibility  and  constraints over  the                                                                    
past ten years  due to declining oil  production and prices.                                                                    
He understood  the need to prioritize  spending. He reasoned                                                                    
that  if the  legislature was  not going  to prioritize  its                                                                    
future workforce, it was a  large detriment to the state. He                                                                    
supported a  small step back in  what had been a  long train                                                                    
of  reductions to  the University.  He strongly  opposed the                                                                    
9:33:07 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative LeBon was  torn on the issue. He  had a close                                                                    
association with  the University and had  graduated from the                                                                    
University of  Alaska -  Fairbanks in  1975. He  shared that                                                                    
both of his  daughters had graduated from  the University as                                                                    
well.  He   wanted  to  see   the  money  restored   to  the                                                                    
University's  budget,  but he  believed  that  for the  time                                                                    
being,  the compact  was the  deal. He  thought perhaps  the                                                                    
capital budget could be a way  to help with debt service and                                                                    
deferred  maintenance,  which  were serious  needs  for  the                                                                    
University. He  reasoned that if the  legislature could help                                                                    
with  some debt  service  it would  free  up some  operating                                                                    
money for other uses. He  had confidence in the University's                                                                    
ability  to  rank those  uses,  perhaps  salaries and  other                                                                    
needs. He  reiterated it  was the  reality that  the compact                                                                    
was the deal. He would find  a way to support the University                                                                    
with  a different  vehicle during  the  current session.  He                                                                    
hoped the  capital budget was  the method. He  would support                                                                    
the amendment.                                                                                                                  
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  asked  to  hear  from  the                                                                    
Legislative Finance  Division (LFD). She asked  what the $25                                                                    
million reduction  would be for the  total University budget                                                                    
in terms of percentage.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair Foster  shared that $302  million was  the adjusted                                                                    
base for  FY 21. In FY  20 the number had  been $327 million                                                                    
prior to  the $25 million cut.  In FY 22 the  total would be                                                                    
$277 million.                                                                                                                   
Representative   Sullivan-Leonard  asked   if  the   figures                                                                    
represented a 4 percent reduction.                                                                                              
MICHAEL   PARTLOW,  FISCAL   ANALYST,  LEGISLATIVE   FINANCE                                                                    
DIVISION, asked  Representative Sullivan-Leonard  to clarify                                                                    
the question.                                                                                                                   
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard   was  interested   in  the                                                                    
overall percentage  reduction to the university  budget. She                                                                    
was trying to follow what the compact had stated.                                                                               
Co-Chair  Foster calculated  that the  $25 million  cut from                                                                    
$327 million was 7.6 percent.                                                                                                   
9:37:22 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Wool   believed  Representative   Sullivan-                                                                    
Leonard was interested in the  percentage cut from the total                                                                    
unrestricted general fund (UGF)  and designated general fund                                                                    
(DGF) budget combined. He believed  the numbers cited by Co-                                                                    
Chair Foster  were off  by one year.  He thought  the budget                                                                    
based  on  the compact  was  $302  million  in FY  20,  $277                                                                    
million in  FY 21, and $257  million in FY 22.  He estimated                                                                    
it was  a cut of about  $100 million during his  tenure with                                                                    
the legislature. He  believed the budget had been  at a high                                                                    
point of about $378 million in 2014.                                                                                            
Co-Chair  Foster asked  if the  first $25  million cut  went                                                                    
into effect in FY 20 or FY 21.                                                                                                  
Mr. Partlow replied that the  first reduction of $25 million                                                                    
was in  FY 20, the  second $25  million reduction was  in FY                                                                    
21, and the third reduction was $20 million in FY 22.                                                                           
Co-Chair  Foster asked  if the  budget was  $327 million  or                                                                    
$302 million in FY 20.                                                                                                          
Mr.  Partlow replied  that he  did not  have the  numbers on                                                                    
hand.  He   noted  there   were  representatives   from  the                                                                    
University available who may have the information on hand.                                                                      
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard supported  Amendment H  UOA                                                                    
1.  She  remarked that  departments  across  the board  were                                                                    
struggling  and   working  hard  to  reduce   their  overall                                                                    
budgets. She  appreciated all the University  was doing, but                                                                    
she supported the compact.                                                                                                      
9:39:39 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative LeBon  acknowledged the  relationship between                                                                    
designated funds,  federal funds, research money,  and state                                                                    
operating money; however, there  was substantial UGF funding                                                                    
connected to  the federal  designated research  dollars that                                                                    
did not flow  to the University without  the UGF investment.                                                                    
He did not want to lose sight of that fact.                                                                                     
Co-Chair Foster noted that a  comment had been made that the                                                                    
$300  million was  only  UGF. He  believed  the numbers  and                                                                    
timeline  provided by  Representative Wool  may be  accurate                                                                    
because FY  19 may have  been $327  million, FY 20  may have                                                                    
been $302 million, and so on.                                                                                                   
Representative Carpenter commented  that the legislature had                                                                    
reduced  the  University  budget over  numerous  years.  The                                                                    
legislature  had also  asked the  University to  consolidate                                                                    
operations  and  become  more   efficient.  He  thought  the                                                                    
request  had fallen  on  deaf ears.  He  believed the  $10.5                                                                    
million addition made it difficult  for the University to do                                                                    
what it needed  to get done. He stated  the conversation was                                                                    
really  about   organizational  change.  He   reasoned  that                                                                    
funding for  a land  grant university did  not have  to come                                                                    
from state general funds. He  believed there was a decreased                                                                    
incentive to  find alternative revenue sources  when funding                                                                    
came from state general funds.                                                                                                  
Representative  Carpenter  elaborated  that  the  state  was                                                                    
having  to  rethink  the  way  to  generate  revenue  at  an                                                                    
institution that  had no reason  to do so for  years because                                                                    
of its ability to rely on  state funds. He thought it was an                                                                    
opportunity to  show the  state's youth  how the  land grant                                                                    
university   should  be   properly  managed.   He  supported                                                                    
altering  the  way  business  was  done  in  order  for  the                                                                    
University to  be more self-sustaining. He  stressed that it                                                                    
was an organizational change  opportunity for the University                                                                    
to  right  itself  and  be more  efficient  going  into  the                                                                    
future. He stated  that the funds added  by the subcommittee                                                                    
made it more difficult for  the University to go through the                                                                    
organizational change. He supported the amendment.                                                                              
9:42:38 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Ortiz  discussed the history of  the reduction in                                                                    
UGF for the  University. He asked Representative  Wool if he                                                                    
knew what the UGF amount had been in FY 15.                                                                                     
Representative Wool believed  there was a high  mark of $378                                                                    
million  in  2014 or  2015.  The  number had  been  steadily                                                                    
declining  since   that  time.   There  was  one   year  the                                                                    
legislature had  successfully added  $10 million,  which had                                                                    
brought the total up to $327 million.                                                                                           
Vice-Chair Ortiz asked where the  most recent compact cut of                                                                    
$25 million put  the total UGF contribution  for the current                                                                    
Representative Wool  replied that without the  $10.5 million                                                                    
add back,  the budget  would be $277  million. He  stated it                                                                    
was a decrease of about $100  million from five or six years                                                                    
Vice-Chair Ortiz asked  for verification that Representative                                                                    
Wool had stated $100 million.                                                                                                   
Representative Wool replied affirmatively.                                                                                      
Vice-Chair  Ortiz thought  it was  an  obvious reduction  in                                                                    
resources  going to  the university  system. He  thought the                                                                    
University had ample incentive to  try to find other sources                                                                    
of revenue based on the cuts.                                                                                                   
9:45:02 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Josephson  thought  the  statement  made  by                                                                    
Representative  Carpenter was  inaccurate.  He disputed  the                                                                    
statement  that the  University  had  not taken  substantial                                                                    
steps towards  efficiency. He detailed  that there  had been                                                                    
University committees  meeting intensively for the  past six                                                                    
months  because of  the $138  million  veto. The  committees                                                                    
were  looking  programmatically  and departmentally  -  they                                                                    
were  considering whether  specific departments  were needed                                                                    
if there were  other departments in other  cities or whether                                                                    
specific classes  were needed within a  given department. He                                                                    
pointed out  that the  entire program  had begun  years back                                                                    
with strategic pathways.                                                                                                        
Representative     Josephson    addressed     Representative                                                                    
Carpenter's  remarks  on  the   land  grant  university.  He                                                                    
believed the  state university land  holdings were  the size                                                                    
of Molokai,  a Hawaiian island  that was smaller  than Maui.                                                                    
He stressed  there was not  substantial land, which  was the                                                                    
reason  the University  president was  flying frequently  to                                                                    
Washington  D.C.   to  meet  with  Senators   Murkowski  and                                                                    
Sullivan to  try to cut a  deal to increase the  land grant.                                                                    
He  stated that  the University  was  a land  grant in  name                                                                    
only.  He  equated  it  to saying  that  the  University  of                                                                    
Delaware,  which was  a tiny  state,  had a  land grant.  He                                                                    
noted  that   the  University  of  Alaska   often  mentioned                                                                    
Delaware as  a comparison.  He stressed that  the University                                                                    
as a land grant institution was not a solution.                                                                                 
Representative Josephson  shared that  prior to  the meeting                                                                    
he had  met with University  of Alaska Professor  Abel Bult-                                                                    
Ito, a biochemist, who had  told him that the University was                                                                    
about  to be  the  first in  the U.S.  to  offer its  degree                                                                    
entirely online. He  had asked if people  could attend class                                                                    
because he believed  it would be awful to  complete a degree                                                                    
entirely  online.  Professor  Bult-Ito  had  confirmed  that                                                                    
students could attend the class  in person, but they had the                                                                    
option to  attend remotely. The  professor had  informed him                                                                    
that  the  university was  mailing  kits  that included  pig                                                                    
carcasses  and sheep  heads  to Iraq.  He  stressed that  it                                                                    
constituted efficiency.                                                                                                         
Representative Josephson  stated there were  legislators who                                                                    
had  been  cynical about  the  compact  reached between  the                                                                    
University and  the governor.  He had not  been one  of them                                                                    
and  agreed with  Co-Chair Johnston  that the  agreement was                                                                    
remarkable. He  recalled being elated  at the  agreement. He                                                                    
agreed it  was possible to  do better, which was  the reason                                                                    
he  would  not  support  the amendment.  He  believed  there                                                                    
should  be   no  cynicism  about   the  compact,   which  he                                                                    
characterized as a lifesaver.                                                                                                   
9:48:42 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wool believed  Delaware  had  a larger  land                                                                    
grant than the  University of Alaska. He knew it  had been a                                                                    
priority for  the Washington D.C.  delegation to  deliver on                                                                    
the land  grant; however, monetizing  land took a  long time                                                                    
and  not   all  land   was  monetizable.  He   reasoned  the                                                                    
University  would not  be given  a bunch  of acreage  on the                                                                    
North Slope  with an oil  well. He  addressed Representative                                                                    
Carpenter's  consolidation   and  efficiency   comments.  He                                                                    
stated that the  University had been working  to become more                                                                    
efficient  and   to  consolidate  things   like  information                                                                    
technology   and   human    resources.   Additionally,   the                                                                    
University had  been looking into a  single accreditation to                                                                    
have one  university with multiple  campuses. He  noted that                                                                    
the  legislature  had  passed  intent  language  asking  the                                                                    
University  to  provide  it  with   a  report  the  previous                                                                    
December, which  had been done. He  thought the conversation                                                                    
would  resume  once the  University  of  Alaska -  Fairbanks                                                                    
finished its accreditation process.                                                                                             
Representative Wool stated  that reorganizing the University                                                                    
had  been  a  topic  for  a long  time.  He  continued  that                                                                    
reorganization had taken place in  the past and it would not                                                                    
stop  happening.  He  highlighted   that  if  the  amendment                                                                    
failed, the cut  to the University would be  $15 million. He                                                                    
elaborated  that $10  million to  $15 million  had been  cut                                                                    
annually.  He stated  the cut  would be  similar to  cuts in                                                                    
other years, which he had  opposed as well. He remarked that                                                                    
without  the  amendment  the  cut  would  be  less  bad.  He                                                                    
remembered the day  compact had been signed and  he had been                                                                    
reminded by the University that  the cut of $70 million over                                                                    
three  years  was no  picnic  and  would  not be  good.  The                                                                    
situation  reminded him  of a  person arrested  overseas who                                                                    
would  do anything  to  get  out of  jail.  He believed  the                                                                    
University had  done what it had  to in order to  get out of                                                                    
the situation.  He stated that  even if the  legislature cut                                                                    
$15 million it would be "sort of sticking to it."                                                                               
Representative  Wool agreed  with Representative  LeBon that                                                                    
getting  money in  the operating  [capital] budget  would be                                                                    
great. He  highlighted that a  budget of $277  million would                                                                    
reflect a  $100 million cut  since 2014. He believed  it was                                                                    
more than the  University deserved. He noted  that there had                                                                    
been substantial cuts to the  University over many years. He                                                                    
pointed out that  money had been added to  the Department of                                                                    
Public Safety  and Department of Corrections.  He thought it                                                                    
was  a sad  commentary  that  the state  was  adding to  and                                                                    
improving prisons  - he recognized  the work was  needed and                                                                    
he  supported   criminal  justice  in  a   responsible  way.                                                                    
However, he  did not  support adding  money for  prisons and                                                                    
taking away funds from the University.                                                                                          
Representative  Wool believed  the state  needed to  be safe                                                                    
but  growing.  He  shared  that he  had  met  with  hospital                                                                    
representatives  recently  who  had urged  support  for  the                                                                    
University.  The hospitals  reported getting  many employees                                                                    
including   nurses  and   other  medical   staff  from   the                                                                    
University. He  stated they had  heard the  medical industry                                                                    
was  one of  the few  growing  industries in  the state  and                                                                    
there   was  a   labor  shortage   in  doctors   to  medical                                                                    
assistants.  He underscored  that  the  University filled  a                                                                    
large  void in  the area.  He did  not support  cuts to  the                                                                    
University. He  stressed that if  the amendment  failed, the                                                                    
cut to the University was still $15 million.                                                                                    
9:53:24 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  LeBon shared  that  five years  back he  had                                                                    
been named  by UA President  Johnson to a  strategic pathway                                                                    
committee on athletics - one  of the committees planning the                                                                    
future  of the  University. He  detailed that  the committee                                                                    
had been made up of two  dozen people from the community and                                                                    
UAA  and UAF  campuses with  a goal  to find  a way  to make                                                                    
athletics  completely  financially  independent  within  six                                                                    
years.  The committee  had conducted  a thorough  nationwide                                                                    
search  to find  an athletic  department at  a division  two                                                                    
university that was  completely self-sufficient. He reported                                                                    
that such  a thing  did not exist.  He explained  that meant                                                                    
looking at  how to go to  the private sector to  ask for $10                                                                    
million  annually to  support athletics.  He underscored  it                                                                    
was not merely  a one-time fundraiser, the  need was annual.                                                                    
He stated  "good luck"  finding that  level of  support from                                                                    
the  business  community. He  explained  that  success on  a                                                                    
national level  meant finding 30  to 40 percent  support. He                                                                    
stated that UAF and  UAA would be at the top  of the list if                                                                    
they found  support at  that level.  He reiterated  the need                                                                    
was annual and would mean $4  million to $5 million per year                                                                    
from the community.                                                                                                             
Representative  LeBon  remarked   on  research  dollars.  He                                                                    
detailed it  had been well  established that $5  was brought                                                                    
in for  every $1  the University spent  on research.  He was                                                                    
concerned that  the compact would  decimate research  at the                                                                    
University.  He  highlighted  that the  University  was  the                                                                    
Arctic research university for  the nation, headquartered in                                                                    
Fairbanks.  He was  worried  that in  two  years they  would                                                                    
realize  they  had  destroyed an  economic  Arctic  research                                                                    
engine  for  the  University, Alaska,  and  the  country  by                                                                    
decimating the research capabilities at UAF and UAA.                                                                            
9:56:29 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Carpenter  remarked  that  when  Alaska  had                                                                    
become a  state there  were many who  had believed  it could                                                                    
not  stand on  its own  and  that it  would require  federal                                                                    
funds to keep afloat. He  stated there was an argument being                                                                    
made by committee  members that UGF dollars had  to be spent                                                                    
in  order to  bring in  more federal  funding. He  noted the                                                                    
legislature  made  the  argument  in  every  department.  He                                                                    
stressed that  for many years  the legislature had  said the                                                                    
University was  too big for  Alaska's 700,000  residents. He                                                                    
underscored  that   the  University's  size  could   not  be                                                                    
sustained by the state, and federal funds were required.                                                                        
Representative Carpenter clarified he  was not claiming that                                                                    
all federal funds  were bad. He stressed  that federal funds                                                                    
were required to  help sustain the University  and there was                                                                    
no alternative  plan. He  stated that the  fact "we"  do not                                                                    
have the land  we were supposed to have when  given the land                                                                    
grant  was a  problem that  had not  been solved  in decades                                                                    
since because  there had  not been pressure  to do  so until                                                                    
recently.  He stated  that the  threat of  $100 million  cut                                                                    
from  a budget  caused  people  to do  things  they had  not                                                                    
thought of doing previously.                                                                                                    
Representative  Carpenter hoped  the state  could find  more                                                                    
usable land to  help fund the University because  it was the                                                                    
intent from  the beginning. He reasoned  that supporting the                                                                    
amendment  helped the  University move  towards the  goal of                                                                    
being a self-sustaining organization.                                                                                           
9:58:42 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  LeBon  reminded  the committee  the  state's                                                                    
founding fathers had included  language about the University                                                                    
of  Alaska   in  the  state   constitution  and   asked  the                                                                    
legislature  to  support  funding  for  the  University.  He                                                                    
acknowledged the  path had  not been  smooth over  the years                                                                    
and  there  had  been  some  investment  decisions  made  by                                                                    
regents,  University  administration,  and  the  legislature                                                                    
that had resulted  in the current situation.  He stated that                                                                    
the University was a land,  sea, and space grant institution                                                                    
that  deserved support.  He cautioned  taking care  to avoid                                                                    
actions that  could ruin everything  for current  and future                                                                    
generations.  He  shared  that  he  was  contributing  to  a                                                                    
college  fund at  UAF  on  a quarterly  basis  for his  five                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster  considered how  to  maximize  the odds  of                                                                    
getting the most funds to  the University. He shared that he                                                                    
and  his  father  had  both   attended  the  University.  He                                                                    
detailed that he had received  a finance degree from UAA. He                                                                    
discussed that  the previous year the  governor had proposed                                                                    
cutting  the University  by  $134 million  in  one year.  He                                                                    
noted  there had  been substantial  emotional opposition  to                                                                    
the cuts throughout the state.  He believed the governor had                                                                    
realized the  situation and had  met with the  University to                                                                    
establish a  compact outlining a $70  million reduction over                                                                    
three years ($25 million reductions  in the first and second                                                                    
year and a $20 million reduction in the third year).                                                                            
Co-Chair   Foster  explained   that  the   subcommittee  had                                                                    
accepted the $25  million reduction with an  add-back of $10                                                                    
million for  salary adjustments, resulting in  a $15 million                                                                    
reduction. He  recognized that the legislature  did not have                                                                    
to  abide by  the  compact between  the  University and  the                                                                    
governor; however,  the University had  come to him  and had                                                                    
communicated   it    felt   the   conversation    with   the                                                                    
administration had  been good.  The administration  had made                                                                    
no  promises  but  there  had   been  discussion  about  the                                                                    
possibility  of  a  debt  paydown  and  money  for  deferred                                                                    
maintenance. He elaborated that when  he had spoken with the                                                                    
University  representatives, they  had asked  for additional                                                                    
funds for debt paydown and deferred maintenance.                                                                                
Co-Chair Foster  was concerned that  adding the  $10 million                                                                    
back  went  against  the  compact  by  adding  more  to  the                                                                    
operating budget and may mean  less funding for debt paydown                                                                    
and  deferred maintenance.  He elaborated  that  if the  $10                                                                    
million was added back it may  mean less would be put in for                                                                    
capital,   deferred  maintenance,   and  debt   paydown.  He                                                                    
explained that  the $10 million  could ultimately  be vetoed                                                                    
[by the governor] and the  legislature would have overplayed                                                                    
its hand. He was concerned  the University may get less than                                                                    
it could have received if  the legislature reached too high.                                                                    
He  did  not want  the  legislature  to overplay  its  hand;                                                                    
therefore, he supported the amendment.                                                                                          
10:03:16 AM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair Ortiz  did not  want his  statements and  vote to                                                                    
appear  contradictory.  He  shared  that he  would  vote  in                                                                    
support  of the  amendment despite  his earlier  comments in                                                                    
support of remarks made by the co-chairs.                                                                                       
Representative Carpenter WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                
Co-Chair  Johnston provided  wrap up  on the  amendment. She                                                                    
recognized  the  many  valuable statements  made  about  the                                                                    
University  during the  current discussion.  She noted  that                                                                    
actions the University was taking  in its strategic pathways                                                                    
was  happening all  across the  nation in  universities. She                                                                    
stated  that how  education was  provided was  changing from                                                                    
the past. She  was concerned that without  the amendment and                                                                    
with the compact  already in existence, the  ability for the                                                                    
[additional]  funding to  go to  the end  game would  likely                                                                    
cost the University  more in the end. She  explained that it                                                                    
would delay  the tough  conversations the  University needed                                                                    
to have  in order  to meet its  commitment. She  reasoned it                                                                    
would make the  timeline shorter and the cuts  would be more                                                                    
Co-Chair  Johnston disagreed  with  some  of the  statements                                                                    
made on the  subject during the meeting. One  of the remarks                                                                    
had been that  the University needed to share  in the burden                                                                    
of cuts. She stressed that  the departments did not take the                                                                    
cuts on the same level  as the University. She stressed that                                                                    
in the past year, the cuts  to the departments had been much                                                                    
smaller than cuts to the  University and anything outside of                                                                    
state government.  She elaborated  that the  legislature had                                                                    
been looking  at all of  the departments and trying  to take                                                                    
cuts.  She  highlighted  what had  happened  with  both  the                                                                    
Department   of  Health   and   Social   Services  and   the                                                                    
supplemental budget. She  stated that the cuts  had not been                                                                    
possible. She  stated the  University was  different because                                                                    
in budgeting  the core was  taken care  of first and  it was                                                                    
easier to  cut off  the arms. She  noted the  University was                                                                    
part of the arm.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Johnston did  not take  the  compact lightly.  She                                                                    
would be devastated  if the University lost  its position as                                                                    
the   Arctic    research   center    for   the    U.S.   and                                                                    
internationally. She  believed it  would be  devastating for                                                                    
Alaska,  particularly as  the Arctic  changed.  She was  not                                                                    
offering the  amendment lightly. She hoped  she was somewhat                                                                    
pragmatic. She hoped  to do some things that  would help the                                                                    
University in the long run without  hurting it as much as it                                                                    
could  be hurt.  She  agreed that  adding  the funding  back                                                                    
could bite  the University in  a way that would  make things                                                                    
much worse.                                                                                                                     
10:07:52 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Wool  OBJECTED. He recognized  where Co-Chair                                                                    
Johnston  was coming  from.  He  thought they  may  be at  a                                                                    
tipping  point.  He  noted  that  Representative  LeBon  and                                                                    
family  had attended  the University.  He had  also obtained                                                                    
his degree from the University.  He was not overly concerned                                                                    
that the  research arm would  flail - certain  programs were                                                                    
doing well. He  was concerned about the  average Alaskan who                                                                    
wanted to  go to college.  He stated that the  University of                                                                    
Alaska  was very  affordable -  many  colleges cost  between                                                                    
$50,000 to  $80,000 per  year, which  most people  could not                                                                    
afford. He  highlighted that even state  colleges outside of                                                                    
Alaska  were  very expensive.  He  was  concerned about  the                                                                    
general education component for kids  out of high school who                                                                    
did not know what field their degree would be in.                                                                               
Representative Wool noted that  not all departments had been                                                                    
cut and  some had received  an increase (e.g. DPS  and DOC).                                                                    
He underscored  that post high school  education reduced the                                                                    
likelihood a person  would commit a crime.  He stressed that                                                                    
education was the  right course of action if  the desire was                                                                    
to keep individuals out of  jail. He added that other states                                                                    
had cut state  funding for universities over  the years, but                                                                    
recently the  trend had reversed because  states realized it                                                                    
had not  been a good  investment. He acknowledged  that some                                                                    
states' economies were  doing a bit better,  but he stressed                                                                    
that Alaska had money. He MAINTAINED his OBJECTION.                                                                             
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: Ortiz,    Carpenter,   Knopp,    LeBon,   Merrick,                                                                    
Sullivan-Leonard, Tilton, Foster, Johnston                                                                                      
OPPOSED: Wool, Josephson                                                                                                        
The MOTION  PASSED (9/2). There being  NO further OBJECTION,                                                                    
Amendment H UOA 1 was ADOPTED.                                                                                                  
10:11:33 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Foster listed  individuals available  to speak  to                                                                    
Amendment H  DOT 1 [note:  the amendment was first  heard at                                                                    
approximately 9:07 a.m.  and was withdrawn in  order to give                                                                    
time to contact the department with questions].                                                                                 
Representative Josephson  MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment H  DOT 1                                                                    
(copy on file):                                                                                                                 
     Highways, Aviation and Facilities                                                                                          
     H DOT 1 - Funding for State Management of Kwinhagak                                                                        
     1004 Gen Fund (UGF) 90.0                                                                                                   
Representative Carpenter OBJECTED.                                                                                              
Representative Josephson noted the  record would reflect his                                                                    
previous  comments on  the amendment.  He briefly  explained                                                                    
that  in the  past  the  village of  Kwinhagak  had a  state                                                                    
operated  airport. He  detailed that  in 1999  Kwinhagak had                                                                    
locally constructed  the runway  and in  2004 the  tribe had                                                                    
taken  over maintenance  and operations  with no  assistance                                                                    
from  the state.  He reported  that presently  the community                                                                    
lacked funding  to maintain the  runway and it had  become a                                                                    
health and safety problem, partly  due to climate change and                                                                    
permafrost  degradation.  He  elaborated that  the  lighting                                                                    
system was  broken, making it  possible to land  only during                                                                    
daylight  hours.   The  village   was  one  of   the  larger                                                                    
communities  in  the  Bethel  region and  was  home  to  600                                                                    
residents. He  stressed that a functional  airport was vital                                                                    
to health and safety.                                                                                                           
Representative   Josephson    stated   that    perhaps   the                                                                    
community's ability  to take over the  airport was different                                                                    
than  saying  it  would  take   over  full  maintenance.  He                                                                    
reasoned that  however a person viewed  the situation, there                                                                    
was a life  and safety issue in Kwinhagak, which  made it an                                                                    
anomaly in  the region. The  community was asking  for state                                                                    
help with the airport.                                                                                                          
10:13:35 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Sullivan-Leonard  looked at the  proposal and                                                                    
did not recall  hearing about the issue  in the subcommittee                                                                    
discussion on  rural airports. She  asked about  the state's                                                                    
responsibility  regarding  the  rural  airports  related  to                                                                    
oversight and management.                                                                                                       
JOHN    BINDER,   DEPUTY    COMMISSIONER,   DEPARTMENT    OF                                                                    
TRANSPORTATION AND  PUBLIC FACILITIES  (via teleconference),                                                                    
replied  that  the state  owned  and  operated 239  airports                                                                    
(including Anchorage and  Fairbanks international airports),                                                                    
of which,  237 were rural. The  Department of Transportation                                                                    
and  Public  Facilities  (DOT) had  continued  to  look  for                                                                    
efficiencies -  ways to reduce  the costs and  obligations -                                                                    
while  maintaining  a  safe operational  infrastructure.  In                                                                    
February  2019, the  governor had  asked DOT  to review  the                                                                    
airports in an effort to  identify areas to reduce financial                                                                    
obligations. The department had  identified 18 airports that                                                                    
stood  out   as  opportunities  for  potential   changes  in                                                                    
maintenance.  The  identified  airports  were  primarily  in                                                                    
locations where  there was no longer  an existing community,                                                                    
or the  airports were  on the highway  system. He  cited the                                                                    
community of Aleknagik as an  example where DOT had recently                                                                    
completed a  bridge connecting the community  to Dillingham,                                                                    
providing access to a certificated airport.                                                                                     
Mr.  Binder confirmed  that the  Kwinhagak airport  had been                                                                    
handed over  to the tribe in  2004. He reported that  at the                                                                    
time it had been completely  understood by both parties what                                                                    
the   maintenance  and   operations  obligations   were.  He                                                                    
detailed   that   subsequently   the  community   had   some                                                                    
challenges in revenue generation caused  by the closure of a                                                                    
cannery and a reduction  in anticipated activity. He relayed                                                                    
that the condition of the  airport had deteriorated over the                                                                    
years. The department had partnered  with the community over                                                                    
the past several months to  complete the planning study. The                                                                    
airport  was eligible  for federal  funds, but  it needed  a                                                                    
couple  of  pieces  in  place  first  including  an  updated                                                                    
airport layout plan and documentation  of the capital needs.                                                                    
The  department had  partnered with  the  community and  had                                                                    
secured  a Federal  Aviation Administration  (FAA) grant  to                                                                    
complete  the work,  which would  be required  regardless of                                                                    
who maintained or owned the airport.                                                                                            
Mr. Binder relayed that the  big picture guidance to DOT was                                                                    
to reduce the number of  airports maintained and operated by                                                                    
the state.  The department recommended continuing  down that                                                                    
path and  partnering with the  community. He added  that DOT                                                                    
had several emergency  lighting systems stationed throughout                                                                    
the  state.  He  detailed   that  several  communities  were                                                                    
utilizing the  systems because many times  a lighting system                                                                    
could go  down in  the winter and  maintenance could  not be                                                                    
completed  until  thaw. One  of  the  emergency systems  was                                                                    
located in Kwinhagak in order  for the community to have 24-                                                                    
hour  access  as needed.  He  noted  that the  systems  were                                                                    
battery  operated, meaning  there  was  labor involved  with                                                                    
setting up, taking down, and charging the system each day.                                                                      
10:17:38 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative   Sullivan-Leonard    noted   the   amendment                                                                    
requested  $90,000  UGF. She  asked  if  there were  federal                                                                    
funds  that  would achieve  the  effort.  She asked  if  the                                                                    
$90,000 was necessary to match the federal funds.                                                                               
Mr. Binder answered that the  $90,000 was the region's rough                                                                    
estimate  of  the  airport's   annual  operating  cost.  The                                                                    
estimate  included  $40,000  to  $45,000  in  a  maintenance                                                                    
contract. He detailed that if  DOT was directed to take over                                                                    
the airport,  it would likely  contract with someone  in the                                                                    
community rather than have DOT  staff maintain the facility.                                                                    
The  figure  also  included fuel,  equipment,  and  facility                                                                    
costs,  which was  all additional  to the  contract. Federal                                                                    
funds  were not  eligible  to  be used  for  those types  of                                                                    
activities.  He   explained  that  the  runway   required  a                                                                    
significant  amount of  gravel initially  for a  resurfacing                                                                    
project  at  a  cost  of   about  $1  million  or  so.  More                                                                    
comprehensive   work   was   also  needed   for   a   runway                                                                    
rehabilitation, which  likely cost several  million dollars.                                                                    
He relayed that  all of the capital  projects were federally                                                                    
eligible, and the  state's share was 6  percent. The $90,000                                                                    
was the annual maintenance and operations estimate.                                                                             
Representative  Josephson   thought  it  sounded   like  the                                                                    
amendment would  help the community have  a fully operating,                                                                    
albeit  flawed  airport  system for  the  reasons  noted  by                                                                    
Mr.   Binder.   He   surmised   that   health   and   safety                                                                    
considerations would  be improved  at least on  the margins.                                                                    
He asked if Mr. Binder agreed.                                                                                                  
10:20:04 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr.  Binder stated  his understanding  of  the question.  He                                                                    
stated  that  $100,000  would  not be  enough  even  if  the                                                                    
department  paid  it  directly  to  the  community  for  the                                                                    
runway.  He relayed  that  the initial  work  needed on  the                                                                    
runway was  estimated to  be $1 million  or more.  He stated                                                                    
the   money  in   the  amendment   would  cover   an  annual                                                                    
contractual maintenance  cost for  things like  snow removal                                                                    
and  grading.  He clarified  the  funds  would not  fix  the                                                                    
current capital needs.                                                                                                          
Representative  Josephson clarified  his question.  He asked                                                                    
if the $90,000 would improve  health and safety by improving                                                                    
the maintenance of the  airport, notwithstanding the capital                                                                    
needs requiring federal resources.                                                                                              
Mr.  Binder replied  that it  would be  abnormal for  DOT to                                                                    
allocate  such  a substantial  amount  of  work, money,  and                                                                    
equipment to a runway that  was not state-owned. He believed                                                                    
there  were some  mechanisms available  to partner  with the                                                                    
community,  along   with  working  with  the   FAA  [Federal                                                                    
Aviation   Administration]   toward  the   broader   capital                                                                    
improvements. His recommendation was  to provide the funding                                                                    
directly to the  community or to partner  with the community                                                                    
rather than adding the funds to the DOT budget.                                                                                 
Representative Wool  referenced Mr. Binder's  testimony that                                                                    
the  state had  loaned temporary  battery charged  lights to                                                                    
the  community.  He  asked  if  it was  a  safety  risk.  He                                                                    
wondered whether new  lights would be on the  list of things                                                                    
to do with the money.  Alternatively, he asked if the lights                                                                    
fell under federal matching funds.                                                                                              
Mr. Binder  confirmed that the Kwinhagak  airport would need                                                                    
a new lighting system to  remedy the current challenges. The                                                                    
system  would be  included in  the capital  project category                                                                    
and would be much more expensive than the $100,000.                                                                             
Representative  Wool was  trying to  understand the  goal of                                                                    
the  investment.   He  surmised  that  the   people  of  the                                                                    
community wanted the airport run  by the state and the funds                                                                    
would  help  with  that  goal and  may  help  the  community                                                                    
develop a plan for federal  matching. He understood from Mr.                                                                    
Binder's testimony  that the state did  not necessarily want                                                                    
to maintain  the airport and  had not  done so in  16 years;                                                                    
however, if  the state did  maintain the airport,  DOT would                                                                    
contract the grading and plowing  out. He considered that if                                                                    
the work  was contracted out  it may  be done by  the people                                                                    
currently  providing the  work.  He asked  what the  $90,000                                                                    
would  go towards  and what  improvements may  occur in  the                                                                    
long run.                                                                                                                       
10:24:18 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr.  Binder answered  that  it was  the  challenge with  the                                                                    
$100,000. The  department could allocate  the funds  to send                                                                    
DOT staff  to help grade  the runway, but he  understood the                                                                    
surface condition  was in poor  enough shape that  it needed                                                                    
new gravel brought in prior  to grading, which then got into                                                                    
the capital costs.  He explained it was  very challenging to                                                                    
do repairs  with $100,000. The  department had  provided the                                                                    
figure  as  its  anticipated annual  maintenance  cost  once                                                                    
things were  in good  shape, the number  would be  an annual                                                                    
maintenance cost for an airport similar to Kwinhagak.                                                                           
Representative Wool  referenced Mr. Binder's comment  that a                                                                    
cannery  had closed,  which had  previously  been a  revenue                                                                    
source.   He asked when the  cannery had closed and  if that                                                                    
coincided  with  the  difficulty   the  community  had  with                                                                    
maintaining the airport.                                                                                                        
Mr.  Binder estimated  that the  cannery  had closed  around                                                                    
2009/2010.  It  had been  the  community's  belief it  could                                                                    
generate sufficient funds through  the collection of landing                                                                    
fees due to  high activity at the time,  especially with the                                                                    
cannery  operations.   The  closure   of  the   cannery  had                                                                    
drastically impacted  the amount of  activity. Additionally,                                                                    
if there was  not someone sitting at  the airport full-time,                                                                    
it  was very  difficult  to  identify who  was  and was  not                                                                    
landing  and  to  collect the  revenue.  He  explained  that                                                                    
systems  were  now  available   that  could  track  landings                                                                    
without having a body at  the airport full-time, which would                                                                    
help   alleviate  some   of  the   revenue  challenges.   He                                                                    
summarized that the  community had been hit early  on with a                                                                    
big challenge collecting the  revenue they anticipated being                                                                    
able to generate.                                                                                                               
10:26:47 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Foster   asked  how  many  of   the  237  airports                                                                    
mentioned earlier by Mr. Binder were state-maintained.                                                                          
Mr. Binder replied  that about 100 of the  237 airports were                                                                    
contracted out  (i.e. non-DOT  staffed). The  remainder were                                                                    
either  on the  highway system  or in  locations with  a DOT                                                                    
staff, which were generally hub community locations.                                                                            
Co-Chair Foster  asked if there were  other communities that                                                                    
had local control over their airport like Kwinhagak.                                                                            
Mr.  Binder   replied  there  were  currently   seven  other                                                                    
communities  that   owned  their  own   airports.  Including                                                                    
Juneau,  Kenai, Soldotna,  Wasilla, and  Anchorage's Merrill                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster clarified  that  he was  only referring  to                                                                    
rural  airports.  He noted  that  Anchorage  and Kenai  were                                                                    
connected  to  the  road  system.  He  realized  there  were                                                                    
airports such as Quartz Creek  north of Nome and Basin Creek                                                                    
that  had no  community at  the airport.  He asked  if there                                                                    
were  any  villages  that  had   local  control  over  their                                                                    
Mr.  Binder answered  that  he could  not  think of  another                                                                    
airport that was  not connected to the road  system that was                                                                    
community  maintained. He  referenced Nenana,  but noted  it                                                                    
was on the road system.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair Foster  noted that the  situation was  very unique.                                                                    
He   detailed  that   the  state   maintained  airports   in                                                                    
communities that  were not connected  to the road  system or                                                                    
the Alaska Marine Highway System  and had no other method of                                                                    
transport  to   bring  in  food,  medicine,   or  access  to                                                                    
healthcare or  traveling teachers.  He  highlighted that the                                                                    
airport  was  the  only avenue  of  transportation  for  the                                                                    
Kwinhagak   community.  He   supported  the   amendment  and                                                                    
believed it  was consistent with  the way the  state handled                                                                    
all other village airports.                                                                                                     
10:29:47 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative LeBon supported the  amendment. He thought it                                                                    
sounded like  there was  much work  yet to  be done  such as                                                                    
additional  gravel  and  repairs.   He  asked  if  accepting                                                                    
transfer  of responsibility  to the  state would  enable the                                                                    
village to  leverage other funding sources  (i.e. federal or                                                                    
other) to help with the project.                                                                                                
Mr. Binder  answered that federal funding  was made directly                                                                    
to the airport  owner. They were working  with the community                                                                    
to accept the  federal funds in order to  repair the runway.                                                                    
If the  state was the owner,  the federal funds would  go to                                                                    
the state.  He noted  that the  design and  engineering work                                                                    
would take  some time and it  would be unlikely to  occur in                                                                    
the  coming summer.  He estimated  the earliest  the capital                                                                    
improvements could take place was 2021.                                                                                         
Representative   Carpenter  asked   for  the   estimate  for                                                                    
matching funds needed  to secure federal money.  He asked if                                                                    
the  local  community had  another  source,  aside from  the                                                                    
state, to obtain the needed funds.                                                                                              
Mr. Binder answered that the  state match for rural airports                                                                    
was  generally  6.25  percent  of   the  project  cost.  The                                                                    
department  estimated the  initial resurfacing  at about  $1                                                                    
million  and the  broader runway  rehabilitation at  several                                                                    
million dollars. He noted DOT  did not yet have precise cost                                                                    
figures  for  the  broader  runway  rehabilitation  project.                                                                    
Typically, the owner  of an airport used  whatever rates and                                                                    
fees  they  generated  for matching  funds.  He  highlighted                                                                    
Juneau and  Kenai as  examples. The  state used  the general                                                                    
funds via  the capital budget  to match federal  funding for                                                                    
the projects.                                                                                                                   
10:32:58 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Foster asked  Representative  Tiffany Zulkosky  to                                                                    
address the committee.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  TIFFANY  ZULKOSKY,  introduced  herself  and                                                                    
relayed that Kwinhagak was located in her district.                                                                             
Co-Chair  Foster asked  for  the  approximate population  in                                                                    
Representative Zulkosky  answered that as recently  as 2017,                                                                    
Kwinhagak had a year-round population of 700.                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Foster asked  for verification  that  air was  the                                                                    
only  transportation route  to Kwinhagak.  He suspected  the                                                                    
river was not a  primary transportation route. Additionally,                                                                    
there was no road to Kwinhagak.                                                                                                 
Representative Zulkosky  agreed. She relayed  that Kwinhagak                                                                    
was one of  the largest villages in her  district apart from                                                                    
the  hub community  of Bethel  with  a population  exceeding                                                                    
6,000. She  detailed that  air travel was  the only  form of                                                                    
reliable  year-round  transportation  in   and  out  of  the                                                                    
community. She  noted it included  reliable access  for life                                                                    
or   death   circumstances,  including   transportation   by                                                                    
medevac. She reported that  during limited visibility hours,                                                                    
medevacs  had been  impacted with  regard to  timeliness and                                                                    
ability to pick up patients.                                                                                                    
Representative  Zulkosky  provided   context  regarding  the                                                                    
issue. She  shared that her  office had organized  a meeting                                                                    
held  the  previous  Wednesday with  DOT  Commissioner  John                                                                    
MacKinnon;  Deputy  Commissioner   Binder;  John  Moller,  a                                                                    
representative  from   the  governor's  office;   and  DOT's                                                                    
legislative  liaison.  She   detailed  that  the  department                                                                    
representatives  had spoken  about the  governor's directive                                                                    
to divest  of rural airports.  She noted that as  Mr. Binder                                                                    
had  acknowledged in  the  current  meeting, the  governor's                                                                    
directive was  largely related to seasonal  runways that did                                                                    
not  have a  year-round  community hanging  in the  balance.                                                                    
Over the course of the  conversation with DOT leadership and                                                                    
representatives from  the tribe, Commissioner  MacKinnon had                                                                    
stated that  DOT's wheels move  rather slowly and  there was                                                                    
not a quick fix for  infrastructure issues dealt with by the                                                                    
department,  but  that  an  appropriation  provided  to  the                                                                    
department   could  advance   the  conversation   about  the                                                                    
acquisition   of   the  airport.   Additionally,   providing                                                                    
maintenance  funds  to  DOT may  facilitate  a  more  timely                                                                    
conversation.  She  added  that  the  commissioner  and  Mr.                                                                    
Binder  had   both  acknowledged   that  the   condition  of                                                                    
divesting of rural airports was  a different animal than the                                                                    
Kwinhagak situation,  especially because air travel  was the                                                                    
only  form of  reliable  year-round  transportation for  the                                                                    
community of 700.                                                                                                               
Representative Zulkosky  shared that  Commissioner MacKinnon                                                                    
and  Deputy   Commissioner  Binder  had   acknowledged  that                                                                    
revenue, such  as landing  fees, could  help close  the gap.                                                                    
She explained  that if  the committee  made the  decision to                                                                    
allocate  maintenance  and  operation  funding,  the  entire                                                                    
amount  was not  necessarily impacted  by UGF  because there                                                                    
were revenue  options available  to help  DOT close  the UGF                                                                    
gap.  She noted  that  the fees  were  often transferred  to                                                                    
residents,  but in  a meeting  with the  tribe the  previous                                                                    
week,  the  tribe  had  indicated it  would  be  willing  to                                                                    
consider increased landing fees  in order to ensure reliable                                                                    
access  to  the  airport  was  provided.  Additionally,  the                                                                    
funding  would   lapse,  if   it  was   not  used   and  the                                                                    
conversations  about  reacquisition  of  the  airport  broke                                                                    
Representative  Zulkosky highlighted  that  while there  was                                                                    
some  conversation about  downward pressure  on the  budget,                                                                    
the  legislature did  not  often talk  about  equity in  the                                                                    
course of its committee  meetings. From her perspective, the                                                                    
appropriation  provided equity,  ensuring that  the life  of                                                                    
Alaskans in villages mattered as  much as any Alaskan on the                                                                    
road system or with access to the ferry system.                                                                                 
10:37:37 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  asked   for  history  with                                                                    
regard  to  the  maintenance  on the  airport.  It  was  her                                                                    
understanding that  the lighting  system was  the challenge.                                                                    
She  asked if  there was  an existing  lighting system  that                                                                    
needed batteries or if the issue was more substantial.                                                                          
Representative Zulkosky  replied that  the lighting  was one                                                                    
component of  the condition of  the runway and DOT  had been                                                                    
gracious in  working with the  community to  provide support                                                                    
in the  form of a  temporary lighting system.  The community                                                                    
had  indicated  there  was a  significant  burden  on  local                                                                    
leadership  to   make  the  lights   operable,  particularly                                                                    
outside  of working  hours in  order to  meet planes  during                                                                    
evening  hours. There  also continued  to be  degradation of                                                                    
the  gravel runway  with large  bumps and  breakdown of  the                                                                    
gravel  quality  with  the   changing  climate  and  melting                                                                    
permafrost over time. According to  the community it was not                                                                    
only a lighting issue. There  was an ongoing long-term issue                                                                    
with regard to maintenance of the gravel runway.                                                                                
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard asked  if a  lack of  staff                                                                    
for incoming evening flights was also a challenge.                                                                              
Representative Zulkosky answered that  in a conversation the                                                                    
previous week with the tribal  president and a tribe member,                                                                    
they  had  indicated  there was  difficulty  in  having  the                                                                    
capacity  on the  ground. As  resources for  maintenance and                                                                    
operation  had   continued  to   decline,  there   was  some                                                                    
difficulty  in having  local capacity  to keep  up with  the                                                                    
maintenance conditions.                                                                                                         
10:40:01 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Merrick  asked how many landings  the airport                                                                    
had per year and what the landing fee was.                                                                                      
Representative Zulkosky  answered that she did  not have the                                                                    
detailed  information on  hand.  There were  at least  three                                                                    
small commercial  air carriers  serving the community.  In a                                                                    
meeting  the previous  week, the  tribal president  had said                                                                    
there  could be  up to  12 flights  coming in  per day.  The                                                                    
numbers  could  fluctuate  depending   on  the  season.  She                                                                    
detailed   there  was   a  year-round   population  in   the                                                                    
community.  Additionally, the  village  was  located on  the                                                                    
Kanektok River,  which had a thriving  sport fish ecotourism                                                                    
industry.  She  detailed  there  were  a  couple  of  cabins                                                                    
running  sport   fishing  operations   out  of   the  region                                                                    
annually,  which could  bring in  additional flights  during                                                                    
the summer season.                                                                                                              
Representative Merrick asked about the landing fee.                                                                             
Representative  Zulkosky replied  that she  would follow  up                                                                    
with the information.                                                                                                           
Representative  Carpenter  stated   that  somewhere  between                                                                    
$200,000 and  $300,000 would be necessary  to secure federal                                                                    
funding  for maintenance  needed to  improve the  runway. He                                                                    
asked  if  the tribe  or  local  community had  $200,000  to                                                                    
$300,000 to secure the federal funding.                                                                                         
Representative Zulkosky  answered that  her instinct  was to                                                                    
say  no, but  she did  not want  to speak  out of  turn. She                                                                    
stated  it  was unlikely  that  a  community of  700  people                                                                    
struggling  to   keep  maintenance  and   operation  dollars                                                                    
readily available  for the existing condition  of the runway                                                                    
could  provide a  quarter  of a  million  dollars to  obtain                                                                    
federal match.  She believed  the possibility  of additional                                                                    
regional partners  that may  be able  to provide  support to                                                                    
the  tribe in  order  to acquire  federal  funding match  to                                                                    
bring the  runway up  to standard  could be  explored. There                                                                    
was significant anxiety around the  life, health, and safety                                                                    
impacts of  the runway that had  given the issue a  sense of                                                                    
emergency  for  the community.  She  was  not confident  the                                                                    
community  would have  enough  revenue to  meet the  federal                                                                    
matching  requirements.  More  than  likely,  DOT  providing                                                                    
financial support  long-term, would offer the  stability the                                                                    
community needed for reliable airport access.                                                                                   
10:43:14 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Tilton asked  how much  money the  tribe was                                                                    
currently putting  toward the  runway maintenance  cost. She                                                                    
asked how  long it  had been  since the  tribe had  not been                                                                    
able to adequately maintain the runway.                                                                                         
Representative Zulkosky  answered that she did  not have the                                                                    
precise number  of the  maintenance dollars  currently being                                                                    
received by the tribe. For  the past 16 years, the community                                                                    
had operated  and maintained the airport.  During that time,                                                                    
the community  had constructed the 4,000  square foot gravel                                                                    
runway as  well as a  heated building used like  a terminal.                                                                    
Heavy  equipment  was  kept  in a  garage  and  was  readily                                                                    
available. She did not have  the ongoing maintenance dollars                                                                    
received by  the community, but  there had  been substantial                                                                    
work and cost  savings the tribe had borne on  behalf of the                                                                    
state for the past 16 years.                                                                                                    
Representative Wool believed Mr.  Binder had identified only                                                                    
one airport  run by a village.  He believed that out  of 237                                                                    
state airports, some were run  by communities, but they were                                                                    
on the  road system in places  such as Nenana and  Kenai. He                                                                    
referenced that  the amendment would  direct $90,000  to DOT                                                                    
for management of the village  airport. He remarked that the                                                                    
funding was not  sufficient to buy equipment  or fix lights.                                                                    
He  supported the  concept but  did not  understand how  the                                                                    
money would be used. He  asked if there had been functioning                                                                    
lights prior to the temporary  battery lights. He thought it                                                                    
sounded like a fairly busy airport.                                                                                             
Representative  Zulkosky  deferred   the  questions  to  Mr.                                                                    
Mr.  Binder  confirmed that  the  Kwinhagak  airport had  an                                                                    
operational lighting  system that was no  longer functional.                                                                    
He detailed that the standard  lighting system had in-ground                                                                    
cables hooked to the city supply  or ran off of a generator.                                                                    
The emergency  lights could be  set out for  illumination on                                                                    
an as-needed basis.                                                                                                             
10:46:52 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Zulkosky  replied to  Representative  Wool's                                                                    
second question  about how  the dollars  would be  used. She                                                                    
detailed that in a February  19 meeting with DOT leadership,                                                                    
the department  had indicated  that adding  an appropriation                                                                    
to the operating budget would  likely ease the conversations                                                                    
and  potentially  help jump  start  the  efforts around  the                                                                    
reacquisition of  the airport  on behalf  of the  tribe. She                                                                    
understood it was a complex process  for DOT to have to make                                                                    
numerous  considerations, particularly  given the  status of                                                                    
the runway  and the  additional cost; however,  she believed                                                                    
providing the resources  would help DOT meet  its mission of                                                                    
keeping  Alaska moving  through  service and  infrastructure                                                                    
and  would help  the department  maintain its  commitment to                                                                    
rural Alaska as well.                                                                                                           
10:48:02 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
10:56:48 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Foster  asked people to consider  the meeting time.                                                                    
He reviewed the remaining amendments.                                                                                           
Representative   Carpenter   and  Representative   Sullivan-                                                                    
Leonard MAINTAINED the OBJECTION.                                                                                               
A roll call vote was taken  on the motion to adopt Amendment                                                                    
H DOT 1.                                                                                                                        
IN FAVOR: Josephson,  Knopp,  LeBon,  Ortiz,  Wool,  Foster,                                                                    
OPPOSED: Sullivan-Leonard, Tilton, Carpenter, Merrick                                                                           
The MOTION  PASSED (7/4). There being  NO further OBJECTION,                                                                    
Amendment H DOT 1 was ADOPTED.                                                                                                  
10:59:05 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Josephson  MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment H  DOT 2                                                                    
(copy on file):                                                                                                                 
     Highways, Aviation and Facilities                                                                                          
     H DOT 2  - Funding for Management of  the Napaimute Ice                                                                    
     1004 Gen Fund (UGF) 50.0                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Johnston OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                      
Representative  Josephson shared  that  he had  not been  to                                                                    
Kwinhagak,  but  he  had  spent  three  years  in  the  mid-                                                                    
Kuskokwim and was familiar with  the issue. He explained the                                                                    
amendment with a prepared statement:                                                                                            
     The  amendment   would  provide  $50,000   in  one-time                                                                    
     funding  for maintenance  of  the  Kuskokwim Ice  Road,                                                                    
     which  runs   about  355  miles  from   Tuntutuliak  to                                                                    
     Sleetmute,  connecting 11,000  people in  more than  15                                                                    
     communities.   Federal    transportation   money   from                                                                    
     Napaimute  provided minimal  maintenance support.  This                                                                    
     is  inadequate  to  cover   all  expenses.  The  Native                                                                    
     Village  of Napaimute  uses all  of its  federal tribal                                                                    
     transportation  dollars   to  plow  and   maintain  the                                                                    
     drivability  of  the  Kuskokwim River.  This  amendment                                                                    
     would ease  transportation of  goods and  people during                                                                    
     the winter. The ice roads are used by vehicles.                                                                            
Representative  Josephson  explained  that the  ice  on  the                                                                    
river was  plowed down  the center  for vehicle  traffic. He                                                                    
elaborated  that troopers  used  the  road during  inclement                                                                    
flying  conditions.  Additionally, people  traveled  between                                                                    
communities for  things like the Cama-i  festival in Bethel.                                                                    
The state currently provided a  $50,000 appropriation to the                                                                    
Northwest  Arctic  Borough  to maintain  ice  roads  between                                                                    
Kotzebue, Kiana,  and Noorvik.  He noted that  the amendment                                                                    
included a comparable appropriation.                                                                                            
Co-Chair Johnston WITHDREW her OBJECTION.                                                                                       
There  being NO  further OBJECTION,  Amendment H  DOT 2  was                                                                    
11:01:30 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Carpenter MOVED to  ADOPT Amendments H VRS 1,                                                                    
H VRS 2, and H VRS 3 (copy on file):                                                                                            
     H VRS 1 - 2% Reduction to the personal services line                                                                       
     in the Executive Branch                                                                                                    
     1178 temp code (UGF) -48,082.2                                                                                             
     H VRS 2 - 2% reduction to the personal services line                                                                       
     in the Legislative Branch                                                                                                  
     1178 temp code (UGF) -1,048.9                                                                                              
     H VRS 3 - 2% Reduction to the personal services line                                                                       
     in the Judicial Branch                                                                                                     
     1178 temp code (UGF) -1,723.5                                                                                              
Co-Chair Johnston OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                      
Representative Carpenter  stated there was a  situation with                                                                    
the  budget   that  would   remove  portions   of  Alaskans'                                                                    
Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) to  pay for state spending. He                                                                    
stressed  that reducing  the  formulaic  cost of  government                                                                    
growth was  needed and presented  a challenge.  He estimated                                                                    
the budget would be close to  $13 billion in a decade if the                                                                    
state spending  growth was not  constrained. He  stated that                                                                    
no  Alaskan wanted  a $13  billion budget  because it  would                                                                    
mean additional  taxes and a  lower standard of  living. The                                                                    
amendments acknowledged that while  the private sector would                                                                    
continue  to take  a  hit  with a  reduced  PFD, the  public                                                                    
sector would also have some  skin in the game. The amendment                                                                    
would  decrease  state  salaries  by  2  percent  and  state                                                                    
spending by  about $50  million. He did  not believe  it was                                                                    
too much  to ask for  state workers to  pay for some  of the                                                                    
cost of  reducing the budget,  just like the  private sector                                                                    
was paying as well.                                                                                                             
11:04:07 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Knopp  opposed the  amendment. He  thought he                                                                    
could  have  supported  Amendment  VRS 1  on  its  own.  The                                                                    
previous  year he  had asked  the administration  to take  a                                                                    
look  at   around  90   commissioner  and   deputy  director                                                                    
positions throughout the state.  He had never heard anything                                                                    
back   on  the   positions.   He  noted   there  were   many                                                                    
duplications  where  some  departments   had  two  or  three                                                                    
director  positions. He  had received  no feedback  from the                                                                    
administration on  his request.  He was frustrated  that the                                                                    
public thought  it was  the legislature's  responsibility to                                                                    
broadly  reduce  appropriations.  Whereas, he  believed  the                                                                    
governor's  office  should  look   at  departments  to  find                                                                    
Representative Knopp  expressed additional  frustration that                                                                    
the administration  never looked  at the  top levels  of the                                                                    
organizational charts  when considering  places to  cut. For                                                                    
example,  cuts  were  targeted   at  people  like  DOT  road                                                                    
maintenance  workers and  equipment  operators.  He cited  a                                                                    
reduction of seven to nine  positions in Department of Labor                                                                    
and Workforce  Development as another  example. He  found it                                                                    
frustrating that cuts  always began in the  bottom tiers and                                                                    
never at the  top. He could have likely  supported the first                                                                    
amendment but did not support the other two.                                                                                    
11:05:45 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Johnston believed all  of the committee members had                                                                    
been on a subcommittee  responsible for reviewing the budget                                                                    
for  the   executive  and/or  judicial  branches.   She  was                                                                    
concerned  that the  reduction  was  unallocated. She  would                                                                    
have been more interested in  the idea of locating 2 percent                                                                    
cuts  if it  had  been  done at  a  departmental level  that                                                                    
committee  members had  participated  in.  She responded  to                                                                    
Representative  Knopp  and  explained  that in  one  of  her                                                                    
subcommittees they had denied a  request to increase the top                                                                    
level  by   adding  a  deputy  commissioner   position.  She                                                                    
believed  it was  the kind  of discussion  that was  needed,                                                                    
which was  much more thorough  than an unallocated  cut like                                                                    
the one proposed in the amendments.                                                                                             
Co-Chair  Johnston  relayed  that   the  previous  year  the                                                                    
legislature  had discussions  to  cut  from the  legislative                                                                    
branch. She detailed that one  of the concerns had been that                                                                    
because the year had been  so contentious, they did not know                                                                    
the  number  of  times  they would  return  to  the  Capitol                                                                    
Building and the associated cost.  She believed they had all                                                                    
participated in the  cost. She hoped the  current year would                                                                    
not be the  same, but it was not yet  known. She highlighted                                                                    
that the judicial  branch had been very  proactive in trying                                                                    
to  cut its  budget. She  explained there  had been  a point                                                                    
where even the governor had  been asking the judicial branch                                                                    
to increase its budget because of the backlog.                                                                                  
Co-Chair    Johnston    thought    the    amendments    were                                                                    
counterintuitive. She stated  the amendments represented the                                                                    
kind  of   budget  she  abhorred.  She   stressed  that  the                                                                    
legislature was there to do  its work thoroughly. She stated                                                                    
that  when  the legislature  could  not  find the  cuts  and                                                                    
directed  state entities  to find  the cuts  it was  kind of                                                                    
like saying,  "I want to cut  the budget, but I  want to cut                                                                    
your  budget."   She  was  not  disparaging   the  amendment                                                                    
sponsor, but she  believed the legislature needed  to do the                                                                    
work and  be responsible.  She underscored the  necessity of                                                                    
having the  tough conversations. She did  not support making                                                                    
broad-based cuts.                                                                                                               
11:09:03 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  also   felt  the  judicial                                                                    
branch  had made  significant reductions  in its  budget and                                                                    
had been the  most accountable in her  mind. She appreciated                                                                    
the  amendment sponsor's  effort towards  fiscal discipline.                                                                    
She  stated that  the  legislature had  been  given a  flat,                                                                    
status  quo budget  and  she  had been  hoping  to see  more                                                                    
reductions  in the  governor's budget.  She asked  why there                                                                    
had not been  a pay, hiring, or travel  freeze. She wondered                                                                    
why there had  not been an attempt to  put downward pressure                                                                    
on  the  budget  overall.  She acknowledged  that  they  had                                                                    
worked on the  issue in the committee  process; however, she                                                                    
believed the discipline seemed to  be a challenge across the                                                                    
board. She  supported the amendment and  noted the reduction                                                                    
was not that  large when looking at the  overall budget. She                                                                    
had been hoping  for a stronger fiscal path  coming from the                                                                    
administration. She  agreed that  the responsibility  was in                                                                    
the legislature's lap,  but she believed there  needed to be                                                                    
a stronger attempt at reducing the overall budget.                                                                              
11:10:46 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative   Josephson   opposed  the   amendments.   He                                                                    
reported  that  the  operating  budget  had  been  cut  over                                                                    
$1.1 billion  since FY 15 or  about 24 cents on  the dollar.                                                                    
He  stated that  the governor's  attempt to  overcut in  the                                                                    
previous  year had  drawn a  visceral  and intense  reaction                                                                    
from  the  public.  He  specified   that  the  governor  had                                                                    
responded  with the  FY 21  budget, which  was a  reflection                                                                    
that he  could not come up  with the cuts. He  believed some                                                                    
exempt salaries  could be cut.  He reasoned that if  he were                                                                    
offered  a  deputy  commissioner  position at  a  salary  of                                                                    
$190,000 and  it was cut  to $150,000,  it would still  be a                                                                    
workable situation. He  had been astounded at  some of those                                                                    
[salaries]. He  did not  feel that  way about  the presiding                                                                    
officer  of Alaska  Gasline Development  Corporation (AGDC),                                                                    
the   University   of   Alaska,   Alaska   Housing   Finance                                                                    
Corporation  (AHFC),  or  the  Alaska  Mental  Health  Trust                                                                    
Authority  (AMHTA). The  jobs were  competitive, and  it was                                                                    
necessary to pay good salaries.                                                                                                 
Representative  Josephson thought  if  someone were  looking                                                                    
for a  colleague to look  at the exempt salaries  question -                                                                    
the  top   echelon,  not  the  assistant   attorney  general                                                                    
positions  -  it   was  something  he  would   look  at.  He                                                                    
associated himself with Co-Chair Johnston's remarks.                                                                            
11:13:11 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Carpenter provided wrap  up on the amendment.                                                                    
He  stated  that  the  issue  was a  policy  call  from  the                                                                    
legislature   directing  departments   and  all   government                                                                    
branches to process  a 2 percent pay cut  for all employees.                                                                    
He explained that  the amendments were a  recognition of the                                                                    
state's fiscal condition.  He did not believe  a more robust                                                                    
discussion was necessary. He highlighted  that the state had                                                                    
been in  a recession since  he had  moved back to  Alaska in                                                                    
2013. He stressed that the  private sector had lost jobs and                                                                    
taken  pay  cuts,  while public  sector  employees  received                                                                    
automatic pay raises.                                                                                                           
Representative  Carpenter emphasized  it was  a policy  call                                                                    
for the legislature to determine  that 2 percent was not too                                                                    
much  to  ask  under  the  existing  fiscal  conditions.  He                                                                    
stressed  that the  legislature had  done nothing  to reduce                                                                    
the  costs   of  personal  pay.  He   underscored  that  the                                                                    
legislature  and the  executive branch  were not  discussing                                                                    
the  issue. He  stated  that public  employees were  treated                                                                    
differently  than  private   sector  employees  through  the                                                                    
recession. He stated the  amendments were an acknowledgement                                                                    
that the public  looked to the legislature  and wondered why                                                                    
it  was  not  constraining   government  spending  when  the                                                                    
private  sector  had to  make  do  with  less. He  asked  if                                                                    
committee members  would view  the amendment  differently if                                                                    
it  included language  specifying it  was the  legislature's                                                                    
intent that all branches of  the government take a 2 percent                                                                    
pay  reduction  in  acknowledgement of  the  state's  fiscal                                                                    
Representative Carpenter MOVED to  AMEND Amendments H VRS 1,                                                                    
H VRS  2, and H  VRS 3 to  include intent language  that the                                                                    
executive,  judicial,  and  legislative branches  take  a  2                                                                    
percent  pay cut  in recognition  of  the state's  financial                                                                    
Co-Chair  Johnston OBJECTED.  She asked  whether there  were                                                                    
some  bargaining  units  that   would  be  impacted  by  the                                                                    
proposal to reduce pay by 2 percent across the board.                                                                           
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  asked  to  hear  from  the                                                                    
Office of Management and Budget (OMB).                                                                                          
NEIL STEININGER, DIRECTOR, OFFICE  OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET,                                                                    
OFFICE OF  THE GOVERNOR,  stated his understanding  that Co-                                                                    
Chair Johnston was asking whether  a 2 percent pay reduction                                                                    
could  be  implemented under  the  terms  of the  collective                                                                    
bargaining agreements.                                                                                                          
Co-Chair Johnston agreed.                                                                                                       
Mr. Steininger  relayed that salary schedules  set for state                                                                    
employees  were covered  and  set  by collective  bargaining                                                                    
agreements.  He elaborated  that a  2 percent  pay reduction                                                                    
would have  to be  bargained with  the bargaining  units. He                                                                    
explained that the impact of  the amendments would mean that                                                                    
a 2 percent reduction  would be achieved through adjustments                                                                    
in the way agencies implemented their budgets.                                                                                  
Co-Chair Johnston  imagined that there were  some bargaining                                                                    
agreements  currently  in  the  negotiation  process,  while                                                                    
others  had been  signed. She  asked for  verification there                                                                    
would be an  issue of reopening agreements  that had already                                                                    
been  agreed to.  Additionally,  departments  would have  to                                                                    
find another  way to meet  the 2  percent cut other  than to                                                                    
cut  bargaining   agreement  salaries.  She   surmised  that                                                                    
departments may have to find some other unallocated cut.                                                                        
Mr. Steininger  replied in  the affirmative.  The bargaining                                                                    
unit  agreements were  staggered  in the  terms covered.  He                                                                    
explained that  the bargaining units were  not all currently                                                                    
open for bargaining.                                                                                                            
11:18:42 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Johnston stated  that  while  she appreciated  the                                                                    
intent  and discussion,  she believed  the action  needed to                                                                    
come  earlier  on  in  the   budget  discussion  in  a  more                                                                    
thoughtful way with direction within different departments.                                                                     
Representative LeBon  referenced previous comments  from the                                                                    
representative  from  Kenai  related  to  what  the  private                                                                    
sector would do under "this  type of condition." He noted he                                                                    
had some experience in the  specific area. He considered his                                                                    
banking days  and recalled that  between 1986 and  1990, the                                                                    
state  had gone  through a  very difficult  economic period.                                                                    
During that time,  the banking industry had  lost about half                                                                    
of its members.                                                                                                                 
Representative LeBon  shared that  he had been  fortunate to                                                                    
work for the  largest bank in the state  during that period;                                                                    
the bank had  been in the position to weather  the storm and                                                                    
had  purchased  four  of  the failed  banks  from  the  FDIC                                                                    
[Federal  Deposit Insurance  Corporation]. Within  a 45  day                                                                    
period, the  NBA [National Bank  of Alaska] had  doubled its                                                                    
assets from $1 billion to  $2 billion due to the acquisition                                                                    
of the  failed banks. During  the time, the  bank management                                                                    
had  made the  decision to  scale back  due to  the economic                                                                    
conditions. The bank  had set a goal  of reducing employment                                                                    
by 10 percent  in a calendar year. The effort  had been done                                                                    
through attrition - no one had  lost their job or received a                                                                    
pay cut.  The bank  had known  that telling  employees their                                                                    
pay would be  cut by 5 percent targeted  the most productive                                                                    
employees  and  treated  them  as if  they  were  the  least                                                                    
productive. He  explained that an across  the board decision                                                                    
of that nature was very  dangerous for the private sector to                                                                    
make. The bank had known  not to make the decision; however,                                                                    
it did  scale back. He  reported that  he had worked  in the                                                                    
lending department in  Fairbanks and had hoped  for the next                                                                    
year that  no one would leave.  He had been motivated  to be                                                                    
on good behavior with his  employees because he did not want                                                                    
anyone to leave.                                                                                                                
Representative  Knopp  relayed   that  adding  the  proposed                                                                    
intent language to Amendments H VRS 1,  H VRS 2, and H VRS 3                                                                    
to  did  not   do  anything  to  change  his   view  on  the                                                                    
amendments.  He  highlighted  that the  original  amendments                                                                    
clearly  identified  that a  2  percent  reduction would  be                                                                    
taken   from  the   personal   services   line  across   all                                                                    
departments.  He  asked  for   verification  the  2  percent                                                                    
reduction included exempt and non-exempt employees.                                                                             
Mr. Steininger agreed.                                                                                                          
Representative  Knopp  considered   that  if  the  employees                                                                    
represented by a bargaining unit  were off the table and not                                                                    
open  to  negotiation,  there was  a  real  possibility  the                                                                    
amendment  could  never  be   achieved  with  the  remaining                                                                    
employees. He reasoned that it  was a real possibility a cut                                                                    
of $48 million could not  be achieved when taking two-thirds                                                                    
of   the  workforce   off  the   table  because   they  were                                                                    
represented [by a bargaining unit].  He thought the cuts had                                                                    
to come from the personal services line.                                                                                        
Mr. Steininger answered that the  reduction could be managed                                                                    
through attrition (by not filling  positions for some time).                                                                    
He explained  that the reduction would  not necessarily come                                                                    
from salary  reductions but perhaps the  number of positions                                                                    
or other expenditure lines (there  was authority to transfer                                                                    
between lines of expenditure). How  cuts were achieved would                                                                    
depend on the various departments and divisions.                                                                                
11:23:59 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  asked  if  the  governor's                                                                    
budget was considered relatively  flat. She asked for detail                                                                    
on her comments. She wondered  whether the governor's budget                                                                    
had    included    specific   reductions    that    mirrored                                                                    
Representative Carpenter's amendments.                                                                                          
Mr. Steininger  answered that the  governor's amended  FY 21                                                                    
budget was roughly $50 million  lower than the FY 20 budget.                                                                    
He explained that  in percentage terms, the  budget could be                                                                    
described  as  flat.  He  added  that  the  number  included                                                                    
supplementals  proposed  by  the   governor  in  FY  21.  He                                                                    
clarified that not every program  had been proposed as flat.                                                                    
He explained the process included  looking at the allocation                                                                    
of resources  between the departments.  Strategic reductions                                                                    
had  been made  to certain  programs to  accommodate natural                                                                    
cost pressures in others.                                                                                                       
Co-Chair  Johnston  stated  it   had  been  brought  to  her                                                                    
attention that  a salary  schedule was  set in  statute that                                                                    
would  have to  be changed.  The legislature  would have  to                                                                    
amend  AS 39.27.011,  which she  did not  believe should  be                                                                    
done in the budget.                                                                                                             
Representative  Carpenter  provided  a  scenario  where  the                                                                    
intent language went  forward directing a 2  percent pay cut                                                                    
across the  board for all  state employees. He asked  if the                                                                    
intent would be  ignored and the cuts would  be addressed in                                                                    
some other way such as through the elimination of jobs.                                                                         
Mr. Steininger answered that there  were other statutes that                                                                    
bound the way the administration  would be able to implement                                                                    
the  proposed  reductions.  He detailed  that  statutes  and                                                                    
bargaining agreements  that dictated employee pay  could not                                                                    
be ignored with the adoption  of intent language. There were                                                                    
other mechanisms binding the hands  of the administration in                                                                    
terms  of  how  the   reduction  would  be  implemented.  He                                                                    
explained that the  reduction would have to  be made through                                                                    
things like turnover  and reductions in other  line items in                                                                    
the budget.                                                                                                                     
11:27:20 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Carpenter  asked if it  was safe to  say that                                                                    
it was currently not possible  for the legislature to make a                                                                    
reduction to  state employee  pay across  the board  to help                                                                    
with the budget crisis.                                                                                                         
Mr. Steininger answered, "In short, no."                                                                                        
Representative  Carpenter asked  if  it would  matter if  he                                                                    
changed the reduction to 1 percent.                                                                                             
Mr. Steininger  answered, "No." He  explained it was  due to                                                                    
existing factors binding the hands  of the administration in                                                                    
terms of how the proposed reduction could be implemented.                                                                       
Representative   Carpenter   WITHDREW   his   amendment   to                                                                    
Amendments H VRS 1, H VRS 2, and H VRS 3.                                                                                       
11:28:32 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Wool  shared  that   he  had  been  a  small                                                                    
business owner  for several decades.  He always  watched the                                                                    
bottom line and when times  were tighter, he looked for ways                                                                    
to save  money. He acknowledged  that labor was  the easiest                                                                    
way to  save money  in many situations.  He did  not believe                                                                    
cutting wages  by a couple  percentage points would  go over                                                                    
well. He agreed with  Representative LeBon who had discussed                                                                    
the  use  of  attrition  to  save  money.  He  believed  the                                                                    
University  [of  Alaska]  also   used  the  method  when  an                                                                    
employee  retired  or  left  -   the  individuals  were  not                                                                    
replaced.   He  considered   a   $1  million   cut  to   the                                                                    
legislature.  He surmised  the $50  million reflected  total                                                                    
personnel costs. He did not  know what the total legislature                                                                    
budget was.  He thought the  discussions should come  up and                                                                    
should include  the governor's office  as well. He  would be                                                                    
interested in  having the conversations  in a  more in-depth                                                                    
setting  instead of  merely cutting  off  2 percent  "willy-                                                                    
nilly." He thought it was  a discussion for another time. He                                                                    
believed it  was difficult to address  the issue in a  10 to                                                                    
20 minute section of a finance meeting.                                                                                         
Representative Merrick  asked what  fund code 1178  was. She                                                                    
noted  the  code was  labeled  as  "temp  code UGF"  in  the                                                                    
Mr. Steininger replied  that it was a tracking  code used by                                                                    
the Legislative Finance Division for UGF.                                                                                       
Representative Merrick asked if it  was the correct code for                                                                    
the amendments proposed by Representative Carpenter.                                                                            
Mr. Steininger answered in the affirmative.                                                                                     
KELLY  CUNNINGHAM,  ANALYST, LEGISLATIVE  FINANCE  DIVISION,                                                                    
answered that there  would be so many fund  codes that would                                                                    
be  impacted  by  the  amendments,  it  would  result  in  a                                                                    
document  of about  200 pages;  therefore, a  temp code  had                                                                    
been  used, which  was similar  to what  was done  in fiscal                                                                    
notes. She added  that the fund code detail  would be broken                                                                    
out if the amendments passed.                                                                                                   
11:31:52 AM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Ortiz  agreed  with  an  earlier  comment  by  a                                                                    
committee  member from  Kenai that  the  private sector  had                                                                    
seen a reduction in employment  numbers and positions during                                                                    
the recession.  He referred to  the Department of  Labor and                                                                    
Workforce  Development website  and  noted  that the  public                                                                    
sector  had also  seen a  great reduction  in the  number of                                                                    
people  working for  the state.  He detailed  that at  least                                                                    
2,100 fewer workers  were employed by the  state compared to                                                                    
the  number of  workers in  2015.  He pointed  out that  the                                                                    
reductions  also  resulted  in reductions  to  the  economy,                                                                    
which contributed to the recession.                                                                                             
Representative  Wool  noted  that the  University  had  over                                                                    
1,000 fewer  people working there (500  in Fairbanks alone).                                                                    
He referenced  an earlier amendment regarding  pay increases                                                                    
for  the  University.  He  stated  that  judiciary  and  the                                                                    
University had  voluntarily taken  pay raise freezes  - they                                                                    
had  opted  not  to  take   contractual  pay  increases.  He                                                                    
believed  people had  shown good  intent and  willingness to                                                                    
take a hit for several years.                                                                                                   
11:33:54 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative   Carpenter   provided   wrap   up   on   the                                                                    
amendments.  He  stated  that   the  simple  fact  that  the                                                                    
subcommittee process  had not  brought up  the issue  of pay                                                                    
decreases  and/or  freezes  highlighted  the  challenge  the                                                                    
legislature  had  with  the  process.  He  stated  that  the                                                                    
University  was  not implementing  pay  freezes  on its  own                                                                    
volition, it was something that  had been forced upon it. He                                                                    
stressed  that  the  current  conversation  highlighted  the                                                                    
difficulty  for the  legislature to  reduce personnel  costs                                                                    
like any  business would choose  to do out of  necessity. He                                                                    
underscored that  if the legislature's intent  was to reduce                                                                    
pay by half a percent, it was not possible.                                                                                     
11:35:19 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Johnston MAINTAINED her OBJECTION.                                                                                     
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: Carpenter, Sullivan-Leonard, Merrick, Tilton                                                                          
OPPOSED:  Wool, Josephson,  Knopp,  LeBon, Ortiz,  Johnston,                                                                    
The  MOTION to  adopt  Amendments  H VRS  1,  H  VRS 2,  and                                                                    
H VRS 3 FAILED (4/7).                                                                                                           
11:36:06 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Knopp MOVED to ADOPT  Amendment H DPS 5 (copy                                                                    
on file):                                                                                                                       
     Statewide Support                                                                                                          
     H DPS 5 - Delete Authority to Implement New Anchorage                                                                      
     Emergency Communications                                                                                                   
     Center and Support Staff                                                                                                   
     1004 Gen Fund (UGF) -872.8                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Johnston OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                      
Representative Knopp explained the  amendment that would put                                                                    
a pause  on the proposed  911 dispatch center to  be located                                                                    
in Anchorage. He  explained that the idea  had been proposed                                                                    
about  four years  earlier in  light of  all of  the changes                                                                    
resulting  from SB  91 [crime  reform legislation  passed in                                                                    
2016] and  HB 49 [crime  reform legislation passed  in 2019]                                                                    
as part of a public safety  action plan. He relayed that the                                                                    
issue  had come  to  him at  the eleventh  hour  and he  had                                                                    
received many phone calls on  the subject. He had provided a                                                                    
letter to  committee members addressed to  the governor from                                                                    
various communities dated February  24, 2020 (copy on file).                                                                    
He listed various  entities that had signed  onto the letter                                                                    
including Mat-Com  (the Mat-Su  dispatch), Houston  Fire and                                                                    
Rescue,  the City  of Wasilla,  City of  Ketchikan, City  of                                                                    
Houston,  Ketchikan Gateway  Borough, Wasilla  police, Kenai                                                                    
Peninsula  Borough, Mat-Su  Borough Emergency  Services, and                                                                    
various mayors  and administrators  who had  raised concerns                                                                    
about the issue.                                                                                                                
Representative Knopp  shared that  there had been  a meeting                                                                    
in  his office  on Tuesday  that included  Vice-Chair Ortiz,                                                                    
Representative  LeBon, Representative  Sullivan-Leonard, the                                                                    
mayor  of Wasilla,  a Wasilla  dispatcher, a  member of  the                                                                    
governor's  office,  two  members  from  the  Department  of                                                                    
Public  Safety (including  a deputy  commissioner), and  the                                                                    
former   commissioner  of   the   Department  of   Commerce,                                                                    
Community  and Economic  Development/former [Kenai]  borough                                                                    
mayor Mike  Navarre. The primary concern  about the dispatch                                                                    
center  was that  it decentralized  and unbundled  emergency                                                                    
service  911 calls.  He explained  that currently  911 calls                                                                    
went to  a dispatcher who  determined whether the  call went                                                                    
to state  troopers, ambulance, or  fire. In the case  of the                                                                    
Kenai Peninsula  Borough, when a  call was made from  a land                                                                    
line, the system automatically routed  it to the appropriate                                                                    
location in  the City of Homer,  City of Kenai, or  the City                                                                    
of  Soldotna. He  explained that  land line  calls were  not                                                                    
physically  picked up  - cell  phone  calls were  physically                                                                    
picked up. He noted it was  not true for Mat-Su and he could                                                                    
not speak for Ketchikan and Fairbanks.                                                                                          
Representative Knopp explained that  the system was trooper-                                                                    
centric and would not dispatch  fire, EMS [emergency medical                                                                    
services],  or anything  else. He  elaborated  that the  new                                                                    
system  would  create  more bureaucracy  for  municipalities                                                                    
because  the  emergency 911  surcharge  came  in via  public                                                                    
service    answering   facilities    to   cover    expenses.                                                                    
Municipalities  and boroughs  were  charged with  collecting                                                                    
and administering "that."                                                                                                       
Representative Knopp explained that  in the case of Soldotna                                                                    
in the  Kenai Peninsula Borough, a  new communication center                                                                    
had been built in the  area several years back. He explained                                                                    
that the borough had built  the facility and troopers helped                                                                    
to  supply and  equip it.  The troopers  had provided  eight                                                                    
PCNs  [position   control  numbers]  and  the   borough  had                                                                    
provided an  equal number. He  noted that the  Department of                                                                    
Public Safety  (DPS) had only  filled five of  the positions                                                                    
and the borough  had always covered the  vacancies by hiring                                                                    
additional dispatchers  and with  overtime. He did  not have                                                                    
information  on   the  issues  experienced  by   Mat-Com  or                                                                    
Representative Knopp  pointed out that if  the eight trooper                                                                    
positions were  taken out of the  borough's dispatch center,                                                                    
the need  did not go away  because 911 calls would  go their                                                                    
first. The  borough would have  to hire more people  to fill                                                                    
the dispatch center.  He explained that when a  call came in                                                                    
requesting    state    trooper   dispatch,    the    borough                                                                    
communication  center   sent  the  call  to   Anchorage  for                                                                    
response. Under  the new system there  was uncertainty about                                                                    
whether a  call would be sent  back to the borough  if there                                                                    
was a  request for fire or  EMS in addition to  troopers. He                                                                    
relayed  that  the  proposed  center  would  not  deal  with                                                                    
anything unrelated  to the troopers. He  elucidated that the                                                                    
proposed  system unbundled  what  had always  been done.  He                                                                    
explained that the existing system worked very well.                                                                            
Representative  Knopp believed  the situation  was happening                                                                    
because of  contractual issues with other  organizations. He                                                                    
shared  that the  DPS deputy  commissioner had  reported the                                                                    
proposed center  would allow the  department to  collect and                                                                    
own its own data including  response times and calls. He was                                                                    
requesting  to  slow  the  project  down  by  defunding  the                                                                    
positions  given  the  substantial concern  surrounding  the                                                                    
center.  He believed  the concerns  should be  discussed and                                                                    
the administration  should be given  time to  thoroughly vet                                                                    
the  project. He  highlighted that  the first  phase of  the                                                                    
project  was  estimated  at  $9.5  million  in  the  capital                                                                    
budget. He detailed that $3.5  million had been appropriated                                                                    
in  the previous  year's  capital  budget and  approximately                                                                    
$4.5  million came  from Alaska  Industrial Development  and                                                                    
Export  Authority  (AIDEA) funds.  The  first  phase of  the                                                                    
project   remained  short   funded  by   approximately  $1.1                                                                    
Representative Knopp noted  the numbers were not  in for the                                                                    
second  phase. He  urged support  for  the amendment,  which                                                                    
would  enable  time  for conversations  to  take  place.  He                                                                    
highlighted  that the  deputy commissioner  had shared  that                                                                    
the project  was about 65  percent underway  - architectural                                                                    
designs  had  just been  completed  and  the department  was                                                                    
working  on  getting   out  an  RFP.  He   stated  that  the                                                                    
functionality of  the proposed  center was  a long  way off,                                                                    
although  he believed  the department's  goal was  summer of                                                                    
11:44:17 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  LeBon shared  that  he had  chaired the  DPS                                                                    
subcommittee. He appreciated the  work done by the amendment                                                                    
sponsor to bring stakeholders together.  He relayed that he,                                                                    
Representative Knopp,  Vice-Chair Ortiz,  and Representative                                                                    
Sullivan-Leonard had  met to try  to understand  the complex                                                                    
topic. He  stated his  intent to  make several  comments and                                                                    
propose an amendment to Amendment  H DPS 5. He remarked that                                                                    
existing  911 jurisdictions  would continue  to receive  911                                                                    
calls within  their boundaries. He  elaborated that  the two                                                                    
DPS  emergency  communication  centers (one  in  Fairbanks),                                                                    
could individually support DPS  operations statewide as well                                                                    
as  answering 911  calls from  rural  and unorganized  areas                                                                    
without  911 programs  or  24-hour  dispatch facilities.  He                                                                    
noted  that communities  were not  all  fortunate enough  to                                                                    
have a local dispatch facility.                                                                                                 
Representative  LeBon expounded  that DPS  centers would  be                                                                    
secondary  to   established  911  jurisdictions   and  would                                                                    
receive  transfers/calls from  other  primary public  safety                                                                    
answering points (PSAPs).  He stated there was  an effort to                                                                    
improve the overall 911 response  statewide. He believed the                                                                    
initial  goal of  the  project  was to  move  forward to  an                                                                    
Anchorage communications center,  modeled somewhat after the                                                                    
Fairbanks   communications  center.   He  shared   that  the                                                                    
Fairbanks  center was  effective,  operational, and  meeting                                                                    
expectations to  the point where it  supported Ketchikan and                                                                    
Kodiak   on  a   regular   basis.  He   reported  that   the                                                                    
relationship between  the City  of Fairbanks, City  of North                                                                    
Pole, the Fairbanks  North Star Borough, and  DPS was tight,                                                                    
effective,  and  successful.  He  knew all  of  the  players                                                                    
including  the   trooper  captain   in  Fairbanks   and  was                                                                    
confident  that he  would have  heard  about any  unresolved                                                                    
issues.  He  wanted to  talk  about  a pathway  forward.  He                                                                    
shared  that during  the meeting  in Representative  Knopp's                                                                    
office they  had heard from stakeholders.  He referenced the                                                                    
letter addressed  to the  governor from  stakeholders [dated                                                                    
February 24,  2020 (copy  on file)]. He  read from  the last                                                                    
paragraph of the letter:                                                                                                        
     Combined   opposition    to   the    construction   and                                                                    
     implementation     of    the     Anchorage    Emergency                                                                    
     Communications  Center  under  the  management  of  the                                                                    
     Department  of Public  Safety has  been resounded  from                                                                    
     the Mayors  of the  City of  Wasilla, City  of Houston,                                                                    
     Kenai  Peninsula  Borough,   Mat-Su  Borough  Emergency                                                                    
     Services,   Ketchikan   Gateway    Borough,   City   of                                                                    
     Ketchikan,   Mat-com   Public  Safety   Dispatch,   and                                                                    
     Soldotna  Public  Safety Communications  Center.  State                                                                    
     representatives  and  Senators   for  their  respective                                                                    
     communities  are also  disheartened  to  hear of  these                                                                    
     proceedings on  behalf of their  constituents. Combined                                                                    
     professional  experience and  subject matter  expertise                                                                    
     of this level  must be heavily weighed and  valued on a                                                                    
     matter that  will negatively affect the  emergency call                                                                    
     processing for hundreds of thousands of people.                                                                            
Representative  LeBon suggested  that  "this  well has  been                                                                    
poisoned." He had heard from  the DPS commissioner that when                                                                    
Commissioner Amanda  Price had taken office,  she had slowed                                                                    
the  project  down  to work  with  stakeholders  to  resolve                                                                    
issues  and  concerns.  He had  initially  heard  about  the                                                                    
primary concern related to the  loss of positions during the                                                                    
budget  process at  the  subcommittee  level. He  understood                                                                    
that  no  one  wanted   to  lose  positions.  He  referenced                                                                    
Representative Wool's  earlier point that the  University of                                                                    
Alaska - Fairbanks  had lost numerous positions  in the past                                                                    
few years, which he did not  like, but things happen and "we                                                                    
move forward."                                                                                                                  
Representative LeBon was concerned  that the ability for the                                                                    
stakeholders  to  meet  with  DPS  and  resolve  issues  was                                                                    
unlikely  to happen.  He  believed the  issue  had become  a                                                                    
"goat rope." The  amendment he planned to  propose was aimed                                                                    
at  finding a  middle ground.  He referenced  an article  in                                                                    
that day's Fairbanks Daily Newsminer  about a swearing in of                                                                    
students at  Lathrop High School  conducted by a  colonel in                                                                    
the space  station. He detailed  that the ceremony  had been                                                                    
for students nationwide. He expounded  that the photo in the                                                                    
paper showed students  from Los Angeles and  Dallas who were                                                                    
being sworn into military service.  He explained that during                                                                    
the meeting in Representative  Knopp's office, the attendees                                                                    
had  heard  about  telecommunication  issues.  It  had  been                                                                    
suggested  that  DPS  would   be  incapable  of  dispatching                                                                    
emergency   services  from   Anchorage  to   Palmer  because                                                                    
dispatching  trooper,  police,  fire,  and  ambulance  would                                                                    
overwhelm the system. He had  never heard about the issue in                                                                    
Fairbanks. He stressed that the  process had reached a point                                                                    
where he  was concerned  about the ability  for stakeholders                                                                    
and the department to work together to resolve the issues.                                                                      
11:52:00 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative LeBon  MOVED to ADOPT Conceptual  Amendment 1                                                                    
to  Amendment  H  DPS  5  to  decrease  the  reduction  from                                                                    
$872,300  [$872,800] and  seven  positions  to $489,000  and                                                                    
four  positions. The  amendment would  restore the  three IT                                                                    
positions   associated   with    the   Anchorage   Emergency                                                                    
Communications Center  to allow  the department  to continue                                                                    
moving forward on  setting up the center,  which he believed                                                                    
needed some support.                                                                                                            
Vice-Chair Ortiz OBJECTED.                                                                                                      
Representative  Knopp agreed  that  communications and  user                                                                    
groups had been contentious. He  believed the issue had been                                                                    
more about contractual issues, which  had not been resolved.                                                                    
He remarked that  he had eluded to the fact  that there were                                                                    
issues with  public safety and willingness  to negotiate. He                                                                    
shared that he had served  under three mayors [in Kenai] and                                                                    
all   three   administrations   had  sent   memorandums   of                                                                    
understanding to DPS, which had  never received responses or                                                                    
been  updated  since  the  911 center  had  been  built.  He                                                                    
continued that DPS had not  been accommodating or willing to                                                                    
entertain some  of the  discussions. He  could not  speak to                                                                    
any of  the issues DPS  had with other contracts.  He stated                                                                    
that the Mayor  [Bert] Cottle of Wasilla  and former [Kenai]                                                                    
mayor Mike  Navarre had  been clear that  the issue  was not                                                                    
about  positions   but  about   the  loss  of   service  and                                                                    
decoupling  services   and  dispatchers.  He   referenced  a                                                                    
statement   by  Representative   LeBon   regarding  a   call                                                                    
overwhelming  the  system.  He  did not  know  if  it  would                                                                    
overwhelm the system, but the  trooper dispatch in Anchorage                                                                    
would not dispatch fire and  EMS services. He believed there                                                                    
had been talk about requiring  the dispatcher to stay on the                                                                    
line during each call as  it was transferred back and forth,                                                                    
which was  cumbersome. He stated that  more conversation was                                                                    
needed regarding how the proposed system would work.                                                                            
Representative Knopp  highlighted that in the  past in rural                                                                    
Alaska it had been necessary to  dial an 800 number to reach                                                                    
911 services.  At one  point he thought  the issue  would be                                                                    
addressed through the  new 911 system; however,  he noted it                                                                    
had always  been a provider  issue and  not a 911  issue. He                                                                    
stated  his  understanding  that   the  situation  had  been                                                                    
resolved and it was possible  to dial 911 from anywhere; the                                                                    
call may still be routed through  an 800 number to reach its                                                                    
destination  in  some cases.  He  stated  it was  no  longer                                                                    
necessary  to remember  an  800 number  in  rural Alaska  to                                                                    
reach emergency dispatchers. There  had also been discussion                                                                    
about  the location  of dropped  calls  and related  concern                                                                    
about  the placement  of cell  towers and  triangulation and                                                                    
how it had  to be done. He asked Representative  LeBon if it                                                                    
was his understanding the specific issue had been resolved.                                                                     
Representative LeBon nodded his understanding.                                                                                  
Representative   Knopp  continued   that   there  had   been                                                                    
improvement, but  some issues with the  specific topic still                                                                    
existed.   He    did   not   support   the    amendment   to                                                                    
Amendment H DPS 5 because IT  people had looked at the issue                                                                    
(including  IT  staff  at  the  borough,  Mat-Su,  and  DPS)                                                                    
numerous times. He  did not believe the  project should move                                                                    
forward until all  of the issues were  resolved. He wondered                                                                    
whether decoupling  dispatch services  was the smart  way to                                                                    
go.  He thought  it appeared  to be  cumbersome. He  did not                                                                    
believe the  fact that contracts  or negotiations  could not                                                                    
be improved or  negotiated was a good reason  to replace the                                                                    
existing system that was functioning well.                                                                                      
11:56:38 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Foster recognized  Representative Steve Thompson in                                                                    
the audience.                                                                                                                   
Representative Wool  remarked that  he would not  attempt to                                                                    
pretend  he understood  the topic  given its  complexity and                                                                    
the numerous  documents committee members had  received that                                                                    
day that  took different  positions. He directed  a question                                                                    
to  Representative LeBon  and noted  that Fairbanks  was not                                                                    
mentioned in  the number  of communities at  the end  of the                                                                    
letter [to  the governor  dated February  24, 2020  (copy on                                                                    
file)]. He  listed various communities  that had  signed the                                                                    
letter. He referenced  Representative LeBon's statement that                                                                    
Fairbanks had  a well-functioning  call center. He  asked if                                                                    
everyone in  the Fairbanks area, including  North Pole, City                                                                    
of  Fairbanks,  and the  Borough  of  Fairbanks, was  routed                                                                    
through  the  call  center.  He  wondered  if  fire  or  EMT                                                                    
services were rerouted somewhere else.                                                                                          
Representative  LeBon replied  that in  Fairbanks 911  calls                                                                    
were routed  into the City  of Fairbanks. He  explained that                                                                    
the initial conversation  on a call was about  the nature of                                                                    
the emergency, and  the center had the  ability to determine                                                                    
where a  call was coming  from in  urban areas. He  noted it                                                                    
was not the  case for rural areas - there  were fewer towers                                                                    
to  pick up  cell  phone activity.  He  detailed that  after                                                                    
determining the nature of the  emergency, if needed the call                                                                    
was  transferred  to  the  emergency  communications  center                                                                    
while the dispatcher remained on  the line. At that point it                                                                    
would be a three-way call.  He elaborated that the Fairbanks                                                                    
dispatch would remain on the  call for as long as necessary.                                                                    
He explained there  may be a need to dispatch  a trooper, an                                                                    
ambulance  and/or  fire  truck,   which  may  require  joint                                                                    
participation between the two centers.  He relayed that if a                                                                    
call to the City of Fairbanks'  center could be handled by a                                                                    
city   asset  it   would   not  go   out   to  the   trooper                                                                    
communications center on Peger Road.                                                                                            
11:59:56 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Wool  asked about a similar  situation taking                                                                    
place in Kenai. He asked if  the call would go locally first                                                                    
and  then  get sent  to  a  call  center, depending  on  the                                                                    
circumstances. He  asked if  the proposal  was to  route all                                                                    
incoming  calls through  the call  center  in Anchorage.  He                                                                    
used making a  call to Alaska Airlines as  an example, where                                                                    
the call was routed to various locations.                                                                                       
Representative  Knopp answered  that the  calls would  never                                                                    
and should never  all route through Anchorage.  He stated it                                                                    
would be  foolish to  put a  centralized dispatch  center in                                                                    
one location, especially a  location subject to earthquakes.                                                                    
He detailed that  trooper calls on the  Kenai Peninsula that                                                                    
were  automatically routed  to the  Public Safety  Answering                                                                    
Points  (PSAP) facility  would be  transferred to  Anchorage                                                                    
for  trooper dispatch.  He was  uncertain whether  the Kenai                                                                    
dispatcher would  have to remain  on the call.  He explained                                                                    
that  the   Anchorage  center   would  not   dispatch  other                                                                    
emergency services -  the call would have  to be transferred                                                                    
back  to Soldotna  to be  dispatched. He  believed questions                                                                    
needed to  be answered related  to the process.  He stressed                                                                    
that the new center would not improve the service.                                                                              
Representative Knopp  relayed that  two things had  come out                                                                    
of their meeting in Anchorage.  He explained that there were                                                                    
parts  of rural  Alaska  that  did not  go  to  a PSAP  that                                                                    
eventually the enhanced 911 would  cover. He elaborated that                                                                    
the system would only cover  20 percent of the population in                                                                    
unorganized  boroughs  south of  the  Brooks  Range -  calls                                                                    
would be routed to the  PSAP facility in Anchorage. He noted                                                                    
he had not  seen the lines and maps that  had been drawn. He                                                                    
stated that the system  would decouple hundreds of thousands                                                                    
of  people  in urban  Alaska  including  Mat-Su, Kenai,  and                                                                    
central Fairbanks.  He relayed  there was some  thought that                                                                    
the process could have been  sent to the current facility in                                                                    
Fairbanks instead of  a PSAP facility in  Anchorage. The big                                                                    
driver of  the project was for  DPS to have its  own records                                                                    
management  system and  own its  data collection.  He shared                                                                    
that  Mat-Com had  reported  the  information was  currently                                                                    
sent to the department on a  weekly basis and the data could                                                                    
be  sent   daily  if  requested.   He  explained   that  the                                                                    
information  was sent  to the  department weekly  instead of                                                                    
12:04:05 PM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Foster  recognized Representative  Jonathan Kreiss-                                                                    
Tomkins in the audience.                                                                                                        
Representative LeBon  clarified that the  initial dispatcher                                                                    
did  not hang  up  and would  not hang  up  in Fairbanks  or                                                                    
Anchorage. He  explained that the initial  dispatcher may be                                                                    
released  if the  call was  for  troopers only  and did  not                                                                    
require fire,  ambulance, and other services.  He added that                                                                    
in rural  Alaska, the Fairbanks and  Anchorage centers would                                                                    
support  each other.  He detailed  that a  rural originating                                                                    
call  would go  to those  centers first.  He referenced  the                                                                    
concern  voiced  in  a  meeting that  the  center  could  be                                                                    
overwhelmed.  He explained  that the  two centers  supported                                                                    
each  other for  public safety  purposes. The  ultimate goal                                                                    
was for improved  public safety statewide. The  hope was for                                                                    
DPS and  affected boroughs to  work together for  the common                                                                    
12:05:33 PM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Johnston  recalled a situation when  she had called                                                                    
911  from the  backside of  Flattop Mountain  [in Anchorage]                                                                    
for an  injured friend  and the call  had gone  to Soldotna.                                                                    
She  appreciated   Representative  LeBon's   comments  about                                                                    
technology.  She  asked  how  much had  been  spent  on  the                                                                    
project to date.                                                                                                                
Representative LeBon referred to  the earlier statement that                                                                    
the state was 65 percent  into the project. He detailed that                                                                    
the   project  had   been   launched   under  the   previous                                                                    
administration before several  current committee members had                                                                    
become   legislators.   The   previous   fiscal   year   the                                                                    
commissioner  had mentioned  the project  and had  expressed                                                                    
concern about its pace moving  forward. The commissioner had                                                                    
mentioned the  brakes were  being tapped  on the  project to                                                                    
take a  deeper dive.  He shared it  had been  suggested that                                                                    
another   deeper  dive   was  necessary   for  functionality                                                                    
purposes and  to ensure financial resources  were available.                                                                    
He  believed  the  second  deep  dive  would  result  in  an                                                                    
exploration of the financial aspects as well.                                                                                   
Representative  Knopp referenced  the capital  appropriation                                                                    
from the  previous year that included  the estimated project                                                                    
cost.  He detailed  that the  remodel construction  cost was                                                                    
$600,000,  the dispatch  furnishing  was $735,000,  computer                                                                    
aided  dispatch   was  $1.2  million,  911   call  answering                                                                    
software was  $6 million, and mapping  location software was                                                                    
$1 million,  for a total  of $9,535,000. He was  unsure what                                                                    
had  been  spent  to  date.   The  deputy  commissioner  had                                                                    
reported  the  project  was  at about  65  percent  and  the                                                                    
architectural design had just  been completed. He added that                                                                    
the deputy commissioner had relayed  that the department had                                                                    
recently  identified   the  building  that  would   be  used                                                                    
(located next  to the building the  department was currently                                                                    
using). He  stated that  some people  believed the  cart had                                                                    
been put before  the horse in the project.  He reasoned that                                                                    
if  architectural  design  had   just  been  completed,  the                                                                    
remodels  and  construction  had   not  yet  been  done.  He                                                                    
believed  the project  was a  long way  from IT  staff doing                                                                    
anything substantial  because the building would  have to be                                                                    
renovated. He  believed the department had  mentioned it was                                                                    
getting ready to go out to RFP.                                                                                                 
12:09:21 PM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Johnston  remarked that  she  could  see where  IT                                                                    
could be helpful  in the discussion in  terms of identifying                                                                    
IT capital and programming that  was needed to go along with                                                                    
the  architectural design.  She supported  the amendment  to                                                                    
the amendment.                                                                                                                  
Vice-Chair Ortiz  clarified that the  65 percent was  on the                                                                    
engineering phase  and not 65  percent of the  total project                                                                    
cost. He  referenced all  of the  discussion that  had taken                                                                    
place  thus far  about the  impacts, the  911 dispatch,  and                                                                    
other associated items. He explained  it was a different set                                                                    
of  circumstances with  every center.  He noted  the current                                                                    
conversation had  highlighted many of the  impacts on Kenai.                                                                    
He  stressed  that  the  way  a  911  call  was  routed  and                                                                    
dispatched was  significantly different  in his  district as                                                                    
well.  He agreed  that the  breaks had  been applied  to the                                                                    
project  by  the   incoming  [now  current]  administration;                                                                    
however,  there  had  been  little  to  no  engagement  with                                                                    
telecoms and different communities  involved. He noted there                                                                    
had  been  no  engagement   by  the  administration  in  his                                                                    
district. He  explained that while  the breaks had  been put                                                                    
on  the system,  the time  had not  been used  for a  deeper                                                                    
12:11:29 PM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Josephson   asked  what   specific  document                                                                    
Representative Knopp had read from.                                                                                             
Representative  Knopp answered  that  he had  read from  the                                                                    
legislative   capital  budget   project   detail  for   2018                                                                    
pertaining to the particular project.                                                                                           
Representative   Wool  stated   his  understanding   of  the                                                                    
amendment. He  stated that the  committee had heard  that in                                                                    
the past  it had  been necessary  to dial  an 800  number to                                                                    
access 911  in rural Alaska,  which was no longer  the case.                                                                    
The  committee had  heard that  in non-rural  Alaska it  was                                                                    
easy to identify a caller's  location. He stated there was a                                                                    
call center  in Fairbanks and  other PSAP centers.  He asked                                                                    
if  the project's  goal was  to  increase efficiencies,  use                                                                    
less labor, and have fewer  dropped calls. He asked if there                                                                    
was a major  problem other than the location  and 800 number                                                                    
that seemed to  be somewhat resolved. He  wondered about the                                                                    
major expected  outcome from the project  that would improve                                                                    
call  time,  call  response,  call  coordination,  or  labor                                                                    
savings resulting for a slightly more centralized location.                                                                     
Representative  Knopp responded  that  he had  heard in  his                                                                    
meeting  with the  department  that DPS  wanted  to own  its                                                                    
data.  He  explained  that  the issue  was  about  the  data                                                                    
collection   and  GIS   [geographical  information   system]                                                                    
records  management system.  The  question  was whether  the                                                                    
project  should   move  forward   currently.  He   found  it                                                                    
concerning  that Commissioner  Price had  not known  she had                                                                    
employees  on the  [Kenai] Peninsula.  He did  not know  how                                                                    
deep  the  dive had  been.  He  stated that  the  governor's                                                                    
office was not intimately  familiar with the project either,                                                                    
which was  the reason  he was  asking the  administration to                                                                    
slow the project down and take  a deeper look. He stated the                                                                    
question was  up to the  committee to determine  whether the                                                                    
project was ready to move forward or not.                                                                                       
12:14:42 PM                                                                                                                   
Representative  LeBon  remarked  that  the  data  collection                                                                    
piece  was  important.  He stated  that  the  communications                                                                    
center and  upgraded technology  in Anchorage  and Fairbanks                                                                    
would  enhance  data  collection.  He  explained  that  data                                                                    
collection  was important  because the  state tracked  crime                                                                    
statistics  carefully. He  elaborated that  the transfer  of                                                                    
data  was  still  done  by paper  and  written  reports.  He                                                                    
detailed  that when  the written  report  was received,  the                                                                    
receiving agency  had to  input the data  a second  time. He                                                                    
believed that was a method  of the past. Data collection was                                                                    
another important benefit of the communications center.                                                                         
12:15:47 PM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair Ortiz  spoke to the overall  amendment offered by                                                                    
Representative  Knopp  [Amendment  H  DPS  5].  He  believed                                                                    
Representative  Wool had  asked  if  the proposed  emergency                                                                    
communications center  would decrease spending.  He reported                                                                    
that the center  would not result in  decreased spending. He                                                                    
elucidated that  there would  be a  collection of  PCNs from                                                                    
locations   such   as   his   district.   The   money   that                                                                    
Representative Knopp's  amendment was looking to  delete was                                                                    
for seven new positions added  on to the positions collected                                                                    
from other  areas around  the state. There  would be  a cost                                                                    
increase if the project moved forward.                                                                                          
Representative  Merrick thought  the  committee was  sending                                                                    
mixed  messages.   She  stated  that  the   legislature  had                                                                    
communicated that  it wanted  DPS to  focus on  rural public                                                                    
safety. She stated that the  new communications center would                                                                    
increase  public safety  access in  rural Alaska.  She noted                                                                    
the communities  that had signed  onto the letter  all stood                                                                    
to lose positions or revenue through contracts.                                                                                 
Representative   Knopp   remarked   that  the   center   may                                                                    
eventually  result in  911  calls  getting through  slightly                                                                    
quicker;  however,  response  times  would  not  change.  He                                                                    
highlighted that the committee had  not discussed all of the                                                                    
work  dispatchers did  behind the  scenes. He  detailed that                                                                    
when  a trooper  was  connected to  the  Alaska Land  Mobile                                                                    
Radio  System  (ALMR)  system, dispatchers  could  look  for                                                                    
records requests,  court documents, and any  warrants, which                                                                    
all  occurred behind  the scenes.  He was  uncertain whether                                                                    
the  proposed  centralized  trooper  dispatch  in  Anchorage                                                                    
would handle all of that  work. He pointed out that everyone                                                                    
was currently  connected in the  ALMR system.  He questioned                                                                    
whether  local  dispatchers  would  continue  to  have  that                                                                    
Representative Knopp highlighted that  the committee had not                                                                    
talked about  the funding in Vice-Chair  Ortiz's test audit.                                                                    
He stated  that currently the  911 surcharge used  to manage                                                                    
PSAPs was  approximately $30 million collected  annually. He                                                                    
explained it  was only  available for  boroughs and  not the                                                                    
state. He detailed  it would be necessary to come  up with a                                                                    
funding mechanism  after the center was  constructed to fund                                                                    
the additional positions and operate the facility.                                                                              
Vice-Chair  Ortiz responded  to  comments by  Representative                                                                    
Merrick. He stated that if  the project would go to fruition                                                                    
it would  likely improve the  911 response in  rural Alaska;                                                                    
however,  there was  no data  showing it  would improve  911                                                                    
response  throughout the  entire  state.  He believed  there                                                                    
would  be  a  decreased  911 response  for  areas  currently                                                                    
operating efficiently.                                                                                                          
12:20:25 PM                                                                                                                   
Representative LeBon  stated that DPS had  suggested the net                                                                    
cost  would decrease  because  of  contracts with  different                                                                    
groups  like  Mat-Com.  He explained  that  money  from  the                                                                    
contracts  would  be  saved and  available  to  support  the                                                                    
communications   center  in   Anchorage  or   Fairbanks.  He                                                                    
believed  the  fiscal  note showed  the  project  would  not                                                                    
result in a spike in the department's spending.                                                                                 
Co-Chair  Foster  asked   Representative  LeBon  to  restate                                                                    
Conceptual Amendment 1 to Amendment H DPS 5.                                                                                    
Representative  LeBon   explained  that  the   amendment  to                                                                    
Amendment H DPS  5 would change the  decrement from $872,800                                                                    
and  seven positions  to $489,000  and  four positions.  The                                                                    
amendment would  restore funding for the  three IT positions                                                                    
associated  with  the   Anchorage  Emergency  Communications                                                                    
Center  and would  allow the  department to  continue moving                                                                    
forward on the project.                                                                                                         
Vice-Chair Ortiz MAINTAINED his OBJECTION.                                                                                      
Representative LeBon  provided wrap up on  the amendment. He                                                                    
stated that  the department had  a priority to open  the new                                                                    
emergency  communications center  by  July  2021. Given  the                                                                    
timeframe, he believed  there was time to work  on the issue                                                                    
collectively as a community. The  department had indicated a                                                                    
commitment to move  forward, but it wanted to  work with the                                                                    
affected  communities.  He  found  the  amendment  to  be  a                                                                    
reasonable compromise  that attempted  to allow  the project                                                                    
to  move  forward  at  a   measured  pace  that  worked  for                                                                    
A roll call vote was taken  on the motion to amend Amendment                                                                    
H DPS 5.                                                                                                                        
IN FAVOR: LeBon, Merrick, Wool, Foster, Johnston                                                                                
OPPOSED: Carpenter, Knopp,  Ortiz, Sullivan-Leonard, Tilton,                                                                    
The MOTION  to adopt Conceptual  Amendment 1 to  Amendment H                                                                    
DPS 5 FAILED (5/6).                                                                                                             
Representative Wool stated that  he did not have significant                                                                    
clarity on  the topic.  He believed the  issue could  be the                                                                    
subject of a meeting on its  own. He thought it sounded like                                                                    
an IT  problem more than  anything. He likened the  issue to                                                                    
installing wiring  in a  new home for  a speaker  system but                                                                    
then purchasing  a blue tooth  speaker. He pointed  out that                                                                    
under the scenario, the original  wiring was a waste. He did                                                                    
not want  the same to be  true in the case  of the emergency                                                                    
communications center.  He did  not have sufficient  data on                                                                    
the issue.                                                                                                                      
12:24:50 PM                                                                                                                   
Representative   Sullivan-Leonard   thanked   Representative                                                                    
Knopp for offering Amendment H  DPS 5. She shared that there                                                                    
had  been many  discussions  about dispatch  and E-911  work                                                                    
behind the  scenes. She relayed  that the Mat-Com  system in                                                                    
the Mat-Su Valley was a long  time project she had worked on                                                                    
beginning  in  2001  when  she  was  on  city  council.  She                                                                    
detailed that the system worked  well and handled fire, EMS,                                                                    
police, and trooper calls for  a population base of 108,000.                                                                    
She believed  the consolidation effort  was trying to  fix a                                                                    
problem that  was nonexistent in  her region.  She supported                                                                    
putting the project on hold  to determine whether there were                                                                    
cost  savings  and  efficiencies  involved.  She  noted  the                                                                    
answers had not  been provided as of yet.  She supported the                                                                    
Representative LeBon  opposed the amendment. He  shared that                                                                    
the subcommittee  had met with  DPS on several  occasions to                                                                    
discuss the topic  and he had learned more about  it than he                                                                    
ever thought he  would. He was pleased to  have learned more                                                                    
about the issue,  an issue that was important  to the future                                                                    
of public  safety statewide. He  noted he had  only recently                                                                    
become aware of some  disagreements between Mat-Com and DPS;                                                                    
however, he felt the department  had made a strong case that                                                                    
consolidating  DPS  dispatching   resources  in-house  would                                                                    
minimize  data  entry  costs,   which  would  bring  greater                                                                    
efficiency  and  increase  capabilities  to  provide  public                                                                    
safety  resources  to  all   Alaskans.  The  department  had                                                                    
attempted  to  prove  it  had  the  capability  to  dispatch                                                                    
resources across  the state  from distant  locations because                                                                    
it  was doing  so  out of  its facility  off  Peger Road  in                                                                    
Fairbanks  and had  been doing  so for  years; the  dispatch                                                                    
service included Ketchikan and Kodiak.                                                                                          
Representative LeBon highlighted that  there was a redundant                                                                    
fiber  optic  cable  between Fairbanks  and  Anchorage  that                                                                    
routed  around   the  North  Slope  as   well  as  microwave                                                                    
communication technology,  all of which  provided sufficient                                                                    
backup in  the case of  natural disaster along the  Parks or                                                                    
Richardson  Highways. He  stated  that DPS  had thought  the                                                                    
project through for quite some time  and had paused it for a                                                                    
year  to continue  examination of  the  issue. He  suspected                                                                    
that based  on the letter sent  to the governor that  it may                                                                    
be paused again. He was  concerned that the amendment may go                                                                    
too far  to pause the  project. He thought DPS  had received                                                                    
the  message and  that a  deeper dive  on the  project would                                                                    
take place.                                                                                                                     
Representative Knopp  provided wrap up on  the amendment. He                                                                    
agreed with Representative LeBon  and Co-Chair Johnston that                                                                    
at  some  point  technology  would change  enough  that  the                                                                    
situation would be a non-issue;  however, he did not believe                                                                    
that  time  had  come.  He addressed  the  cost  aspect  and                                                                    
relayed  that  there were  two  phases  to the  project.  He                                                                    
detailed that  the second  phase did not  yet have  a dollar                                                                    
amount  determined. He  explained that  if the  package were                                                                    
bundled and all emergency  services were dispatched from the                                                                    
one location, he would agree  with Representative LeBon that                                                                    
the department  was merely  moving forward  with technology.                                                                    
He  believed Representative  Sullivan-Leonard had  stated it                                                                    
well by  saying there was simply  not an issue and  that the                                                                    
project  would divide  a system  that was  currently working                                                                    
Representative  Knopp reasoned  that the  project would  not                                                                    
result in  fewer positions  - dispatch  positions had  to be                                                                    
filled. He  believed the project  would create  more expense                                                                    
for  communities and  the  state by  doubling  up on  duties                                                                    
because  one entity  did not  want to  dispatch for  another                                                                    
one. He  stated that  the system  had worked  extremely well                                                                    
for the 40 years he had  been in Alaska. He pointed out that                                                                    
currently  there  were  some  occasions  where  DPS  had  to                                                                    
dispatch  troopers  via  the Juneau  Police  Department.  He                                                                    
highlighted  that  the  project  had  originated  under  the                                                                    
previous administration  and the new administration  had not                                                                    
had time to  scrutinize the issue in the past  1.5 years. He                                                                    
noted that a  deep dive on the project had  been proposed in                                                                    
the past,  but he did not  believe it had ever  occurred. He                                                                    
did not support  disrupting a system that  was working well.                                                                    
He reported  that people  who had  spoken about  the project                                                                    
had  shared that  the  issue was  not  about positions,  but                                                                    
about the disruption of service, which was the big concern.                                                                     
Representative Knopp  relayed that  a spokesperson  from the                                                                    
governor's office  had communicated that they  had heard the                                                                    
concerns  and  believed  they   should  be  considered.  The                                                                    
administration had not yet had time  to meet with all of the                                                                    
departments.  He  believed  the administration  thought  the                                                                    
concerns  were valid  and should  be resolved.  He requested                                                                    
more  time  for  the  administration to  come  back  with  a                                                                    
stronger recommendation and more  detail on the project cost                                                                    
and how it would work. He  thought perhaps there would be an                                                                    
opportunity to work out any possible contractual issues.                                                                        
12:31:17 PM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Johnston MAINTAINED her OBJECTION.                                                                                     
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: Carpenter,  Josephson,   Knopp,  Ortiz,  Sullivan-                                                                    
Leonard, Tilton, Wool                                                                                                           
OPPOSED: LeBon, Merrick, Foster, Johnston                                                                                       
The MOTION  PASSED (7/4). There being  NO further OBJECTION,                                                                    
Amendment H DPS 5 was ADOPTED.                                                                                                  
12:32:19 PM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Johnston MOVED to ADOPT  Amendment H HSS 5 (copy on                                                                    
     Department: Education and Early Development                                                                                
     Appropriation: Education Support and Administrative                                                                        
     Allocation: Early Learning Coordination                                                                                    
     TRANSFER: Transfer  Parents as Teachers program  to the                                                                    
     Department  of  Health   and  Social  Services,  Public                                                                    
     Health  appropriation,   Women,  Children   and  Family                                                                    
     Health allocation.                                                                                                         
     EXPLANATION: This amendment corrects duplicative                                                                           
     Department: Health and Social Services                                                                                     
     Appropriation: Public Health                                                                                               
     Allocation: Women, Children, and Family Health                                                                             
     ADD WORDAGE: It  is the intent of  the legislature that                                                                    
     the Department of Health and  Social Services provide a                                                                    
     report  to  the  Department   of  Education  and  Early                                                                    
     Development  by January  15, 2021,  which includes  the                                                                    
     following  information:  all   funds  distributed;  the                                                                    
     number  of  children  and   families  served;  and  the                                                                    
     regional distribution  of funds.  A copy of  the report                                                                    
     shall  be  provided to  the  co-chairs  of the  finance                                                                    
     committees and the Legislative Finance Division.                                                                           
Co-Chair Foster OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Johnston  explained that  currently the  Parents as                                                                    
Teachers program was in the  Department of Health and Social                                                                    
Services  (DHSS)  and  Department  of  Education  and  Early                                                                    
Development (DEED).  The technical  amendment would  put the                                                                    
program under DHSS  only. She shared DHSS  had been managing                                                                    
the grant  since 2018. She  understood the need for  DEED to                                                                    
have  a part  of the  program. She  read from  the amendment                                                                    
     It  is   the  intent   of  the  legislature   that  the                                                                    
     Department  of Health  and  Social  Services provide  a                                                                    
     report  to  the  Department   of  Education  and  Early                                                                    
     Development  by January  15, 2021,  which includes  the                                                                    
     following  information:  all   funds  distributed;  the                                                                    
     number  of  children  and   families  served;  and  the                                                                    
     regional distribution  of funds.  A copy of  the report                                                                    
     shall  be  provided to  the  co-chairs  of the  finance                                                                    
     committees and the Legislative Finance Division.                                                                           
Co-Chair  Johnston  shared  it   was  her  intent  that  the                                                                    
technical  amendment please  all parties  without disruption                                                                    
to  Parents as  Teachers  currently being  held under  DHSS,                                                                    
while understanding it is an education program.                                                                                 
Co-Chair Foster  stated his understanding of  the amendment.                                                                    
He believed the governor had  moved Parents as Teachers from                                                                    
DEED  to  DHSS  and   the  subcommittees  had  accepted  the                                                                    
transfer. However,  the program  had been  left in  the DEED                                                                    
budget and it was necessary to pick one location.                                                                               
Co-Chair Johnston agreed.                                                                                                       
Co-Chair Foster WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                         
12:35:02 PM                                                                                                                   
Representative Carpenter  referenced the report  coming back                                                                    
to the legislature. He wondered  why the committee would not                                                                    
include    effectiveness   measures    in   the    reporting                                                                    
requirement.  He  asked  if   the  amendment  sponsor  would                                                                    
entertain including the requirement.                                                                                            
Co-Chair Johnston replied  that she would be  amenable to an                                                                    
12:35:51 PM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
12:40:56 PM                                                                                                                   
Representative Carpenter  MOVED to AMEND Amendment  H HSS 5.                                                                    
The  amendment  would  delete  ";  and"  between  the  words                                                                    
"served" and  "the" in the  add wordage paragraph  and would                                                                    
insert a comma.  After the word "funds"  the amendment would                                                                    
delete  a period  and  insert  a comma  and  the words  "and                                                                    
develop  measures of  effectiveness." He  read the  proposed                                                                    
     It  is   the  intent   of  the  legislature   that  the                                                                    
     Department  of Health  and  Social  Services provide  a                                                                    
     report  to  the  Department   of  Education  and  Early                                                                    
     Development  by January  15, 2021,  which includes  the                                                                    
     following  information:  all   funds  distributed;  the                                                                    
     number of  children and  families served,  the regional                                                                    
     distribution   of  funds,   and  develop   measures  of                                                                    
     effectiveness. A  copy of the report  shall be provided                                                                    
     to  the co-chairs  of the  finance  committees and  the                                                                    
     Legislative Finance Division.                                                                                              
Vice-Chair Ortiz  asked if  it would be  the intent  to have                                                                    
the report done annually. He  pointed out that the amendment                                                                    
only read 2021.                                                                                                                 
Representative Carpenter stated it  was a great question. He                                                                    
wanted all  departments to report measures  of effectiveness                                                                    
Vice-Chair   Ortiz  suggested   changing  the   language  to                                                                    
annually in place of 2021.                                                                                                      
Representative   Carpenter  proposed   inserting  the   word                                                                    
"annually" before "by January 15" in the intent language.                                                                       
12:43:19 PM                                                                                                                   
Representative Wool  asked for verification  the requirement                                                                    
would be annual.                                                                                                                
Representative Carpenter replied in the affirmative.                                                                            
Representative  Wool noted  it  was one  more annual  report                                                                    
required of the  department with less funds.  He thought the                                                                    
requirement  to develop  measures of  effectiveness annually                                                                    
may be "a bit nebulous."                                                                                                        
There being NO  OBJECTION, the amendment to  Amendment H HSS                                                                    
5 was ADOPTED.                                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Foster WITHDREW his OBJECTION  to Amendment H HSS 5                                                                    
as amended.                                                                                                                     
There  being NO  further  OBJECTION, Amendment  H  HSS 5  as                                                                    
amended was ADOPTED.                                                                                                            
HB  205  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
HB  206  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster reviewed  the  schedule  for the  following                                                                    
12:45:20 PM                                                                                                                   
The meeting was adjourned at 12:45 p.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 205 OP Budget Amendment H HSS 5 022620.pdf HFIN 2/27/2020 9:00:00 AM
HB 205
HB 205 H DPS 5 Backup Gov Dunleavy Letter Re-AECC - 022420.pdf HFIN 2/27/2020 9:00:00 AM
HB 205
HB 205 Amendments Actions 022720.pdf HFIN 2/27/2020 9:00:00 AM
HB 205
HB 205 HB 206 All Amendments w Actions 022720.pdf HFIN 2/27/2020 9:00:00 AM
HB 205
HB 206