Legislature(2019 - 2020)ADAMS 519

03/16/2020 09:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 24(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 185(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved HJR 15 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      March 16, 2020                                                                                            
                         9:05 a.m.                                                                                              
9:05:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair  Johnston   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                                                                                                                  
Erin   Shine,  Staff,   Representative  Jennifer   Johnston;                                                                    
Representative     Jonathan    Kreiss-Tompkins,     Sponsor;                                                                    
Representative Matt Claman, Sponsor.                                                                                            
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Dale   Kelly,   Commissioner,   Commercial   Fishing   Entry                                                                    
Commission, Department  of Fish  and Game; Tamara  Van Wyhe,                                                                    
Director,   Division    of   Innovation    and   Educational                                                                    
Excellence, Department  of Education and  Early Development;                                                                    
Lacey Sanders, Administrative  Services Director, Department                                                                    
of  Education and  Early Development,  Office of  Management                                                                    
and Budget, Office of the Governor.                                                                                             
HB 24     LIMITED TEACHER CERTIFICATES; LANGUAGES                                                                               
          CSHB 24(FIN)  was REPORTED  out of  committee with                                                                    
          six  "do   pass"  recommendations  and   five  "no                                                                    
          recommendation" recommendations  and with  one new                                                                    
          zero  note   from  the  Department   of  Commerce,                                                                    
          Community   and  Economic   Development  and   one                                                                    
          previously  published  fiscal   impact  note:  FN1                                                                    
HB 181    PUBLIC SCHOOLS: MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION                                                                               
          HB  181  was  HEARD  and  HELD  in  committee  for                                                                    
          further consideration.                                                                                                
HB 185    REGISTRATION OF BOATS: EXEMPTION                                                                                      
          CSHB 185(FIN)  was REPORTED out of  committee with                                                                    
          a  "do  pass"  recommendation  and  with  one  new                                                                    
          fiscal  impact note  from the  Department of  Fish                                                                    
          and  Game, one  new  fiscal impact  note from  the                                                                    
          Department of  Administration, and  one previously                                                                    
          published zero note: FN1 (DPS).                                                                                       
HJR 15    CONST. AM: VOTES NEEDED FOR VETO OVERRIDE                                                                             
          HJR 15  was REPORTED  out of committee  with seven                                                                    
          "do pass"  recommendations and four "do  not pass"                                                                    
          recommendations and with  one previously published                                                                    
          zero note: FN1 (GOV).                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Johnston reviewed the agenda for the meeting.                                                                          
HOUSE BILL NO. 185                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to the registration of commercial                                                                         
     vessels; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
9:06:34 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Foster MOVED to ADOPT the proposed committee                                                                           
substitute for HB 185, Work Draft 31-LS1250\E (Klein,                                                                           
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
ERIN   SHINE,  STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE  JENNIFER   JOHNSTON,                                                                    
highlighted new language on page  2, line 27 through page 3,                                                                    
line 3 of the committee substitute (CS).                                                                                        
Co-Chair Johnston asked  the Department of Fish  and Game to                                                                    
address the new fiscal note.                                                                                                    
DALE   KELLY,   COMMISSIONER,   COMMERCIAL   FISHING   ENTRY                                                                    
COMMISSION,    DEPARTMENT   OF    FISH    AND   GAME    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  reviewed the  fiscal  note that  reflected                                                                    
the  waiver provided  for in  HB 185  for vessel  owners who                                                                    
paid fees for the Derelict  Vessel Fund through the Division                                                                    
of  Motor  Vehicles  (DMV)  in  either  2019  or  2020.  She                                                                    
elaborated  that the  Commercial Fisheries  Entry Commission                                                                    
(CFEC) would begin collecting the  fees beginning in January                                                                    
2021. She  detailed that  DMV assessed  a three-year  fee of                                                                    
$24 for the program and CFEC  would assess an annual $8 fee.                                                                    
She  explained that  without the  waiver, fishermen  who had                                                                    
already paid would be overcharged  for one or two years when                                                                    
the new fee  was implemented. The commission  would not know                                                                    
precisely how many vessel owners  had paid the fee until the                                                                    
end of 2020.  In order to account for the  waiver, CFEC used                                                                    
the $21,500  decrement in  DMV's fiscal  note to  adjust its                                                                    
revenue  projection  downward  for the  first  three  fiscal                                                                    
years of the program.                                                                                                           
Ms. Kelly  clarified that  because the  new fee  would begin                                                                    
during  the second  half  of  FY 21,  CFEC  had reduced  the                                                                    
revenue  projection for  that year  by  half (about  $35,000                                                                    
minus the $21,500). Although the  waivers would last no more                                                                    
than two  years and would  end on  December 31, 2022,  FY 23                                                                    
would  be  included  because  it began  in  July  2022.  She                                                                    
reported that  CFEC licensed roughly 8,800  vessels per year                                                                    
and  all vessel  owners would  pay the  $8 annual  fee. From                                                                    
FY 24  onward, CFCE estimated  an annual revenue  of $70,500                                                                    
for the Derelict Vessel Fund.  She explained that during the                                                                    
first two years of the  program, CFEC anticipated some added                                                                    
expense in  handling the waivers,  but it would work  to try                                                                    
to absorb  the costs within  the current budget.  After that                                                                    
time,  CFEC   anticipated  minimal  costs  to   collect  the                                                                    
licensing fee.                                                                                                                  
9:09:47 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster  MOVED  to  REPORT  CSHB  185(FIN)  out  of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal notes. There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                    
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
CSHB  185(FIN) was  REPORTED  out of  committee  with a  "do                                                                    
pass"  recommendation and  with one  new fiscal  impact note                                                                    
from the Department of Fish  and Game, one new fiscal impact                                                                    
note  from   the  Department  of  Administration,   and  one                                                                    
previously published zero note: FN1 (DPS).                                                                                      
HOUSE BILL NO. 24                                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to instruction in a language other                                                                        
     than English; and relating to limited teacher                                                                              
9:10:42 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster  MOVED  to  ADOPT  the  proposed  committee                                                                    
substitute    for   HB    24,    Work   Draft    31-LS0290\G                                                                    
Co-Chair Johnston OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                      
ERIN   SHINE,  STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE  JENNIFER   JOHNSTON,                                                                    
directed committee  members to page  1, lines 11  through 12                                                                    
in  the  committee  substitute (CS)  that  incorporated  the                                                                    
amendment that  had passed the previous  Friday. She relayed                                                                    
it was the only change in the CS.                                                                                               
Co-Chair Johnston WITHDREW her OBJECTION.                                                                                       
There  being NO  further OBJECTION,  Work Draft  31-LS0290\G                                                                    
was ADOPTED.                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wool was  concerned  that immersion  schools                                                                    
were being  treated differently  than other  public schools.                                                                    
He noted they  were all funded the same way  and were in the                                                                    
same school  district under the  auspices of  the Department                                                                    
of Education and Early Development  (DEED). He detailed that                                                                    
when  there was  a language  teacher shortage  in a  regular                                                                    
public school  they had to  go through the  typical process;                                                                    
however,  immersion  schools had  a  fast  track to  getting                                                                    
teachers.   He  believed   language  teachers   were  needed                                                                    
everywhere and he  had heard from his  school district about                                                                    
the need. He reported that  his district would be willing to                                                                    
accept  a  teacher under  the  conditions  of the  bill.  He                                                                    
supported the  concept. He  reasoned that  immersion schools                                                                    
were  likely  similar  to  charter  schools  (there  was  no                                                                    
immersion  school in  his  community).  He highlighted  that                                                                    
kids attending  charter schools tended  to have  parents who                                                                    
could drive them  to school. He elaborated  that the parents                                                                    
were  typically more  involved,  and the  kids were  usually                                                                    
higher performing. He explained that  it tended to attract a                                                                    
different kind  of student.  He reiterated  that he  did not                                                                    
have an immersion school in  his district, but he was basing                                                                    
his experience  off of charter  schools that tended to  be a                                                                    
little higher performing.                                                                                                       
Representative    Wool    thought   it    seemed    slightly                                                                    
disadvantageous to  the schools  and children who  could not                                                                    
afford to be driven to  school but wanted language exposure.                                                                    
He considered  that perhaps the  bill did not apply  to high                                                                    
school. He noted  a person who had  testified previously had                                                                    
stated there  were K-12 programs; however,  the bill sponsor                                                                    
had relayed  there were not  many vibrant K-12  programs. He                                                                    
remarked that  younger kids did  not have  language programs                                                                    
in  public  schools.  He  objected to  the  idea  that  only                                                                    
immersion schools  had the advantage of  the hiring process,                                                                    
even though  they were all  in the public school  system and                                                                    
all received state funds.                                                                                                       
9:13:52 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  LeBon considered  how districts  treated the                                                                    
immersion language  program. From his perspective,  the bill                                                                    
opened the  door for a  school district to  pursue immersion                                                                    
language  opportunities for  students. He  asked whether  an                                                                    
immersion language opportunity allowed  a student to receive                                                                    
foreign language  credit towards  graduation. Alternatively,                                                                    
he wondered if  the immersion program was  an enhancement to                                                                    
a  student's  academic  portfolio,   similar  to  a  foreign                                                                    
language club.  He considered whether the  immersion program                                                                    
was a substitute for curriculum  requirements to graduate by                                                                    
senior  year  in  high  school.  He  believed  most  of  the                                                                    
programs would be  at the high school level or  may begin in                                                                    
middle  school.  He  asked if  the  immersion  language  was                                                                    
intended to be  an enhancement to the school day  and to the                                                                    
language for  a student or  whether it was also  intended to                                                                    
be  a substitution  for  the  foreign language  requirements                                                                    
that  a school  district may  establish for  graduation from                                                                    
high school. He asked if it was one or the other or both.                                                                       
Representative LeBon shared  that when he had  served on the                                                                    
Fairbanks School  Board, the board would  approve curriculum                                                                    
for  foreign language  requirements to  graduate. He  stated                                                                    
that if the school district chose  to allow the bill to be a                                                                    
substitution  for  the   foreign  language  requirements  to                                                                    
graduate, the curriculum for  the immersion language program                                                                    
would need to be reviewed  and accepted by the school board.                                                                    
Additionally, the performance of  the instructor and student                                                                    
would  have   to  be  measured  and   tracked.  The  minimum                                                                    
requirements as established in the  curriculum would have to                                                                    
be met if  the bill substituted for the  foreign language to                                                                    
earn credits  to graduate. He  summarized his  questions. He                                                                    
wondered if the bill  resulted in an educational enhancement                                                                    
as in  a foreign  language club  or if it  would add  to the                                                                    
foreign  language   curriculum  where  standards   would  be                                                                    
established for  the instructor and student.  He believed it                                                                    
was an  enhancement and not  a substitution, given  the name                                                                    
Alaska Native  language preservation.  He believed  it would                                                                    
be up  to a school district  to decide whether to  treat the                                                                    
program as its foreign language requirement.                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Johnston noted  the department  was available  for                                                                    
TAMARA  VAN  WYHE,  DIRECTOR,  DIVISION  OF  INNOVATION  AND                                                                    
EDUCATIONAL  EXCELLENCE, DEPARTMENT  OF EDUCATION  AND EARLY                                                                    
DEVELOPMENT   (via  teleconference),   asked  Representative                                                                    
LeBon to repeat the question.                                                                                                   
9:17:49 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative LeBon  repeated his question. He  wondered if                                                                    
the bill would allow a  school district to take an immersion                                                                    
language opportunity  and treat  it as  part of  the foreign                                                                    
language  curriculum   for  graduation.   Alternatively,  he                                                                    
wondered if  it was up to  the district to decide.  He asked                                                                    
if the  department had any  insight into how a  district may                                                                    
treat the issue.                                                                                                                
Ms. Van Wyhe  replied that much of the decision  would be up                                                                    
to the  school districts  to determine. She  elaborated that                                                                    
if a district or school  offered foreign language in a club-                                                                    
type  scenario with  no credit  attached, certification  for                                                                    
the   instructor   would    not   be   necessary.   However,                                                                    
[instructor] certification  would matter if  academic credit                                                                    
was earned. She  elaborated that the district  would need to                                                                    
go through the proper channels  to ensure the instructor was                                                                    
certificated. How the  issue was handled would  be a school-                                                                    
by-school and district-by-district decision.                                                                                    
9:19:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  LeBon provided  a  scenario  where a  school                                                                    
district  wanted  to  take  advantage of  the  talent  of  a                                                                    
foreign language  speaking individual  in the  community and                                                                    
allow the language  (e.g. Russian or Chinese) to  be part of                                                                    
the  foreign language  requirement curriculum.  He asked  if                                                                    
the class  would be  part of the  curriculum and  would fall                                                                    
under a whole different approval  process. He stated that it                                                                    
was typically  referred to a  curriculum committee  to write                                                                    
the curriculum  and establish standards for  instruction and                                                                    
student  performance.  He  surmised  it  would  have  to  be                                                                    
tracked and  followed and a  passing grade would have  to be                                                                    
earned  to check  off the  foreign language  requirement for                                                                    
graduation. He  had been  reading the  bill as  an immersion                                                                    
program  that  would  enhance  the  preservation  of  Alaska                                                                    
Native  languages  via  a community  member  coming  to  the                                                                    
school to  teach for a stipend  or activity fee (not  at the                                                                    
pay level  of a  certified language  teacher). He  asked for                                                                    
Ms. Van  Wyhe answered that it  would be a question  for the                                                                    
individual  school  districts.  The  way  districts  handled                                                                    
special   coursework  related   to   a  uniquely   qualified                                                                    
individual was specific  to each district -  it would depend                                                                    
on the  size of the  district, the resources  available, and                                                                    
the  size of  the teaching  staff. She  was not  comfortable                                                                    
answering the  question for districts across  the state. She                                                                    
deferred to the bill sponsor for additional clarification.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE JONATHAN  KREISS-TOMPKINS, SPONSOR,  asked if                                                                    
the  question  was  whether   fluency  attained  through  an                                                                    
immersion credit should not qualify  as a language credit in                                                                    
a school district.                                                                                                              
Representative LeBon  explained he was trying  to understand                                                                    
the world the bill applied to.  He asked if the bill applied                                                                    
to  a foreign  language  offered by  a  school district  and                                                                    
perhaps it  required students  to take  one year  of foreign                                                                    
language  to graduate.  If  so, he  asked  if the  immersion                                                                    
language  would   or  would  not  potentially   satisfy  the                                                                    
requirement to graduate.                                                                                                        
Representative Kreiss-Tompkins  answered that  Brandon Locke                                                                    
[director of  the World Languages and  Immersion Programs in                                                                    
the Anchorage  School District] would have  been best suited                                                                    
to answer  the question because  it would be on  a district-                                                                    
by-district  basis [Mr.  Locke testified  previously on  the                                                                    
bill in a 3/10/20 10:00  a.m. meeting]. He believed it would                                                                    
be fairly absurd to not  credential scenarios where students                                                                    
were fully fluent in a  language. For example, if there were                                                                    
students  coming out  of grade  6 who  could fluently  speak                                                                    
Japanese  and  continued  to  do  so  through  high  school,                                                                    
something  would be  wrong if  the school  district did  not                                                                    
recognize it  as foreign language  credit. He noted  that he                                                                    
did  not know  how the  foreign language  credit worked.  He                                                                    
added  that the  issue  would be  on a  district-by-district                                                                    
basis. He surmised there was  probably an existing mechanism                                                                    
to determine how the language would be credited.                                                                                
9:23:12 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative LeBon  used the example provided  by the bill                                                                    
sponsor about  a Japanese speaking student.  He considered a                                                                    
situation  where  a  school  did not  offer  Japanese  as  a                                                                    
language and  the student  was the  only student  taking the                                                                    
language  in an  immersion course.  He thought  the district                                                                    
would  have  to  determine  whether  to  formally  recognize                                                                    
Japanese as  an immersion language  and to give  the student                                                                    
foreign  language  credit. He  continued  that  it would  be                                                                    
necessary   to  run   the   course   through  a   curriculum                                                                    
development  process  and  ensure the  instruction  met  the                                                                    
standards;  it would  also require  approval  by the  school                                                                    
board.  He continued  that  it would  also  be necessary  to                                                                    
measure  proficiency and  declare  that  the instructor  and                                                                    
student   met   the   minimum  standards   and   performance                                                                    
expectations, respectively.                                                                                                     
Representative Kreiss-Tompkins responded  that he understood                                                                    
the  direction  of the  questioning.  He  thought it  was  a                                                                    
nuanced  inquiry.  He  had  dialogued   with  over  a  dozen                                                                    
districts  during   the  four  years  he   had  carried  the                                                                    
legislation  and the  topic of  how students  coming out  of                                                                    
immersion  language   programs  qualified   towards  foreign                                                                    
language programs  had never come  up as a  "sticky wicket."                                                                    
He did  not have  the answer to  the question.  He explained                                                                    
that  someone who  ran an  immersion program  would have  to                                                                    
answer  the question.  He explained  that  the programs  had                                                                    
been around for a long time and operated successfully.                                                                          
Representative LeBon  referenced a scenario where  a student                                                                    
entering a school district was  fluent in Japanese. He asked                                                                    
if the  student could opt  out of taking a  foreign language                                                                    
to  graduate to  meet the  foreign language  requirements of                                                                    
the  district  if  Japanese  was  not  one  of  the  offered                                                                    
languages.  He asked  if the  student would  be required  to                                                                    
take  Spanish, French,  or  German if  they  were the  three                                                                    
offered foreign languages and the  district had no immersion                                                                    
program. He  wondered if the  student would be given  a pass                                                                    
because they  spoke fluent Japanese.  He guessed  the answer                                                                    
would be no. He surmised  that the student would be required                                                                    
to take  another foreign language  even though  they already                                                                    
spoke a foreign language fluently.                                                                                              
9:26:26 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Ortiz asked  if there was a handle  on the number                                                                    
of existing immersion schools and  whether they only existed                                                                    
at the elementary or high school level.                                                                                         
Ms. Van Whye  replied that DEED did not track  the data. She                                                                    
would check with the teacher certification administrators.                                                                      
Representative  Wool  followed   up  on  Vice-Chair  Ortiz's                                                                    
question.  He   recalled  that  a  testifier   who  ran  the                                                                    
immersion  programs  in  Anchorage  had  referenced  a  K-12                                                                    
program;  however, the  bill sponsor  had communicated  that                                                                    
the  program  was  not  robust.  He  believed  many  of  the                                                                    
immersion programs were for younger  students in K-6 or K-8.                                                                    
He  assumed those  classroom hours  would not  apply towards                                                                    
high  school  requirements.  He did  not  believe  [entering                                                                    
school] speaking a  foreign language was enough  to exempt a                                                                    
student  from the  foreign language  requirement. He  shared                                                                    
that  his sister-in-law  spoke a  foreign  language and  her                                                                    
kids were fairly fluent and  they had been a bit discouraged                                                                    
when  they had  to take  a  foreign language  in school.  He                                                                    
reasoned that  it was not  merely about speaking  a language                                                                    
or  else  students  would  not  have  to  take  high  school                                                                    
English.  He thought  the foreign  language requirement  was                                                                    
more  of an  academic requirement  than just  being able  to                                                                    
speak the language.                                                                                                             
Representative Wool  highlighted that the bill  specified an                                                                    
immersion program. He thought  Representative LeBon may have                                                                    
been   referring   to   an  immersion   program   within   a                                                                    
conventional school. He  surmised the bill would  apply if a                                                                    
school  wanted  to  start a  program;  however,  the  person                                                                    
instructing within  the immersion program would  not be able                                                                    
to teach a "regular" foreign  language class within the same                                                                    
school, which  he found challenging.  On the other  hand, he                                                                    
considered that  perhaps the immersion teacher  would be too                                                                    
busy teaching  economics, history,  and other topics  in the                                                                    
immersion  program.  He  had many  questions  remaining.  He                                                                    
asked what  a typical grade  9 through 12  immersion program                                                                    
looked like at present and into the future.                                                                                     
Representative   Kreiss-Tompkins   believed   the   programs                                                                    
varied.  He  stated  the  question   would  have  been  best                                                                    
directed to  Brandon Locke. The  bulk of  immersion programs                                                                    
were  K-6 (whether  they terminated  at  6th grade  varied).                                                                    
There  were  different  language  immersion  tracks  in  the                                                                    
Anchorage School District where  there was a continued study                                                                    
and maintenance of the language,  including at higher levels                                                                    
(e.g.  studying  literature of  the  language).  He did  not                                                                    
believe  there was  a cookie  cutter  answer as  to what  an                                                                    
immersion  program  looked  like   after  grade  6.  Broadly                                                                    
speaking, immersion programs  were primary education focused                                                                    
and the amount of time  spent in a target language classroom                                                                    
tapered off as a student  approached 6th grade. He explained                                                                    
that the  immersion programs were  frontloaded in  the first                                                                    
few years of  primary school. He relayed  that the questions                                                                    
would be best directed to administrators of the programs.                                                                       
9:30:45 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:30:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster  MOVED  to  REPORT   CSHB  24(FIN)  out  of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal notes. There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                    
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
CSHB  24(FIN) was  REPORTED out  of committee  with six  "do                                                                    
pass"   recommendations   and   five   "no   recommendation"                                                                    
recommendations  and  with  one   new  zero  note  from  the                                                                    
Department of  Commerce, Community and  Economic Development                                                                    
and one previously published fiscal impact note: FN1 (EED).                                                                     
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 15                                                                                                 
     "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the                                                                         
     State of Alaska relating to actions upon veto."                                                                            
9:31:37 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Johnston  asked for a  brief reintroduction  of the                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JONATHAN  KREISS-TOMPKINS, SPONSOR, explained                                                                    
that the  resolution would create a  uniform two-thirds veto                                                                    
override threshold.                                                                                                             
Representative  Josephson  supported  and  co-sponsored  the                                                                    
bill. He stated  that when the language had  been drafted in                                                                    
December  1955/January   1956  the   state  had   felt  more                                                                    
insecure. He detailed that according  to Gordon Harrison and                                                                    
other  scholars,  the state  felt  it  needed the  strongest                                                                    
possible  governor, which  the state  now had.  He discussed                                                                    
that other states had an  elected statewide treasurer, lands                                                                    
commissioner,  secretary  of  state, and  attorney  general,                                                                    
which resulted  in more diffused  power. He noted  that some                                                                    
states  had  a separately  elected  court  system, which  he                                                                    
opposed. He supported pulling back  the reigns on the strong                                                                    
governor model ever so slightly.                                                                                                
Representative  Josephson  believed  in some  respects,  the                                                                    
change would save  a governor acting in  an extreme position                                                                    
from himself or herself to  some degree. He highlighted that                                                                    
the previous session there had  been a divided capital issue                                                                    
between  Juneau and  Wasilla. He  elaborated that  there had                                                                    
been 16  people who  could interfere with  the wishes  of 44                                                                    
[legislators].  He  thought  it   took  the  rights  of  the                                                                    
Minority  a little  far. He  recalled that  at the  time the                                                                    
legislature  had  been  looking  at  the  [governor's]  $138                                                                    
million veto  to the  university. He  stated, "I'm  not sure                                                                    
that wouldn't have happened. That  is, that we couldn't have                                                                    
overridden that."  He opined that  to be the outlier  of the                                                                    
50 states did not have merit.                                                                                                   
9:34:12 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster MOVED  to REPORT  HJR 15  out of  committee                                                                    
with individual recommendations  and the accompanying fiscal                                                                    
Representative Tilton OBJECTED. She  read a Thomas Jefferson                                                                    
quote from his 1801 inaugural address:                                                                                          
     All too  will bear in  mind the sacred  principle, that                                                                    
     though  the will  of the  majority is  in all  cases to                                                                    
     prevail,   that  will,   to   be   rightful,  must   be                                                                    
     reasonable;  that the  minority  possesses their  equal                                                                    
     rights, which  equal law must  protect, and  to violate                                                                    
     would be oppression.                                                                                                       
Representative  Tilton  found  it   curious  there  were  15                                                                    
constitutional  amendments sitting  that had  been initiated                                                                    
by  the House,  and  HJR 15  was  the only  one  to make  it                                                                    
through  the committees  of referral.  The  majority of  the                                                                    
others  addressed  the  Permanent Fund  Dividend  and  other                                                                    
constitutional    amendments    that   would    bring    the                                                                    
constitutional  spending   limit  current.  She   had  heard                                                                    
reference  that  there  were   many  states  with  the  same                                                                    
threshold. She countered that Alaska  was not like all other                                                                    
states.  She  pointed  out that  Alaska's  constitution  was                                                                    
regarded as one  of the best, most  succinct, and articulate                                                                    
constitutions in  the U.S.  She did  not support  looking at                                                                    
what  other states  were doing  and comporting  to a  lesser                                                                    
9:36:07 AM                                                                                                                    
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: Wool,  Josephson,  Knopp,  LeBon,  Ortiz,  Foster,                                                                    
OPPOSED: Sullivan-Leonard, Tilton, Carpenter, Merrick                                                                           
The MOTION PASSED (7/4).                                                                                                        
There being  NO further OBJECTION,  HJR 15 was  REPORTED out                                                                    
of committee  with seven "do pass"  recommendations and four                                                                    
"do  not  pass"  recommendations  and  with  one  previously                                                                    
published zero note: FN1 (GOV).                                                                                                 
9:37:01 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:38:17 AM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 181                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to mental health education."                                                                              
9:38:21 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Johnston  asked for a  brief reintroduction  of the                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   MATT   CLAMAN,  SPONSOR,   provided   brief                                                                    
remarks.   He  believed   updating   the  health   education                                                                    
standards  to include  mental health  was long  overdue. The                                                                    
bill  would not  establish a  required curriculum  and would                                                                    
allow  local  school  districts to  determine  whether  they                                                                    
wanted to  go down the path  included in the bill.  The bill                                                                    
provided guidelines for work taking  place in many districts                                                                    
across the state.                                                                                                               
Representative Claman shared that  he had two concerns about                                                                    
the  fiscal note.  First, he  believed the  notion the  bill                                                                    
would  require bringing  in  20  to 30  people  in twice  by                                                                    
airplane  to  conferences  in  Anchorage  to  come  up  with                                                                    
updated health  curriculum to  include mental  health seemed                                                                    
like  far  too  much  money and  had  no  justification.  He                                                                    
explained that much  of the work could be  done remotely. He                                                                    
thought the  fiscal note seemed  unusually high.  Second, he                                                                    
was  troubled   the  department  had  included   $6,000  for                                                                    
regulations and  needed legal  support for  the regulations.                                                                    
He explained that the Alaska  Administrative Code (AAC) only                                                                    
included one  section related to  education standards  - AAC                                                                    
4.04.140. He  detailed that  AAC 4.04.140(b)  specified that                                                                    
the content standards for physical  education was set out in                                                                    
the  department's   publication  entitled   Alaska  Physical                                                                    
Education Standards  as revised or adopted  by reference. He                                                                    
did  not  believe that  equated  to  $6,000 worth  of  legal                                                                    
support  for regulation.  He recognized  there  may be  some                                                                    
costs  associated   with  the  bill,  but   he  thought  the                                                                    
department's fiscal note was much  too high and out of touch                                                                    
with reality.                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Johnston  asked to  hear  from  the Department  of                                                                    
Education and Early Development (DEED).                                                                                         
LACEY SANDERS, ADMINISTRATIVE  SERVICES DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT                                                                    
OF  EDUCATION AND  EARLY DEVELOPMENT,  OFFICE OF  MANAGEMENT                                                                    
AND  BUDGET, OFFICE  OF THE  GOVERNOR (via  teleconference),                                                                    
addressed  the sponsor's  comments on  the fiscal  note. She                                                                    
explained  that historically  each  bill  requiring DEED  to                                                                    
work with  the Department of  Law (DOL) on  regulations cost                                                                    
$6,000 to  go through  the process  based on  DOL's standard                                                                    
billing. She  explained that anytime  DEED had to  deal with                                                                    
regulations it cost  the department money. She  spoke to the                                                                    
travel  costs in  the  fiscal note.  She  detailed that  the                                                                    
bill's  intent  language  outlined  several  representatives                                                                    
DEED  would   work  with  to  develop   the  guidelines  for                                                                    
instructions.   She   elaborated   that  DEED   worked   via                                                                    
teleconference as  often as possible  and it  had determined                                                                    
that in order to bring  the involved voices together to have                                                                    
the best  conversation about what  was being  developed, two                                                                    
in-person meetings were required. The  cost was based on the                                                                    
number of people identified in the bill.                                                                                        
9:42:28 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wool  asked if  the  number  of people  that                                                                    
would participate  in the  roundtable policy  discussion was                                                                    
Ms. Sanders replied that the  fiscal note identified between                                                                    
20 and 30 representatives of mental health organizations.                                                                       
Vice-Chair Ortiz  asked for more  detail on the  stated need                                                                    
to have two  in-person meetings. He asked  why the in-person                                                                    
meetings were necessary.                                                                                                        
Ms. Sanders  answered that  she was  new to  the department.                                                                    
Her understanding  was that in  the past not all  voices may                                                                    
be heard  when meetings  were held only  via teleconference.                                                                    
She  relayed that  a colleague  was available  and may  have                                                                    
more information on the need for the two meetings.                                                                              
9:44:02 AM                                                                                                                    
TAMARA  VAN  WYHE,  DIRECTOR,  DIVISION  OF  INNOVATION  AND                                                                    
EDUCATIONAL  EXCELLENCE, DEPARTMENT  OF EDUCATION  AND EARLY                                                                    
DEVELOPMENT (via  teleconference), relayed  that DEED  had a                                                                    
structure for  gathering stakeholder  input when it  came to                                                                    
the development  and revision of standards.  She highlighted                                                                    
how important  it was for  Alaskans to  have a voice  at the                                                                    
table.  She elaborated  that when  discussing standards  for                                                                    
students and  learning it was  critical to have  voices from                                                                    
across  the state  representing many  of the  state's school                                                                    
districts  of various  sizes and  in different  regions. She                                                                    
confirmed  that virtual  communication  was  doable and  was                                                                    
utilized  frequently  by  DEED.  She  highlighted  that  the                                                                    
current  experience  [with  COVID-19]  may  change  the  way                                                                    
things  were done  in the  future, but  historically it  had                                                                    
been  important to  have stakeholders  together in  the same                                                                    
room to  discuss standards face-to-face and  ensure that all                                                                    
of the  educators understood  the standards.  She elaborated                                                                    
that it was  important for educators to  have an opportunity                                                                    
to   learn  from   content  area   experts  and   work  with                                                                    
facilitators  to result  in standards  that had  significant                                                                    
buy-in.  She  explained  that the  standards  would  not  be                                                                    
implemented in  the school  districts if  they did  not have                                                                    
buy-in. The  goal was  for standards  to be  meaningful when                                                                    
they reached the classroom where student learning occurred.                                                                     
Co-Chair Johnston noted that the  process described had less                                                                    
to do with the standards and  general outcome and more to do                                                                    
with  involving  the educational  community  as  a whole  in                                                                    
order to  ensure "the wheels  on the  bus are all  going the                                                                    
same direction."  When she first  saw the bill,  she thought                                                                    
that  perhaps the  development of  the  curriculum could  be                                                                    
contracted   out  and   then  discussed   with  communities.                                                                    
However,  she  believed DEED  was  saying  it took  all  the                                                                    
communities to be part of  the development of the curriculum                                                                    
to work statewide.                                                                                                              
Ms. Van  Wyhe agreed. She explained  that it was not  just a                                                                    
document or  a set  of standards that  mattered; it  was the                                                                    
process that  mattered. She elaborated on  the importance of                                                                    
allowing educators to play a  role in developing and vetting                                                                    
those  standards  before the  standards  went  to the  state                                                                    
board   for   approval   and   to   school   districts   for                                                                    
9:47:15 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Johnston  considered that  there may  be a  need to                                                                    
develop new  forms of communication.  She asked if  it would                                                                    
be  fair  for  the  fiscal note  to  reflect  one  in-person                                                                    
meeting and one follow up teleconference meeting.                                                                               
Ms. Van  Wyhe answered that things  had changed dramatically                                                                    
over  the  past  couple  of   weeks  related  to  distancing                                                                    
practices. She explained  that the fiscal note  was based on                                                                    
the  department's current  practice (two  in-person meetings                                                                    
and  virtual meetings  in between),  which  had worked  very                                                                    
well over many years. She  believed people globally would be                                                                    
reconsidering  the  way they  gathered  (e.g.  the way  DEED                                                                    
gathered to  obtain stakeholder input). She  considered that                                                                    
it  was   possible  to  convene  one   face-to-face  meeting                                                                    
followed   by   additional  distanced   conversations.   She                                                                    
reiterated  that  the note  was  based  on the  department's                                                                    
existing practice that had worked well for many years.                                                                          
Co-Chair  Johnston  looked at  the  $35,000  for a  one-year                                                                    
contract, $60,000  for travel,  $6,000 for legal  costs, and                                                                    
$12,000 to  print booklets. She surmised  that the committee                                                                    
could  consider reducing  the fiscal  note  by $30,000.  She                                                                    
asked  if  the  remaining  funds  would  meet  the  one-time                                                                    
meeting commitment.                                                                                                             
Ms. Van Wyhe deferred to Ms. Sanders.                                                                                           
Ms.  Sanders  replied  that  DEED  could  have  an  internal                                                                    
conversation and follow up with a final response.                                                                               
Representative  Josephson remarked  that the  first time  he                                                                    
had seen  a committee change  a department's fiscal  note he                                                                    
had  been  surprised.  However, he  considered  the  $35,000                                                                    
contract  and remarked  on the  thousands  of mental  health                                                                    
experts  in  Alaska.  He  did   not  mean  to  diminish  the                                                                    
seriousness  of  the  work  but   surmised  that  a  set  of                                                                    
standards could be  developed over the course  of a weekend.                                                                    
He  believed the  two separate  in-person meetings  could be                                                                    
cut  to one  meeting, which  would  cut the  fiscal note  in                                                                    
half. He  would vote in support  for a motion to  change the                                                                    
9:50:46 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:52:01 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Johnston was  pleased to  hear the  department was                                                                    
willing  to  review  the  fiscal   note.  She  announced  an                                                                    
amendment deadline for the following afternoon.                                                                                 
Representative Claman understood that  DEED often received a                                                                    
bill from  DOL for $6,000  for regulatory work.  However, he                                                                    
found it hard  to believe DOL would charge  $6,000 to modify                                                                    
one  paragraph in  regulation if  there were  not additional                                                                    
regulations  apart  from  the  one  he  had  identified.  He                                                                    
understood DOL  may have standard  rates, but he  would like                                                                    
DEED to  find out more  about what regulations needed  to be                                                                    
changed. He was skeptical of the $6,000 cost.                                                                                   
Representative LeBon  stated that  the language in  the bill                                                                    
specified  that  the mental  health  element  to the  health                                                                    
curriculum a  school district  presented to  students needed                                                                    
to be established by DEED.  He continued that the department                                                                    
had two years  to develop the material to  present to school                                                                    
districts.  He asked  if districts  were expected  to accept                                                                    
the  DEED  recommendations.  Alternatively, he  wondered  if                                                                    
districts could  look at the  recommendations and  adopt the                                                                    
mental health  component of the  program based on  their own                                                                    
goals and  objectives. He wondered  if a school  board would                                                                    
be expected to give a stamp of approval without much input.                                                                     
Representative  Claman   replied  that  he  read   the  bill                                                                    
language  a bit  differently.  He pointed  to Section  3(b),                                                                    
where the  board developed  guidelines. He  highlighted that                                                                    
the  current content  standards for  health guidelines  were                                                                    
two  pages. He  anticipated  the guidelines  that came  back                                                                    
from  DEED would  not be  significantly longer,  which would                                                                    
leave  curriculum   development  largely  to   local  school                                                                    
boards.  He  thought there  would  be  some expectation  the                                                                    
department  would   provide  some  information   beyond  the                                                                    
guidelines in  terms of what  school boards may look  for in                                                                    
their  individual   curriculum.  He  did  not   believe  the                                                                    
Fairbanks or Anchorage school  boards started the curriculum                                                                    
development process in a vacuum.  He believed they looked to                                                                    
see what information was available.                                                                                             
Representative Claman  thought the school boards  would look                                                                    
to the  state to see  what resources were available,  but he                                                                    
believed it  would be completely  up to local  school boards                                                                    
to develop  curriculum. He hoped  that on a  statewide level                                                                    
there would be  some similarity from one  school district to                                                                    
the next.  He did not  believe the state would  dictate what                                                                    
the curriculum  would look like. Alternatively,  he believed                                                                    
the  state   would  provide  guidelines.  For   example,  he                                                                    
highlighted skills  for healthy living guidelines  that were                                                                    
broad  and left  significant  room for  school districts  to                                                                    
decide  what was  best after  consultation with  parents and                                                                    
faculty. He  did not see  the bill as imposing  any specific                                                                    
curriculum  on  any  district.   He  believed  the  existing                                                                    
guidelines  supported the  notion it  would be  easy to  fit                                                                    
within those guidelines.                                                                                                        
9:56:36 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  LeBon could  not help  reading into  things,                                                                    
particularly  if  the topic  would  come  before the  school                                                                    
board. He stated  that if it was the  expectation for school                                                                    
boards to rubber stamp the  DEED recommendations, the school                                                                    
boards would  want to  see the  recommendations as  early as                                                                    
possible.  Additionally, school  boards  would  want to  see                                                                    
what  the  content would  look  like,  whether there  was  a                                                                    
fiscal  element, whether  it crowded  out  other aspects  of                                                                    
their  health  program,  and  whether it  fit  in  well.  He                                                                    
reasoned   there  were   considerations  that   each  school                                                                    
district and each  school board would have to  weigh. He was                                                                    
not reading into  the bill that it would be  mandated by the                                                                    
state to all school districts.                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Johnston stated that  Representative LeBon may have                                                                    
made the argument for the  fiscal note. She pointed out that                                                                    
DEED had talked  about getting buy-in from all  parties to a                                                                    
certain extent.                                                                                                                 
Representative   Claman    pointed   to   Section    3   (AS                                                                    
14.30.360(b)) and noted  that the only thing  being added to                                                                    
existing  law   was  mental   health.  He   elaborated  that                                                                    
curriculum specialists were in  existing law; therefore, the                                                                    
presumption  was  that  the  position  already  existed.  He                                                                    
believed the fiscal  note was only related  to the guideline                                                                    
development and not  to the existing role  of the specialist                                                                    
in  the department.  He shared  that his  conversations with                                                                    
school  districts  had  consistently   been  that  they  had                                                                    
significant leeway in what they wanted to do.                                                                                   
Ms. Van  Wyhe clarified  that the  topic was  standards. She                                                                    
pointed out  that there was  a difference  between standards                                                                    
and curriculum. She relayed that  DEED supported the work of                                                                    
developing standards  and the State  Board of  Education had                                                                    
very high standards  for the standards developed  by DEED in                                                                    
terms  of  the  processes  followed by  the  department  and                                                                    
ensuring  there  was   significant  stakeholder  input.  She                                                                    
furthered that  once standards were  adopted -  standards in                                                                    
general were voluntary  as were the standards in  the bill -                                                                    
the  districts   would  take   the  standards   and  develop                                                                    
curriculum,  select instructional  materials, and  determine                                                                    
precisely  how   the  standards  and  expectations   of  the                                                                    
standards rolled out  in the districts. She  noted there had                                                                    
been a bit of confusion  between standards and curriculum in                                                                    
the past several minutes of discussion.                                                                                         
9:59:37 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wool looked  at Section  3 of  the bill  and                                                                    
noted  that  it specified  that  a  school health  education                                                                    
specialist position  shall be established and  funded in the                                                                    
department to  coordinate the program statewide.  He assumed                                                                    
it was already in place  for the physical health program. He                                                                    
asked if  the same  person would be  tasked with  the mental                                                                    
health  program  to  eliminate  the  need  to  hire  another                                                                    
education  specialist.  He did  not  want  to keep  layering                                                                    
specialists on if possible.                                                                                                     
Representative Claman answered that  it was existing law and                                                                    
therefore,  there   should  be  an  existing   position.  He                                                                    
clarified  that the  bill did  not call  for adding  another                                                                    
Representative  Wool recognized  that  health education  was                                                                    
being  broadened  all  of  the  time  to  include  not  only                                                                    
physical  health but  topics like  substance abuse,  healthy                                                                    
relationships,  mental health  including depression,  mental                                                                    
illness, suicide and  other related topics. He  asked if the                                                                    
department envisioned another class.  He remarked that often                                                                    
times  the physical  education teacher  was tasked  with the                                                                    
topic.  He  shared  that  at  his  kid's  school  the  class                                                                    
alternated  between health  and  gym. He  thought it  seemed                                                                    
like a  significant amount  to ask  of a  physical education                                                                    
10:01:55 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Van Wyhe answered that  the decisions were completely up                                                                    
to  individual school  districts. She  highlighted that  the                                                                    
standards  were  voluntary,  and  it would  be  up  to  each                                                                    
district  to  determine  how to  implement  them,  what  the                                                                    
course  offerings would  look like,  and  which staff  would                                                                    
teach the  course. The department  had no  jurisdiction over                                                                    
the decisions.                                                                                                                  
Representative  Wool asked  what  the department  envisioned                                                                    
for implementation.                                                                                                             
Ms. Van Wyhe deferred to the bill sponsor.                                                                                      
Representative Claman envisioned that  the state board would                                                                    
adopt  new guidelines,  which would  be  supportive of  more                                                                    
districts  incorporating  mental  health into  their  health                                                                    
education curriculum.                                                                                                           
HB 181 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                              
Co-Chair Johnston reviewed the schedule for the following                                                                       
10:03:40 AM                                                                                                                   
The meeting was adjourned at 10:03 a.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 24 ver. G 3.13.2020.pdf HFIN 3/16/2020 9:00:00 AM
HB 24
HB 185 ver. E 3.12.2020.pdf HFIN 3/16/2020 9:00:00 AM
HB 185
HB 30 public Testimony Red'd by 030920.pdf HFIN 3/16/2020 9:00:00 AM
HB 30