Legislature(2015 - 2016)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/16/2016 04:00 PM CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON HB256 AND HB257

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
04:20:47 PM Start
04:44:57 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Meeting Postponed to 4:15 p.m. Today --
HB 256 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS
Heard & Held
HB 257 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET
Heard & Held
- Dept. of Health & Social Services
- Dept. of Natural Resources
- Dept. of Revenue
- State Retirement Payments
               29TH ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
                      SECOND SESSION                                                                                            
         CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON HB 256 and HB 257                                                                              
                      April 16, 2016                                                                                            
                         4:20 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:20:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Chair Kelly called the Conference Committee meeting on HB
256 and HB 257 to order at 4:20 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senate:                                                                                                                         
Senator Pete Kelly, Chair                                                                                                       
Senator Anna MacKinnon                                                                                                          
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
House:                                                                                                                          
Representative Mark Neuman, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT:                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
David Teal,  Director, Legislative Finance  Division; fiscal                                                                    
analysts  with  the  Office of  Management  and  Budget  and                                                                    
Legislative  Finance   Division;  and  aides   to  committee                                                                    
members and other members of the Legislature.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 256    APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          HB 256 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 257    APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          HB 257 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DEPARTMENTS                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Health and Social Services                                                                                                 
     Natural Resources                                                                                                          
     Revenue                                                                                                                    
     Statewide Retirement Payments                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 256(FIN)                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;    capitalizing   funds;   amending                                                                    
     appropriations;   repealing    appropriations;   making                                                                    
     supplemental  appropriations;  and   providing  for  an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 256(FIN)                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;    capitalizing   funds;   amending                                                                    
     appropriations;   repealing    appropriations;   making                                                                    
     supplemental  appropriations;  and   providing  for  an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
and                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 257(FIN)                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive    mental    health    program;    making                                                                    
     supplemental  appropriations;  and   providing  for  an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 257(FIN)                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive mental health  program; and providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:20:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Kelly  communicated  that  the  conference  committee                                                                    
would be meeting  on HB 256 and HB 257  open items. He noted                                                                    
that Limited Powers  of Free Conference had  been granted by                                                                    
both the Senate  and the House. Departments  with open items                                                                    
would be taken up based  on the motion sheets distributed to                                                                    
members earlier in the day and dated April 16, 2016.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Neuman MOVED to  ADOPT the Chair's recommendation                                                                    
on  the following  items for  the Department  of Health  and                                                                    
Social Services budget:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 2    Senate for both motions                                                                                          
     Item 3    House for both motions                                                                                           
     Item 4    House                                                                                                            
     Item 5    House                                                                                                            
     Item 6    House                                                                                                            
     Item 7    Senate for both motions                                                                                          
     Item 8    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 9    Senate plus $1 million 39 thousand                                                                               
     Item 10   House                                                                                                            
     Item 11   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 12   House                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Chair Kelly requested a slower reading of the motions.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Item 13   Senate for both motions                                                                                          
     Item 14   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 15   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 16   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 17   Senate for both motions                                                                                          
     Item 18   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 19   Senate plus $112.5 thousand                                                                                      
     Item 20   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 21   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 22   House for both motions                                                                                           
     Item 23   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 24   Senate for both motions                                                                                          
     Item 25   House for both motions                                                                                           
     Item 26   Senate for both motions                                                                                          
     Item 27   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 28   House                                                                                                            
     Item 29   House                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:24:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  OBJECTED to Item  2. He noted  that the                                                                    
Item  was a  $2.3 million  cut to  the Office  of Children's                                                                    
Services (OCS) in  the foster care base  rate allocation. He                                                                    
understood  that  there  was an  intention  that  OCS  would                                                                    
attempt  to leverage  that money  in federal  money, but  he                                                                    
supported the  House's request. He  stressed that  there was                                                                    
450 more youth  in the foster care system  than the previous                                                                    
year, which  was almost a  20 percent increase.  He remarked                                                                    
that  the  youth  were already  experiencing  "institutional                                                                    
neglect",  by   moving  between  different  homes   with  an                                                                    
unfamiliar social worker at each  move. He stressed that the                                                                    
goal of  the foster care system  should be to get  the youth                                                                    
into  a permanent  home.  He felt  that  maintaining the  $2                                                                    
million could  help the  department to  get children  out of                                                                    
the  system,  without  hiring  new  workers.  He  felt  that                                                                    
holding  the  item, would  help  further  discussion on  the                                                                    
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Neuman recalled  that  there had  been a  recent                                                                    
increase in the foster care  base rate, and other funding on                                                                    
foster care. He disagreed with holding the item.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Chair Kelly agreed that there should be a vote on the item.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  complimented   the  committee  in  the                                                                    
previous legislative session.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:28:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  OBJECTED to  Item 9,  which was  a $2.1                                                                    
million  cut to  child care  help for  low income  people to                                                                    
seek employment. He worried that  additional cuts would keep                                                                    
families from getting work.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara OBJECTED to Items  18, Item 19, and Item                                                                    
20. He  expressed concern over  cuts that help  those people                                                                    
with  disabilities that  may need  homes  or assistance.  He                                                                    
hoped  that  the  committee  would work  to  find  a  better                                                                    
solution.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara WITHDREW his  OBJECTIONS to Item 9, Item                                                                    
18, Item 19, and Item 20.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara MAINTAINED his OBJECTION to Item 2.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: MacKinnon, Thompson, Hoffman, Kelly, Neuman                                                                           
OPPOSED: Gara                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION PASSED (5/1). There being NO further OBJECTION,                                                                      
Item 2 was ADOPTED.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. The action                                                                         
closed all conferencable items in the budget for the                                                                            
Department of Health and Social Services.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:31:47 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:32:51 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:33:07 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:33:29 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Neuman MOVED to ADOPT the Chair's recommendation                                                                     
on the following items for the Department of Natural                                                                            
Resources budget:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    House                                                                                                            
     Item 2    House                                                                                                            
     Item 3    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 4    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 5    Hold                                                                                                             
     Item 6    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 7    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 8    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 9    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 10   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 11   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 12   Senate for both motions                                                                                          
     Item 13   Senate                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:34:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara OBJECTED  to Item  3. He  remarked that                                                                    
the  House  had  cut  $273,000 from  the  Citizens  Advisory                                                                    
Commission  on   Federal  Areas,   and  he   supported  that                                                                    
reduction.  He  felt  that  the  commission  was  a  "luxury                                                                    
committee." He remarked that the  commission was intended to                                                                    
counter  federal  regulations,  but  felt  that  legislature                                                                    
already challenged the federal regulations and actions.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara MAINTAINED his OBJECTION to Item 3.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Thompson, Hoffman, Kelly, Neuman, MacKinnon                                                                           
OPPOSED: Gara                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION  PASSED (5/1). There being  NO further OBJECTION,                                                                    
Item 3 was ADOPTED.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
There  being  NO  OBJECTION,  it  was  so  ordered.  Item  5                                                                    
remained  open  in  the   Department  of  Natural  Resources                                                                    
budget.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:36:04 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:36:56 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Neuman MOVED to  ADOPT the Chair's recommendation                                                                    
on  the  following  items  for  the  Department  of  Revenue                                                                    
budget:                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 2    Hold                                                                                                             
     Item 3    Hold                                                                                                             
     Item 4    Hold                                                                                                             
     Item 5    Hold                                                                                                             
     Item 6    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 7    Senate plus $600 thousand                                                                                        
     Item 8    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 9    Senate plus $136 thousand                                                                                        
     Item 10   Senate plus $100 thousand                                                                                        
     Item 11   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 12   Senate                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There being NO  OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Items  2, 3, 4                                                                    
and 5 remained open for the Department of Revenue's budget.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:38:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STATE RETIREMENT PAYMENTS                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Neuman MOVED to  ADOPT the Chair's recommendation                                                                    
on the following items for the State Retirement Payments:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    Senate - replace $64,448,500 of Unrestricted                                                                     
     General Funds with Alaska Higher Education Funds                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Item 2    Senate for both items- replace $25,377,000                                                                       
     of Unrestricted General Funds with Alaska Higher                                                                           
     Education Funds                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Item 3    Senate for both items                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:39:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  OBJECTED to  the motions. He  felt that                                                                    
funding  the payments  would be  easier with  general funds,                                                                    
rather than Higher Education Funds.  He surmised that Item 1                                                                    
was with $64  million of Higher Education Funds,  and Item 2                                                                    
was with $25 million of  Higher Education Funds. Chair Kelly                                                                    
replied in the affirmative.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Kelly explained  that there  was savings  in the  new                                                                    
numbers of  Public Employees'  Retirement System  (PERS) and                                                                    
the Teacher  Retirement System (TRS).  He stressed  that the                                                                    
savings could  not be incorporated into  the budget, because                                                                    
it must be paid according to  the rules that related to what                                                                    
year  the savings  show up  in the  unfunded liability.  The                                                                    
legislature could  not incorporate  the actual  savings into                                                                    
the  budget.  He stressed  that  the  Higher Education  Fund                                                                    
would be  used, but  did not  need to  be paid  from general                                                                    
fund.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Teal agreed.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Kelly stressed  that there  was savings  in PERS  and                                                                    
TRS. The  savings were actual  year to year  reductions, but                                                                    
the  legislature  must  pay the  higher  amount,  under  the                                                                    
statutory rules.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  wondered if the Higher  Education Funds                                                                    
would be considered designated general  funds (DGF) Mr. Teal                                                                    
replied in the affirmative.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara felt  that  funding  should be  through                                                                    
UGF,  so there  could be  a more  transparent comparison  of                                                                    
spending.  He  did  not  feel  that  there  was  any  "short                                                                    
funding" to the retirement system.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Kelly  stressed  that  using   UGF  could  not  claim                                                                    
savings.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  expressed concern  about using  a large                                                                    
amount  of a  fund that  was dedicated  to scholarships  for                                                                    
higher education.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara WITHDREW the OBJECTIONS.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Kelly   explained  that  the  grants   would  not  be                                                                    
interrupted by use of the funds.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara stated he had no more objections.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There  being NO  OBJECTION, it  was so  ordered. The  action                                                                    
closed all conferencable  items in the budget  for the State                                                                    
Retirement Payments.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Chair Kelly relayed  that the next meeting would  be held on                                                                    
Sunday, April 17 at 4:00 p.m.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HB  256  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HB  257  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
4:44:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 4:44 p.m.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects