Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/18/1994 03:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE March 18, 1994 3:00 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair Rep. Al Vezey Rep. Pete Kott (arrived at 3:40 p.m.) MEMBERS ABSENT Rep. Harley Olberg Rep. Bettye Davis Rep. Tom Brice COMMITTEE CALENDAR HB 488: "An act relating to the scholarship loan program; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD *HB 291: "An act establishing a consumer protection intern program at the University of Alaska." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 422: "An act relating to custody and visitation rights." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER PHYLLIS LARSON, Parent 8935 Trio Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 789-2941 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 488. DIANE BARRANS, Director Student Financial Aid Programs Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education 3030 Vintage Boulevard Juneau, Alaska 99801-7109 Phone: (907) 465-6740 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 488. REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS Alaska State Legislature State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Phone: (907) 465-4945 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided Sponsor Statement for HB 291. ALLISON ELGEE, Statewide Budget Director University of Alaska 227 4th Street Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 463-3086 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 291. PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 488 SHORT TITLE: RESTRICT STUDENT LOANS TO ALASKA SCHOOLS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) VEZEY JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/14/94 2379 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/14/94 2379 (H) HES, STATE AFFAIRS 03/08/94 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/17/94 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 291 SHORT TITLE: CONSUMER PROTECTION INTERN PROGRAM SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) SANDERS JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 04/22/93 1431 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 04/22/93 1431 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/18/94 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 422 SHORT TITLE: CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION RIGHTS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/31/94 2206 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/31/94 2206 (H) HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/11/94 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/11/94 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/15/94 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/15/94 (H) MINUTE(HES) ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-56, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR TOOHEY called the meeting to order at 3:07 p.m., noted members present and announced the meeting would begin with HB 488. HB 488 - RESTRICT STUDENT LOANS TO ALASKA SCHOOL Number 008 REP. AL VEZEY, prime sponsor of HB 488, said the bill provides that undergraduate students who elect to attend school outside the state would not be eligible for a student loan. He referred to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) 1992-93 annual report, Table 17 in the appendices, and reported to date, the Alaska Student Loan Program has loaned $369 million to students attending schools in-state. During the same period of time it has loaned $326 million to students attending out-of-state schools. In the 1992-93 school year the student loan program issued $29 million in loans to in-state students. During the same period it issued nearly $19 million in loans to students attending school out of state. Rep. Vezey said Alaska could not build a better educational system if it continued to subsidize the better students' attendance of out-of-state programs, when those programs were available in Alaska. He concluded, the reason for the bill is Alaska is unnecessarily exporting money and brainpower and HB 488 is in the best interests of the future, the economy, and the quality of educational programs in Alaska. Number 058 REP. CON BUNDE mentioned an observation made about the Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WAMI) loan program is that students develop contacts where they do their postgraduate work and then remain living in those areas. Number 078 PHYLLIS LARSON, concerned parent, testified against HB 488. She said she has lived in Alaska for 25 years and various members of her family have taken advantage of this program including her husband, son and hopefully, her daughter. She added the state loans have all been repaid. She described her daughter's various extracurricular activities and academic achievements and said neither her daughter or other students should be penalized because they choose to go outside the state for their education. She said she believes this bill would be discriminatory against students in their endeavors to receive the education they so desire and to become the adults they wish to become. REP. VEZEY added since 1992 the student loan program has not been capitalized by the state, but has been self-sustaining in that it issues bonds. In 1991, the student loan corporation showed a loss of $31 million; in 1992, the loss was $29 million; and in 1993, the loss was $25 million. He indicated at some point the state would be asked to provide additional capitalization to this fund and it would need to be determined if appropriating money to schools in the lower forty-eight would be desirable. REP. BUNDE said Mr. Joe McCormick, ACPE's Executive Director was at a quarterly meeting and would be unable to attend today's committee meeting. Number 134 DIANE BARRANS, Director of Student Financial Aid Programs, ACPE, said the commission has not yet taken an official position on HB 488. She said one concern was whether the university system was prepared to absorb the students who would then choose to attend school in Alaska. CHAIR TOOHEY asked what was involved in increasing the capacity of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) and University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA) to handle the students who are now getting loans. MS. BARRANS said she did not know. Number 153 CHAIR TOOHEY questioned the origin of the money put into this fund and wondered if there were strings attached. She stated personally, as a mother of three children and someone who has made use of the fund, she is opposed to HB 488. Number 167 REP. VEZEY pointed out the student loan program has been in effect since 1971. He remarked on the program's growth and said in 1971 it was a $1.3 million a year program, and did not pass the $10 million a year mark until 1981; it is now running in the range of $50-60 million a year. Number 180 REP. BUNDE said given the degree to which the loans have needed to be subsidized, support from the general fund might not be forthcoming. As a member of the ACPE, he said there is an effort by the commission to make the operation more business-like so general fund support would not be required. He referred to Ms. Barrans for further comment on the ACPE's fiscal note. MS. BARRANS said she has not worked on the fiscal note and could consult with the finance officer and report back to the committee. Number 207 REP. BUNDE questioned the $18,000 increases in operating expenses followed by a huge reduction in operating expenses shown on the fiscal note. Number 214 MS. BARRANS said fewer loans would be outgoing so there would be a reduction in repayment as well. She said the personal service increase refers to a review of graduate applications to determine if a course of study outside the state is available and similar to an in-state program. Number 229 CHAIR TOOHEY asked what portion of out-of-state students default on their loans in comparison to students that remain in-state. REP. VEZEY said Mr. McCormick of the ACPE would have easy access to that information. Number 239 REP. GARY DAVIS said even though he made personal use of the loan program when he was in school, given today's economy, Alaskans are forced to make some hard decisions. He pointed out that other states may withhold scholarships and grants to Alaskan students because other states and colleges know that Alaskan students have this 5,000 plus dollar allotment available to them. He concluded by saying, unfortunately this is the type of legislation that Alaskans are forced to look at if drastic measures are not taken elsewhere. REP. VEZEY said the bill provides loans to graduate-level work outside of Alaska if those programs are unavailable in the state. He said the ACPE indicated there were more problems collecting from Alaskan students attending schools out-of-state as compared to Alaskan students attending school in the state. Number 310 MS. BARRANS clarified there is a greater ability to collect from students who are actually in Alaska, partially because of the ACPE's access to the permanent fund dividends. Through extending contract work done with national credit bureaus and collection agencies, the ACPE intends to extend its outreach ability. MS. BARRANS said, "Historically when bills of this nature have been seen, we have been asked to get a bond counsel opinion in terms of whether or not restricting our loans to in-state borrowers only would have any impact on our ability to bond for the funding. If it were to infringe upon our ability to bond, then we would have to look again to the general fund as a source of funds for new loans." Number 330 CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Alaskan students did not attend out- of-state schools, would they consequently be deprived of any undergraduate studies. REP. VEZEY said textile engineering, and possibly architecture are programs of study unavailable in Alaska. REP. G. DAVIS said most graduate schools, even medical schools and law schools do not have a prescribed undergraduate program, but it would benefit predental or premedical students to attend such programs. MS. BARRANS said the ACPE could provide this information by doing a comparison study of programs offered by different universities. She added there are no physical therapy or occupational therapy programs available in Alaska. REP. BUNDE said testimony from students is missing in this discussion. Number 370 CHAIR TOOHEY said there was not a quorum and HB 488 would be held over. Chair Toohey said HB 291 would be the next order of business. HB 291 - CONSUMER PROTECTION INTERN PROGRAM Number 394 REP. JERRY SANDERS, prime sponsor for HB 291, read the following sponsor statement: "This bill provides for a program for University of Alaska students to work with the fair business practices section of the Department of Law. The program will provide university credit and invaluable experience for the students plus a stipend. The student interns will be involved with the fair business practices section of the Department of Law. "In recent years, the fair business practices section of the Department of Law has been cut from 13 to 3 people. The student interns will be able to assist in developing cases and providing needed follow-up on other cases and in return will receive valuable experience in the world of business and business law. This program will also provide hands-on experience in business ethics for the students. "Alaskans are being ripped off nightly by unscrupulous telemarketers primarily based in the lower forty eight. Victims, especially in the remote bush areas of the state have little practicable recourse. Alaska has a telemarketing law that makes the crime a felony with the possibility of extradition of offenders and serious fines. Currently, telemarketing enterprises who violate the law are merely sent a copy of the law and regulations. "Without the availability of additional staff, vulnerable members of our constituency will not be protected, because laws do not enforce themselves." REP. SANDERS referred to the two committee substitute changes: 1) On page 1, line 8, delete "must" and add "may" and 2) on page 1, line 11, delete "may not participate for more than one semester." He explained attending more than one semester would allow the student more time for experience and learning. REP. BUNDE moved to adopt the committee substitute for HB 291. (Chair Toohey then turned the gavel over to Rep. Bunde to preside over the remainder of the meeting. Chair Bunde indicated for the record that Rep. Kott arrived at 3:40 p.m.) CHAIR BUNDE asked if students were interested in participating in this internship. REP. SANDERS responded it was his understanding that students had expressed interest in the program. Number 486 ALLISON ELGEE, Statewide Budget Director, University of Alaska, said the university system supports this type of internship programs. She said there are cooperative agreements with several agencies regarding different intern programs. She stated there is currently no agreement with the Department of Law's consumer protection program because their staffing level is not adequate to provide for supervision. She said interns are required to be supervised by an attorney, although the attorney need not be present on a full-time basis. She said legislation is not necessary to establish the intern program; the problem lies with staffing at the Department of Law. She concluded by saying internships presently do not involve stipends. CHAIR BUNDE asked if not having a stipend would be detrimental in getting students involved in the program. MS. ELGEE said if only one internship paid a stipend and the other programs did not, this could be a problem. REP. G. DAVIS said this is the third intern program he is aware of and wondered if the universities are moving in the direction of developing more internship programs. MS. ELGEE said she did not know but could find out. Number 553 REP. G. DAVIS asked if it was possible to hold the program during the summer months. MS. ELGEE said she did not know if the paralegal program was offered during the summer, but she could find this out as well. Number 568 CHAIR BUNDE recommended passage of the committee substitute without the fiscal note, so this internship would be on the same footing as other intern programs. Number 576 REP. TOOHEY wondered if it was legal to include the fiscal note. Number 583 CHAIR BUNDE said he thought it was legal but it would set a precedent. Number 588 MS. ELGEE referred to page 1, line 11, "and shall receive a stipend" and said the fiscal note reflects the language in the legislation, so the legislation itself would need to be modified. Number 590 REP. TOOHEY asked if it was wise to put an amount in the bill, and asked if the word "stipend" could be used instead of a specific amount. Number 597 CHAIR BUNDE mentioned the other programs do not receive any stipend and it might be wiser to strike that last sentence. Number 600 REP. KOTT asked if legislative interns receive a stipend. MS. ELGEE answered in the affirmative. She added that none of the other paralegal programs receive stipends. Number 611 REP. KOTT said the reason for the stipend is to defray costs in coming to Juneau, and asked if travel would be involved in this program. CHAIR BUNDE said he thought the program would take place locally. REP. TOOHEY asked what the stipend amount was for the legislative intern program. After some discussion she was informed the stipend was $3,000 to $3,500 per person per session. Number 622 CHAIR BUNDE asked for the pleasure of the committee. Number 632 REP. G. DAVIS moved to pass committee substitute for HB 291 to the Finance Committee with individual recommendations with the accompanying fiscal note. Number 636 CHAIR BUNDE stated he would object, and called on Rep. Vezey. Number 637 REP. VEZEY said other intern programs are funded through the university system and do not get special appropriations. TAPE 94-56, SIDE B Number 042 REP. VEZEY continued by saying he had nothing against the consumer protection intern program, but thought it could be implemented with the regulations that are currently on the books. Number 045 CHAIR BUNDE said this bill expresses legislative intent to see the program realized and possibly the funding as well. CHAIR BUNDE stated there was a motion before the committee and before calling the roll he asked Rep. Sanders for a wrap-up. REP. SANDERS said he had no problem deleting the last sentence referring to the $1,000. REP. G. DAVIS withdrew his motion to allow for amendments if so desired. Number 065 CHAIR BUNDE asked for the pleasure of the committee. Number 067 REP. TOOHEY pointed out the Department of Law would be delighted to implement an internship program and she wondered what would prevent this if the $1,000 stipend was removed. Number 073 REP. VEZEY made a motion to amend the committee substitute by striking the last sentence. CHAIR BUNDE hearing no objection to the amendment, adopted the amendment, striking the sentence that referred to the stipend. Number 081 REP. VEZEY moved to adopt a zero fiscal note for HB 291. Number 082 CHAIR BUNDE hearing no objection, adopted a zero HESS Committee fiscal note. Chair Bunde asked for the pleasure of the committee. Number 086 REP. VEZEY moved to pass committee substitute for HB 291 as amended from the HESS committee with individual recommendations. Number 089 CHAIR BUNDE asked that a roll call be taken. Representatives Bunde, G. Davis, Vezey, and Kott voted yea and Representative Toohey voted nay. Chair Bunde declared that HB 291 passed out of committee with the accompanying fiscal note. Number 096 CHAIR BUNDE brought HB 422 to the table and stated that since there had already been considerable discussion on this bill, he would like to wrap it up and call for a vote. HB 422 - CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION RIGHTS Number 102 REP. TOOHEY objected to the bill, saying it was poor legislation that addressed proceedings that should be addressed in court, and passage of the bill would not be in the best interests of the child. Number 119 CHAIR BUNDE clarified that the discussion was in reference to the latest committee substitute which had not yet been adopted. He stated his support of adopting the committee substitute. Number 120 REP. KOTT moved to adopt the committee substitute for HB 422, dated March 16, 1994. CHAIR BUNDE hearing no objection said the committee substitute for HB 422 was before the committee. Number 130 REP. VEZEY moved to pass the committee substitute for HB 422 (HESS) from the HESS committee with individual recommendations. CHAIR BUNDE asked that a roll call be taken. Representatives G. Davis, Vezey, Kott and Bunde voted yea, and Representative Toohey voted nay. Chair Bunde declared that HB 422 was so moved. CHAIR BUNDE responded to Rep. Vezey's question about taking action on HB 488 and said he wanted to hear testimony from student witnesses. Seeing no further business before the committee CHAIR BUNDE ADJOURNED the meeting at 3:55 p.m.