Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/21/1996 03:07 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 21, 1996 3:07 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Representative Con Bunde, Co-Chair Representative Gary Davis Representative Norman Rokeberg Representative Caren Robinson Representative Tom Brice Representative Al Vezey MEMBERS ABSENT None COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 529 "An Act giving notice of and approving the entry into, and the issuance of certificates of participation in, a lease-purchase agreement for a centralized public health laboratory." - HEARD AND HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 451 "An Act prohibiting persons from receiving or attempting to receive duplicate assistance; directing the Department of Health and Social Services to establish a pilot project relating to identification of recipients of public assistance; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD AND HELD HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 12 Supporting the collective bargaining agreement between the University of Alaska and the Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers. - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE * HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 30 Relating to rights of public school students. - PASSED CSHCR 30(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 216 "An Act establishing the Alaska education technology program; and providing for an effective date." - PASSED CSHB 216(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 506 "An Act relating to establishment of a fire fighting and safety training program by the University of Alaska." - HEARD AND HELD * HOUSE BILL NO. 393 "An Act relating to managed care for recipients of medical assistance; and providing for an effective date." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD * HOUSE BILL NO. 435 "An Act relating to employment contributions and to making the state training and employment program a permanent state program; and providing for an effective date." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD (*First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 529 SHORT TITLE: APPROVE CENTRALIZED PUBLIC HEALTH LAB SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/28/96 2912 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/28/96 2912 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/14/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/14/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/19/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/21/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 451 SHORT TITLE: PROHIBIT DUPLICATE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MULDER JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/26/96 2541 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/26/96 2541 (H) HES, FINANCE 02/29/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 02/29/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/05/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/05/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/12/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/14/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/14/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/19/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/21/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HR 12 SHORT TITLE: UNIV. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING CONTRACT SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WILLIAMS JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/12/96 2721 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/12/96 2721 (H) HES, LABOR & COMMERCE 03/19/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/21/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HCR 30 SHORT TITLE: STUDENT RIGHTS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GREEN JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/12/96 2722 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/12/96 2722 (H) HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/19/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/21/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 216 SHORT TITLE: EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KOTT,Brown JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/01/95 530 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/01/95 531 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/21/95 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/21/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/21/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 506 SHORT TITLE: UNIVERSITY FIRE FIGHTING PROGRAM SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) NAVARRE,G.Davis,Phillips JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/12/96 2727 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/12/96 2727 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/21/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 WITNESS REGISTER ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110601 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0601 Telephone: (907) 465-3030 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 529 TOM LANE, Juneau Facilities Manager Division of Administrative Services Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110650 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0650 Telephone: (907) 465-3037 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 529 GREGORY V. HAYES DrPH, Chief Section of Laboratories Division of Public Health Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110613 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0613 Telephone: (907) 465-3019 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 529 MICHAEL PRESS Coopers & Lybrand Telephone: (212) 259-2279 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 529 DENNIS DeWITT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Eldon Mulder Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 411 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-2647 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 451 CURT LOMAS, Program Officer Welfare Reform Program Division of Public Assistance Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110640 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0640 Telephone: (907) 465-3382 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 451 WENDY REDMAN, Vice President Statewide University System University of Alaska P.O. Box 155000 Fairbanks, Alaska 99775 Telephone: (907) 474-7311 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HR 12 RALPH McGRATH, President Alaska Community Colleges Federation of Teachers 2533 Providence Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99508 Telephone: (907) 562-2660 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HR 12 PHIL SLATTERY, Faculty Member Sitka Campus Box 1864 Sitka, Alaska 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-8482 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HR 12 JOLI MORGAN, Professor of Applied Business University of Alaska P.O. Box 844 Bethel, Alaska 99669 Telephone: (907) 543-2013 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HR 12 ROBERT WARNER, Associate Professor of Library Science University of Alaska Southeast 888 Monroe Street Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Telephone: (907) 225-4722 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HR 12 PETER PINNEY 5132 Haystack Fairbanks, Alaska 99712 Telephone: (907) 389-2582 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HR 12 GEORGE GUTHRIDGE, Associate Professor University of Alaska P.O. Box 883 Dillingham, Alaska 99576 Telephone: (907) 842-5483 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HR 12 BILL JERMAIN, Attorney Jermain, Dunnagan and Owens representing ACCFT 3000 A Street, Suite 300 Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Telephone: (907) 563-8844 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HR 12 ERIC LEEGARD, Representative Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers P.O. Box 32806 Juneau, Alaska 99803 Telephone: (907) 780-4021 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HR 12 KRISTY TIBBLES, Legislative Secretary to Representative Joe Green Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 24 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4931 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented sponsor statement for HCR 30 STEPHEN McPHETRES, Executive Director Alaska Council of School Administrators 364 4th Street, Suite 404 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-9702 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HCR 30 CARL ROSE, Executive Director Association of Alaska School Boards 316 West 11th Street Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-1083 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HCR 30 and HB 216 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 24 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4931 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HCR 30 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 432 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-3777 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 216 LARRY WIGET, Director of Government Relations Anchorage School District 4600 DeBarr Anchorage, Alaska 99519 Telephone: (907) 269-2255 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 216 KIMBERLY HOMME, Special Assistant Office of the Commissioner Department of Education 801 West 10th Street, Suite 200 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894 Telephone: (907) 465-2803 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 216 KAREN JORDAN, Past President of the Alaska Society for Technology and Education 11575 Mendenhall Loop Road Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-1803 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 216 MICHAEL McGOWAN, Coordinator and Assistant Professor University of Alaska Fairbanks 510 Second Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Telephone: (907) 474-7916 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 506 THOMAS MONK, Member Interior Fire Chiefs Association 1710 30th Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Telephone: (907) 451-2600 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 506 DAVID BURNETT, Chief Kenai Fire Department 105 South Willow Kenai, Alaska 99611 Telephone: (907) 283-7666 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 506 REPRESENTATIVE MIKE NAVARRE Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 521 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-3779 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 506 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-31, SIDE A Number 001 The House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee was called to order by Co-Chair Toohey at 3:07 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Brice, Robinson, Rokeberg, Bunde and Toohey. Members absent were Representatives Vezey and Davis. HB 529 - APPROVE CENTRALIZED PUBLIC HEALTH LAB Number 082 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY announced the first order of business to come before the committee was HB 529. She said this bill had been before the committee previously and asked if there was anyone in the audience wishing to testify. Hearing none, she closed public testimony. She inquired if the Department of Health & Social Services had any further testimony to present. ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant, Department of Health & Social Services, said based on his belief that the issues and questions most likely to be raised were going to be related to the financial aspects of the project, he had asked the representative from Coopers & Lybrand in New York to address the committee on the study that was done. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY noted for the record that public testimony had been re-opened. REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS joined the meeting at 5:09 p.m. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said based on a 1994 printout of the Centralized Option Lab Model, a strategic planning document from the Department of Health & Social Services, the estimated cost for the project in 1994 was $13 million and she expressed concern that in two years the cost had increased by $10 million. Number 385 TOM LANE, Facilities Manager, Division of Administrative Services, Department of Health & Social Services, said the original construction cost estimates were done in 1994 and did not include the medical examiner's laboratory. Since then, a follow up study worked on by Coopers & Lybrand was completed in 1995 and because of the two-year delay extra inflation costs were included, as well as costs for the medical examiner. He explained the department had originally tried to get an appropriation last year, so another year's inflation has also been added to the cost. He acknowledged it was a big jump in cost, but the increase included three years of inflation, space for the medical examiner, which wasn't originally included, and some changes in the financing costs. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY raised a concern about $2,931,000 for a medical examiner. MR. LANE said compared to the other costs, it was basically proportional to the space that would be required as proportional to the rest of the facility. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if a breakdown of the space was available. MR. LANE said the department was roughly estimating about 4,400 square feet for the medical examiner and in the neighborhood of 22,300 square feet for the public health laboratory, itself. He explained that currently the lab is in two locations in Anchorage; the office is at the state trooper building and the laboratory space is at the crime detection laboratory. Number 538 REPRESENTATIVE NORM ROKEBERG asked how many people were in the medical examiner's office. GREGORY V. HAYES DrPH, Chief, Section of Laboratories, Division of Public Health, Department of Health & Social Services, said he wasn't really sure, but knew of two pathologists and clerical support. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked that information be provided to the committee concerning the size of the space in relation to the personnel. He inquired if human remains would also be kept in that space. DR. HAYES responded affirmatively. MR. LANE said that Mr. Lindstrom indicated there are usually two or three autopsy assistants, a pathologist and some clerical support. They would provide the committee with a complete breakdown. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked how many individuals are currently doing autopsies? MR. LANE said he wasn't exactly certain how many people were involved. MR. LINDSTROM responded two pathologists. REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS asked if the medical examiner space would be in addition to the proposed building. MR. LANE explained that something needs to be worked out for the medical examiner in the future because currently they are using borrowed space at the public safety building. They viewed this as an opportunity to "kill two birds with one stone" and also, it would allow them to get a symbiotic relationship between the different laboratories. He explained that the plan in the study focused on the public health laboratories, but given that something will need to be done with the medical examiner, this was an opportunity to consolidate those two programs. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY again reiterated her concern that 44,000 square feet was a large amount of space for a state with a population of 500,000 to 600,000. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG calculated the cost to be about $680 a square foot, assuming there were no service areas attached. MR. LANE said the original cost estimates were in the neighborhood of $400 per square foot. Costs would be added to that for equipment, administrative costs in terms of state employees who would be working on it at the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities and design costs. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented that he was in support of the laboratory, but the costs were extraordinary. MR. LANE interjected that laboratory space is very expensive. Number 785 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY thought it was irresponsible to ask for this kind of increase. MR. LINDSTROM noted the Department of Public Safety is very supportive of this project. The current space for the medical examiner is very limited and the Department of Public Safety very much wants to utilize that space in the crime lab for other purposes, including the DNA (indisc.). CO-CHAIR TOOHEY read an excerpt from the 94 project budget, "Land cost is considered to be $0, based on the use of state-owned property." She maintained that a $10 million increase in two years was not justifiable. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented there were people on teleconference waiting to testify, but he felt there were too many unanswered questions and asked that the bill be held over to the following week. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG pointed out the increase wasn't quite $10 million, because it included interest, etc. He thought it was more like $5.5 million. Number 902 MICHAEL PRESS, Director, Coopers & Lybrand, said he was available to answer specific questions with regard to the statistical information, the cost of the lab and savings, the differential in savings between centralizing and possibly consolidating. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if Mr. Press had previously observed construction costs of this type of facility and if he had compared the proposed cost of this project with other projects. MR. PRESS responded he had found nothing unreasonable about the cost estimates that accompanied this legislation for the type of facility that is contemplated. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Mr. Press what a typical laboratory with similar specifications would cost in the United States, what percentage of Alaska cost adjustment was made for on this project, and to give a breakdown on the difference between equipment and specialized leasehold improvements. MR. PRESS advised committee members that the costs presented were not derived by Coopers & Lybrand per se. They reviewed the costs and found nothing unreasonable about them; however, the costs were specified by the firm of Livingston Slone, Inc., of Anchorage in conjunction with (indisc.) International, not as the contractor, but consulting design architects. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented he had a number of questions for Mr. Press and inquired if Co-Chair Toohey's intention was to hold the bill in committee. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY agreed there were a number of questions that needed to be answered, so the bill would be held in committee. Number 1140 CO-CHAIR BUNDE suggested that Mr. Lindstrom and the Department of Health & Social Services could probably answer many of the individual questions. MR. LINDSTROM felt the department had attempted to furnish as much information to individuals as possible, but it was his observation there would be questions that simply would not be answered satisfactorily to some individuals. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY announced that HB 529 would be held in committee and rescheduled at a later date. HB 451 - PROHIBIT DUPLICATE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE Number 1292 DENNIS DeWITT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Eldon Mulder, said "The intent is to allow a pilot project on electronic fingerprinting in the Anchorage area to determine whether or not we can find a useful and determining duplicate application and as we move along with legislation that will limit the length of time on welfare - life time limits on welfare recipients can help build a data base so that we can track those folks over time in a very efficient way." As indicated in previous testimony, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Arizona and Washington state are looking at electronic fingerprinting, while New York, California and Pennsylvania have already established the program and it appears to be working well in terms of detecting and deterring fraud. Mr. DeWitt commented the fiscal notes provided by the Department of Health & Social Services appeared to be extremely inclusive. The sponsor concurred that $47,000 for the fingerprint equipment operator is reasonable. The proposal from North American MORPHO Systems, Inc. who is the contractor for the equipment, had been received and provides for three units in the Anchorage office at an approximate cost of $115,000 to $120,000. The sponsor felt that $200,000 plus was somewhat excessive for the development of a pilot project given that several other states have already implemented the program. Mr. DeWitt said they would like to have the opportunity to discuss the fiscal notes with the Finance Committee chairman, who chairs the subcommittee on Health, Education & Social Services. He felt through discussions in the Finance Committee, they would be able to come up with more reasonable costs. CO-CHAIR BUNDE viewed this legislation as twofold, and asked Mr. DeWitt to correct him if he was wrong. One is to be proactive so when the time comes that we actually have a nationwide time limit on welfare, people will not be drifting from state to state duplicating benefits. The other benefit deals with fraud within the state of Alaska. He asked Mr. DeWitt to estimate the amount of fraud currently going on within the state in terms of numbers of people and dollar amounts involved. Number 1425 MR. DeWITT said that Co-Chair Bunde was correct on the two intents. However, they have not been able to come up with a handle on the number; it's difficult to tell, but they don't believe there is a great deal of fraud. He added that one of the purposes of the pilot project is to establish how much fraud there is. Other states have found it rewarding in terms of a reduction in applications as well as detected fraud. Based on the reviews completed of the other programs, there was some initial reluctance to register for benefits, but the notion that there is a deterrent effect to eligible and legitimate applicants was not found to be true. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked the same question regarding fraud of Mr. Lomas, but limited it to the Anchorage area because that was where the pilot project would take place. Number 1512 CURT LOMAS, Program Officer, Welfare Reform Program, Division of Public Assistance, Department of Health & Social Services, responded that he did not have fraud data with him at the hearing for Anchorage, specifically. Based on the department's quality control activity, which is a federally mandated monitoring activity that generates statistically reliable results, statewide over the last four years, the error rate for AFDC payments paid in error as a result of wilful misrepresentation on the part of the clients, was 0.85 percent. Again statewide, that calculates to roughly $102,000 a year out of a $120 million program, which is what was being looked at. Assuming the activity is proportional, randomly distributed around the state, Anchorage has approximately 40 percent of the caseload, which would be in the neighborhood of $40,000 per year. Number 1581 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON said the focus of the fingerprinting program is trying to identify people attempting to get duplicate benefits. She asked Mr. Lomas if he had any statistics available on duplicate benefits fraud. MR. LOMAS said based on quality control records for as far back as available, the department has never had a case where they found an error on the basis of duplicate identity. The only case anyone is aware of, is the case Mr. Nordlund referred to in his testimony at a prior hearing, where the fraud was detected by the department before any benefits were issued. That client is now serving time for welfare fraud. Number 1620 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Mr. Lomas how he envisioned this type of pilot program would assist the division in fraud cases. MR. LOMAS responded the department's fiscal notes reflected no impact on the cost of the AFDC program, based on their belief that it wouldn't make a difference. Particularly, given that the design set out in the project specified in the bill would operate in only one office in Anchorage, the likelihood of someone receiving benefits under two identities seemed to be so small as to be none. Number 1677 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if Sections 1 and 2 of the legislation were currently not in law? MR. DeWITT said while there are a number of tangential laws which deal with the issue of fraud, there is no specific prohibition in either the AFDC program statute or the General Relief program statute that precluded duplicate enrollment. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE inquired if the department had an individual in jail who shouldn't be there. MR. DeWITT didn't think that was the case. He said there is an ability, through a lot of other tangential laws, to get to the issue. Number 1732 CO-CHAIR BUNDE conjectured that a person might be a little more careful in completing their application for benefits if they were required to go through the fingerprinting process. He asked if there was any research available from states that have implemented fingerprinting, to indicate whether or not the reject level of applicants was reduced. MR. DeWITT said he didn't have that information available and couldn't respond to the question. Number 1779 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if Mr. Lomas was aware of any research related to Co-Chair Bunde's question. MR. LOMAS replied that according to the federal AFDC agency, there is only one state conducting this kind of activity in the AFDC program; other states conducting the activity are doing it only with their state General Relief programs. He added the only place it is happening with AFDC program is in LA County, California and the demonstration results have not been released, but they are a matter of great controversy. The information he received indicated the quantitative result that had been detected, that went through objective measurement, was that they had discovered 11 individuals who attempted to obtain assistance under a duplicate identification. Mr. Lomas said he hadn't seen the report because it hadn't been released yet. He felt it was fair to say there isn't a good set of data that indicates whether this generates real results or not. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was anyone else who would like to testify. Hearing none, public testimony was closed. Number 1884 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Mr. Lomas if the department thought there was a problem with fraud in this area? MR. LOMAS replied no. He said the department recognizes there is fraud, but they do not feel this particular kind of fraud is significant relative to the other kinds of fraud that occur where people may not be providing accurate information. The department is well focused on it and has a lot of activity in that area. Number 1919 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said the fiscal note indicates an expense of about a half million dollars in the first year and inquired if the sponsor felt this was the best use of money to stop fraud in the state. She asked how the department would use the money if they were trying to increase fraud cases. Also, she wondered if the sponsor had looked at other alternatives. MR. DeWITT said the sponsor has been focused on this approach. The bulk of the projected cost is for developing a Request for Proposal and following the federal guidelines for requesting a waiver and reporting on a waiver. He added that it may be more economical to limit the project to the General Relief program. If that's the desire, he feels the reduced cost would be worth the investigation into the fraud. He also believed the price placed on this project is certainly all inclusive and a pretty significant estimate for reviewing and creating the program. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY pointed out the bill is headed for the Finance Committee next, where the costs can better be addressed. Her personal feeing was this legislation was not yet needed. The department has an incredible record for keeping people honest and has won an award yearly for having no payment errors. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON expressed her desire to table the bill in this committee based on the lack of statistical data indicating that it is needed at this time and the large fiscal note. Number 2078 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON made a motion to table HB 451. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked for a roll call vote. Voting in favor of the motion were Representatives Rokeberg, Brice, Robinson and Bunde. Voting against the motion were Representatives Vezey, Davis and Toohey. HR 12 - UNIV. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING CONTRACT Number 2154 WENDY REDMAN, Vice President, Statewide University System, University of Alaska, said this piece of legislation was confusing to her, but as she understands it, HR 12 directs the University to pay for a salary increase, through reductions in their current programs, for a bargaining unit whose request for a pay increase was already turned down by the legislature last year. She commented that this sets sort of odd precedents, but one that presents some problem is a kind of ignoring the collective bargaining process the university is involved in with their collective bargaining units, and a rewriting of legislative history and intent after the fact, which causes some problems. The biggest problem however, is the serious financial impact on the current university budget. She hadn't planned to go into a long history of what the arbitration was, but stated she would do so if the committee desired. She explained that what happened with this arbitration ruling was that in effect, the arbitration froze in place a 1993 Board of Regents' policy that asked for a 3 percent salary increase for all faculty. The arbitrator said that even though the contract states the bargaining unit faculty will get the same thing that all the other faculty get (keep in mind this bargaining unit is about 254 members out of a total of 1200 faculty) the board changed the policy, and the arbitrator said they couldn't do that; they would be frozen in place with the board policy at the time they signed their contract. MS. REDMAN distributed a document to committee members which gave an overview of the UA/ACCFT Arbitration Award, the UA/ACCFT Collective Bargaining Agreement and the State Employee Collective Bargaining Law. She pointed out that in Reference 1 the arbitrator's award states "The University shall pay the bargaining unit members the pay increase provided by the collective bargaining agreement." Reference 2 indicates what the collective bargaining agreement is with this unit; that is "that any compensation increases shall be subject to legislative appropriations in accordance with the provisions of AS 23.40.215 and shall be requested separately from compensation increases requested for other employees of the University." Additionally, Article 12.5 (B) says implementation of monetary terms will not become effective unless there is approval given for the additional funds by the legislature. That did not happen. She stated that Mr. Jermain yesterday referenced a letter from Terry Cramer, legislative attorney, on what to do when the legislature isn't going to fund the contracts. Basically, her final determination for the legislature was that you should go in and say you're not going to fund it and take the money away. She said that Mr. Jermain did not read the last paragraph of Terry Cramer's letter, which states, "If there were a monetary term of a contract that required a separate appropriation, unrelated to other budget items, then, given the language in AS 23.40.215, that monetary term would be considered to have failed unless the legislature made an appropriation for that purpose. However, I believe that this is an unlikely factual situation. The safer course for the legislature, if it wishes to disapprove a monetary term, is to state its disapproval specifically." Ms. Redman said the other state contracts are not written like the university's. Their collective bargaining contract is very clear - it does require a separate appropriation, it does require additional funding and that was not given. MS. REDMAN said she argued before the legislature for funding of the contracts last year and is doing so again this year. The university believes a good contract was negotiated, their faculty are not overpaid inasmuch as the average university faculty pay, including the collective bargaining unit, is about what the average is for a K-12 teacher in this state. They do not feel that is appropriate for the level of education and the level of responsibility for these faculty. It is the university's belief that a 3 percent salary increase is warranted. The request was made last year, is being made again this year and a fiscal note is attached to the resolution. She does not think it is appropriate, and urged the committee not to set the precedent, to convey to the university we're not... TAPE 96-31, SIDE B Number 001 MS. REDMAN continued... expect you to go back, regardless of the collective bargaining agreement you have, and cut programs in order to pay for this. She said that is not appropriate. That may be something that could be negotiated in a future contract, but that is not the way it's been done thus far. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said based on the amount of contact he has heard on this piece of legislation, he believes he was either contacted by all 257 members of this bargaining unit or there are other people affected by this. He asked if the 3 percent included everyone in the university system or only the bargaining unit? MS. REDMAN replied it was only the bargaining unit. Number 042 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he didn't care what the contract said, what was being talked about was the process. Apparently there is a provision in the contracts to arbitrate disputes and that process was followed. Generally under Alaska law, either party to an arbitration can appeal to the district court. He asked if that had been done in this case? MS. REDMAN said, "No. What the arbitration ruling was, as you can see in Reference 1, was the arbitrator said to the university, you must pay the increase provided by the collective bargaining agreement, so the requirement - we then go back to the collective bargaining agreement, and the requirement for the university under the collective bargaining agreement is to go to the legislature and get the money." REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if it was the university's position that they have complied with the arbitrator's decision? MS. REDMAN responded affirmatively. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if anyone, subsequent to that, had filed action in court? MS. REDMAN said the union is in court now, but not on that issue. She added that has been the process the university has had with this bargaining unit for over 20 years, so it is a well established process. However, the unions are suing the university over the issue of whether or not the university has to absorb the salary increase from existing funds. It is the union's contention that even though the legislature did not fund the contracts last year, the fact that the legislature did fund anything at the university, means the university should pay the increase. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated since the award was dated April 14, 1995, he assumed it had to address some year other than 1995. He asked what fiscal year it was addressing? MS. REDMAN said it represents the current year in which the award was given - FY 95, the current year 96, and 97. The university has requested the 96 and 97 as well and are before the legislature again for consideration this year. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY commented he was somewhat confused as to what action and reaction prompted the arbitration and prompted the arbitrator's decision. MS. REDMAN said, "The issue that prompted the actual arbitration was the board's - the contract with the ACCFT has a provision that says on compensation, promotion, tenure, essentially all faculty matters, that they will follow the same policies that apply to non- organized faculty. Subsequent to the signing of that contract in 1992, in 1993 the Board of Regents suspended a policy that had been in place which said they would seek 3 percent pay increases for their faculty every year. The union filed a grievance one year later in 1994, and their argument and the arbitrator agreed with them, is that the reason they filed it a year later is we gave a pay increase and we got money from the legislature for the bargaining unit during that 1994 year - FY 94. The union waited a whole year to file a grievance because they weren't sure what the impact of the cessation of the board's policy would have on them. They thought - I guess - am I saying it correctly? I don't want to misrepresent it. But the board - because they gave the pay increase during the year which they canned the policy, so it wasn't going to be until the next year that the non-increase took place. So, the union waited a year to see whether or not the board would change their mind or whether they would apply it differently to the union...." REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY verified that a raise was given in 1993. MS. REDMAN responded yes. The union and the nonunion both got a 3 percent increase. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked what happened when 1994 came? MS. REDMAN responded that was in 1994. The university gave a 3 percent pay increase that began January 1, 1994, through June 30, 1994. She emphasized that both the collective bargaining unit and the non-bargaining unit received that pay increase. In FY 95, the non-organized faculty did not get an increase, the university was in the arbitration with the bargaining unit during that year; in April 1995, the arbitration ruling was received. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked when the arbitration was filed. MS. REDMAN thought the arbitration was filed in August 1994. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY verified the arbitration proceeding was started after fiscal year 94 started. MS. REDMAN interjected FY 95. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY verified that FY 95 started in July 1, 1994, arbitration proceedings were initiated and the arbitrator's decision came out in April 1995. MS. REDMAN stated that was correct. Number 259 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY commented that so far all the dispute provisions have all been followed. He understood there's an arbitration award and apparently there is a dispute over how the award is administered. He asked Ms. Redman if that was correct. MS. REDMAN said the legal dispute the university continues to have with the union has to do with whether or not the interpretation of the contract which was specified in Reference 2 of the document she had distributed to committee members. She added everyone agrees they are bound by the terms of the contract and the contract says for pay increases, the university comes to the legislature and must receive a specific appropriation. That's where the point of contention is and what is being argued in court. The university believes the language that states, "specific appropriation subject to provision of additional funds" means that it has to be a specific appropriation. On the other hand, the union's stand is that if there is any appropriation to the university, that is sufficient to then pay the contract. That is the issue that will be argued in court. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said it was his understanding there was an arbitrator's decision and there is a difference of opinion in how to interpret that decision. MS. REDMAN reemphasized the university does not disagree with the arbitrator's decision; the university carried out the arbitrator's decision and she doesn't think the union has any difference of opinion as to whether or not the university carried it out. She went on to say, "Now, they dropped a sentence. They say that the arbitrator said we must pay the increases and they put the period at the end of that piece of the decision. We say the arbitrator said we pay the increase provided by the collective bargaining agreement. We've had a collective bargaining agreement for 25 years and that agreement is that we come to the legislature to get the new money that's required to implement the terms of the contract. And that's what we did." Number 348 CO-CHAIR BUNDE thought the two points of contention were: The university is saying they aren't paying because they got a general university appropriation, not a specific appropriation for the raise; and the union is saying the university got an appropriation that should have included the amount for the raise. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said the point he was trying to get at was there was a dispute over how to interpret the arbitrator's decision or how to interpret the contract. Neither party went back to the arbitrator for clarification, but rather one of the parties went to court. He asked when the court suit was filed? CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that Representative Williams, the sponsor of HR 12 was in attendance. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON thought she had been told that $500,000 was put into the budget to fund these contracts and asked what happened to that money? CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Representative Vezey wished to continue his questioning? REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he was trying to find out where we are in the process of determining how to interpret a contract. MS. REDMAN responded we're in court and she believed the briefs would be filed within the next weeks. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated, "So, we're being asked to intervene in a court proceeding?" MS. REDMAN said that is what it looked like to her. Number 436 RALPH McGRATH, President, Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers, said the arbitration process we concluded with under the collective bargaining agreement is final and binding; it states in the agreement that arbitrator's awards are final and binding. The arbitrator did specifically say the university shall pay the compensation owed under the Regent's policy. The university, after the decision came down in April... REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY interrupted and said, "You have an arbitrator's decision - the way you enforce an arbitration decision is you go to court and you get a judgment, so that's what you're trying to do at this time. Is not the legal -- how does anybody enforce an arbitrator's decision and not go to court and get a judgment? MR. McGRATH said at some point, yes. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY noted that's the process that is going on now; we haven't gotten there yet. MR. McGRATH commented that's right. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY surmised that somebody was asking the legislature to intervene in a court proceeding. The court has not ruled yet, and a court can overrule an arbitrator's decision under certain guidelines. MR. McGRATH said he believed that was correct. The university did request the arbitrator, for the university's purposes, to clarify that his decision meant that all the university had to do was request it of the legislature. The arbitrator took no action on it; he said that never came before him in the arbitration process. The university repeatedly says the arbitrator in his decision simply meant that the university, now that they have lost the case, would have to come to the legislature. The university did come to the legislature last year and what occurred was the Office of Management and Budget came forward with a letter to Representative Mark Hanley, House Finance Committee, which essentially stated that $500,000 was needed to fund the FY 95 and the FY 96 costs. Out of that particular process, there was no action by the legislature. In that same period of time, Terry Cramer of the Division of Legislative Legal Services, interpreted PERA for the House Finance Committee and included in that definition the essence of almost all of the Resolution, with the exception of the bottom line, and in their specific case they were not treated properly. In other words the interpretation that came from legislative counsel was that if the legislature takes no action and appropriates personal services, then the terms of the agreement have been met and it is up to the agency, or in this case, the university to pay out of their existing budget. The legislature didn't say they were rejecting the agreement or rejecting the terms, which is certainly within their power, but they did not say that. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that he wanted to give the people on teleconference an opportunity to testify at this time. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she was under the impression that Mr. Jermain had testified in an earlier meeting that there had been an appropriation made that was to fund these contracts, at least partially. MR. McGRATH said they may not be correct in that; they've had discussions with the university on that issue. They don't see that as necessarily being a part of the resolution; their bottom line is the university has the obligation to pay. It's the university's responsibility and they must meet the terms of the arbitrated award and the contract. Number 646 MS. REDMAN said the committee at the last meeting had been left with the last statement of Mr. Jermain that the university had somehow stolen money. She clarified that was absolutely untrue and Professor McGrath now understands that. She explained the university had a bill in the 1994 legislative session to cover the 3 percent from January to June. In addition, there was a base adjustment for the next year, as there is with any pay increase, to carry that 3 percent forward into the second year. She believed that people thought there were two 3 percent increases given, when in fact it was the same 3 percent carried into the second year. The bargaining unit members all received the full 3 percent and still have it in the base budget. Number 702 PHIL SLATTERY, Faculty Member, Sitka Campus, testified via teleconference, that he didn't have much to add to what the union had already said. He thought basically the arbitrator referred to the regent's policy and payments according to regent's policy, not payments (indisc.) contract, but there seems to be an ongoing pattern of delay. He thought the university may not be making the best effort on the faculty's behalf if they represent people as community college faculty who are overpaid rather than as university faculty who are about average in pay across the United States. He was hopeful they would win it in court, but said it's difficult when an arbitrator arbitrates an award and makes a decision and then the decision is further challenged by people who agreed to abide by it. CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed there were two points of view: The legislature could appropriate additional money or expect the university to absorb the cost out of the university's current budget. He asked Mr. Slattery if he would support closing down some of the smaller, less efficient programs to fund the salary increase. MR. SLATTERY said he would prefer not to shut down any of the programs unless there is a better program assessment than what they've had in the past, to look at where the cuts could be made and where they couldn't. He finds any budget cut made across the university offensive. He prefers the idea of looking at where money could be taken out of the system, if necessary. CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked that people may be asking the legislature to demand that the university fund this salary increase, and to do it out of their existing budget, the university will have to take money from somewhere else. That's one of the realities the legislature is being asked to address when they are requested to address this contract. MR. SLATTERY acknowledged it was reality, but it is his belief that parties should live up to the terms of a contract. Number 881 JOLI MORGAN, Professor of Applied Business, testified via teleconference from Bethel that he has been an Alaskan resident since 1967 and with the University of Alaska since 1976. He supports HR 12 and the enforcement of the contract. The contract language under Article 4, Section (indisc.-coughing) states the decision of the arbitrator shall be final and the parties shall abide by it. He said if we feel the university has the obligation to go before the legislature and ask for the money, Article 12 of their contract states that the university shall request and actively support full funding of this agreement. He does not feel the university has actively supported the funding of the arbitrated award. He commented that the union had four issues when they went to arbitration; they lost on three of those issues and they have abided by that loss. Number 951 ROBERT WARNER, Associate Professor of Library Science, University of Alaska Southeast, testified from Ketchikan that he had been with the university since 1972. He expressed his appreciation to Representative Williams for bringing this issue to the attention of the legislature. He said there have been a long series of difficulties in labor negotiations between the University of Alaska and the Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers, and this resolution brings to light one area of difficulty. He asked the legislature to take a positive look at trying to resolve this matter so the university professors and university administration can get back to doing the important work they need to do for the citizens and the state of Alaska. Number 1024 PETER PINNEY testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support of HR 12. He said the legislature could save money with HR 12 because it wouldn't cost the state any additional money. It should not be confused with other appropriations coming before the legislature in terms of pay increases; it's basically a stand to follow the rules of a negotiated contract which is in place. Number 1105 GEORGE GUTHRIDGE, Associate Professor, University of Alaska, testified from Dillingham. He has been with the university since 1990 and supports HR 12. From his point of view, it is simply a matter of ethical laws. He thought it was contradictory to say now there are fiscal problems at the university and programs may have to be cut if this pay increase is funded. The same thing could be said on the other side; maybe programs will have to be cut in order to pay for the court proceedings. It is the university's job to look at the future and to satisfy the legal obligations they undertake. Number 1157 BILL JERMAIN, Attorney, Jermain, Dunnagan and Owens, representing ACCFT, testified from Anchorage. He said he was sorry if he misled the committee on the 1995 appropriation; apparently that sum was built into the base of the salary schedule. The arbitration (indisc.) that the contract required 3 percent; whatever happened to the rest of the university was irrelevant to that. The 3 percent was owed and the university refused the pay that and the 3 percent is being enforced through the courts. That's a legal issue that will resolve itself. He said what is misleading is the statement about contract interpretations; there is no issue of contract interpretation in any of the litigation. The litigation deals with the constitutional issue (indisc.-coughing) interpretation of AS 23.40.215 and includes the enforcement of the arbitration award. The university is taking the position that with the nonrepresented faculty, they can give increases without any appropriation from the legislature. However, with represented people, even if there is an arbitrator's award as with this case, they will not give that out of the general appropriation for personal services, and say that AS 23.40.215 precludes them from doing that. That's despite the opinion of Ms. Cramer, which Mr. Jermain believes is very well-reasoned and agrees with. He quoted from that opinion, "...a collective bargaining contract may call for a salary increase. By appropriating money for the personal services for positions in that bargaining unit, the legislature is acting on that contract term. Unless the legislature also states its disapproval of the salary increase, the increase will take effect, even if the amount appropriated is insufficient to fully fund all of the positions in the department...." He said they need to be on the same level as the university (indisc.) give out general appropriations to other faculty members (indisc.) the right to do it. How at the same time can they ignore an arbitrator's award which they say they don't disagree with, and say that it requires a specific appropriation. Number 1333 ERIC LEEGARD, Representative, Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers, pointed out that he had submitted written testimony to the committee. He emphasized that all the ACCFT members in Juneau support HR 12. CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed the meeting to public testimony. Number 1377 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved to pass HR 12 from committee with attached fiscal note and individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. HCR 30 - STUDENT RIGHTS Number 1463 KRISTY TIBBLES, Legislative Secretary, to Representative Joe Green, read the following sponsor statement: "House Concurrent Resolution 30 was introduced to send a strong message to students, parents and schools that education and school safety are top priorities with the 19th Legislature. Children are one of the state's most valuable resources for the future economic and social well-being of our state. We, as elected leaders have the responsibility to safeguard their future to the best of our ability. "Education should be the key concern of a parent sending a child to school, yet the issue of safety has surpassed this concern. In 1940, the major problems in public schools identified by teachers were talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise in the classroom, running in the halls, cutting in line, littering, and disobeying the dress code. Educators now consider the top problems to be assaults by students on teachers and other students, weapons in school, racial or ethnic attacks, gang disruptions, shootings, knifings, and drive-by shootings. While schools should be a safe haven for learning, many students are burdened with intimidation and fear of violence. "This resolution declares that our children have a right to be provided with a safe, orderly, and drug free environment in which they can learn, and that they have a right to high academic standards in order to prepare them to meet the challenges they will encounter in the future. Our present system, programs, and attitudes need to be changed. The conditions that allow students to become disenfranchised need to be identified and reworked. With the cooperation of parents, educators, and elected officials, we can all work together to provide our children the quality they will need and education they deserve." CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted the bill sponsor, Representative Joe Green, was in attendance. He asked if there were questions for the bill sponsor. Number 1645 STEPHEN McPHETRES, Executive Director, Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA), said he believed this resolution speaks in support of education. The legislature coming out with a statement of philosophy is a very important step in setting the direction of how education should be treated in the future. To that end, the ACSA is supportive of this resolution. He pointed out that in current regulation, school districts have the responsibility of establishing rights and responsibilities for their students in their districts. He didn't want there to be any misinterpretation of the fact there aren't student rights and responsibilities that do exist currently in school districts across the state. He read a paragraph from one school district to give the committee an idea of the statements and beliefs school districts currently have: "The Board of Education recognizes that students possess the rights of citizenship. In granting each student the educational opportunities for which he or she is entitled, the board shall provide him or her with the nurture, counsel and care appropriate to his or her age and maturity. No student enrolled in the schools of this district shall be deprived of his or her basic rights to equal treatment and equal access to the educational program. Due process of law, the presumption of innocence, free expression and association, and the privacy of his or her thoughts." He directed the committee's attention to this just to let committee members know there are in existence within the state and school districts, statements of their rights and responsibilities for students, as well. The ACSA does support this resolution and would like to see terms like "drug-free" and "weapon-free" schools added. CO-CHAIR BUNDE encouraged the sponsor to think about including the terms "rights and responsibilities of public students" to the title of the resolution. Number 1810 CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Association of Alaska School Boards, stated he had provided written testify to the committee in support of HCR 30. He thought this legislation was appropriate and timely. Society and societal change is upon us and the children reflect that. Parents and communities are very concerned about the environment in which their children attend schools. He said more important than just handbooks on roles and responsibilities, though he felt they were appropriate, society has to take a look at what has happened over the last 30 or 40 years. As was previously mentioned, many of the things children face today are totally foreign to many of us adults in our days in school. He said the Association of Alaska School Boards has established the "Advocacy Agenda"; there is limited funding but it was their thinking that funding alone would not be what would drive their effort. That effort is to raise the awareness of the public as to some of the problems that exist. He felt that was about the best they could do to draw attention to the concerns and help society address them. He reiterated his support for HCR 30. CO-CHAIR BUNDE directed a comment to Mr. McPhetres that he did not view this resolution as a criticism of schools; he agreed with what Mr. McPhetres was trying to do and wanted to encourage and support him to that end. Number 1921 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved to adopt Amendment 1. CO-CHAIR BUNDE objected for discussion purposes and asked Representative Robinson to speak to the amendment. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said Amendment 1 inserts language on page 2, line 15, "; and (11) the right to available resources to attain a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle." CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he didn't understand if the amendment meant that students have enough money to get healthy or enough brains to get healthy. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON replied they can have both. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Representative Green had any reaction to Amendment 1. Number 2008 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN, Sponsor of HCR 30, said he had no objection to the amendment. He understood the intent of the amendment and concurred that if a student comes to school with some type of mental problem, whether it be generated from school out of fear or perhaps a problem at home, it would inhibit the student's ability to receive a quality education. While most schools do have counselors and nurses that would look for abuse, he felt the amendment would fall in line as to students rights. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG questioned the placement of the amendment within the resolution in that Section 10 was written with a degree of finality. Number 2105 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she would rather have it become subsection (3) following line 17 on page 1, and renumber the existing subsections. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY expressed opposition to the amendment because it says they have a right to more money. He said it's a nice concept and wished there was a money tree available, but people need to be realistic. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE agreed with Representative Vezey's remarks; however, he felt the other 10 subsections spoke to the same thing. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON pointed out that subsection (6) speaks to the right to learn in a well equipped school. She felt the statements contained in the resolution were what is viewed as important in a school. It is difficult for a child to learn who is not healthy and mentally healthy and she believed the amendment would strengthen the resolution. TAPE 96-32, SIDE A Number 001 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY pointed out that each one of the Resolves contained in the resolution comes with an added cost to the school curriculum. CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked that the amendment says "available resources" and as long as he had a choice as to what is available, he would support the amendment. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated a further objection in that the amendment seems to carry over strongly from the school into the home. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for a roll call vote. Voting to adopt Amendment 1 were Representatives Rokeberg, Toohey, Brice and Robinson. Voting against Amendment 1 were Representatives Vezey and Bunde. Co-Chair Bunde announced that Amendment 1 was adopted. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Representative Green would entertain the notion to adding the word "responsibility" to the title? REPRESENTATIVE GREEN responded that he did not have an objection to adding "responsibility", but he had a concern because all the Resolves tend to... CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Representative Green to note his concern and withdrew his request. Number 164 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved to pass CSHCR 30 out of the HESS Committee to the next committee of referral with zero fiscal notes and individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. HB 216 - EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM Number 233 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT, Sponsor of HB 216, said he had a committee substitute to address for the committee. Number 266 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved to adopt CSHB 216, Work Draft 9- LS0765\M, Ford, 3/12/96. Hearing no objection, CSHB 216, Work Draft 9-LS0765\M was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said that educational technology is a major concern in modern society. Of the eight million high paying jobs in America, almost one-fourth were in the technology arena. He felt it was an important way to approach education and training. The intent of the original bill was to set up the Alaska educational technology program; that intent is maintained in the committee substitute. Section 1 of the proposed committee substitute deals with the legislative findings and the purpose of the bill. Section 2 of the original bill which dealt with school districts being required to submit reports was deleted. He learned there is a new report being generated in the Department of Education, and their intention is to continue to publish that report. Section 2 of the committee substitute, contains several things being required as far as the major purposes of the education technology program. Most of the requirements that were in the original bill to administer the fund were eliminated because there is no general fund monies involved and most likely it will be operated by pass-through grants. The structuring will be done in a manner he believed very similar to the Alaska Children's Trust Fund. He dropped the requirement that the Department of Education could not use any of the fund money for administrative expenses. It is his experience that grant money that has flowed into various funds that have been established in the state generally come through with the understanding that normal administrative expenses would be deducted from the grant. Number 450 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT informed the committee he had recently learned the federal government has billions of dollars that will be available to the various states for inclusion into various funds around the states for education technology. It is currently before Congress. Number 470 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said Section AS 14.30.810 basically covers the duties of the department. The requirement for the department to administer the details of the fund has been shifted and instead overview language borrowed from other states was inserted. Those states include Georgia, Florida, California and Minnesota. The duties of the commissioner of revenue are identified in Section 14.30.820. Those duties are basically to administer the fund once the department is empowered with monies. He noted this was the standard procedure for handling funds for trusts in Alaska. Section 14.30.850 is the Definitions section of the bill and is pretty straightforward. Finally, Section 3 of the bill is the effective date of the Act. He explained that basically the framework has been set up in which to receive monies from the federal government that appears to be forthcoming. There is also an opportunity for the legislature to appropriate money and an opportunity is allowed for the private sector to make contributions into this framework. The Department of Education will actually oversee the fund, with the Department of Revenue disbursing the fund. Number 609 LARRY WIGET, Director of Government Relations, Anchorage School District, testified from Anchorage that the Anchorage School District supports the establishment of the Alaska Education Technology program and urges support of the program by the legislature. One year ago to the day, he first testified in support of HB 216; since that time, much has changed. For example, the ability to share information with each other around the state and around the world (indisc.) through awareness in the use of Internet. The development of new software now makes accepting this information network by students and teachers more user friendly. The Department of Education, Anchorage School District, Municipality of Anchorage and other organizations, individuals and businesses around the state have recognized the importance of this communication avenue. Unfortunately, what has not changed in the past year is the ability of the districts and the state to provide equitable access to information through the information highway to all students. In the past year, the Anchorage School District has developed a (indisc.) of instructional technology plan with the help of the instructional technology committee consisting of over 40 community and school personnel. Their vision begins with a student in the classroom, eager to learn because of the instructional technology tools he or she is using. This student is connected to the district network which is connected to the global information highway. Computers are used to access information. However, the technology available to the students in the Anchorage School District to fulfil this mission is inadequate and outdated. The district budget cannot provide adequate funds to meet existing or future district instructional technology needs or eliminate the present inequity among the schools in providing access to technology, information resources and communications. To this end, the voters of Anchorage (indisc.) $35 million for technology. The outcome of their efforts will not be known until after the April 16 election. House Bill 216 will establish a technology fund. It will lay the foundation for future monies to be set aside for technology needs statewide. It recognizes the importance of technology to the future of Alaska. He urged the committee's support of HB 216. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY expressed her concern that if we wait for the grant money, children will be graduating with no schools at all. She would like to see this concept taken to the Board of Education so they can incorporate it into their planning. Number 821 CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Association of Alaska School Boards, said he views this legislation as enabling; it gives direction. He said he would like to see this fund established, to be able to at least focus on it as a means of providing the opportunity and equitable access to technology. From a personal point of view, he has found that having access to E Mail helps him to communicate with people. He feels the many uses of technology are critical to the global economy. He believes the future of young people is dependent on their ability to use technology. He supports HB 216. Number 913 KIMBERLY HOMME, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Education, testified in support of CSHB 216, which establishes the education technology fund and the consequent program that would result. The department feels that having a technology fund is the first step to having a commitment to appropriating the funding that's needed. The goal of the fund is to create a better trained and more productive work force. The department is concerned that the bill doesn't appropriate dollars for technology for libraries and schools because it's an empty shell, but it does provide the frame work for future deposits by private business, perspective grants from the federal government and hopefully future appropriations by the legislature. These monies would then be applied for by school districts and libraries for the purchases of education technology and the associated training that goes with new technology. The department would be allowed to deduct administrative fees from the account to pay for the work associated with administering the fund and the program. The department believes if the frame work for the fund is established, there ultimately would be a mechanism available to enable the state and local school districts to provide the ability for children and citizens with the opportunity to learn technology and its uses. Ms. Homme referred to Co-Chair Toohey's comment on the Board of Education's concern about technology and education and said just last fall the board adopted statewide voluntary technology standards for students. The department has outlined in regulation what children are expected to know and do with technology, as well as other areas of the curriculum. Number 1050 CO-CHAIR BUNDE turned the gavel over to Co-Chair Toohey as he had to leave for another committee meeting. Number 1061 KAREN JORDAN, Past President, of the Alaska Society for Technology and Education, testified the Society fully supports HB 216. She is the technology coordinator for the Juneau School District and personally supports the bill. She shared an anecdote about a girl who had a new E Mail connection with her father, whom she previously saw only twice a year, but now was able to communicate with him daily. She cited several other examples of how technology is currently being used by students. The Juneau School District is connected to the Internet throughout the district. As had been previously testified, this bill will set up a fund; it will be a zero balance fund to begin with, but there are many people throughout the state that are eager and willing to work on subsequent funding through grants from private corporations and other sources. We need to make sure that students as they are graduating have the skills needed for jobs and employability. She said that one estimate is that 70 percent of the technology jobs after the year 2000 will be high technology jobs. The world is changing, economics are changing and that needs to be addressed in our school systems. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there were other individuals to testify on HB 216. Hearing none, she closed public testimony. Number 1246 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved to pass CSHB 216(HES) out of committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. HB 506 - UNIVERSITY FIRE FIGHTING PROGRAM Number 1306 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY announced the next bill on the agenda was HB 506. MICHAEL McGOWAN, Coordinator and Assistant Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks, testified that Fairbanks has the largest fire science program in the state and is considered by many professionals to be the best in the state, and possibly one of the best in the United States. Currently they have 101 fire science majors. In addition to offering associate degrees in municipal fire, the university is the only campus offering associate degrees in wildland fire and hazardous materials. They also offer courses in emergency trauma training, emergency medical technician, and fire fighter I. The university has a pool of 30 instructors that provide a high level of technical expertise to the program. The university currently offers about 45 courses per year in fire emergency medical services. During the last five years, 97 students have graduated with degrees; of those about 80 percent of them are employed in emergency services or related fields. He has been told by Representative Navarre's office and Mayor Williams of Kenai that the primary purpose of HB 506 is to allow the facility in Kenai to retain all the revenues they generate instead of turning it over to the general fund of the University of Alaska. If that is true, he asked why the fire science program in Fairbanks and Anchorage isn't being included in this bill? He commented that no one seems to understand the true purpose of the bill, and there is concern around the state that this will take away from existing programs. From his point of view, this appears to be an unnecessary duplication of something already being done quite well. He asked committee members not to pass this bill out of committee. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Mr. McGowan if he was saying that program receipts from tuition will cover the cost of training? MR. McGOWAN said that was the information received from Representative Navarre's office and Mayor Williams of Kenai. Apparently the intent is to dedicate the revenues it generates back to the facility rather than to the general fund of the University of Alaska. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there were any questions for Mr. McGowan. She asked the next witness to begin his testimony. Number 1469 THOMAS MONK, Member, Interior Fire Chiefs Association, testified in opposition to HB 506 because of the inaccurate language, the lack of clarity and the failure to consider other fire programs within the state and university system. The association also opposed the legislation due to their inability to get specific answers to questions from the university system regarding the policies and details related to HB 506. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Mr. Monk who he had contacted at the university? MR. MONK responded he had contacted several agencies; the President's office, the Provost, Vice President of Academic Affairs, University Relations, etc. He added that he didn't have specific names, but the people he had talked with were caught completely off guard as they had no knowledge of HB 506. Number 1538 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked for an overview of the structure of the fire training and safety program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. MR. McGOWAN said he could only speak to the Fairbanks campus. The fire science program in Fairbanks is under the Tanana Valley Campus, which is under the College of Rural Alaska. It was his understanding that the Kenai program is just a campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if the fire science was a department or a school under the Tanana Community College. MR. McGOWAN responded it is a program under the Tanana Valley Campus, which is under the College of Rural Alaska. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if there was a school between the program and the Tanana Valley Campus? MR. McGOWAN said it's a direct line. He added they used to be a school of career and continuing education and then merged into the College of Rural Alaska. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY noted that Representative Navarre was in attendance. Number 1633 DAVID BURNETT, Chief, Kenai Fire Department, testified in support of HB 506. He supported the funds coming back to the Mining and Petroleum Training Service (MAPTS) in order to continue the development of this project. He believes it is a viable program and not in conflict with the university's fire science program. Number 1668 REPRESENTATIVE MIKE NAVARRE, Sponsor, said the goal of HB 506 is not to compete with any other fire training facilities around the state. There is a need for the facilities and there will continue to be a need for them. The impetus of bill was his frustration with the university in that this is a program that was an outdoor facility, it had to be moved once because it was generating too much smoke, another outdoor facility was built. Then there were environmental problems and people began to build homes around the facility, so it was going to be moved again in 1988. Another outdoor facility was going to be constructed, but with the changes to the Clean Air Act, he suggested that an indoor state of the art facility be constructed. It is a state of the art facility that is used for all sorts of fire training, but one of the primary uses is for oil fire service training. The oil industry utilizes the facility and are trying, in a cooperative effort, to be able to keep the funds and accumulate enough funds to buy the props necessary, which the university doesn't allow them to do, so they can do the training. The companies are currently buying the props outside in places like Texas, Pennsylvania and Reno, so rather than the dollars being spent out of state, they would be spent instate. He reiterated the legislation is not meant to compete with anybody; it came as a result of his frustration with the university. He is also working with the oil industry to see about utilization of the tax credits that are currently on the statutes as a means of doing a matching type fund, so they would have some input as to what type of props are purchased, so specific growing needs within the oil industry could be met. The Mining and Petroleum Training Service has also been working in development of the training and trying to get commitments for the training for the American companies in the Russian markets. He apologized to the people in Fairbanks who view this as a threat; it is not intended to be that. The thrust is to keep the funds where they are generated because this is a self- funded facility that can continue to grow and meet needs in the state that are currently not being met. Number 1824 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY questioned what exactly gives the legislature the right to dedicate funds. REPRESENTATIVE NAVARRE responded they're not dedicated. They are separately accounted for and then the legislature has discretion in the appropriation process as to the disposition of those funds. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said, "Of program receipts." REPRESENTATIVE NAVARRE said they are like program receipts but the legislature gets to control that through the budget process. He hoped the funds would be allowed to be used at the facility in Kenai, but he couldn't absolutely guarantee that. Number 1858 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the sponsor might consider deleting "Kenai Peninsula" on page 1, line 7, which would imply a statewide institute so the people in Fairbanks could participate. REPRESENTATIVE NAVARRE said he would be happy to come up with one coordinated plan for fire training in the state that would allow for designation of certain types of training being done in certain parts of the state. His frustration with the university is there seems to be a propensity for whenever someone begins something successful as a component of the university system, one of the larger campuses proclaims there's a need and they can generate additional revenues if they set up their own facility. That has happened with the petroleum technology training, which was started in Kenai. He believes there are a lot of programs at the university that should be combined into one comprehensive plan statewide. He commented this is his attempt at getting this one facility in Kenai, which has been generating funds in excess of the amount needed to operate the facility, and that money has been stripped away from them and used in other areas. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was anyone else who wished to testify on HB 506. MR. MONK said that Mr. Tim Biggane, President of the Alaska Fire Chief's Association had been standing by in Fairbanks to testify, but the time allotment didn't afford him the opportunity. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY apologized to those who didn't get to testify and announced HB 506 would be heard again in committee. ADJOURNMENT CO-CHAIR TOOHEY adjourned the meeting of the House Health, Education and Social Services meeting at 5:19 p.m.