Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/27/1996 03:06 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
          HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                          
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                         April 27, 1996                                        
                           3:06 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                                                      
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 98(RLS)                                                
 "An Act making changes related to the aid to families with                    
 dependent children program (AFDC); relating to the duties of the              
 Department of Health and Social Services; establishing a workfare             
 pilot project for AFDC recipients; establishing a diversion program           
 for AFDC applicants; directing the Department of Health and Social            
 Services to seek waivers of applicable federal laws; establishing             
 and relating to the Alaska temporary assistance program and                   
 repealing the AFDC and job opportunity and basic skills programs              
 upon the establishment of federal welfare reform; relating to work            
 activities required under the Alaska temporary assistance program;            
 authorizing qualified entities to contract with the state to                  
 administer all or part of the Alaska temporary assistance program;            
 relating to child support; relating to certain licenses and                   
 applications for a license for persons who are not in substantial             
 compliance with orders, judgments, or payment schedules for child             
 support; relating to an exemption to the State Procurement Code for           
 certain services and contracts under the Alaska temporary                     
 assistance program; relating to disclosure of information that                
 relates to day care assistance and the Alaska temporary assistance            
 program; relating to eligibility for day care benefits administered           
 by the Department of Community and Regional Affairs; amending Rule            
 90.3(c) and (h)(2), Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure; and providing            
 for an effective date."                                                       
      - PASSED HCS CSSB 98(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  SB  98                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/23/95       385    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/23/95       385    (S)   HES, FIN                                          
 03/08/95              (S)   HES AT  9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/08/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/10/95              (S)   HES AT  9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/10/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/13/95              (S)   HES AT 10:00 AM ANCHORAGE LIO                     
 03/13/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/15/95              (S)   HES AT  9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/15/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/17/95              (S)   HES AT  9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/17/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/22/95              (S)   HES AT  9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/22/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/24/95              (S)   HES AT  9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/24/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/25/95              (S)   HES AT  1:00 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/25/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/27/95              (S)   HES AT 10:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/27/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/28/95       809    (S)   HES RPT  CS  3DP        NEW TITLE                 
 03/28/95       809    (S)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (S.HES)                          
 04/06/95              (S)   FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/11/95              (S)   FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/11/95              (S)   FIN AT  2:30 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/12/95              (S)   FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/12/95              (S)   FIN AT  2:30 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/04/96              (S)   FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/09/96              (S)   FIN AT 10:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/11/96              (S)   FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/12/96              (S)   FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/13/96              (S)   FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/14/96              (S)   FIN AT  3:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/15/96              (S)   FIN AT  8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/16/96              (S)   FIN AT  9:30 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/17/96              (S)   FIN AT  5:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/18/96              (S)   FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 04/22/96      3406    (S)   FIN RPT  CS  5DP 2NR    NEW TITLE                 
 04/22/96      3407    (S)   FISCAL NOTES TO CS (REV, DOE,                     
 04/22/96      3407    (S)   DPS, DCED-3, F&G-2, DHSS-13                       
 04/22/96      3407    (S)   ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LABOR, DHSS-2)                 
 04/24/96              (S)   RLS AT 10:30 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                 
 04/24/96      3490    (S)   RLS RPT CS & CALENDAR 4/24                        
                             NEW TITLE                                         
 04/24/96      3491    (S)   PREVIOUS FNS (REV, DOE,                           
                             LABOR-2, DPS,                                     
 04/24/96      3491    (S)   DCED-3, F&G-2, DHSS-13)                           
 04/24/96      3491    (S)   PREVIOUS ZERO FNS (LABOR, DHSS-2)                 
 04/25/96      3552    (S)   ZERO FN TO RLS CS (F&G)                           
 04/24/96      3521    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 04/24/96      3522    (S)   RLS  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                      
 04/24/96      3522    (S)   AM NO  1     FAILED  Y9 N11                       
 04/24/96      3522    (S)   ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN                    
 04/24/96      3522    (S)   READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 98(RLS)                 
 04/24/96      3523    (S)   PASSED Y19 N1                                     
 04/24/96      3524    (S)   EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                 
 04/24/96      3524    (S)   COURT RULE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                     
 04/24/96      3524    (S)   R.Phillips NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION              
 04/25/96      3578    (S)   RECONSIDERATION NOT TAKEN UP                      
 04/25/96      3580    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                
 04/26/96      4033    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/26/96      4034    (H)   HES, FINANCE, MAJORITY LEADER'S                   
 04/27/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 SENATOR LYDA GREEN                                                            
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 423                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-6600                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of CSSB 98(RLS)                                  
 JIM NORDLUND, Director                                                        
 Division of Public Assistance                                                 
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110640                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0640                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3347                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 98(RLS)                                
 CURT LOMAS                                                                    
 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:  Answered questions on CSSB 98(RLS)                       
 DON SHIRCEL, Director                                                         
 Family Services                                                               
 Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                      
 122 1st Avenue, Suite 600                                                     
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 452-8251                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 98(RLS)                                
 HEIDI DRYGAS                                                                  
 P.O. Box 70167                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99707                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 488-6001                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 98(RLS)                                
 JULIE CHANG                                                                   
 1500 Carr Avenue                                                              
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99709                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 456-7466                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 98(RLS)                                
 GLENDA STRAUBE, Director                                                      
 Child Support Enforcement Division                                            
 Department of Revenue                                                         
 550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 310                                                
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 269-6804                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 98(RLS)                                
 MIKE TIBBLES, Legislative Assistant                                           
   to Senator Lyda Green                                                       
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 423                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3762                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on CSSB 98(RLS)                       
 KRISTEN BOMENGEN, Assistant Attorney General                                  
 Civil Division                                                                
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3600                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on CSSB 98(RLS)                       
 KAREN PERDUE, Commissioner                                                    
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110601                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0601                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3030                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided comments on CSSB 98(RLS)                        
 LOUISE CHARLES                                                                
 Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                      
 122 1st Avenue, Suite 600                                                     
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 452-8251                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSSB 98(RLS)                                
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 96-47, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 The House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee            
 was called to order by CO-CHAIR CON BUNDE at 3:06 p.m.  Members               
 present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde, Toohey, G.           
 Davis, Robinson and Brice.                                                    
 SB 98 - WELFARE REFORM: TEMPORARY ASSIST. PROGRAM                           
 Number 037                                                                    
 SENATOR LYDA GREEN, Sponsor of CSSB 98(RLS), said the metamorphoses           
 version of SB 98(FIN) came through quite a process and there had              
 been a number of work sessions in the Senate.  Earlier in the                 
 legislative session, discussions took place with the Department of            
 Health & Social Services who requested there be a combination                 
 comprehensive waiver bill.  Work began on that, but the department            
 came back and indicated that probably wouldn't work because the               
 Welfare Reform Act was not going to pass.  They came back later and           
 said it was going to pass and they wanted the comprehensive and the           
 waiver package together.  She directed the committee's attention to           
 the graph and said many of the provisions under the column marked             
 "In HB 78" were in the legislation last year; also, some of the               
 language in the Governor's bill was usurped and included in the               
 waiver portion of the legislation and some of the penalties were              
 applied to the comprehensive portion of CSSB 98(RLS).  She                    
 explained that the check marks in the far right hand column                   
 indicated the sections of the bill that provided savings; perhaps             
 not this year, but next year.                                                 
 SENATOR GREEN pointed out that some of language in the waiver                 
 portion of the bill was repeated in the comprehensive section to              
 the extent possible.  She began her sectional analysis saying that            
 Section 1 is simply the waiver application and the workfare                   
 project.  Only one control is required this year and three                    
 experimental groups, which was at the request of the Department of            
 Health & Social Services.  That basically sets up the workfare                
 SENATOR GREEN said Section 47.25.302 is the earned income                     
 disregard, waiver of the 100 hour rule and the increase in the                
 amount of the value of the auto which was all taken directly from             
 HB 78.                                                                        
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY inquired as to the make-up of the three groups.               
 SENATOR GREEN thought it was population areas.                                
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if it was the same as HB 78.                            
 SENATOR GREEN responded that it was basically the same.  She                  
 directed the committee's attention to page 2, lines 17-23, which              
 speaks to the make-up of the experimental groups.  The requirements           
 for people to be in the workfare program begin on page 3 and                  
 continue on page 4.  The diversion program begins on page 6, which            
 is sort of an emergency status.  For example, if a person is ready            
 to begin a job but doesn't have everything in place and has a need            
 for some temporary assistance, that person could earn the                     
 equivalent of two months benefits but the person forgoes the right            
 to come back and apply for long-term benefits.  If they do however,           
 what has been paid to them is prorated as a deduction over the next           
 12 months.                                                                    
 Number 457                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE inquired if the person who applied for a lump-sum              
 forgoes the right to come back for a year.                                    
 SENATOR GREEN confirmed that.  She explained the thinking behind              
 that was a person may need some assistance to get them into the job           
 very quickly, but doesn't have enough money to get their family               
 through to the first paycheck.                                                
 SENATOR GREEN continued her analysis with Section 2, Ineligibility            
 for Assistance.  She said the first revision on disqualification              
 for welfare fraud was similar to HB 78, however, there was a                  
 permanent disqualification for welfare fraud in HB 78 and that                
 particular waiver had not been approved nationwide.  The                      
 legislation was redrafted so for the first disqualification there             
 is 6 months, 12 months for the second disqualification and                    
 permanently for the third disqualification.  She pointed out this             
 applies to people who are convicted of welfare fraud.  She didn't             
 think there were a lot of people convicted, but at least this is a            
 standard for the department.                                                  
 Number 553                                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN said one of the things that had been added that she             
 had a lot of trouble with was an annual income check.  For example,           
 individuals who work seasonally or have a profitable job for a few            
 months out of the year, choose not to work anymore, stash the money           
 and/or assets and apply for assistance later on because they don't            
 have a job, are not held responsible for the large sum of money               
 earned earlier in the year.  She noted this seems to be a rather              
 cumbersome and difficult thing to do.  Although the person is                 
 questioned and has to attest to income earned and assets held, this           
 legislation includes language that if anyone knowingly and                    
 intentionally transfers their assets to another, that individual              
 will be disqualified with penalties.  She explained the job quit              
 penalties apply to an individual who quits a job without good cause           
 and are one month for the first refusal or separation without good            
 cause, six months for the second refusal or separation without good           
 cause, and 12 months for the third and subsequent refusal or                  
 separation without good cause.                                                
 SENATOR GREEN referred to page 9, line 15, Assistance to Minors               
 with Children, and said this goes back to the language in HB 78,              
 the Governor's bill and the original SB 98 and is the language                
 where minor parents would be required to live in approved adult               
 settings; preferably with their own family, but if not, there are             
 alternates and choices.  She pointed out that if a minor had lived            
 apart from their parents for a year prior to the pregnancy, this              
 requirement can be waived.  She added that a provision on page 10,            
 line 12, states the department can waive the requirements if the              
 department otherwise determines under regulations that there is               
 good cause.  For example, if a minor is nearly 18 years of age,               
 they would not have to move back in with an adult.                            
 Number 720                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if emancipated children were taken into                 
 SENATOR GREEN responded they were included.                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE informed individuals standing by on teleconference             
 that testimony would be heard after Senator Green concluded her               
 briefing.  He asked if the above section included a provision for             
 those situations when it was in the best interest of the child not            
 to go back to the adult living situation.                                     
 SENATOR GREEN confirmed that and added there were many alternate              
 choices given.                                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE NORM ROKEBERG arrived at 3:17 p.m.                             
 SENATOR GREEN said the department had brought up the issue of                 
 accumulated benefits, where a person had gone to every agency and             
 taken advantage of every possible benefit.  She noted there are               
 shelter allowances, utility provisions, etc.  At this point, an               
 individual on benefits can get housing assistance, utility                    
 assistance or other types of assistance and get the same amount of            
 Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) as the individual              
 who is getting no other types of assistance.  She explained that              
 with certain provisions for the shelter allowance built in, this              
 legislation says that the shelter allowance will be deducted.                 
 There will be a substantial savings once this is implemented by the           
 Number 923                                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN referred to page 11, line 11, which states in part,             
 "the department shall, for the months of July, August, and                    
 September, reduce by 50 percent the maximum assistance for which              
 the family is otherwise eligible for assistance if the family's               
 eligibility for assistance is based on the unemployment of the                
 family's principal wage earner."  This deals with the two-parent              
 family and the assumption is that there are more job opportunities            
 as well as opportunities to hunt, fish or whatever, to make the               
 total amount of money necessary for existence during that time.               
 She commented there are less expenses in most of Alaska and more              
 job opportunities to two-parent families during that time period.             
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that the commissioner may decide that is             
 not warranted.                                                                
 SENATOR GREEN said there is some "wiggle room" and it has to do               
 with temporary economic conditions.  For example, if for some                 
 reason there was a temporary, unexpected economic condition, the              
 commissioner may decide that it was not feasible to fully implement           
 this provision.                                                               
 SENATOR GREEN said under the Time Limits on Benefits section, a               
 family is not eligible for more than 24 months of assistance during           
 any 60 consecutive months that occur after the effective date of              
 this section.                                                                 
 Number 1025                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the two-year time limit included                      
 individuals who participate in the workfare or jobs program, as               
 well as individuals who do not participate.                                   
 SENATOR GREEN responded it is to participants in the waivers to the           
 workfare and the jobs program.  She noted this was under the waiver           
 portion, but it applied to all in the comprehensive portion.  She             
 added, "When I say all, that's with a certain number of waivers               
 available."  There are waivers in this section on the top of page             
 12 for people who would not be required to go off from assistance             
 after 24 months and include:  (1) an individual who is a caretaker            
 or spouse of a caretaker of a dependent child or who is a pregnant            
 woman and is determined to be physically or mentally unable to                
 perform a gainful activity or a parent who is providing care for a            
 child who is experiencing a disability; (2) an individual who has             
 cooperated in every way, but has failed to meet the requirements or           
 has a temporary and verified physical condition that prohibits them           
 from attaining and maintaining employment, etc.  She said there is            
 enough room for exceptions.                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE referred to page 12, line 8, and asked under what              
 circumstances would an individual fall into this category of having           
 cooperated with the department.                                               
 SENATOR GREEN replied it could be someone who has been required to            
 go to school or a training activity.                                          
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE referenced page 12, line 19, and said it was his               
 understanding that a person has to earn approximately $15 per hour            
 to equal the benefits from assistance.  He questioned if page 12,             
 lines 22-25, implied that a person making less than $15 per hour              
 could stay on assistance.                                                     
 SENATOR GREEN deferred that question to the Department of Health &            
 Social Services.                                                              
 Number 1190                                                                   
 JIM NORDLUND, Director, Division of Public Assistance, Department             
 of Health & Social Services, said basically that's a provision that           
 applies in situations where there are no employment opportunities             
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented the way he read it was "or if there was an           
 employment opportunity where an individual would make less than               
 what they would make on assistance."                                          
 MR. NORDLUND responded that's correct, but he thought Co-Chair                
 Bunde was incorrect in his assumption that $15 an hour is the level           
 of assistance paid in this state.  He thought perhaps Co-Chair                
 Bunde was referring to the Cato study released earlier in the year            
 that indicated that Alaska's equivalent benefit level equals $15 an           
 hour.  He said that is not accurate.  The department has done a               
 response to that report pointing out the flawed methodology that              
 exists in the report and according to the department's                        
 calculations, the benefit levels would be more on the order of $6             
 an hour.                                                                      
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that an individual who doesn't make more             
 than $6 per hour would then probably fall under the provision.                
 Number 1285                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked for a copy of the department's                  
 response to that report.                                                      
 MR. NORDLUND responded he would make that available for the                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked that assistance is similar throughout the             
 state, so geographic differences wouldn't matter.                             
 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE pointed out that it depends on the size of           
 the family, as well.                                                          
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE offered the larger the family, the larger the wage             
 before falling out of compliance.                                             
 MR. NORDLUND said this would not be employed in a situation where             
 it would be an either/or.  It would be a situation in which there             
 might be some earned income that's available to the family that               
 could help supplement the benefit and with the earned income                  
 disregard provisions that would take effect in this bill, there are           
 situations in which a family will be allowed to save more of their            
 earned income without seeing a reduction in their benefit to a                
 certain level.  He added that's one of the primary incentives in              
 this legislation for encouraging individuals to go to work.  He               
 said, "I don't believe this provision would ever be employed in a             
 situation in which an individual say for example, could earn $4 an            
 hour on a job wouldn't be required to take that job just because it           
 didn't earn whatever you think the benefit level would be worth,              
 for example $6 an hour."  But the benefit would supplement to make            
 up the difference for the person working in a $4 an hour job.                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he supported the provision that allowed an                
 individual to keep more of the wages earned.  He asked Mr. Nordlund           
 if it was his understanding that people would be working at                   
 whatever work was available.                                                  
 MR. NORDLUND replied that was right and if there was simply no work           
 available, there is a provision that allows for them to not come              
 under this section.  Mr. Nordlund asked Curt Lomas to join him at             
 the witness table.                                                            
 Number 1403                                                                   
 CURT LOMAS, Welfare Reform Program, Division of Public Assistance,            
 Department of Health & Social Services, verified that what Mr.                
 Nordlund and Senator Green had said was essentially correct.  He              
 noted there is another section of the bill that ties in with this             
 which requires people to accept a job if it is available to them              
 and there is a penalty if they do not.  The department expects to             
 have a number of people in their caseload that are working but not            
 earning enough to earn their way out of the caseload.  He commented           
 this provision adds an incentive for people to continue to                    
 cooperate and to try to achieve employment that will eventually               
 allow them to leave the caseload without penalizing them for                  
 accepting whatever is available.  If a person is working full time            
 at a minimum wage job, their assistance may be extended as long as            
 they play by the rules.  There is a requirement tied to this on               
 page 12, line 8, so essentially there is a clause for families                
 where the adults play by the rules and do whatever is required of             
 them under the work programs, but they are still unable to earn a             
 wage that would support their family at the level of the AFDC                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said, "Again, just for the record, this is in your             
 view allowing people -- requiring people to work at what work is              
 available and then allowing benefits to supplement what they earn             
 and this is not at all to be viewed as someone, say, who turned               
 down a job, can be eligible for benefits because the job would not            
 pay as much or more as benefits."                                             
 MR. LOMAS said, "No, there are other provisions that disqualify               
 someone from turning down a job without good cause.  The fact that            
 the wage is not sufficient really wouldn't be good cause under                
 these provisions and the supplement of the AFDC grant would be                
 available to them.  As Mr. Nordlund pointed out, the increased                
 earned income disregards would allow them to retain more of their             
 earnings, so we would expect that under the regulations that were             
 established that if someone could only find part-time work or full            
 time work that wasn't sufficient, they would be expected to remain            
 in the job."                                                                  
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that was his understanding and he                    
 certainly supports what is trying to be achieved.  He added that he           
 wanted it clear on the record so that some time in the future an              
 individual wouldn't say the job didn't pay enough so he/she wished            
 to remain on assistance.                                                      
 Number 1536                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG expressed concern with the language because           
 there is a clear recitation of the words "total net income and                
 equal to the level of income."  He asked if this wouldn't require             
 the department to have an ongoing formula in place to make that               
 MR. NORDLUND said the department already does that with current               
 recipients who have some earned income.  He explained there is a              
 calculation currently that causes a certain reduction in the                  
 benefit to account for that earned income.                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG confirmed that it was already in place and            
 would not be a burden on the department.                                      
 MR. NORDLUND said with the provisions in this bill, the department            
 would have to reprogram that formula so it allows individuals to              
 keep a little bit more.                                                       
 MR. LOMAS interjected that currently people in the caseload who are           
 working are required to submit verification of income.  Basically,            
 a person has to submit all of their pay stubs, so the department              
 has ready access to that information.                                         
 MR. NORDLUND added there are quite a few system changes that are a            
 result of this entire welfare reform effort that have been                    
 reflected both in the department's budget request this year and in            
 the fiscal note on the legislation.                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG assumed that apparently there was a                   
 threshold number that could have an impact on benefits.                       
 Number 1608                                                                   
 SENATOR GREEN said the next section was on school attendance.   A             
 system was worked on last year whereby parents would be held                  
 responsible for their children to be in school.  That seemed to be            
 kind of a hassle to work through, so this year it was modified to             
 be the teen parents (indisc.) in school and there will be mandatory           
 school attendance, as defined in regulations of the department.               
 She added the department feels they can regulate and monitor that             
 with the primary concern being first the child and that the minor             
 parent finish their education which would be high school at a                 
 Number 1653                                                                   
 SENATOR GREEN pointed out that Section 7 begins the comprehensive             
 reform provisions and includes part of the Governor's bill.  The              
 Senate, in reviewing the Governor's bill, had some trouble with               
 some of the provisions so they were dropped; however, they had                
 tried to take the most important issues from the Governor's bill.             
 This section is called the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program.               
 The first section describes the duties of the department as they              
 start to put the program into place.                                          
 Number 1693                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS brought up the issue of school attendance           
 as opposed to school enrollment.  To him, attendance is interpreted           
 as attending but he noted there is home schooling and under the GED           
 program a student can study at home and just go in and take the               
 SENATOR GREEN said discussions had taken place and added that                 
 enrollment might be a better word.  The idea is not to have                   
 someone enrolled only, but working toward the high school diploma             
 whether in a school building, in the home, or with a tutor, and the           
 progress be shared with the department who would be the determining           
 factor.  If the student is not continuing with their education, the           
 benefits for the student would be disregarded but the benefits for            
 the infant would continue.                                                    
 MR. NORDLUND said their attorney from the Department of Law looked            
 at this language and indicated that school attendance in this bill            
 is interpreted broadly to not necessarily mean physical attendance            
 in the building, but also included individuals pursuing a GED or              
 doing home schooling.                                                         
 SENATOR GREEN referred to page 14, line 17, Disqualifying                     
 Conditions, and said that a family may not receive assistance for             
 more than five cumulative years; a family is ineligible if                    
 determined to be fleeing to avoid prosecution; and a family is                
 ineligible 120 months following conviction for fraudulently                   
 misrepresenting their state of residency.  She commented those are            
 some of the situations for which a person would not be allowed to             
 be eligible.  There are other reasons why a person would not be               
 eligible such as leaving employment without good cause,                       
 transferring of assets with the intention of qualifying for                   
 benefits, and other fraud cases.  In each of those cases, there is            
 a set penalty.                                                                
 SENATOR GREEN continued that the Application and Requirements for             
 Assistance on page 16, beginning on line 6, is basically procedural           
 for the department and outlines what is required.  She directed the           
 committee's attention to the family self-sufficiency plan, which is           
 new.  She commented that hopefully, this will be developed between            
 case managers and the applicants for assistance.  It will be very             
 specific, setting benchmarks and time lines.  This gives the                  
 department the ability to set more finely tuned goals for an                  
 individual and get away from the "one size fits all" operation.               
 She noted there had been concern expressed on the Senate floor                
 about people in rural areas and added there might be a different              
 set of self-sufficiency plans for someone in an urban area versus             
 someone in a rural area.  The goal is that it will be more                    
 individually based.                                                           
 Number 1908                                                                   
 SENATOR GREEN said the Family Assistance Section, taken from HB 78,           
 basically sets out the amounts.  She referred to page 17, line 23,            
 and said this is where the 50 percent maximum assistance comes in             
 for July, August and September.  She noted that it was a little               
 less than a 50 percent deduct because not all of it is considered             
 for deduction.                                                                
 MR. LOMAS interjected that in essence, it is capped at 50 percent             
 of the maximum during the other months.  Therefore, it would be 50            
 percent for some cases, but something less for others.                        
 SENATOR GREEN said again, there is the shelter cost provision                 
 deduction so people wouldn't get two kinds of benefits instead of             
 just the one.  She said the diversion payment is included where a             
 person is job ready, but needs some assistance and can stay off the           
 long-term program by getting some temporary help.  Again, there is            
 the Assistance to Minors Section relating to teen parents.  She               
 thought the language was very much the same as it was in the Waiver           
 Program Section of the legislation.  Page 20, line 19, Family Self-           
 sufficiency Plan, sets out the steps taken to develop and sign a              
 family self-sufficiency plan.  Page 21 indicates what the plan will           
 do, and the time period may not provide for any more than a total             
 of 60 months of assistance under this program, which is basically             
 a person's life-time total.  The time period for receiving                    
 assistance may not exceed a cumulative total of 24 months unless              
 the person meets the exclusions set out on page 21, lines 9-14.               
 SENATOR GREEN said there is a work requirement under the                      
 Participation in Work Activities Section.  After receiving a                  
 cumulative total of 24 months of assistance, the participant in the           
 temporary assistance program shall participate in work activities             
 as assigned by the department in order to continue to receive                 
 assistance or services from the department under the Alaska                   
 temporary assistance program, unless the participant is exempt from           
 the work participation requirements under the exemptions listed in            
 Section 47.27.035(b)-(d).                                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Senator Green to explain the provision             
 on page 17, line 21.                                                          
 SENATOR GREEN said generally, under the program only an adult with            
 a child is qualified for this particular kind of assistance, but              
 this provision is for an eligible, pregnant woman who may not                 
 already have a child.                                                         
 MR. LOMAS said the current program provides for assistance in the             
 last trimester of pregnancy for a woman who has no other children.            
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted the use of the word "family."                      
 SENATOR GREEN responded she, the pregnant woman, is the family.               
 MR. LOMAS commented that it is a woman with child.                            
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS clarified that she is not with her family; she           
 is the family.                                                                
 SENATOR GREEN responded that was correct.                                     
 Number 2074                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he was curious about the stipulated              
 dollar amounts of benefits and the relationship to current                    
 schedules, future schedules or adjustments and asked if there was             
 anything else provided for that in the bill.                                  
 MR. NORDLUND said there was a provision toward the end of the bill            
 which he would comment on later.  He noted this pretty much adopts            
 the existing benefit structure.                                               
 MR. LOMAS interjected there was one major exception.  He explained            
 the current payment increment for the second adult in a two-parent            
 family is eliminated unless the second parent is somehow                      
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked what the present circumstance is for            
 that situation?                                                               
 MR. LOMAS said the present circumstance is that if there is a two-            
 parent family, both parents' needs are included in the grant.  In             
 the increment for the second parent it is $102 more than if there             
 was only one parent in the family.  The change is that all families           
 would receive the same amount of benefits if there was one or two             
 parents and based on the number of children in the family, with the           
 single exception that if the second parent had a medical                      
 incapacity, there would be a payment increment for the second                 
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired if it would be like a                        
 developmentally disabled parent.                                              
 MR. LOMAS said the incapacity tests are not quite as strict as the            
 Social Security definition.  Basically, people who meet that                  
 definition are in another program and would not have their needs              
 covered under the AFDC program.                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired if there would be a savings                  
 MR. LOMAS said it would be substantial.  He added the department              
 has about 2,000 families a month that fall into the category that             
 would have the payment increment.                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said all things being equal, they would               
 lose about $102 a month from existing benefits.                               
 MR. LOMAS said that was right.                                                
 Number 2159                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if the need was based on poverty level?            
 MR. LOMAS said it was based on a number of tests related to assets            
 and income.                                                                   
 SENATOR GREEN said the Participation in Work Activities Section on            
 page 21 sets the 24 month time limit that a person would (indisc.).           
 Number 2191                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said, "Under the diversion payment with the              
 60-month total assistance -- a person gets for the diversion                  
 project, a two month benefit handed out to them and they are not              
 eligible for another year, does that two month benefit count                  
 towards one year in checking off for the life-time benefit?"                  
 SENATOR GREEN said the total amount would be the same.                        
 MR. NORDLUND said, "The one year is that you're not eligible for              
 another diversion payment for another year."                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE inquired if the two months only would be                 
 MR. NORDLUND responded the person would get two months worth of               
 benefits as a diversion payment.  That is counted against the                 
 person basically, if the person needs to come back onto the                   
 program.  If the person does come back on the program, that two               
 months of payments is prorated over a three month period, so                  
 essentially the program is back to even.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented so it's almost as if the person                
 didn't use that against their 60-month total.                                 
 SENATOR GREEN referred to the Participation in Work Activities                
 Section again and said after 24 months of assistance, people will             
 be in work activities and there are some exemptions.  For example,            
 a person who has a child under 12 months of age, if a person is               
 taking care of a person with a disability, medical reasons with               
 medical documentation, an unreasonable hardship on the family, if             
 a person demonstrates an inability to obtain needed child care for            
 a child under 6 years of age and if the parent is the sole                    
 custodial parent for a child under 6 years of age.  Again, if                 
 everything is in line for a participant who chooses not to                    
 participate in the work activity, that person loses eligibility.              
 SENATOR GREEN explained that under the Assignment of Support                  
 Rights; Cooperation with Child Support Enforcement Agency Section,            
 if a person receives any child support rights while on benefits,              
 those benefits go into the child support.                                     
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if it would be added or subtracted.                     
 SENATOR GREEN said it would go in as a repayment.                             
 SENATOR GREEN noted that one of the things worked on last year was            
 the establishment of paternity.                                               
 TAPE 96-47, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN pointed out this legislation stresses that                      
 establishment of paternity is important in trying to find the                 
 rightful person to assist with the support of the children.  If               
 information is provided which helps with the identification of that           
 person, the department may distribute to an Alaska temporary                  
 assistance program participant $50 per month from a monthly child             
 support payment, or the amount of the child support payment if it             
 is less than $50, received by the child support enforcement agency            
 for the support of a child.  She explained that if regular payments           
 are made through the Child Support Enforcement Agency to the mother           
 by the father of the child, they would get an extra $50 a month.              
 SENATOR GREEN referred to the Grants and Contracts for Services               
 Section on page 23, beginning on line 16, and said it is not                  
 anticipated that state agencies will be doing every function, but             
 there would be grants and contracts for these programs.                       
 Number 043                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked what happens when there is noncooperation of            
 the teen mother as to the identity of the father.                             
 MR. LOMAS said this mirrors what is currently in law.  In effect,             
 when an individual is not cooperating with the Child Support                  
 Enforcement Agency, and paternity establishment is one element                
 under Child Support Enforcement, it is a penalty against the grant.           
 Basically, the needs of the noncooperating individual are removed             
 from the grant which amounts to about a 50 percent reduction in               
 assistance until they cooperate.                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON sought clarification regarding good             
 cause for noncooperation; for example a victim of sexual abuse                
 would not be forced to cooperate.                                             
 MR. LOMAS said there are provisions in current law that allow for             
 good cause exemptions for situations where either the mother or the           
 child's life or health would be endangered because of cooperation.            
 The department would intend to continue a similar policy.                     
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to page 23, lines 8-12, and asked if            
 a father is making child support payments of $50 a month or less,             
 the participant of the temporary assistance would receive an                  
 additional $50?                                                               
 SENATOR GREEN said only the amount that is paid.  She added there             
 was a general provision that when the noncustodial parent was                 
 regularly paying the child support, there would be a bonus to the             
 custodial parent of $50 per month.  There are times when the child            
 support is less than $50 per month; therefore, there is no                    
 guarantee of receiving a $50 bonus, but it would be no more than              
 the amount paid if it is less than $50.                                       
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY inquired if that amount would be deducted from any            
 MR. LOMAS responded this currently happens under existing law; this           
 merely authorizes it under the new program.  In effect, whenever a            
 collection is made against a current obligation, the custodial                
 parent is allowed to retain the first $50 of the payment against              
 current obligations.  Collections against arrearages generally                
 would not fall under this provision.                                          
 SENATOR GREEN continued with her analysis that municipalities,                
 other political subdivisions of the state, nonprofit corporations,            
 churches, and incorporated and unincorporated businesses operating            
 within the state that meet the requirements established by the                
 department could be included under the Grants and Contracts For               
 Services Section.  She explained there are many communities in                
 Alaska where local agency representatives are not available and               
 this provision allows the opportunity for communities to provide              
 those services.                                                               
 Number 190                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said there had been some discussions in the           
 legislature to get tribal sovereignty and IRA organizations                   
 qualified for grants to become incorporated under state law.                  
 SENATOR GREEN noted the language in this section had been designed            
 to include incorporated and unincorporated businesses operating               
 within the state that meet the requirements.  She thought this was            
 in current statute.                                                           
 SENATOR GREEN said the Agency Collaboration Section basically                 
 states the Department of Health & Social Services will operate with           
 other departments in using programs that are available so services            
 are not duplicated.                                                           
 SENATOR GREEN stated the Alaska Native Organizations' Family                  
 Assistance Programs Section was structured to include the 13                  
 recognized regional corporations.  The first 12 listed are                    
 incorporated; the Metlakatla Indian Community is accepted only if             
 the community waives any claim to sovereign immunity with respect             
 to matters involved with the family assistance program.  She                  
 pointed out that Section 47.27.070(b) states, "The department may             
 cooperate with the Alaska Native organizations named in (a) of this           
 section to propose program criteria to the Secretary of the United            
 States Department of Health and Human Services in order to promote            
 programs comparable to the state program in the same area."                   
 Section 47.27.070(c) further states, "Notwithstanding other                   
 provisions of this section, the department may coordinate with an             
 Alaskan Native organization under (a) of this section only if, for            
 purposes of this chapter, the Alaska Native organization                      
 incorporates a nonprofit entity under state law and the nonprofit             
 entity is active and in good standing, as determined by the                   
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development."  She commented              
 this language was drafted to address the concerns expressed by                
 Representative Rokeberg.  She remarked the department needs to have           
 the ability to move forward in working with the 13 regional                   
 corporations and their nonprofit entities to develop programs if              
 federal welfare reform is passed.  Under the federal welfare                  
 program, there would be the opportunity for the money to go                   
 directly to any of the regional corporations, but only 50 percent             
 of what they now receive because it would be minus the state match.           
 She thought the commissioner would rather see this coordinated and            
 be a statewide program through which the department is involved and           
 has the ability to work with the regional corporations to have a              
 consistent program throughout the state.                                      
 Number 297                                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN referred to the Emergency Account Established and               
 said it is anticipated that at times there will be extra monies               
 coming through from the federal government that may not be expended           
 in the fiscal year for which they were appropriated.  This section            
 allows that money to be set aside.                                            
 SENATOR GREEN remarked that the Appeals; Dispute Resolution Section           
 is under existing law.  The Sanctions; Recovery of Costs Section is           
 the repayment and recovery of cost if a person fails to heed and              
 work in the Work Activities or Self-sufficiency Plan.   Subsection            
 (b) establishes the penalties for applicants who fail to cooperate            
 with establishment of paternity.  Subsection (c) allows the                   
 department to recover assistance and services that were paid to               
 participants who were not entitled to receive them.  She commented            
 this basically restates some of the language in existing law.                 
 Number 415                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE referred to the language under the Sanctions             
 Section on page 26, line 23, "fails to comply with a condition of             
 the family self-sufficiency plan" and said that appears to be                 
 inflexible in the sense that it doesn't take into consideration the           
 weight of the condition in the plan as a whole.                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY pointed out the language reads "without good                  
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if that was unnecessarily rigid?                   
 SENATOR GREEN noted that the applicant would be involved in                   
 developing their self-sufficiency plan.  She anticipated there                
 would be a method by which at some point the applicant could amend            
 the self-sufficiency plan, with the idea being that there are still           
 time frames for waiver provisions and exemptions.  She thought this           
 would apply to the person who refuses to meet the conditions of the           
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY thought there was flexibility in the wording                  
 "without good cause."                                                         
 MR. NORDLUND pointed out the family self-sufficiency plan is                  
 developed in a collaborative way between the recipient and the case           
 worker to set a course of action that is truly achievable.  He                
 added the plan is available to being amended if the circumstances             
 of the individual change.  The department believes, however, there            
 needs to be some sanctions for an individual who is unwilling to              
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said his concern was for the individual who              
 may want to amend their plan with respect to changing curriculum              
 from an associates degree to a bachelors degree, for example.                 
 MR. LOMAS remarked the department views the self-sufficiency plan             
 as a living document that can be amended if circumstances change              
 and the department recognizes that not everything is going to work            
 out exactly according to the plan.  He added that before an                   
 individual was declared out of compliance, the department would               
 give that person the opportunity to respond to a noncompliance                
 notice and allow the person to negotiate an amendment to the plan.            
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked the individuals standing by on teleconference           
 if they wished to testify on a section of the legislation that                
 Senator Green had addressed.                                                  
 Number 573                                                                    
 DON SHIRCEL, Director of Family Services, Tanana Chiefs Conference            
 (TCC), said that prior to the debate on welfare reform and even               
 before the Alaska Native Commission report which calls for                    
 fundamental changes in programs which foster dependency, TCC area             
 tribes initiated the first regionwide program to require all                  
 recipients of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) general assistance to            
 work for the benefits they receive, allowing reasonable exemptions            
 for only those individuals who were disabled or infirmed.  When the           
 administration was transferred from the BIA to TCC, the program               
 went from 100 percent recipients receiving a monthly check to 98              
 percent of all recipients participating in work that needed to done           
 in their village.  This transfer occurred with no additional                  
 administrative costs to the BIA and after the third year of                   
 operation, the program reported a 5 percent reduction in cost                 
 without reducing household benefits.  The program helps get                   
 everybody to work and helps get things done in the villages at a              
 lesser cost than when the BIA merely doled out monthly checks.  He            
 said tribally-administered job programs, the jobs opportunity and             
 basic skills programs around the state have successfully provided             
 families on welfare with training and support, thereby moving                 
 tribal families off welfare and into jobs.                                    
 MR. SHIRCEL said TCC wishes to support the efforts put forward by             
 the legislature and by the Administration in crafting state welfare           
 reform legislation.  There remains, however, four major issues that           
 TCC feels need to be addressed before they can fully support SB 98.           
 First and foremost is the issue of tribally operated assistance               
 programs.  He stated that page 25, line 26, calls for the                     
 department to cooperate with the Alaska Native organizations named            
 to propose program criteria to the Secretary of the United States             
 Department of Health and Human Services in order to promote                   
 programs comparable to the state program in the state area.  Under            
 the anticipated federal law, tribes through these Alaska Native               
 organizations named will receive 50 percent of the funding                    
 currently paid to eligible households.  He noted that is the                  
 federal share, as was mentioned.  Without assurances in this                  
 legislation that the state will transfer matching funds, it would             
 be impossible for the Native organizations to provide the services            
 that would promote programs comparable to the state program in the            
 same area, as stated in CSSB 98(RLS).  For that reason, TCC                   
 recommends that line 26 be changed from "may" to "shall" and insert           
 "and is authorized to transfer state matching funds" on line 28               
 following Department of Health and Human Services.  Therefore,                
 Section 47.27.070(b) would read as follows: "The department shall             
 cooperate with the Alaska Native organizations named in (a) of this           
 section to propose program criteria to the Secretary of the United            
 States Department of Health and Human Services and is authorized to           
 transfer state matching funds in order to promote programs                    
 comparable to the state program in the same area."                            
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY stated she appreciated the proposed language                  
 offered, but she would make no comment until it had been reviewed             
 by the Department of Health & Social Services or by the Legal                 
 Services Division to make sure the language was compatible or that            
 it hadn't already been addressed.                                             
 MR. SHIRCEL continued TCC's second area of concern deals with                 
 Section 44 which amends current law to hold natural and adoptive              
 grandparents responsible for child support in cases where the                 
 child's parents are minors.  Tanana Chiefs Conference supports the            
 position of the National Association of Social Workers on this                
 issue and recommends that Section 44 be deleted entirely from the             
 legislation.  He remarked that in some rural communities,                     
 grandparents have already adopted their grandchildren because they            
 have been orphaned or the parents have relinquished their parental            
 rights.  In such cases, under this bill as written, great                     
 grandparents could be responsible for child support payments of               
 their great grandchildren.  Likewise, this section of the bill as             
 written, would discourage potential adoptive parties from                     
 considering teen-age children who are difficult to adopt, given the           
 increased liability created under this section.  In general, the              
 assumption that parents can regulate the sexual activity of                   
 adolescent children is without basis and TCC suggests deleting that           
 particular section until further thought is given to the issue.               
 Number 829                                                                    
 MR. SHIRCEL said TCC's third issue deals with confidentiality.                
 Tanana Chiefs Conference supports the position of the Alaska                  
 Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers which                   
 recommends that Section 35 and 36 be deleted and TCC shares their             
 concern that to allow legislators access to an actual list of names           
 of (indisc.) assistance beneficiaries is an undue infringement by             
 the government on an individual's privacy.                                    
 MR. SHIRCEL stated TCC's final concern was Section 3, page 11,                
 particularly the waiver dealing with two-parent households that               
 would have their benefits decreased by 50 percent, and asked that             
 it be reconsidered and the word "and" be deleted and "or" be                  
 inserted on line 17 to allow for greater flexibility on behalf of             
 the commissioner to deal with situations that were previously                 
 mentioned.  He commented the legislation already includes adequate            
 incentives for the commissioner to keep all waivers to a minimum or           
 risk having to implement ratable reductions across the board.  This           
 suggested change would assure that no Alaskan families or children            
 truly in need, especially as the children are getting ready to go             
 to school, would have to fend for themselves and it would maintain            
 the overall integrity of the bill to assure that the commissioner             
 would not make undue waivers.                                                 
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Mr. Shircel to hold further testimony until             
 Senator Green had completed her sectional analysis because he was             
 expressing concern with portions of the bill that had not yet been            
 addressed.  She inquired if any of the other individuals had                  
 testimony relating to any of the sections already covered by                  
 Senator Green's sectional analysis.                                           
 HEIDI DRYGAS testified from Fairbanks via teleconference.  She                
 referenced page 11, lines 11-19, regarding the 50 percent reduction           
 for two-parent households in July, August and September and said it           
 didn't make sense that a family's income should be reduced just               
 because it's the summer months.  She commented the assumption that            
 a person won't need as much income if they find a job is                      
 inappropriate.  She added that available jobs may be filled with              
 other members of the village.                                                 
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said the discussion had been that subsistence and             
 jobs were plentiful, less heat was required, child care was                   
 available because school was out, and basically there was just an             
 overall reduction in needs for a family during the summer months.             
 MS. DRYGAS understood that jobs were available during the summer              
 months, but they are taken by other people looking for a job also.            
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Julie Chang wished to testify at this                
 Number 1032                                                                   
 JULIE CHANG testified from Fairbanks also addressing the 50 percent           
 reduction for two-parent households.  She noted that Co-Chair                 
 Toohey had spoken about subsistence and less heat being required in           
 the summer, but that didn't support the children's needs of shoes             
 and/or clothing.  She commented there may be more jobs available in           
 the summer but if a person travels to another area for a job, they            
 have to pay for housing, etc.                                                 
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY thanked Ms. Chang for her testimony and asked                 
 Senator Green to continue with the sectional analysis.                        
 SENATOR GREEN resumed her sectional analysis explaining there were            
 several pages of definitions.  She pointed out that every reference           
 to AFDC and aid had been changed to assistance and to the Alaska              
 Temporary Assistance Program.  She continued that Section 12, Rate            
 of Interest, states there will be rate of reduction from 12 percent           
 to 6 percent a year or a lesser rate when the amount is being                 
 collected for arrearages.  She noted this was requested by the                
 Child Support Enforcement Division.                                           
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if that was simply not "getting blood out of             
 a turnip?"                                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN thought the interest rates were much higher when that           
 provision was initially established.  She noted that the Child                
 Support Enforcement Division could do this on their own, but they             
 really wanted it in statute so it wouldn't fluctuate up to a higher           
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired as to what the interest was being            
 charged for.                                                                  
 SENATOR GREEN responded for arrearages on child support payments.             
 SENATOR GREEN said Sections 14 and 15 were basically technical                
 changes for the new program.  She directed the committee's                    
 attention to Section 22, Relief from Administrative Order and said            
 this section allows CSED to administratively vacate an order based            
 on a default amount upon the motion of an obligor.  Upon the motion           
 of an obligator, the agency may, at any time, vacate an                       
 administrative support order that was based upon a default amount             
 rather than on the obligor's actual ability to pay.  She said,                
 "There are established amounts for any individual in the state,               
 we'll call it amount X and if someone has not come forward with               
 their payroll stub or given them the information about the amount             
 of money they make, they base this money on -- say it's $1,000 a              
 month -- that's what you're going to owe, but if that person comes            
 forward later and says you miscalculated what I owe, even though I            
 wasn't willing to come in and talk to you about the situation, but            
 I only got $600 a month, they could recalculate and lower or fix              
 the amount."  She noted this had been changed in the Senate to                
 "upon the motion of an obligor."  Previously, the agency, the                 
 obligor or the obligee could do this.  She added this can now be              
 done by the division but questioned Glenda Straube if the division            
 had to go to court?                                                           
 GLENDA STRAUBE, Director, Child Support Enforcement Division,                 
 Department of Revenue, responded yes.                                         
 SENATOR GREEN said this has been presented by CSED as an obligor's            
 dream.  There are some individuals in the Senate who doubt this               
 alleged description and asked Ms. Straube to address that.                    
 MS. STRAUBE said the division is carrying about $110 million in               
 arrears that are based on default judgments.  She hastened to                 
 correct that the division has over $300 million in arrearages, but            
 approximately one-third are based on default judgments.  The                  
 obligor broke the law by not letting CSED know how much they made,            
 and the division recognizes that.  She commented the division                 
 doesn't want to be seen as rewarding people, but at the same time             
 the division recognizes that when people see a document that is too           
 overwhelming it may end up getting thrown away, ignored or whatever           
 they do with it, but in any case, no one is benefitting because               
 when the delinquencies reach $50,000, $60,000 or $80,000 people               
 don't pay anything at all.  She noted the court already has the               
 right to do this, but CSED would like to have an aggressive program           
 to encourage people to meet with the division, to fix the meeting             
 and to begin paying on the delinquencies.  She added the division             
 really wants to get the amounts down to represent what those people           
 really made during that period of time.                                       
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE recalled a fact sheet circulating around regarding             
 the 99 worst defaulters or "deadbeats" and the amounts were all               
 over $100,000.  He asked if that was still an accurate assessment             
 of individuals who have not paid their child support?                         
 MS. STRAUBE said there were numerous cases over $100,000.                     
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Ms. Straube was saying that some of those             
 cases were over $100,000 not because of what they actually made,              
 but because someone decided that is what they should pay?                     
 MS. STRAUBE said many of them are.  She added that less than half             
 represent people who live in rural and Bush Alaska, but                       
 approximately one-half of the money owed is by rural and Bush                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it puzzled him to hear about no work or no                
 jobs, but yet the majority of the money owed is from rural Alaska.            
 He questioned why there were such huge amounts of arrearages.                 
 MS. STRAUBE replied because people don't read the division's forms            
 or just throw them away.  She said the division is actually more              
 lenient than the courts, who often set the amount of the support at           
 $1,000 per month.                                                             
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE surmised the amount had to be based on some                    
 assumption of income.                                                         
 MS. STRAUBE said if that's the maximum for one child and it's a               
 default, it's almost like the courts have held it as a punishment.            
 In other words, if the person won't talk and cooperate, the court             
 will default the person with that amount.  She noted the division             
 has finally taken a look at the Department of Labor's Alaska                  
 average wage standard, but that may still be much higher than some            
 people's wages.  She said the problem comes down to what do you do            
 when people won't talk to you?  The division is torn by this, but             
 they think in the long run it will be good for the children and the           
 division will not have to carry the caseload they've been trying to           
 collect on which any business would have written off years ago.               
 There was discussion regarding time schedules for committee                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON mentioned she had three amendments to                 
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented he would like to address three of              
 the four issues brought up by the Tanana Chiefs Conference.                   
 SENATOR GREEN said with respect to the first concern expressed by             
 TCC, Mr. Shircel is indeed right; they can go directly to the                 
 federal government and get the 50 percent.  She noted this concerns           
 the state because it is hoped that the standards and the system               
 developed through this plan will be implemented statewide and there           
 will not be a multitude of different standards working on                     
 essentially 50 percent of what they would have now.  Otherwise, the           
 Native organizations will have to work with the department to                 
 implement the state match.  They would have a self-sufficiency plan           
 or a similar system approved by the department before it is                   
 implemented.  She noted it is imperative this section stay as it is           
 currently written.  She understood TCC's facility and program is              
 wonderful; however, there are concerns that with a 50 percent                 
 budget, about August or September there will be needs that will not           
 be met.  She emphasized the importance of a unified statewide plan.           
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE recalled the second suggestion by the Tanana             
 Chiefs Conference was changing "and" to "or" on page 11, line 17.             
 The sentence would read, "However, if the commissioner determines             
 that temporary economic conditions have resulted in decreased                 
 employment opportunities during those months or a reduction in              
 assistance would impose an undue hardship on a family, the                    
 department may waive application of this paragraph with respect to            
 that family."  In other words, there would be two conditions that             
 would have to be met:  (1) temporary economic conditions; or 2) a           
 reduction in assistance would impose an undue hardship on a family            
 during the months of July, August and September.  Those two                   
 conditions would have to be met before the commissioner would have            
 the ability to waive the application of this paragraph.  Tanana               
 Chiefs Conference is asking that either one or the other condition            
 is able to be met.                                                            
 SENATOR GREEN explained the trigger is the reduction in decreased             
 employment opportunities.  She explained this program is designed             
 where there are two healthy adults in the family; one of whom can             
 render child care and assistance, while the other is free to work.            
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the section being addressed was the             
 AFDC UP Program or was it straight AFDC program?  He expressed                
 confusion because there was no enumeration for shelter costs or               
 costs of utilities, etc., nor was there any mention of two-parent             
 Number 1917                                                                   
 MIKE TIBBLES, Legislative Assistant to Senator Lyda Green, pointed            
 out that language had been added on page 11, line 13, to ensure               
 that this section would apply to only two-parent families.                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE noted that the principal wage earner in a                
 family could be a single parent with two children.                            
 MR. LOMAS commented this language is straight from existing federal           
 law which defines eligibility for two-parent families in terms of             
 the unemployment of a principal wage earner.  Given this is an                
 amendment under waivers to the existing AFDC program, the                     
 department would read it as only applying to two-parent families.             
 There is a similar provision in the comprehensive provisions under            
 the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program which does not use that               
 term because it would no longer be a term of art under the new                
 federal law which quite specifically points toward two-parent                 
 families.  In effect, this language points only toward the AFDC UP            
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE suggested maybe AFDC two-parent families                 
 should be specified to avoid confusion.                                       
 MR. LOMAS thought that should be avoided because we don't want this           
 to apply to two-parent families in which the second parent is                 
 medically incapacitated.  Part of the reason the language reads as            
 such is to imply only those families where there are two able                 
 bodied parents.                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Representative Brice wanted to propose an            
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he wanted to know if the committee feels            
 comfortable leaving the language vague in this area.                          
 TAPE 96-48, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 026                                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN said that Kristen Bomengen from the Department of Law           
 could review the issue.  She didn't mind referring to a statute,              
 but she didn't want it to be all encompassing of all two-parent               
 families, it would have to be very specific.  She noted she would             
 not agree to the language change from "and" to "or", because that             
 was very carefully crafted to be designed to do exactly what it is            
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the other issue raised by the Tanana                
 Chiefs Conference related to confidentiality.                                 
 SENATOR GREEN said this section was designed because of concerns              
 expressed by various legislators after being contacted by                     
 constituents about their individual case or the management of their           
 case and the legislators were unable to get any information                   
 regarding the case.  She added that particularly happens in the               
 case of a minor who runs away, then qualifies and gets assistance             
 for Medicaid.  The parent then gets the bill from CSED and doesn't            
 know why the child should be qualified for anything, but the parent           
 is unable to get any information from AFDC because of                         
 confidentiality.  The legislation is drafted so that with proper              
 safeguards and to the extent that the legislature is held to very             
 high standards, this would be a very specific request about a very            
 specific person the legislator had been asked to check on.  She               
 said, "Another one is on behalf of fraud.  As we implement the                
 information designed to highlight fraud, how can we be kept                   
 abreast, to a very high level of confidentiality.  You can be                 
 charged - you can be put in jail - you can have a misdemeanor -- I            
 don't know what all the other things are -- if you violate that."             
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE inquired if under this section, he as a                  
 legislator could request names and addresses of all people in his             
 district for the purpose of mailing.                                          
 SENATOR GREEN responded no.                                                   
 MR. NORDLUND said he would feel more comfortable if this issue was            
 addressed by the representative from the Department of Law.                   
 Number 326                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said, "The way this is worded and because it             
 relates to another section - Section 36, Disclosures to                       
 Legislators, and that is (indisc.-coughing) talks about the                   
 confidentiality, and to me it's a bit reversed where unless it                
 specifically said that it's not confidential (indisc.-coughing)               
 confidential and can be disclosed, I think it should be                       
 automatically confidential and then if you want to disclose it,               
 come back and unclassify it.  You can do it both ways, but I want             
 to make sure that things are confidential unless it...  There's               
 more of a problem of something being disclosed without an                     
 indication of it being confidential than there is if it is                    
 automatically confidential, then you have to come back, there's               
 less of a chance of a mistake I think in that fashion as opposed to           
 the way it's stated here."                                                    
 KRISTEN BOMENGEN, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division,                 
 Department of Law, agreed this was a very troublesome section.  She           
 noted this language was a conceptual amendment and in fact, it does           
 in a sense undermine the confidentiality protections that were put            
 in the previous sections.  She thought the Department of Law would            
 prefer to see this changed so it doesn't work in this kind of                 
 inverse way that Representative Davis identified.                             
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to page 31, line 27, Relief from                
 Administrative Order Section, and said he agreed with that.  He               
 said if the department is able to do it, there is a high likelihood           
 of reducing the court's docket which he felt was a positive step.             
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY called for an at-ease at 4:45 p.m.                            
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY called the meeting back to order at 4:49 p.m.  She            
 asked Ms. Bomengen to continue with her testimony.                            
 MS. BOMENGEN said in response to Representative Brice's previous              
 question about the request of lists from the department, some                 
 language that had appeared in previous versions of the bill                   
 suggested that the circumstance he described could happen, but the            
 current language limits itself to financial information concerning            
 an eligibility determination of a person applying for or receiving            
 assistance.  She thought it anticipates that someone would be                 
 providing the name and then getting information in response to that           
 name being provided.                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if there was any other statute that             
 allowed legislators the right to receive information of such a                
 confidential nature?                                                          
 MS. BOMENGEN didn't know of any other circumstance specifically.              
 She knew that under some limited circumstances for confidential tax           
 information, there were agreements that could be signed by                    
 legislators in order to receive information.  As far as personal              
 information that would affect an individual, this is probably a               
 very unusual provision.                                                       
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if it would be strictly for information                 
 regarding the finances?                                                       
 MS. BOMENGEN said yes, it was discussed before another committee              
 that there really is a great deal of other information contained in           
 a personal file; e.g., medical information, child abuse reports,              
 and things of that nature.  She added that isn't to minimize the              
 importance of the privacy interest in financial information,                  
 because that is certainly important to an individual as well.                 
 However, it was intended to specifically include any medical-                 
 related matters or other matters of a sensitive nature.                       
 Number 660                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON commented she had never had any problem               
 trying to work out a problem on behalf of a constituent when there            
 had been a misunderstanding or lack of communication.   If there              
 was a problem however, she thought it might be okay if the                    
 constituent could sign a waiver granting the legislator the right             
 to talk with the department.  She asked if that was correct?                  
 MS. BOMENGEN confirmed that.  She added that presently a legislator           
 who was sought out by a constituent to help them with a problem,              
 could get a waiver and receive any of the information necessary to            
 follow up on that case.  This does raise a circumstance in which a            
 constituent could report a neighbor and the legislator would                  
 potentially be seeking information concerning a constituent's                 
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked how that would be tracked.                              
 MS. BOMENGEN said currently, information is very much limited under           
 federal law.  In fact, under current federal law this provision               
 would not be allowed at all.  Currently, a legislator can receive             
 any information that a constituent would like a legislator to                 
 receive by securing a waiver from the constituent and then inquire            
 into the case and receive information from the department under               
 that circumstance.  The circumstance also allowed by the provision            
 in this legislation, is for a constituent to call about a neighbor            
 and the legislator could inquire into that circumstance.                      
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Ms. Bomengen really thought that would               
 MS. BOMENGEN responded, that in fact, was explicitly one of the               
 interests that was expressed.  The inadvertent result has to be               
 that that information would remain confidential; therefore, the               
 legislator would be able to get access to that information but                
 would not be able to disclose it to the constituent.  That could              
 leave a legislator in an awkward set of circumstances.                        
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY commented that legislators have that provision                
 currently.  For example, a constituent could call to advise that a            
 neighbor who is on AFDC had just bought a new car.                            
 MS. BOMENGEN responded she didn't believe a legislator would                  
 necessarily be able to find out any information about the neighbor.           
 While it would be appropriate to report it, the department could              
 investigate it, but the legislator couldn't look into specifically.           
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she now understood the difference.                       
 MS. BOMENGEN remarked this would be a departure from current                  
 Number 869                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to Ms. Bomengen's remark that this              
 language is not in compliance to federal law and asked if the                 
 language wouldn't be unconstitutional?                                        
 MS. BOMENGEN said it is not in compliance with the current federal            
 restrictions that explicitly require safeguards to prohibit the               
 disclosure of identifying information to a legislative body.  That            
 is current law; this provision appears in the new law and the                 
 current federal law provision will go away and a new one comes into           
 place that says that we have to assure that all reasonable steps              
 necessary are taken to assure the confidentiality of the                      
 information because the specific guidelines are looser under the              
 new law.  This provision only takes effect if we look at the                  
 effective date provisions under the new Welfare Reform Act.                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked how the department felt about this and             
 how they handle a specific request by a legislator under current              
 Number 940                                                                    
 MR. NORDLUND said the department opposes the provision that allows            
 legislators to have access to this information largely because a              
 legislator is not in a position to effectuate any remedy.  The                
 legislator can only have information for their own knowledge, but             
 can't do anything about it.  It is really up to the department to             
 pursue a fraud investigation or take whatever action is necessary             
 to alleviate the problem that had been called to the department's             
 attention.  He remarked the department always looks out for the               
 privacy interests of recipients in a program and they feel the                
 disclosure of this information does not merit the advantage it may            
 have to a legislator.                                                         
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the salaries of all other state employees             
 were public information?  He noted the salaries of legislators are            
 public information.                                                           
 The response was inaudible.                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked so it is only welfare recipients that get             
 privacy, but the salaries of people working for a living are                  
 available to the public.                                                      
 Number 1011                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she understood this was basically                
 getting a person's financial information.  She added one thing to             
 keep in mind is that if a constituent signs a waiver, the                     
 legislator can get all the information.                                       
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked again why this language was inserted in the              
 SENATOR GREEN responded the ability to get information from the               
 department was discussed a great deal in the Senate and frustration           
 was expressed.  The feeling was that if the legislature is supposed           
 to be responsible for a program with respect to funding, there                
 should be some way that information could be obtained.  She added             
 it is basically to follow up on inquiries; it is not a witch hunt.            
 She didn't think it was unreasonable for a legislator to be able to           
 follow up on complaints and inquiries.  She emphasized the level to           
 which a legislator is held on doing anything with the information             
 is very high; it can't be shared, it can't be published, etc.                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for verification that if a constituent comes             
 to a legislator regarding a problem with the welfare department and           
 provides information, that is a doable situation currently.  This             
 section would allow a legislator to go to the department and get a            
 copy of the constituent's file to see if the information is                   
 SENATOR GREEN replied no, because she didn't think anyone would               
 want a copy of the constituent's file.  She thought it was more in            
 the line of what the constituent qualified for or why the                     
 qualification wasn't met.  She added that several legislators had             
 made inquiries to the department that they did not feel were                  
 adequately answered and wanted access to the information.                     
 Number 1205                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE agreed that free flow of information was important;            
 however, he surmised that the information being sought as to                  
 someone's personal finances and how much money they made last year            
 would be germane if a person is applying for welfare, but he didn't           
 know if that information was necessary to determine if they were              
 treated fairly by the department.                                             
 SENATOR GREEN thought it was not so much to do with the financial             
 history, but rather the benefit the person was receiving now.                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE replied his initial reaction was that it was state             
 money and how much money was being paid to a recipient.  He wasn't            
 sure about the sacredness of the benefit amount, but added that a             
 person is certainly entitled to privacy relating to their personal            
 Number 1484                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY remarked that there wasn't a great deal of personal           
 income, other than what the state was contributing, for a family on           
 welfare so she didn't think there would be a plethora of                      
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY announced that she would like to continue with the            
 sectional analysis and then take up the amendments.                           
 Number 1304                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented that as far as what people are                 
 receiving in AFDC benefits, the maximum amount was established in             
 statute.  His concern was this leaves a certain doorway open for              
 legislators that may be more appropriate for the fraud unit in the            
 Public Assistance Division to be involved with as opposed to                  
 bringing legislators into the picture.  He felt it would be more              
 appropriate for a legislator to call the fraud unit if neighbor A             
 is calling to report that neighbor B who is on welfare is driving             
 a new car.                                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN agreed and added there was nothing to prevent the               
 neighbor from contacting the fraud unit.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE remarked it comes back to the question of                
 whether this is really necessary.                                             
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY personally didn't think there would be a whole lot            
 of abuse of this.                                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Mr. Nordlund to explain how under               
 current law he would handle a call from her reporting that neighbor           
 X said neighbor Y was doing thus and such.                                    
 MR. NORDLUND said he would thank Representative Robinson for her              
 inquiry, advise her that the fraud unit would follow up on it                 
 and that action would be taken if appropriate.  He noted that it              
 would be public knowledge if there was a criminal investigation.              
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY thought it would more apt to be people calling and            
 saying they were not being treated fairly by AFDC or the                      
 department.  In other words, people would want her to intercede               
 between them and the department.                                              
 MS. BOMENGEN said this section does not create that anew.                     
 Currently, any legislator could act on behalf of a constituent and            
 receive the information necessary as long as the constituent                  
 consented to that information going to the legislator without any             
 of the changes in Section 33, 35 or 36.                                       
 SENATOR GREEN commented she would like the assurance that she could           
 find out if there had been action taken or if there had been some             
 follow up to a fraud report or investigation.  She felt that if               
 legislators were going to be responsible for writing legislation              
 for the programs, they need to be able to get the information that            
 assures the programs were being administered like the legislature             
 wanted them to be.                                                            
 Number 1500                                                                   
 SENATOR GREEN continued her sectional analysis and said Section 23,           
 Adverse Action Against Delinquent Obligator's Occupational License,           
 was in last year's HB 78.  This is a CSED provision that people who           
 have been in noncompliance and held to be in default would receive            
 notice that their license to certain activities would be either               
 suspended, revoked or nonissued.  There are time frames established           
 for notice, response and for action to be taken.  This also applies           
 to a delinquent obligor's driver license.  This section is                    
 basically to address people who are not contacting the department             
 or not talking to them.  This has been found to be a great                    
 deterrent in other states.                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if this section includes nurses, doctors,               
 lawyers, etc.?                                                                
 SENATOR GREEN responded affirmatively.  She added that people who             
 receive a regular paycheck are fairly easy to find and impact.                
 Individuals who are self-employed or have other types of                      
 arrangements are more difficult to impact.                                    
 SENATOR GREEN said Section 54, Redetermination of Assistance                  
 Levels, was the next major section following all the repeals and              
 reference changes to the program.  She remarked they have been                
 trying to find an equitable, fair and just method to address the              
 rates paid in Alaska that are set in statute.  Other states are               
 making up to 26 or 27 percent reductions in payments and this has             
 not been met with a great deal of cooperation in Alaska.  She said            
 futuristically, we are trying to find a way that gets and                     
 encourages the desired effect from the changes being implemented              
 through this bill; that being the caseload begins to drop and the             
 net amount spent on benefits each year will tend to fall off.                 
 There will be a baseline year used for comparison and the year 1999           
 will be compared to it.  If, on the first day of the legislative              
 session in the year 2000, it is determined that the total amount              
 spent for this program in 1999 is less than the program in 1997,              
 there will be no downward adjustment to the benefits paid out.                
 However, if there has been incremental increases in the amount paid           
 out in 1999 for this program based on a comparison to 1997, the               
 decrease will compare to the increase in those two years.  There is           
 basically a sunset provision in that year and the department and              
 those agencies involved felt this is reasonable.  It is the                   
 anticipated goal that everything will have had time to be                     
 implemented, the programs will be in effect and there will start to           
 be reductions.                                                                
 Number 1714                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said this doesn't take into account any                  
 increases in population that may result and asked what happens if             
 for example, a gas pipeline or other project transpires that                  
 results in a population growth.                                               
 SENATOR GREEN thought that would be the best of all worlds.                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that may not necessarily be true because            
 it could be two or three years before people go to work and there             
 could be a big fluctuation in AFDC payments.                                  
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY commented the hope is that the federal government             
 will have implemented their program by the year 2000 and the state            
 waiver will be history.                                                       
 SENATOR GREEN pointed out this is part of the Comprehensive Plan;             
 this is federal welfare reform.                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said regardless of what the federal government           
 does, this situation could occur without any consideration of those           
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY interjected that if a person from another state who           
 has been on welfare for four years comes to Alaska, that person               
 only has one year on the program.                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that is not the point.  He said, "The               
 point is when we're talking about the aggregate expenditure without           
 any consideration of circumstances as compared to the aggregate               
 expenditure in 1999 - the difference between 2000 and 1999..."                
 SENATOR GREEN pointed out that under the waiver portion of the bill           
 or the comprehensive plan, there is a two year time limit on                  
 benefits.  That is anticipated to start rolling people off from               
 1996 to 1998; we would be beginning the final countdown                       
 qualification.  It is not anticipated that number will go back up             
 to meet that current number.                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE interjected that may be true unless something            
 happens to the population that causes a dramatic increase.                    
 Number 1860                                                                   
 MR. NORDLUND said this is a section, in the spirit of cooperation             
 and compromise, the department has agreed to go along with, but it            
 is not language they originally supported or proposed.  The                   
 department does have some concerns about it.  He thought                      
 Representative Brice's concern was a valid concern and said this              
 provision does not take into account if the economy goes down in              
 the state which results in more unemployment and a natural rise in            
 the caseload.  Also, there is no provision that will help                     
 compensate for an exceptional growth rate in the state.  He noted             
 that both those circumstances were addressed in the federal law               
 however, and they anticipate the states will be given additional              
 funds under the contingency that the unemployment rate goes beyond            
 a certain threshold or if there is exceptional growth in the state.           
 He commented this version is a bit shortsighted in that way.                  
 However, the fact that there is going to be federal money available           
 though to the state of Alaska if we face either one of those                  
 circumstances, will help alleviate some of the budgetary impact the           
 department would see in the program.  Also, because of the                    
 availability of some federal contingency money, both for the growth           
 and for the unemployment as well as under the federal law, if the             
 state is able to successfully reduce the out-of-wedlock pregnancy             
 rate for AFDC recipients, the state will be eligible for additional           
 federal funds.  He noted the department attempted to make it clear            
 in the Senate Finance Committee that this provision when comparing            
 the benefit levels from FY 97 to FY 99 year, only pertains to state           
 funds.  He thought it was important for the record to further                 
 clarify it is the department's understanding that it is total state           
 operating funds, not capital funds being factored into that                   
 equation because the department is looking at hopefully a steady              
 decreased growth of the program on the operating side; capital                
 funds gyrate from year to year depending on the capital needs and             
 shouldn't be included in this equation.  He commented it is                   
 something the department is willing to live with and they are                 
 banking on the fact that the entire welfare reform effort will be             
 successful and there will be a drop in the caseload.  If there is             
 a drop in the caseload, this provision will never take effect.  On            
 the other hand, if circumstances beyond anyone's control happen, as           
 discussed by Representative Brice, then the state may be in the               
 situation of having to employ an automatic ratable reduction to               
 meet the budget targets suggested in the legislation.  From the               
 department's standpoint it is a bit of a gamble, but he pointed out           
 that one thing in the operating budget that will make it easier for           
 the department to meet those targets and to actually see a                    
 reduction in the caseload is the money the department has asked for           
 in the operating budget for child care and job training.  Without             
 those tools, it will be very difficult for the department to see              
 the decreased caseload that will alleviate having to do the ratable           
 reduction.  He said while that is in another vehicle and part of              
 another debate, it is very important and the department will                  
 continue to ensure that it is on the priority list as the                     
 legislature adjourns this year.                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if interest on the child support payments               
 goes directly into the general fund?                                          
 MS. STRAUBE said that one-half of the money CSED collects on an               
 AFDC case goes to the federal government and the other half goes              
 back into the Public Assistance Program.                                      
 MR. LOMAS clarified that it goes into the general fund and then               
 gets appropriated to the Public Assistance Program.                           
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG referenced Section 54, page 50, line 5,               
 which states that if the First Regular Session of the Twenty-First            
 Alaska State Legislature does not enact a bill that adjusts the               
 payment structure and asked if that wasn't another safety valve in            
 case there was a positive or negative economic activity that had              
 been mentioned previously.                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN assumed that was true.                                          
 MR. NORDLUND said, "The discussion I had about the effect of this             
 comparison of FY 97 to FY 99 is the default position -- is what               
 happens if based upon the results of the needs study the department           
 is required to do is not considered and a new law enacted that sets           
 up a new benefit structure by the legislature - if that action                
 isn't taken, then the default position is this -- if the amount of            
 money in 1999 was greater than 1997, then there is that automatic             
 ratable to bring the overall appropriation level down to the 97               
 Number 2089                                                                   
 SENATOR GREEN pointed out the thought was that if all the work was            
 being done to structure a program that was supposed to work to                
 reduce spending, reduce the caseload, and to make their work harder           
 to begin with but more streamlined as the program goes on, there              
 should be reductions.                                                         
 Number 2122                                                                   
 KAREN PERDUE, Commissioner, Department of Health & Social Services,           
 said in her opinion this was one of the most important sections of            
 the bill.  She noted the legislature would need to look long term             
 at the federal contingency requirements.  There was a huge debate             
 among states about what happens if economies go down because these            
 are the very programs that are needed when economies are down, but            
 the state can't afford to pay for them.  There are requirements               
 that will be placed on the department for maintenance of effort in            
 order to tap into the millions of dollars of federal contingency              
 monies.  She thought one of the things the legislature would have             
 to look at very carefully in 1999 is whether or not by lowering the           
 payment rate, the state will be precluding ourselves from                     
 participating in the federal contingency funds.  The second issue             
 is child support collections.  Commissioner Perdue thought the                
 spirit of the Senate Finance Committee's provision was to not                 
 penalize the state for gathering funds, so they changed the wording           
 from total funds to state funds.  She submitted that the state                
 needs to be careful about the issue of child support revenues as              
 well because they are state funds.  She doesn't want to see a                 
 situation where the state was penalized by creating a ratable for             
 collecting more child support revenue.  The department had                    
 originally proposed the word "general funds" as opposed to "state             
 funds" because again, the whole spirit is to lower the state's                
 investment, not to create disincentives to collect other revenues.            
 Number 2200                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was a need for a change in the                 
 SENATOR GREEN thought that was the preferred language.                        
 COMMISSIONER PERDUE said there wasn't a lot of time for discussion            
 in the committee, but she thought it was a very important question            
 of whether it should be general funds or state funds because the              
 department is trying to lower their dependence on the state budget.           
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY suggested that the Finance Committee may be the               
 appropriate place to address this issue.                                      
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there were other questions from committee            
 members.  She invited Louise Charles from Fairbanks to testify at             
 this time.                                                                    
 Number 2238                                                                   
 LOUISE CHARLES from Tanana Chiefs Conference testified from                   
 Fairbanks that she administers the Job Opportunities (indisc.)                
 Program at Tanana Chiefs.  She said she supports this legislation             
 with the changes outlined by Mr. Shircel, but she wanted to address           
 the reinvestment fund for tribal jobs and programs that will allow            
 continued success of the clients that her program serves, and                 
 would allow AFDC recipients to achieve self-sufficiency.  She                 
 stated they have realized an increase in the caseload at TCC Jobs             
 due to an increase in the number of referrals from the Division of            
 Public Assistance, especially over the last four to six months.               
 She wanted the committee to understand that tribal entities have              
 not had matching funds.  They have received a 25 percent decrease             
 in Jobs Program funding and their grant funds for this year is                
 $109,000 which has to be used to serve Fairbanks, 42 villages in              
 the Interior and 9 villages on the North Slope.  She pointed out              
 some of the successes of the Jobs Program lately.  In October 1995            
 and March 1996 they had 14 people who took certified nurses aide              
 TAPE 96-48, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 MS. CHARLES continued that everyone was certified and 9 out of the            
 14 are now employed and in the transition period of getting off               
 from AFDC and the others are presently searching for jobs and have            
 some good leads.  She encouraged the continued support for jobs and           
 state matching funds.   In conclusion she said that if this bill is           
 going to do what it is supposed to, there must be education funds             
 and training funds available to help people become self-sufficient.           
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was anyone else wishing to testify?            
 Hearing none, she closed public testimony.  She noted there were              
 three amendments before the committee and asked Representative                
 Robinson to introduce her amendment.                                          
 Number 095                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 1.                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE objected for discussion purposes.                              
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said Amendment 1 was a simple change to the           
 language which deletes "and who have received" and inserts "The               
 agency may not include an obligor on the list unless the agency has           
 sent to the obligor, at the obligor's most recent address on file             
 with the agency, written" on page 32, line 17.  She felt the                  
 department could have some problems if they didn't know for certain           
 that an obligor had received the notice.                                      
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that he didn't object to detailing it, but           
 he asked Ms. Straube if notices were sent by certified mail?                  
 MS. STRAUBE said it depends on what the process is; sometimes it              
 has to be done by certified mail, otherwise it's just by regular              
 post.  She pointed out that the language relating to occupational             
 licenses and driver licenses states "delivered personally to the              
 applicant or deposited in the United States mail..."  She said the            
 Child Support Enforcement Division has a number of obligors who               
 refuse service, which has worked to the obligors' advantage.                  
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted this amendment says the notice has to have               
 been sent, so by sending it out, the department has made a good               
 faith effort and the obligor's name can then be added to the list.            
 He asked Ms. Straube if it would be a challenge for the division to           
 prove that the obligor had actually received the notice without the           
 MS. STRAUBE said that was correct, but many of the people simply              
 did not pick up their mail.                                                   
 Number 214                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE withdrew his objection.                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked what Senator Green's opinion was of             
 the amendment?                                                                
 SENATOR GREEN said she didn't have any great problem, but added               
 that she didn't know how it would be received by the Senator who              
 had originally requested the language contained in CSSB 98(RLS).              
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she had attempted to contact the                 
 Senator, but was unable to discuss it with him at this point.                 
 MS. STRAUBE noted she had spoken with Senator Reiger when he added            
 this language and she didn't have a problem with it because the               
 division already does this; they let them know all the time that              
 they are delinquent.  Secondly, this is just to put an obligor's              
 name on the list; they still have all the due process rights to               
 disagree with being on the list.                                              
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was any further objection to                   
 Amendment 1.  Hearing none, Amendment 1 was adopted.  She asked               
 Representative Robinson to speak to Amendment 2.                              
 Number 269                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved to adopt Amendment 2.                           
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE objected.                                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said Amendment 2 was on page 45 and she               
 felt there needed to be some real compelling reasons for the                  
 legislature to have powers that others don't have to get                      
 information on individuals receiving AFDC.  She noted that                    
 currently if she is contacted by a constituent who wants her                  
 assistance in getting information, the constituent merely has to              
 sign a waiver and she is able to get all the pertinent information            
 from the department.  Also, if a constituent expresses concern that           
 someone is misrepresenting their financial situation and receiving            
 benefits, a legislator can contact the department who in turn will            
 look into the situation.  She said quite frankly, she didn't know             
 what legislators would do with the information if they did receive            
 it because they don't have the power to do anything.  She didn't              
 know of any compelling reason why legislators should have access to           
 the information and expressed concern about the potential abuse.              
 Number 387                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Senator Green what her thoughts were            
 regarding the amendment?                                                      
 SENATOR GREEN responded this was a very important provision to the            
 Senate.  It was part of the package and she would not like to see             
 it removed.  She thought the standard to which legislators are held           
 is high and she didn't think it would be worth the penalty for                
 disclosing or misusing the information.                                       
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that he didn't share Senator Green's                 
 opinion as to the high standard some legislators are held to.  He             
 remarked that in a perfect world he would vote to remove this                 
 section because he didn't see the use of it for him personally and            
 it's information that he wouldn't want to be held responsible for.            
 But because of the importance to other people and knowing that this           
 bill is a long series of compromises, he maintained his objection.            
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON emphasized her beliefs that the legislature           
 was over-stepping their bounds with this provision.  She thought              
 the issue would be brought up in the House Finance Committee and              
 probably on the House floor.  She recognized there had been a lot             
 of work done on the bill and a lot of compromising, but it was                
 presently before the House HESS Committee and there were 40                   
 legislators on the House side that would have to explain to the               
 public why they felt they deserved to have a special privilege of             
 getting confidential information that no one else, except the                 
 department, is able to retrieve.                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said he would object to the amendment.  He had           
 strong concerns and he personally did not envision himself                    
 utilizing any of this information.  He felt legislators should                
 listen to the public, and the one thing that a lot of legislators,            
 including himself, hear from the public about is the welfare                  
 system.  Some of the public's concerns relating not only to this              
 department, but every department is the power of the bureaucracy              
 and this addresses the power of the bureaucracy.  This gives the              
 legislature access to how the bureaucracy does business and how               
 well they're doing their business.                                            
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked for a roll call vote.  Voting in favor of               
 Amendment 2 were Representatives Brice and Robinson.  Voting                  
 against the amendment were Representatives Davis, Rokeberg, Toohey            
 and Bunde.  The amendment failed to be adopted.                               
 Number 552                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 3.                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE objected for discussion purposes.                              
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said Amendment 3 would delete "sec. 57" and           
 insert "sec. 61" on page 52, line 4.  She understood that the two             
 year sunset would begin upon the enactment of this legislation.               
 This section is the occupational license and driver license                   
 section; however, occupational licensing provisions would only go             
 into effect after the passage of the federal welfare reform.  That            
 could mean the state may not even have two years in which to try              
 the program.  The sunset date starts the day the bill goes into               
 effect, but the occupational licensing program won't go into effect           
 until the federal law is passed.  With this amendment, the sunset             
 clock won't start until the program goes into effect; it shifts the           
 provisions to allow some time to see if the program is something              
 the state wants to keep in effect.                                            
 SENATOR GREEN said the legislation was written as planned; it was             
 not an error.                                                                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE verified that Senator Green wanted this to run out             
 sooner rather than later.                                                     
 SENATOR GREEN said that was the intention.  She said the provision            
 goes into effect October 1 if the Federal Welfare Reform Act has              
 not passed.  If the Federal Welfare Reform Act has passed, this               
 goes into effect.  So there would be 18 months if the Act goes in             
 place by that time.  If the Federal Welfare Reform Act does not go            
 into effect before the state legislature convenes their next                  
 session, this will have to be addressed again.  She reiterated this           
 only goes into effect if the Federal Welfare Reform Act goes into             
 effect.  It was not intended that this be two years after the                 
 Welfare Reform Act becomes effective.  She believed this provision            
 had been amended in Senate Finance.                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON was of the opinion that everyone wanted a             
 two year period in which to see if the program was going to work.             
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if it was a fair statement that if the Federal           
 Welfare Reform Act does pass, then the legislature wants a clean              
 slate rather than having their hands tied for two more years before           
 adjustments could be made.                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN said that was correct.  She remarked it is                      
 anticipated that it is a requirement to come back and look at it in           
 two years from the passage of this legislation.                               
 MS. STRAUBE said with regard to the occupational and driver                   
 licenses, that was one of the parts of the federal welfare reform             
 that had been in every bill the same way.  The only difference is             
 that the federal legislation is a little harsher than this                    
 legislation.  The thought was to get the state's in effect first              
 and then it would take a long time before we might have to change             
 it to do what the federal government wants.  She added the federal            
 government wants recreational licenses, too.  Speaking as a                   
 bureaucrat, she said there are concerns only because she knows how            
 long it takes to get a program up and running and this one is going           
 to be operating with numerous other agencies.  She said the                   
 division didn't say much about the amendment because they wanted              
 the bill to move and they were pretty happy with most of the bill.            
 She was concerned that it would be hard to prove whether the                  
 program was worth anything if they only had six months or a year in           
 which to prove it.  She added no one knows how long they will have            
 because it's all up in the air depending on when federal welfare              
 reform passes.                                                                
 SENATOR GREEN said it was this language and this provision of the             
 bill that allowed occupational licensing and driver licensing to              
 stay in the bill.                                                             
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked for a roll call vote.  Voting in favor of               
 Amendment 3 were Representatives Brice and Robinson.  Voting                  
 against the amendment were Representatives Rokeberg, Davis, Toohey            
 and Bunde.  Amendment 3 failed.                                               
 Number 900                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE made a motion to move HCS CSSB 98(HES) from                    
 committee.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                          
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY adjourned the meeting of the House Health,                    
 Education and Social Services meeting at 6:00 p.m.                            

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