Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124

03/17/2021 05:45 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
+= HB 100 EXTEND WORKFORCE INVEST BOARD ALLOCATIONS TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 100 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
*+ HB 133 AK ED SAVINGS PROGRAMS/ELIGIBILITY TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
*+ HB 121 EDUC.TAX CREDIT: EMPLOYER CHILD CARE COST TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 45 WORKERS' COMP. AND CONTAGIOUS DISEASES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 45(L&C) Out of Committee
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                         March 17, 2021                                                                                         
                           5:47 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Zack Fields, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Ivy Spohnholz, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Calvin Schrage                                                                                                   
Representative Liz Snyder (via teleconference)                                                                                  
Representative David Nelson                                                                                                     
Representative James Kaufman                                                                                                    
Representative Ken McCarty (via teleconference)                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 100                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to allocations of funding for the Alaska                                                                       
Workforce Investment Board; and providing for an effective                                                                      
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 100 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 121                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to education tax credits for certain payments                                                                  
and contributions for child care and child care facilities; and                                                                 
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 45                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to presumption of compensability for workers'                                                                  
compensation claims related to contagious diseases; and                                                                         
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 45(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 100                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EXTEND WORKFORCE INVEST BOARD ALLOCATIONS                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) WOOL                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
02/18/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/21       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
03/15/21       (H)       L&C AT 6:30 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/15/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/15/21       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/17/21       (H)       L&C AT 5:45 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 121                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EDUC.TAX CREDIT: EMPLOYER CHILD CARE COST                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) FIELDS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
03/03/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/03/21       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
03/17/21       (H)       L&C AT 5:45 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  45                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: WORKERS' COMP. AND CONTAGIOUS DISEASES                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOSEPHSON                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
02/18/21       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/8/21                                                                                
02/18/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/21       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
03/05/21       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/05/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/05/21       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/15/21       (H)       L&C AT 6:30 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/15/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/15/21       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/17/21       (H)       L&C AT 5:45 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BRYAN CRISP, Fire Chief                                                                                                         
Nikiski Fire Department                                                                                                         
Nikiski, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 100.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JAY STINSON, President                                                                                                          
The Alaska Research Consortium                                                                                                  
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 100.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS GUNDERSON, CEO                                                                                                            
Denali Family Services                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 100.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
KATHERINE MITCHELL, Member                                                                                                      
Homer Marine Trades Association                                                                                                 
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 100.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
LUCINDA MARTIN, Member                                                                                                          
Homer Marines Trade Association                                                                                                 
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 100.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JEFF JESSEE, Dean                                                                                                               
College of Health                                                                                                               
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 100.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DOUG WALRATH, Director                                                                                                          
Northwestern Alaska Career and Technical Center (NACTC)                                                                         
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 100.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MARK ZEISET, Member                                                                                                             
Homer Marines Trade Association                                                                                                 
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 100.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
TOM BRICE                                                                                                                       
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Alumni Association                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 100.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ASHLEY CARRICK, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the hearing on HB
100 on behalf of Representative Wool, prime sponsor.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM WOOL                                                                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, answered questions during                                                              
the hearing on HB 100.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
GREG CASHEN, Assistant Director                                                                                                 
Alaska Workforce Investment Board                                                                                               
Department of Labor & Workforce Development (DLWD)                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on HB
100.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
STEPHANIE BERGLUND, CEO                                                                                                         
Thread Alaska                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During the  hearing on  HB 121,  offered a                                                             
PowerPoint presentation about Thread Alaska.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LORI WING-HEIER, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Insurance                                                                                                           
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development (DCCED)                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on HB
121.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
NICOLE REYNOLDS, Deputy Director                                                                                                
Tax Division                                                                                                                    
Department of Revenue (DOR)                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on HB
121.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TRISTAN WALSH, Staff                                                                                                            
Representative Zack Fields                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on HB
121 on behalf of Representative Fields, prime sponsor.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
EMILY NAUMAN, Legislative Legal Counsel                                                                                         
Legislative Legal and Research Services                                                                                         
Legislative Affairs Agency (LAA)                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on HB
121.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ELISE SORUM-BIRK, Staff                                                                                                         
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions  during the hearing on HB
45 on behalf of Representative Josephson, prime sponsor.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
5:47:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS called  the House  Labor  and Commerce  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at  5:47 p.m.  Representatives Fields,                                                               
Spohnholz, Nelson, McCarty (via  teleconference), and Snyder (via                                                               
teleconference)   were   present   at    the   call   to   order.                                                               
Representatives Kaufman  and Schrage  arrived as the  meeting was                                                               
in progress.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
        HB 100-EXTEND WORKFORCE INVEST BOARD ALLOCATIONS                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:47:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL NO.  100,  "An  Act  relating to  allocations  of                                                               
funding for the Alaska Workforce  Investment Board; and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
5:48:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS opened public testimony on HB 100.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
5:48:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRYAN CRISP, Fire Chief, Nikiski  Fire Department, shared that he                                                               
supports  the  reauthorization  of Technical  Vocation  Education                                                               
Program  (TVEP) funding.   The  Kenai Peninsula  College benefits                                                               
from  that  funding,  particularly   its  paramedic  program,  he                                                               
explained.   The Nikiski Fire  Department currently  employees 21                                                               
people  who   were  educated  through  this   paramedic  program.                                                               
Without this  program, he continued,  it would be  very difficult                                                               
to find qualified employees in  the area for the fire department.                                                               
He  emphasized the  importance  of  recruiting paramedics  within                                                               
Alaska,  which would  require that  the state  provide accessible                                                               
and adequate education and training to interested individuals.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:50:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAY  STINSON, President,  Alaska  Research Consortium,  explained                                                               
that the  Alaska Research  Consortium (ARC)  is a  nonprofit that                                                               
advocates   for  sustainable   fisheries,  marine   science,  and                                                               
Alaska's "blue economy."   He noted that the  seafood industry is                                                               
Alaska's largest  private employer,  with over  60,000 employees.                                                               
Seafood  is  Alaska's  number   one  manufacturing  employer,  he                                                               
continued, and contributes  more that $162 million in  taxes.  He                                                               
said  that  ARC  recently  completed an  18-month  study  on  the                                                               
workforce  training  needs  of   the  Alaska  seafood  processing                                                               
industry, surveying over 46 seafood  plant managers and 3 catcher                                                               
processer  companies and  encompassing 24  companies based  in 25                                                               
communities  and representing  over  15,000 workers.   He  shared                                                               
that  88  percent  of  the  survey  participants  responded  that                                                               
additional  training for  seafood  workers would  be helpful  for                                                               
business.     Regarding  HB  100  specifically,   he  noted  that                                                               
annually,  seafood  workers  contribute  about  $600,000  to  the                                                               
state's TVEP fund  but shared his understanding  that very little                                                               
of these  funds are used to  benefit seafood workers.   He stated                                                               
that  ARC  supports  the  reauthorization  of  TVEP  funding  but                                                               
emphasized that ARC would like the  funds to be balanced in a way                                                               
that supports the seafood industry.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
5:54:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS GUNDERSON, CEO, Denali Family  Services, stated his support                                                               
of HB  100 and the  reauthorization of  TVEP funding.   He shared                                                               
that  Denali Family  Services (DFS)  benefits  from this  funding                                                               
through  a partnership  with the  University of  Alaska Anchorage                                                               
(UAA).    Specifically,  he  added,  this  funding  supports  the                                                               
recreational therapist  position shared  jointly through  UAA and                                                               
DFS.   He said that  this position provides guidance  and support                                                               
to  the Trailblazers  program under  DFS, which  is a  wilderness                                                               
therapy  program for  individuals aged  13 to  21 who  experience                                                               
psychiatric  disability.   He explained  that  it provides  human                                                               
support through  connection with  the Alaska wilderness,  as well                                                               
as  teaching practical  outdoor  skills  and wilderness  survival                                                               
skills.    He  highlighted  that   youth  in  this  program  have                                                               
experienced  improved  physical  fitness,  decreased  psychiatric                                                               
disturbance,  and increased  self-confidence.    He concluded  by                                                               
asking the  committee to support  HB 100 to enable  the continued                                                               
partnership  of UAA  and DFS  and  the work  to support  Alaska's                                                               
youth.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:57:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ  asked  Mr.  Gunderson to  describe  how  the                                                               
partnership works between DFS and UAA.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUNDERSON   responded  that  the   [recreational  therapist]                                                               
position is  partially based on loan  on a non-pay basis  at DFS,                                                               
and the individual  provides guidance and technical  support.  He                                                               
emphasized that all  of the TVEP funds are distributed  to UAA to                                                               
support the position, and as part  of the duties of the position,                                                               
the  employee is  outposted to  DFS to  support the  Trailblazers                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ thanked  Mr. Gunderson  for the  work DFS  is                                                               
doing to help youth in Alaska.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:58:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHERINE  MITCHELL,  Member,  Homer Marine  Trades  Association,                                                               
shared  that she  is speaking  in  favor of  the marine  training                                                               
coordinator position  at Kenai Peninsula College  (KPC) in Homer.                                                               
She said  that KPC has  been lucky  to have a  marine coordinator                                                               
and that it  has made a huge difference.   She explained that KPC                                                               
has been able  to teach specialized classes in  the marine trades                                                               
and that  there have been  over 30  young people who  have gotten                                                               
jobs due to  this education.  She concluded that  she supports HB
100 and supports the continuation  of the marine training classes                                                               
in Alaska.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:00:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LUCINDA MARTIN,  Member, Homer Marines Trade  Association, stated                                                               
that the  Homer Marines Trade  Association supports HB 100.   She                                                               
emphasized that  the association supports the  reauthorization of                                                               
TVEP funds primarily for UAA  and the support of the continuation                                                               
of   the  workforce   development  coordinator   at  KPC.     She                                                               
highlighted that  the coordinator  has made a  significant impact                                                               
by increasing  job readiness  levels for  students of  the marine                                                               
trades  at the  college.   She illustrated  this by  sharing that                                                               
over  the  last  18  months,   30  to  40  students  have  earned                                                               
certifications   in  the   marine   trades,   which  equates   to                                                               
employability and  increased wages.   She said that the  need for                                                               
employees  in   the  marine   trades  industry   is  significant,                                                               
particularly as seasoned workers begin  to retire.  She explained                                                               
that it is  important to educate workers of all  ages in order to                                                               
find quality  employment for these  workers as soon  as possible.                                                               
She concluded that  this education makes a  significant impact on                                                               
the  Homer  community and  the  fishing  industry statewide,  and                                                               
stated   that  she   hopes  the   committee   will  support   the                                                               
reauthorization of TVEP funds.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
6:02:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEFF  JESSEE,  Dean, College  of  Health,  University of  Alaska,                                                               
noted that he also serves as  Vice Provost for Health Programs at                                                               
UAA.  He  shared that Alaska has a  "tremendous" health workforce                                                               
shortage and that  many customers have to hire  travelers to fill                                                               
important health  care positions.   He emphasized that TVEP  is a                                                               
critical component  in funding  university health  care programs,                                                               
and  that  the  funds  help   support  UAA's  nursing  expansion,                                                               
physical therapy,  and dietetics and  nutrition, as well  as help                                                               
purchase important materials such  as mannequins for simulations.                                                               
He pointed  to the significant  education budget reductions  as a                                                               
reason  why TVEP  funding  is even  more critical  for  UAA.   He                                                               
concluded by urging the committee's support of HB 100.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
6:04:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS asked what the  average wait time is for admitted                                                               
students into the nursing program.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. JESSEE  responded that  it can  be up to  a couple  of years.                                                               
The students are ranked based  off of grade point averages (GPAs)                                                               
and test  scores, so some students  get in right away  and others                                                               
may have to wait some time.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked how  many students  have been  admitted to                                                               
the program but couldn't attend due to limited capacity.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. JESSEE  responded that the  program has approximately  two to                                                               
three  times the  applicants that  the program  has the  capacity                                                               
for.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS   asked  if  the  capacity   increased  and  all                                                               
applicants were able  to attend, to what extent  that would limit                                                               
the need to hire travelers to  come to Alaska and fill healthcare                                                               
positions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JESSEE  responded that Alaska  would be pretty close  [to not                                                               
needing travelers].                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
6:05:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAUFMAN asked  what  the graduation  rate is  for                                                               
students in the program.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JESSEE replied  that  the program  graduates  90 percent  of                                                               
students and that student success is a high priority.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:05:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NELSON asked if the  90 percent graduation rate is                                                               
due to the fact that students  with higher GPAs are admitted into                                                               
the program quickly and do not have to wait as long to join.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JESSEE responded  that the  program admits  highly qualified                                                               
students, but  also UAA  employs highly  skilled faculty  and has                                                               
advanced facilities,  such as the simulation  center which allows                                                               
student nurses to practice procedures  in a safe environment.  He                                                               
stated that there is a systemwide commitment to student success.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
6:06:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAUFMAN asked  what  the average  age  is of  the                                                               
typical applicant to the program.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. JESSEE  responded that  he would have  to check,  but guessed                                                               
that it is in the mid-20s.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:07:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY asked about  Mr. Jessee's understanding of                                                               
the challenges for nurses who are entering the workforce.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JESSEE  responded  that  student nurses  have  to  pass  the                                                               
National Council  Licensure Examination (NCLEX)  upon graduation.                                                               
He shared that a high percentage  of graduates do pass that exam,                                                               
and  many   student  nurses  already   have  job   offers  before                                                               
graduation  because  they  have  done clinicals  in  health  care                                                               
facilities and  have made connections.   He emphasized  that even                                                               
if a student doesn't pass the  first time, that student will pass                                                               
eventually and will definitely become employed.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY  asked for  clarification that  Mr. Jessee                                                               
is saying that  a high percentage of students pass  the NCLEX the                                                               
first time and enter into the workforce.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JESSEE  responded  yes,  consistently  over  85  percent  of                                                               
students pass on their first  attempt.  However, COVID-19 has had                                                               
an impact on  that success rate because it has  been difficult to                                                               
provide health programs during the pandemic, he explained.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:08:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ opined that the  nursing training program is a                                                               
great example of a public/private  partnership where the training                                                               
is done in partnership with  health care organizations across the                                                               
state.   She asked if Mr.  Jessee could share with  the committee                                                               
how  many  education  sites  across  the  state  provide  nursing                                                               
education.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JESSEE  responded that UAA  has 14 outreach  sites throughout                                                               
Alaska.     Additionally,   there  is   a  "pop-up"   program  in                                                               
Petersburg, Alaska,  and while there  is not a campus  there, the                                                               
hospital  sponsors  students  and  provides  the  facilities  for                                                               
instructors to teach local students  through the nursing program.                                                               
He  explained  that many  of  the  major hospitals  also  provide                                                               
substantial  financial   support  to   the  program,   and  these                                                               
contributions are  dependent upon how many  graduates the program                                                               
produces.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:10:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOUG WALRATH, Director, Northwestern  Alaska Career and Technical                                                               
Center (NACTC),  shared that NACTC  focuses training  on Alaska's                                                               
priority   industries,  the   main   five   being  health   care,                                                               
construction,  transportation,  hospitality/tourism, and  seafood                                                               
harvesting and  processing.  He  shared that Norton  Sound Health                                                               
Corporation (NSHC)  is the largest  regional employer  and health                                                               
care  is a  significant priority  for NACTC.   He  continued that                                                               
NSHC  partners  with NACTC  to  provide  dual-credit high  school                                                               
courses,  such as  introduction to  health careers  and emergency                                                               
trauma training.   He  shared that  TVEP funding  supports health                                                               
care education  with advanced technical training  for high school                                                               
students,  which  transitions  these  students  immediately  into                                                               
employment as  certified nurse aides,  village health  aides, and                                                               
in  the future,  personal care  attendants.   He added  that TVEP                                                               
funding would also support a  large project near Nome at Graphite                                                               
Creek, which  has been designated a  high priority infrastructure                                                               
project  by the  federal government.   The  creek is  the largest                                                               
known graphite  deposit in the  United States, he  explained, and                                                               
would  have application  for  electric  vehicles and  lithium-ion                                                               
batteries of  all types.   He reiterated that TVEP  funding would                                                               
support the  training required  for this  project.   In addition,                                                               
the driver education training in  Nome would be supported by TVEP                                                               
funding.   He shared  that the Division  of Motor  Vehicles (DMV)                                                               
office in  Nome shut down a  few years ago, and  so NACTC applied                                                               
to become a third-party DMV  affiliated driving school so that it                                                               
can educate  and train commercial  drivers.  He  restated NACTC's                                                               
support of HB 100.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
6:13:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK  ZEISET, Member,  Homer  Marines  Trade Association,  stated                                                               
that he supports  HB 100 and shared that the  Homer Marines Trade                                                               
Association has  seen high  school students  in Homer  attend the                                                               
marine  technology classes  and,  in some  cases, these  students                                                               
have been able  to enter directly into the workforce.   He shared                                                               
that  there  are  other  cases where  students  who  are  already                                                               
employed are able  to get promoted due to  the education received                                                               
from the classes.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
6:14:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM   BRICE,  University   of  Alaska   Fairbanks  (UAF)   Alumni                                                               
Association, recalled  that the  UAF Alumni Association  met with                                                               
members of  the committee in  February 2021 and wanted  to follow                                                               
up on  that meeting.  On  behalf of the UAF  Alumni Association's                                                               
Legislative Advocacy  Committee, he  expressed his support  of HB
100.   The proposed  bill would  continue the  Technical Vocation                                                               
Education program for  another three years, which he  opined is a                                                               
program  that greatly  benefits Alaskans  since its  inception in                                                               
2000.  Due to the  university's crucial role in training Alaska's                                                               
workforce, he continued, it has  received a large portion of TVEP                                                               
funds in the past and this  helps the university system support a                                                               
number of  important industries in  the state, like  maritime and                                                               
health care.   He stated  that the reauthorization of  TVEP funds                                                               
would  allow  the  universities  across  Alaska  to  continue  to                                                               
educate Alaska's workforce and keep Alaskans employed.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
6:16:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS,  after ascertaining that  there was no  one else                                                               
who wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 100.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:17:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY said he believes  in the TVEP program.  He                                                               
asked about the  efficacy of the allocations of the  funds and if                                                               
a different  allocation or  a different  duration of  the program                                                               
should be considered.  He  shared his understanding of an example                                                               
in Delta  Junction, Alaska, where the  average participant seemed                                                               
to receive  $80,000, but stated  that it appears that  the number                                                               
should be $8,000 annually.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:18:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ASHLEY  CARRICK, Staff,  Representative Adam  Wool, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of Representative Wool,  prime sponsor of                                                               
HB  100,  noted  that  the  figure  that  Representative  McCarty                                                               
referenced on the  TVEP Annual Report [included  in the committee                                                               
packet] for Partners  for Progress in Delta  Junction referred to                                                               
participants having  a median income  earning of $80,000  after 1                                                               
to 12  months of employment.   She  stated that that  figure does                                                               
seem anomalous and that she did  follow up with the Department of                                                               
Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD)  to ask about that number.                                                               
She shared  that DLWD initially also  thought that it might  be a                                                               
typo,  but  after  extensive investigation  by  the  department's                                                               
Research Analysis  Division and  by the individuals  who compiled                                                               
the  TVEP report,  it  was  determined that  the  number was  not                                                               
inaccurate.   She said  that it  is important  to note  that many                                                               
students entering  this program already have  extensive technical                                                               
training.   She explained  that it is  difficult to  compare TVEP                                                               
recipients  on any  metrics because  TVEP  funds are  distributed                                                               
differently  depending  on  the  recipient, and  some  receive  a                                                               
disproportionate  amount  compared  to others.    The  funds  are                                                               
distributed  to   these  recipients,   but  do   not  necessarily                                                               
represent  all of  the funding  given  to TVEP  recipients.   She                                                               
added that  it is also worth  noting that the TVEP  report states                                                               
that the  average median income  for Ilisagvik  College graduates                                                               
is $49,000 annually,  and this is reflective of being  in a rural                                                               
community with a high average wage.   She reiterated that this is                                                               
not necessarily a useful metric by which to compare recipients.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
6:21:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ noted  that the TVEP Annual  Report shows that                                                               
the Amundsen Educational Center had  an average cost per pupil of                                                               
almost  $12,000.   She asked  if someone  could describe  why the                                                               
cost is so high.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
6:22:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ADAM WOOL,  Alaska  State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor  of   HB  100,  addressed  the   question  from  Co-Chair                                                               
Spohnholz and responded  that he can look at the  amount of money                                                               
that the program  received and how many graduates  there were and                                                               
"do the division,"  which he stated he imagines  is what Co-Chair                                                               
Spohnholz  did to  get  the cost  per  pupil.   He  said that  11                                                               
students served  at $249,000 at the  Amundsen Educational Center.                                                               
He explained that  he hasn't talked to anyone at  the center, but                                                               
thinks that  it is  similar to the  situation in  Delta Junction.                                                               
He added that the Delta Junction  Partners for Progress had a low                                                               
sample number  of students to  determine the numbers seen  in the                                                               
report, and reiterated  that many of these  students already have                                                               
extensive technical  training, which  can warp the  median annual                                                               
earning  figure as  these  individuals are  at  a higher  earning                                                               
level when they enter the program.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ  asked if  anyone from DLWD  would be  able to                                                               
answer her  question.  She shared  the math that she  did on each                                                               
of the  programs and noted  that the Amundsen  Educational Center                                                               
is an outlier.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
6:24:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GREG  CASHEN,   Assistant  Director,  Grants,   Alaska  Workforce                                                               
Investment  Board,  Office  of the  Commissioner,  Department  of                                                               
Labor &  Workforce Development, provided clarification  that [the                                                               
department's  Research &  Analysis staff]  compiled data  that is                                                               
provided by  each of the  regional training centers to  arrive at                                                               
the  numbers presented  on the  TVEP report.   He  explained that                                                               
Amundsen is  a small  training center,  and instructors  cost the                                                               
same if  they are  teaching a  small number  of students  as they                                                               
would  if  these instructors  were  teaching  a large  number  of                                                               
students.   He said that  the department could investigate  it to                                                               
see if there  is any more important information to  glean, and he                                                               
could share that  information with the committee.   He reiterated                                                               
that the training  center is very small, and said  that he thinks                                                               
the  center primarily  teaches office  technology,  and that  the                                                               
type of training  that the center provides should  be viewable in                                                               
the report.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
6:25:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ  opined that  it's important  for TVEP  to get                                                               
reauthorized  for a  longer period  of  time for  the purpose  of                                                               
fiscal  stability and  certainty for  organizations.   She shared                                                               
her understanding  that it's important  to look at the  return on                                                               
investment of TVEP  funds in various communities,  and noted that                                                               
she feels very  strongly that the committee  [should not] suggest                                                               
that rural communities are the  same as urban communities.  There                                                               
are higher costs in rural  communities and there are good reasons                                                               
for that, she  opined, and she thinks that the  rural way of life                                                               
in  these communities  should be  preserved.   She expressed  her                                                               
concern that  some of these  rural programs  have a cost  that is                                                               
"six times higher"  than other programs, when many  of these less                                                               
expensive  programs are  also  effective  at delivering  training                                                               
throughout  the state.    She said  that  UAA promotes  workforce                                                               
development programs  successfully across the state  and has seen                                                               
its percentage  of TVEP funds  decline in  a way that  she thinks                                                               
undermines  the state's  ability  to train  and develop  workers.                                                               
She  concluded  that she  supports  HB  100,  but said  that  the                                                               
Amundsen Education Center deserves more investigation.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
6:27:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY  stated  that he  concurs  with  Co-Chair                                                               
Spohnholz.  He  said that he understands that there  are a lot of                                                               
variables to consider,  but doesn't think that  the variables are                                                               
matching  well, and  that  there is  more  information needed  to                                                               
understand those  variables.   He restated  that he  supports the                                                               
TVEP  program,  but said  that  he  suggests that  the  committee                                                               
reduce  the duration  of the  reauthorization of  the funds  from                                                               
three years to one or two years.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
6:28:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN questioned if  the committee would like to                                                               
pass HB 100 with the  proposed time period that would reauthorize                                                               
the  TVEP funds  until 2024.   He  considered that  there may  be                                                               
other  opportunities,  some of  which  are  fleeting, to  address                                                               
certain needs that  would not be able to be  addressed should the                                                               
reauthorization  be "locked  in" for  that duration.   He  echoed                                                               
Representative   McCarty's  thoughts   and  suggested   that  the                                                               
committee consider  a shorter  reauthorization duration  in order                                                               
to be  able to  respond more quickly  and to  further investigate                                                               
the committee's questions.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:28:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS commented  that he  will not  support a  shorter                                                               
reauthorization.  He offered the  example of NACTC in Nome, which                                                               
cannot hire  and retain  high quality  staff if  there is  only a                                                               
one-year authorization and replacement  revenue is not available.                                                               
He shared his understanding that  when considering Alaska's rural                                                               
facilities,  that   kind  of  uncertainty  would   devastate  the                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
6:29:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The  committee  took an  at-ease  from  6:29  p.m. to  6:32  p.m.                                                               
[During  the at-ease,  Co-Chair Fields  passed the  gavel to  Co-                                                               
Chair Spohnholz.]                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
        HB 121-EDUC.TAX CREDIT: EMPLOYER CHILD CARE COST                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
6:32:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ announced  that  the next  order of  business                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL NO. 121,  "An Act relating to  education tax                                                               
credits  for certain  payments and  contributions for  child care                                                               
and child care facilities; and providing for an effective date."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
6:32:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS, as prime sponsor,  introduced HB 121.  He stated                                                               
that the intent of the proposed  bill is to offer a corporate tax                                                               
credit to employers  who offer child care on  premises or through                                                               
a stipend to employees.  He  shared that he had heard good things                                                               
about oil company  BP offering child care on  site, which brought                                                               
about the idea for the proposed  bill.  He noted that when Alaska                                                               
State Representatives  Sara Rasmussen and Chris  Tuck chaired the                                                               
Children's   Caucus   during   the  Thirty-First   Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature in  2020, there were  a variety of  discussions about                                                               
what could  be done to  improve child care and  improve retention                                                               
of skilled  workers in Alaska, and  the idea for HB  121 came out                                                               
of those discussions.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  offered  a  PowerPoint  presentation  entitled,                                                               
"House Bill 121,"  and began on slide 2.   He explained that many                                                               
companies  might be  eligible for  this  tax credit  from a  wide                                                               
range of industries.   He moved to slide 3,  which highlights the                                                               
issues  HB 121  seeks to  address and  read as  follows [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     -Recognizes the urgent need for  better access to child                                                                    
     care in the State of Alaska.                                                                                               
     -Covid-19  pandemic laid  bare the  lack of  access for                                                                    
     child  care  for  many,  and  the  impacts  on  working                                                                    
     families.                                                                                                                  
     -HB 121  works to build  off of the  existing education                                                                    
     tax  credit to  help foster  child care  facilities and                                                                    
     incentivize access to child care.                                                                                          
     -Would  allow  employers   to  deduct  credits  against                                                                    
     existing Alaska  taxes, including  for their  own child                                                                    
     care facility or a stipend  to send employee's child to                                                                    
     existing child care center.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  noted  that  as   a  country,  "we  have  moved                                                               
backward"  in  terms of  women  participating  in the  workforce,                                                               
driven in  part by the  COVID-19 pandemic.   Parents have  had to                                                               
make  difficult  decisions, he  continued,  in  order to  find  a                                                               
solution  for child  care during  the pandemic.   He  shared that                                                               
there was a  time during the pandemic where all  of the lost jobs                                                               
in the United  States were "women's jobs," which he  said was due                                                               
to the tough  decisions that parents had to  make regarding child                                                               
care.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:35:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   FIELDS   proceeded   to   slide   4,   "Women   suffer                                                               
disproportionate impacts from lack of  child care access, con't,"                                                               
which  depicted  a  graph of  employment  fluctuations  in  "non-                                                               
teleworkable"  occupations during  2020.   He  stated that  there                                                               
have  been  significant negative  impacts  for  women with  young                                                               
children  in   terms  of   workforce  participation   during  the                                                               
pandemic, and  there has not yet  been a recovery from  that.  He                                                               
said that child  care is key for women with  children to have the                                                               
option to stay in the workforce.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS shared some statistics  on net migration, stating                                                               
that although  many young  adults move to  Alaska, many  of these                                                               
individuals leave the  state once they have  children.  Expanding                                                               
the availability  of high quality  child care would  allow Alaska                                                               
to retain workers,  he continued, and added that  it is dangerous                                                               
for Alaska  to have young  families leaving  the state.   He said                                                               
that there  are a lot of  variables involved in this  choice, but                                                               
child  care is  a deciding  factor in  young families'  choice to                                                               
leave Alaska.   By  strengthening child  care, he  said, Alaska's                                                               
economy is strengthened as well.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  proceeded to  slide 5,  "Child care  in Alaska,"                                                               
and shared  that the child  care problems  experienced nationally                                                               
are particularly acute in Alaska.   He opined that anyone who has                                                               
tried to find a  daycare or hire a nanny knows how  hard it is to                                                               
find  affordable, high  quality child  care.   He  said that  the                                                               
supply for  child care  in Alaska  is not  close to  matching the                                                               
demand  that  Alaska  needs to  retain  productive,  high-earning                                                               
families.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:37:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  advanced to  slide 6, "Access  to child  care in                                                               
Alaska,"  which  depicted  some  statistics  from  Thread  Alaska                                                               
regarding child  care.   He moved  to slide  7, "Access  to child                                                               
care in  Alaska: con't,"  and explained that  the need  for child                                                               
care in urban areas is acute and  that the need in rural areas is                                                               
even more acute.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS proceeded to  slide 8, "Workforce Participation,"                                                               
and  explained  that when  employers  can  provide and  subsidize                                                               
child  care,   it  makes  it   more  possible  for   everyone  to                                                               
participate in the labor force and  spend more money in the local                                                               
economy.  He  restated that there is a  disproportionality of the                                                               
impacts  of the  pandemic  on women,  which can  be  seen in  the                                                               
graphs on the slide.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS continued  to slide 9, " Access to  Child care in                                                               
Alaska: McDowell  Group Report," and explained  that the McDowell                                                               
Group conducted an  extensive report on the impact  of early care                                                               
and learning  in Alaska.   He shared his understanding  that this                                                               
report made a commendable case that  this is an area in which the                                                               
state should invest.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS   advanced  to  slide  10,   "Employer  Provided                                                               
Financial Support: McDowell Group  Report," and described some of                                                               
the benefits  of child  care provided  by an  employer, including                                                               
the convenience of  being able to drop off children  at work, the                                                               
ability for  parents to  spend more time  with their  children at                                                               
home, and increased  quality of life.  He  stated that increasing                                                               
the  availability of  child  care  would make  Alaska  more of  a                                                               
destination  for "innovative,  high-earning workers"  and improve                                                               
economic development.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  proceeded to slide  11, "Benefits  to Employers:                                                               
McDowell Group  Report," and  opined that  there is  nothing like                                                               
high quality  child care to  persuade young parents to  remain at                                                               
their  jobs.   He reiterated  that Alaska  should give  employers                                                               
more opportunities  to obtain these highly  productive employees.                                                               
He  explained that  this  would also  prevent  women leaving  the                                                               
workforce  to  take  care of  children,  thereby  increasing  the                                                               
number of women in management positions.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
6:40:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEPHANIE BERGLUND, CEO,  Thread Alaska, shared that  Thread is a                                                               
35-year-old  private, nonprofit  that works  across the  state to                                                               
increase access  to affordable early  care and education,  with a                                                               
specific focus  on child care.   She stated that  Thread supports                                                               
HB  121 and  that she  intends  to share  more information  about                                                               
child  care  that  illustrates the  importance  of  the  proposed                                                               
legislation.    She  continued  that  she  has  worked  in  early                                                               
childhood sector  for 15 years and  has yet to meet  a family who                                                               
has been able  to find and utilize child care  that operates in a                                                               
way that  meets the  price, access, and  quality concerns  of the                                                               
family.   This  means that  parents  have fewer  choices when  it                                                               
comes to child care, and this  lack of choice can severely impact                                                               
parents' time and productivity.   She shared that even working in                                                               
the  early   childhood  sector  herself,  she   has  lost  "great                                                               
employees" due to lack of access  to child care.  She opined that                                                               
Alaska  needs  HB  121  for  businesses to  be  able  to  support                                                               
employees.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:42:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. BERGLUND began a PowerPoint  presentation [hard copy included                                                               
in the committee packet].  She  drew attention to slide 1, "There                                                               
is  a need  for  more supports  for child  care  to support  more                                                               
families able to work," and  explained that the statistics on the                                                               
slide were compiled  in 2019 and 2020  and represent pre-COVID-19                                                               
data.  She  paraphrased from the slide, and  shared the statistic                                                               
that more than  88,000 children in 54,000 households  are in need                                                               
of  early  childhood learning  (ECL)  services  in Alaska.    The                                                               
primary benefit of this access as  reported by adults in the home                                                               
is that  it allows the  adults in the home  to be employed.   She                                                               
shared that there is a large  gap in demand for child care needs,                                                               
and that only 60 percent of  these houses have access to reliable                                                               
child care services.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BERGLUND proceeded  to  slide  2, "Access  to  early care  &                                                               
learning services  is becoming increasingly difficult  for Alaska                                                               
families,"  and explained  that for  households with  children in                                                               
ECL services, 52 percent found  it difficult or very difficult to                                                               
find  services, which  is up  from 37  percent since  2015.   She                                                               
shared  that COVID-19  has  made child  care  programs even  more                                                               
fragile  than the  programs were  before.   Operating costs  have                                                               
increased, and revenue  has decreased, she said.  This  is due to                                                               
families  keeping children  home  due to  safety,  or to  parents                                                               
losing their  jobs and no  longer needing child care  services or                                                               
being able  to afford  it.   She shared  that while  working from                                                               
home  is  an option  for  some  parents,  parents have  found  it                                                               
stressful to  work and take  care of  children at the  same time.                                                               
She predicted that  after the pandemic is over, there  will be an                                                               
increased demand  for child care.   She stated that HB  121 would                                                               
help provide needed support to meet the demand.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
6:44:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. BERGLUND moved  to slide 3, "Child care is  expensive and for                                                               
many  families not  affordable," and  said that  working families                                                               
carry  the burden  of both  paying for  and supporting  the child                                                               
care system.  She opined that  families should not have to choose                                                               
between work  and child care.   In Alaska, child care  costs more                                                               
than tuition  to a  university and costs  families 17  percent of                                                               
household income on average.  For  single mothers, the cost is on                                                               
average 34  percent of household  income.  She expressed  that HB
121  would  help families  afford  child  care and  likely  allow                                                               
businesses to recruit additional  employees that these businesses                                                               
wouldn't currently be able to employ.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. BERGLUND  continued to slide  4, "Child care services  make a                                                               
stable  workforce possible,"  and  explained  that quality  child                                                               
care brings families peace of mind  and allows parents to be more                                                               
dependable and  productive at work.   She shared that  in Alaska,                                                               
16 percent of residents are  able to participate in the workforce                                                               
because of  access to  child care.   This has  a large  impact on                                                               
Alaska's economy  as these  workers earn  $1.9 billion  in wages.                                                               
However, she  opined that this  number could be bigger,  and said                                                               
that 22  percent of households are  not working or would  like to                                                               
work  more, but  are prevented  from working  at the  household's                                                               
preferred capacity due  to lack of availability or  cost of child                                                               
care.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BERGLUND   moved  to  slide  5,   "Businesses  benefit  from                                                               
supporting employee  child care  needs," and explained  that more                                                               
than just  parents benefit from  increased access to  child care.                                                               
Children  also benefit  and  are more  prepared  when they  enter                                                               
Kindergarten,  making these  children more  successful in  school                                                               
and in life.  She said that  this makes for a more employable and                                                               
prepared workforce when these children  grow up.  When child care                                                               
is  supported or  subsidized by  businesses, child  care programs                                                               
are  able to  pay  the  workforce more  livable  wages and  offer                                                               
benefits.   As a result, she  continued, this makes the  sector a                                                               
stronger  and more  consistent workforce  that generates  more in                                                               
economic  growth.    She  reported  that  many  Alaska  employers                                                               
consider themselves  to be family  friendly, and 8 in  10 working                                                               
parents report some support from  employers related to child care                                                               
needs.   This indicates that  the tax credit benefit  proposed in                                                               
HB 121 would  be utilized.  She shared that  employers see better                                                               
recruitment  and  retention of  employees  with  more child  care                                                               
offered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BERGLUND  continued  that  as a  result  of  COVID-19,  more                                                               
employers  are aware  of  the  importance of  child  care.   This                                                               
conversation  has been  raised to  a new  level, she  said, which                                                               
makes the  proposed bill well timed.   She concluded that  HB 121                                                               
would give  more options to  support employees and  ultimately to                                                               
support Alaska's economy.  The  bill would be beneficial for both                                                               
employees  and  employers,  and  would  be  a  "win-win-win"  for                                                               
businesses, families, and young children.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:49:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NELSON asked  Co-Chair  Fields if  he could  talk                                                               
about  the potential  fiscal impact  on the  state should  HB 121                                                               
pass.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  responded that fiscal notes  have been submitted                                                               
and he deferred the question  to testifiers online to explain the                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
6:50:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LORI WING-HEIER,  Director, Division of Insurance,  Department of                                                               
Commerce,  Community &  Economic  Development (DCCED),  responded                                                               
that  the division  can't predict  how  many insurance  companies                                                               
would  take  advantage  [of  the   tax  credit  proposed  in  the                                                               
legislation],  but  that  she can  disclose  that  education  tax                                                               
credits  have not  been  frequently utilized  in  Alaska in  past                                                               
years.  She  shared that the highest year on  record was $150,000                                                               
in 2015.   She said that  in 2016, it  was $975, in 2017,  it was                                                               
$0, in 2018  it was $500, in  2019 it was $5,000, and  in 2020 it                                                               
was $0.   Education tax credits have not been  widely used in the                                                               
past, she reiterated,  but credits might be utilized  at a higher                                                               
rate for child care.  She  stated that the division "doesn't have                                                               
a handle" on  how many companies would use this  credit for child                                                               
care.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:51:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NICOLE  REYNOLDS, Deputy  Director, Tax  Division, Department  of                                                               
Revenue (DOR), responded that DOR  has submitted an indeterminate                                                               
fiscal note  because it  doesn't have  specific data  to estimate                                                               
how  many tax  payers will  claim  the expansion  of the  credit.                                                               
Also, it  is unclear how  many employers currently pay  the child                                                               
care costs of employees.  She  stated that DOR can't estimate how                                                               
many  employers will  start  paying child  care  costs or  making                                                               
donations to  child care facilities  should this bill pass.   She                                                               
explained  that  since this  information  is  not available,  DOR                                                               
can't  give an  estimate  for  the cost.    She  shared that  for                                                               
calendar year 2020, the education  credit that was claimed as the                                                               
statute is  written now was  about "$4 million across  the board"                                                               
for all tax types to which it applied.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ interjected  that  the  education tax  credit                                                               
that  Ms. Reynolds  is referencing  currently  applies to  higher                                                               
education as  well as Kindergarten through  twelfth-grade, and HB
121 would expand the credit down to lower grades.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
6:53:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NELSON asked  Ms. Reynolds if she  has an estimate                                                               
of  the amount  of  people  who utilized  the  maximum amount  of                                                               
education credits.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. REYNOLDS answered  that she doesn't have an  estimate but can                                                               
get back to the committee with that figure.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   SPOHNHOLZ   shared   her  understanding   that   these                                                               
individuals mainly work in health care and oil and gas.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
6:53:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NELSON  shared  that  he  is  concerned  about  a                                                               
provision in the fiscal note  that he understands as meaning that                                                               
"a credit  for any taxpayer  cannot exceed $1 million  across all                                                               
tax types."   He explained that he is fearful  of the cost impact                                                               
of this provision  on the state.  He asked  Ms. Reynolds how many                                                               
people hit the upper limit for educational credits.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REYNOLDS responded  that DOR  would look  into that  and get                                                               
back to him.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ added that to  her knowledge, there are only a                                                               
few  employers  in  Alaska  that offer  child  care  benefits  to                                                               
employees.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:55:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SNYDER directed attention  to a statistic on slide                                                               
4 of  Ms. Berglund's  presentation, "Child  care services  make a                                                               
stable  workforce  possible,"  which read  as  follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
        16% of Alaska's residents can participate in the                                                                        
      workforce because of ECL services, earning a higher                                                                       
     income and enjoying a higher standard of living.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SNYDER  asked  Ms.  Berglund if  the  16  percent                                                               
figure is applicable to Alaska residents at any given time.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. BERGLUND  responded yes,  the data was  collected in  2019 by                                                               
the  McDowell Group  through  a  representative sample  household                                                               
survey across the state.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SNYDER  asked if it  would be fair to  assume that                                                               
while the survey  found that 16 percent of residents  at any time                                                               
are benefiting from  ECL services, it could  potentially become a                                                               
much higher percentage of Alaska  residents that would be able to                                                               
benefit.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. BERGLUND replied  yes, that is a safe assumption.   She added                                                               
that 16  percent is a  consistent number  and DOR has  seen those                                                               
numbers stay consistent  over the years.   She directed attention                                                               
to another statistic on slide  4, which read as follows [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
       1 in 5, or 22%, of Alaska's residents cannot fully                                                                       
        participate in the labor force due to the cost,                                                                         
     availability, or quality of ECL services.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BERGLUND   explained  that  Alaska  residents   want  to  be                                                               
participating in the workforce with more access.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
6:57:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ  shared her understanding that  the reason the                                                               
16 percent  figure is so  low is  because it only  represents the                                                               
precise moment  in time that a  child is young enough  to qualify                                                               
for ECL.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
6:58:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN asked  Ms. Berglund if all  of the numbers                                                               
in her presentation are Alaska-based statistics.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. BERGLUND responded yes, it  is specific data collected by the                                                               
McDowell  Group in  2019 and  2020 on  Alaskans.   She reiterated                                                               
that  these  numbers came  from  the  survey the  McDowell  Group                                                               
conducted in addition to labor and demographic statistics.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAUFMAN asked  if that  information is  available                                                               
online.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BERGLUND replied  that DOR  just provided  an update  in the                                                               
last month  and she would follow  up to ensure the  committee has                                                               
that information.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
6:59:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TRISTAN WALSH,  Staff, Representative  Zack Fields,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of  Representative Fields,  prime sponsor                                                               
of HB 121, shared  that there is a link on the  final page of Co-                                                               
Chair  Fields'  presentation that  leads  to  the McDowell  Group                                                               
report.  He  said that he can ensure that  committee members have                                                               
access to the link.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
7:00:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCHRAGE  asked if the employer  child care benefit                                                               
provided  to a  parent has  to be  a cash  payment or  whether it                                                               
could be a voucher, a stipend, or something similar.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
7:00:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
EMILY NAUMAN,  Legislative Legal  Counsel, Legislative  Legal and                                                               
Research Services, Legislative Affairs  Agency (LAA), shared that                                                               
HB  121 simply  refers to  a payment  and is  not specific  as to                                                               
whether it  would have to  be a cash payment.   She said  that it                                                               
would depend on  the interpretation by DOR, but  that she doesn't                                                               
see a  reason why it  would be interpreted by  DOR in a  way that                                                               
doesn't include a stipend.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
7:01:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCHRAGE asked  if there is anything  to prevent an                                                               
employer  from  reclassifying  regular   wages  already  paid  to                                                               
employees  as child  care support  in  order to  write off  those                                                               
wages.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
7:01:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REYNOLDS responded  that DOR  would need  to implement  some                                                               
regulations to  clarify which types of  contributions qualify for                                                               
the credit.   She pointed  out that there  is no language  in the                                                               
bill  that  would  limit the  qualifying  contribution  to  those                                                               
incurred  in Alaska  or for  Alaska child  care facilities.   She                                                               
stated  that DOR  would like  to see  an amendment  that reflects                                                               
that  stipulation to  ensure that  it  is clear  in statute  that                                                               
contributions need to be for Alaska child care facilities.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
7:03:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS provided  clarification that  the intent  of the                                                               
proposed  bill is  to support  both onsite  child care  and child                                                               
care provided  through a  stipend.   He shared  his understanding                                                               
that  it  should  be  easy  to  verify  whether  an  employee  is                                                               
receiving a child care stipend.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
7:03:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCHRAGE  expressed that he is  "wildly" supportive                                                               
of the proposed  bill and that it  is much needed.   He said that                                                               
he  wants to  make sure  that working  families see  benefits and                                                               
employers don't "gain the system."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
7:04:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ asked  Ms. Reynold if she  would view payments                                                               
made to  an employee as a  child care stipend as  taxable or non-                                                               
taxable.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. REYNOLDS  responded that  a stipend  provided to  an employee                                                               
would  most likely  be considered  taxable  income under  federal                                                               
law, but  would not be  considered taxable income under  State of                                                               
Alaska law since Alaska doesn't have an income tax.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
7:05:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS offered  his understanding  that some  employers                                                               
that offer  or subsidize  child care presently  might do  so from                                                               
the employer  to the child  care provider which would  shield the                                                               
employee from an additional tax burden.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ  agreed,  and  postulated that  it  might  be                                                               
useful to  find out  whether the federal  government would  tax a                                                               
child care  stipend paid  for the  benefit of  an employee.   She                                                               
shared that it could be viewed  as a means by which to compensate                                                               
employees.   She added that  when her three children  were young,                                                               
she spent  more on child  care than  on her mortgage  each month,                                                               
and that  even a  modest stiped  for child  care would've  made a                                                               
significant impact on  her wellbeing.  She  referenced child care                                                               
centers that  BP, the University  of Alaska (UA),  and Providence                                                               
Alaska  Medical Center  have made  available  for employees,  and                                                               
noted that many  employers in Alaska are aware  of the importance                                                               
of child care to employees.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
7:07:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ stated that HB 121 was held over.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
7:07:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee  took a  brief at-ease.   [During the  at-ease, Co-                                                               
Chair Spohnholz handed the gavel to Co-Chair Fields.]                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
          HB 45-WORKERS' COMP. AND CONTAGIOUS DISEASES                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
7:08:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  45,  "An Act  relating  to  presumption  of                                                               
compensability  for  workers'   compensation  claims  related  to                                                               
contagious diseases; and providing for an effective date."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
7:09:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 7:09 p.m. to 7:12 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
7:12:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE moved  to  adopt  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for HB 45,  Version 32-LS0304\I,  Marx, 3/16/21,                                                               
as a working document.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
7:12:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN objected.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
7:12:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll call  vote was taken.   Representatives Spohnholz, Fields,                                                               
Schrage, and Snyder voted in favor  of adopting the CS for HB 45,                                                               
Version  32-LS0304\I,  Marx,  3/16/21,  as  a  working  document.                                                               
Representatives Nelson,  Kaufman, and  McCarty voted  against it.                                                               
Therefore, by  a vote of  4-3, the CS for  HB 45, Version  I, was                                                               
before  the House  Labor  and Commerce  Standing  Committee as  a                                                               
working document.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
7:13:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
7:14:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NELSON  asked Representative Josephson  to explain                                                               
the  current workers'  compensation  pathways.   He  asked how  a                                                               
worker is meant  to explain what happened to  necessitate a claim                                                               
and  how  a worker  would  move  through  the process  to  obtain                                                               
compensation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
7:15:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDY  JOSEPHSON,  Alaska  State  Legislature,  as                                                               
prime sponsor of HB 45, responded  that there is a report of harm                                                               
that gets  filed within 30  days of the incident.   If it  is not                                                               
filed, the injured employee could file it administratively.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NELSON asked  about the  infectiousness of  "this                                                               
disease"   and  if   [infections]  were   attributable  to   work                                                               
conditions.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  responded that  it is  attributable not                                                               
in the  same way  that a trade  injury would be,  but that  it is                                                               
still attributable.   He explained that the idea  behind the bill                                                               
is that  there are essential  workers that have  been identified,                                                               
which  is  a policy  call,  and  these  workers are  "out  there"                                                               
working because of the essential nature  of the work.  The theory                                                               
is  that these  workers are  subject to  more exposure  than "the                                                               
rest of us."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
7:17:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAUFMAN asked why the fiscal note would be zero.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  responded that the fiscal  note is zero                                                               
because it represents "one agency  speaking about what it knows,"                                                               
and in this case, the agency  is the Department of Revenue (DOR).                                                               
He deferred the question to his  staff, and asked if DOR used the                                                               
term "indeterminate" when referencing the DOR fiscal note.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
7:18:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELISE  SORUM-BIRK, Staff,  Representative Andy  Josephson, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  on behalf of Representative  Josephson, prime                                                               
sponsor of  HB 45, responded  that the only fiscal  note attached                                                               
is the  one from DOR,  though it is  possible that there  will be                                                               
more  from  the  Department   of  Administration,  Department  of                                                               
Corrections, or Department of  Transportation & Public Facilities                                                               
(DOTPF).                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
7:18:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   NELSON   noted   the  complexity   of   workers'                                                               
compensation.   He shared his  understanding that  currently, the                                                               
employee has  to prove that the  employer did not provide  a safe                                                               
working environment  to receive  workers' compensation.   If this                                                               
bill were to  pass, he shared his understanding  that an employee                                                               
would simply have  to prove employment at a  workplace during the                                                               
time  the  employee contracted  the  infection  and the  employee                                                               
would receive compensation.  He asked if this is correct.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  responded  that  the  second  part  of                                                               
Representative Nelson's statement is  correct, and the first part                                                               
is  less so.   He  explained  that currently,  employees are  not                                                               
required to prove that working  conditions were unsafe to receive                                                               
compensation.   It is a  "no fault" system and  accidents happen,                                                               
he said.   Regarding the  second part of  Representative Nelson's                                                               
question,  he stated  that  it  is correct  that  a worker  would                                                               
simply have to  prove employment during the time  of infection to                                                               
receive  compensation   under  the  proposed  legislation.     He                                                               
explained that this would be sufficient to create a burden.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NELSON asked  if that  proof is  all an  employee                                                               
would need.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON responded yes.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
7:20:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCHRAGE  offered his  understanding that  the bill                                                               
would be  relevant only during  a time  when a disaster  has been                                                               
declared.    He said  that  the  bill  would simply  supply  some                                                               
benefit  of  the  doubt  to  an  employee  who  is  providing  an                                                               
essential  service during  a disaster.   He  asked Representative                                                               
Josephson if his understanding is correct.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON responded that is correct.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
7:20:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY asked  Representative Josephson whether he                                                               
has "any  numbers as to what  ends up in liability  lawsuits" and                                                               
whether  this  could  cause  a  rise  in  potential  lawsuits  to                                                               
employers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  responded that there's  no potentiality                                                               
for  that because  an employer  cannot sue  in a  personal injury                                                               
action,  or "tort".    The  only exception  to  this  would be  a                                                               
situation  where there's  third  party liability,  he  said.   He                                                               
shared  that the  whole  system began  at the  turn  of the  20th                                                               
century with  [Chancellor Otto von]  Bismarck, an  early champion                                                               
of  workers'  compensation, and  is  not  based on  liability  or                                                               
fault,  but is  instead based  on  a contract  called the  "Great                                                               
Bargain."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
7:22:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  shared  that  the entire  purpose  of  workers'                                                               
compensation is to shield employers from tort liability.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
7:22:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE  moved to  report  CSHB  45, Version  32-                                                               
LS0304\I,  Marx,  3/16/21,  out   of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
7:23:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NELSON objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
7:23:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Schrage, Snyder,                                                               
Spohnholz, and Fields  voted in favor of the motion  to move CSHB
45,  Version 32-LS0304\I,  Marx, 3/16/21,  out of  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
Representatives McCarty,  Nelson, and  Kaufman voted  against it.                                                               
Therefore, CSHB 45(L&C)  was reported out of the  House Labor and                                                               
Commerce Committee by a vote of 4-3.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
        HB 100-EXTEND WORKFORCE INVEST BOARD ALLOCATIONS                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
7:24:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be  a  return  to  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  100,  "An  Act  relating  to                                                               
allocations  of  funding  for  the  Alaska  Workforce  Investment                                                               
Board; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
7:24:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCHRAGE  moved to report  HB 100 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection,  HB 100 was reported out of the                                                               
House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
7:24:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at                                                                  
7:25 p.m.                                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 121 v. A 3.3.21.PDF HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 121
HB 121 Sectional Analysis v. A 3.16.2021.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 121
HB 121 Sponsor Statement 3.16.2021.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 121
HB 121 Presenter Powerpoint 3.16.21.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 121
HB 121 Sponsor Powerpoint 3.17.21.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 121
HB 121 Supporting Document - AECCC Economic Impact Report 2020 3.16.21.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 121
HB 121 Supporting Document - DOR Education Tax Credit 2020 Annual Report 3.16.2021.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 121
HB 121 Supporting Document - IMF Working Paper 3.16.21.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 121
HB 121 Fiscal Note DOR-TAX 3.12.21.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 121
HB 121 Fiscal Note DCCED-DOI 3.12.21.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 121
HB 100 Supporting Document - ARC 3.16.21.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 100
HB 100 Letter of Support - ARC 3.16.21.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 100
HB 45 Work Draft Committee Substitute v. I 3.16.21.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 45
HB 100 Bill Presentation 3.15.21.pdf HL&C 3/15/2021 6:30:00 PM
HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 100
HB 100 UA Presentation 3.15.21.pdf HL&C 3/15/2021 6:30:00 PM
HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
SFIN 5/3/2021 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 5/14/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 100
HB 100 Supporting Document - FY22 Proposed Distribution 3.15.21.pdf HL&C 3/15/2021 6:30:00 PM
HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 100
HB 100 FN - UA-SYSBRA 3.13.21.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 100
HB 45- Letter of Support- ASEA AFSCME Local 52 3.15.22.pdf HL&C 3/17/2021 5:45:00 PM
HB 45