Legislature(2015 - 2016)Anch LIO Auditorium

05/26/2015 04:00 PM LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

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Audio Topic
04:15:37 PM Start
05:41:05 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Ratification of Charitable Events TELECONFERENCED
OVR Lease Renewal Approval
Anchorage LIO Security
FY16 Agency Budget Cut Approval
Other Committee Business
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                      LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                                                     
                          MAY 26, 2015                                                                                        
                            4:15 PM                                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
    MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
    Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                 
    Representative Bob Herron, Vice Chair                                                                                       
    Senator John Coghill                                                                                                        
    Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                     
    Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                         
    Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                      
    Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                
    Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                
    Representative Sam Kito                                                                                                     
    Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                             
    Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                  
    Representative Steve Thompson, alternate                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
    MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
    Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                       
    Senator Anna MacKinnon                                                                                                      
    Senator Lesil McGuire, alternate                                                                                            
    Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                              
    OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
  Representatives Guttenberg, Vazquez, Wilson and Drummond                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
    AGENDA                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
    APPROVAL OF AGENDA                                                                                                          
    APPROVAL OF MINUTES                                                                                                         
    RATIFICATION OF CHARITY EVENTS                                                                                              
    CONTRACT APPROVALS - OVR LEASE RENEWAL                                                                                      
    FY 16 AGENCY BUDGET CUT APPROVAL                                                                                            
    OTHER COMMITTEE BUSINESS                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
    SPEAKER REGISTER                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
    Pam Varni, Executive Director, Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                   
      4:15:37 PM                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
  I. CHAIR GARY STEVENS called the Legislative Council meeting                                                                
      to  order  at  4:15  p.m.  in  the  Anchorage  Legislative                                                                
      Information Office  Auditorium. Present at the  call were                                                                 
      Senators Meyer,  Coghill, Huggins, Micciche, and Stevens;                                                                 
      Representatives Kito, Millett, and Herron. Representatives                                                                
      Chenault, Johnson, Neuman and Thompson, alternate member,                                                                 
      joined the meeting after the roll call.  Senators Hoffman,                                                                
      MacKinnon,   and    McGuire,   alternate    member,   and                                                                 
      Representative Hawker were absent.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 II. APPROVAL OF AGENDA                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
      4:16:37 PM                                                                                                              
      VICE  CHAIR HERRON moved that Legislative Council approve                                                                 
      the agenda as presented.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
      The agenda was approved with no objections.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES                                                                                                      
      a. April 2, 2015                                                                                                        
      b. April 9, 2015                                                                                                        
      c. April 13, 2015                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
      4:16:48 PM                                                                                                              
      VICE  CHAIR HERRON moved that Legislative Council approve                                                                 
      the  minutes of  April 2,  April 9,  and April  13, 2015,                                                                 
      meetings as presented.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
      CHAIR STEVENS asked members if there were any  corrections                                                                
      to or  comments about the minutes presented. There were no                                                                
      corrections or comments.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
      The minutes were approved as presented with no objections.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 IV. RATIFICATION OF CHARITY EVENTS                                                                                           
                              th                                                                                              
      a. Kenai Peninsula Fair 10 Annual Celebrity Waiter Event                                                                
      b. Hospice & Home Care of Juneau - An Evening of Beer and                                                               
         Wine Tasting                                                                                                         
      c. Kenai  River Sportfishing  Assoc. -  Kenai  River  Jr.                                                               
         Classic, Kenai River Classic, and Kenai River Women's                                                                
         Classic                                                                                                              
      d. Outdoor Heritage Foundation of  Alaska -  Midnight Sun                                                               
         Charity Shoot                                                                                                        
      e. Legislative Skits                                                                                                    
                                    rd                                                                                        
      f. Alaska Resource Education 23  Annual Coal Classic Golf                                                               
         Tournament                                                                                                           
      g. Juneau Friends of the NRA Spring Fundraising Banquet                                                                 
    4:17:13 PM                                                                                                                
    VICE CHAIR HERRON moved that Legislative Council ratify the                                                                 
    Chair's sanctioning of the following charitable events per                                                                  
    AS 24.60.080(a)(2)(b):                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
  Kenai Peninsula Fair 10th Annual Celebrity Waiter Event;                                                                      
    Hospice & Home Care of Juneau - An Evening of Beer and Wine                                                                 
    Tasting;                                                                                                                    
    Kenai River Sportfishing Assoc. - Kenai River Jr. Classic,                                                                  
    Kenai River Classic, and Kenai River Women's Classic;                                                                       
    Outdoor  Heritage  Foundation of  Alaska  -  Midnight Sun                                                                   
    Charity Shoot;                                                                                                              
    Legislative Skits;                                                                                                          
    Alaska  Resource Education 23rd Annual  Coal Classic Golf                                                                   
    Tournament; and                                                                                                             
    Juneau Friends of the NRA Spring Fundraising Banquet.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
    CHAIR  STEVENS noted that all  of the above  organizations                                                                  
    have 501(c)(3) non-profit status.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
    The motion passed with no objections.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
V. OVR LEASE APPROVAL                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
    4:18:36 PM                                                                                                                
    VICE  CHAIR HERRON moved that Legislative Council approve                                                                   
    Renewal No. 3 of the Lease Extension with L92 LLC for OVR                                                                   
    for $53,963.64 for July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
    CHAIR STEVENS objected for discussion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
    PAM  VARNI, Executive Director of the  Legislative Affairs                                                                  
    Agency, said that Renewal Lease No. 2 would expire on June                                                                  
    30, 2015, and what was before Council was Renewal Lease No.                                                                 
    3 for the period of July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016, for the                                                                   
    Office of Victims' Rights. OVR has been in this space since                                                                 
    2002.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
    SENATOR COGHILL asked if, after this renewal, there was one                                                                 
    more lease extension and then the whole contract would have                                                                 
    to be renewed.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
    MS.  VARNI confirmed that was  her understanding and that                                                                   
    then  the Agency  would go  out to  bid  for a  new lease                                                                   
    contract.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
    REPRESENTATIVE KITO asked  for clarification that Renewal                                                                   
    No.  3 was indeed the  last renewal of the current lease.                                                                   
    Some   discussion  followed  about   whether  there  were                                                                   
      additional lease renewals available after  Renewal No. 3.                                                                 
      The  Procurement Officer was not available and  Ms. Varni                                                                 
      said she would get back to the Chair with that information.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
      A roll call vote was taken.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
      YEAS:   Coghill, Huggins, Micciche, Chenault, Johnson, Kito,                                                              
              Millett, Herron, Stevens                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
      NAYS: None                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      The motion passed 9-0.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
      [Senator Meyer was not present for the vote.]                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 VI. FY 16 AGENCY BUDGET CUT APPROVAL                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
      4:22:46 PM                                                                                                              
      VICE  CHAIR HERRON moved that Legislative Council approve                                                                 
      the presented FY 16 budget cuts prepared by the Executive                                                                 
      Director   to  Administrative  Services,   Information  &                                                                 
      Teleconference, and Legal & Research Services.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
      CHAIR STEVENS objected for discussion.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
      MS. VARNI described for members the details in her May 19,                                                                
      2015, memo summarizing the FY 16 budget reductions made to                                                                
      Administrative  Services, Information  &  Technology, and                                                                 
      Legal  &   Research  Services in   the  total  amount  of                                                                 
      $1,718,700. She  said  the reduction results  in 23  less                                                                 
      positions for the Agency in FY 16. Administrative Services                                                                
      component for  the last two  years has  lapsed $1,680 and                                                                 
      $3,669 in FY 14 and FY 15 respectively. The FY 16 reduction                                                               
      has  also resulted in a  reduction in dues to  legislative                                                                
      organizations, travel, commodities, and equipment.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
      She said  that in past practices, Legislative Council has                                                                 
      approved  any reductions  to  the Legislative  Information                                                                
      Offices  throughout the state.  Due to  the FY  16 budget                                                                 
      reductions,  the  Agency  has  proposed  two   Legislative                                                                
      Information Assistant positions  go from  12 months to  6                                                                 
      months -  one in the Fairbanks LIO and  one in the Mat-Su                                                                 
      LIO. Further, the Agency proposes to reduce two Information                                                               
      Officer positions from 12 months to 6 months - one in the                                                                 
      Barrow LIO  and one in  the Kotzebue LIO;  in this Senate                                                                 
      district, there are  currently three year-round LIOs. The                                                                 
      majority of Senate districts have one LIO that is year-                                                                   
      round  and  the other  are  session-only LIOs. With  this                                                                 
      proposed reduction, the Senate district for Senator Donny                                                                 
    Olson would go from three year-round LIOs to one year-round                                                                 
    LIOs and two session-only LIOs.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
    CHAIR STEVENS said this was a very complex issue and it was                                                                 
    very painful to make these reductions. He asked Ms. Varni                                                                   
    to provide further detail about the 23 positions eliminated                                                                 
    from the Legislative Affairs Agency on the record so that                                                                   
    everyone knows that we are talking about real jobs.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
    MS.  VARNI said that  one of  the positions was  a Supply                                                                   
    Assistant and was also the Capitol Tour Coordinator as well                                                                 
    as nine Capitol Tour Guides were eliminated. She said that                                                                  
    she received direction from the Senate Finance Committee to                                                                 
    eliminate  the  tour  guide  operation.  The  Agency  has                                                                   
    conducted more  than 14,000 guided tours  during the 2014                                                                   
    visitor season and many thousands more that do self-guided                                                                  
    tours.  She noted  that this  year and  next, due  to the                                                                   
    exterior  remodel of  the  Capitol, tours  are  not being                                                                   
    allowed to ensure the safety of both the visitors and the                                                                   
    construction workers, especially  with no tour  guides to                                                                   
    help with that issue.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
    Ms.  Varni said that out  of the 23  positions eliminated,                                                                  
    three were vacant: a Machine Operator in the Print Shop and                                                                 
    two Custodian positions. She noted that this reflects that                                                                  
    the Agency had been utilizing all their positions. She went                                                                 
    on to say that three positions were eliminated in Research                                                                  
    as well as several positions in Information Services and a                                                                  
    Maintenance worker. The FY 16 budget reduction has really                                                                   
    impacted the Agency. She said LAA went through some major                                                                   
    budget  cuts in 1985  when oil  prices went down  and the                                                                   
    Agency hasn't been  faced with the elimination of so many                                                                   
    positions since then. She said it has been very  difficult                                                                  
    and the staff in those eliminated positions have been given                                                                 
    their layoff notices.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
    REPRESENTATIVE KITO said he wanted to remind everyone here,                                                                 
    understanding the fiscal situation that the  State is in,                                                                   
    that each  one of those 23 positions is an individual, an                                                                   
    individual with children and  families that are trying to                                                                   
    make  a living and 23 jobs that  will not be available in                                                                   
    Juneau,  or at least  a fair number  of them. He  said he                                                                   
    thought about the dramatic decrease in spending on Research                                                                 
    and Legal and their ability to support all 60 Legislators;                                                                  
    hoping  that we  were  going to  be  able to  provide the                                                                   
    services that we have in the past but also recognizing that                                                                 
    this,  among other State  agency cuts, is  going to  be a                                                                   
    significant impact to his community. Specifically regarding                                                                 
    the  Capitol  tours, he  said  it was  very  important to                                                                   
      understand that 14,000 tourists come through the Capitol in                                                               
      a normal season; he  said he hoped that we would have the                                                                 
      ability  to  somehow provide  for tours,  to  have people                                                                 
      understand the  importance of the  Capitol in  Juneau and                                                                 
      would welcome working with the Executive Director over the                                                                
      next two years to figure out a way to have guided tours in                                                                
      the Capitol City.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
      CHAIR  STEVENS said  he  appreciated the  Representative's                                                                
      underlying of that issue - these are real people with real                                                                
      jobs, many of  them, and when one looks through the list,                                                                 
      one would see people that have impacted all Legislators in                                                                
      Research, Legal and the Help Desk. He said they would feel                                                                
      the pinch, although obviously not as these individuals will                                                               
      be,  but we  understand the  impact it  will have on  the                                                                 
      community. He said these are real cuts that end in 23 less                                                                
      positions.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN asked for clarification on the vote -                                                               
      a  yes vote  is to  accept the  reductions? Chair Stevens                                                                 
      confirmed that a yes vote was to accept the reductions and                                                                
      all of the eliminations listed as well as the reductions to                                                               
      the LIOs listed on the second page.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
      A roll call vote was taken.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
      YEAS:   Coghill,  Huggins,  Micciche, Chenault,  Johnson,                                                                 
              Millett, Neuman, Thompson, Herron, Stevens                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
      NAYS: Kito                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      The motion passed 10-1.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
VII. OTHER COMMITTEE BUSINESS                                                                                                 
      a. Lawsuit Update by Doug Gardner                                                                                       
      b. Anchorage LIO Security                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
      4:32:40 PM                                                                                                              
      VICE CHAIR  HERRON moved that Legislative Council go into                                                                 
      Executive Session under Uniform Rule 22 (b)(3) and (4) for                                                                
      the discussion of a matter that may, by law, be required to                                                               
      be  confidential; and for the discussion of  a matter the                                                                 
      public  knowledge of  which  would  adversely affect  the                                                                 
      security  of  a  governmental unit.  He  asked  that  the                                                                 
      following individuals remain online: Doug Gardner and Linda                                                               
      Hay; and that the following individuals remain in the room:                                                               
      Pam Varni, Katrina Matheny, Steve Daigle and Mike Warenda.                                                                
      Also, any Legislators that are not on  Legislative Council                                                                
      may remain in the room.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
    The motion passed with no objections and Legislative                                                                        
    Council went into Executive Session.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
    5:41:05 PM                                                                                                                
    Legislative Council came out of Executive Session.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
    CHAIR STEVENS advised members that the next Legislative                                                                     
    Council meeting would be in late June.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
    There being no further business before the committee, the                                                                   
    Legislative Council meeting was adjourned at 5:42 p.m.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
    NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, there is no audio                                                                      
    recording of the meeting after Legislative Council came out                                                                 
    of Executive Session.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                

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