Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/27/1993 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                            
                        February 27, 1993                                      
                            8:00 a.m.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Al Vezey, Chairman                                            
  Representative Harley Olberg                                                 
  Representative Gary Davis                                                    
  Representative Bettye Davis                                                  
  Representative Jerry Sanders (via teleconference)                            
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Pete Kott, Vice Chairman                                      
  Representative Fran Ulmer                                                    
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
  *HB 153   "An Act related to sentencing."                                    
                                                                               
            MOVED FROM COMMITTEE WITH DO PASS RECOMMENDATION                   
                                                                               
  HB 81     "An Act relating to the longevity bonus program."                  
                                                                               
            HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION                        
                                                                               
  (* first public hearing)                                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
  Judge Karen Hunt                                                             
  State Superior Court                                                         
  303 K Street, Chambers 421                                                   
  Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                     
  264-0772                                                                     
  Position Statement: Supported HB 153                                         
                                                                               
  David Trantham                                                               
  P.O. Box 759                                                                 
  Bethel, Alaska  99559                                                        
  543-2772                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Nat Kenney                                                                   
  P.O. Box 1056                                                                
  Delta Junction, Alaska 99737                                                 
  895-4343                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Vyola Belle                                                                  
  Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                         
  747-8814                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Doris Southall                                                               
  2221 Eagan Avenue                                                            
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                      
  456-6358                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Dorothy Westphal                                                             
  P.O. Box 288                                                                 
  Sterling, Alaska  99672                                                      
  262-6061                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Rose Palmquist                                                               
  P.O. Box 870294                                                              
  Wasilla, Alaska  99687                                                       
  376-2274                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Marvin Bushey                                                                
  1019 Vernal Street                                                           
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99712                                                      
  457-5096                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Herman Leirer                                                                
  Seward, Alaska  99664                                                        
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Nick Zerbinos                                                                
  P.O. Box 371                                                                 
  Glennallen, Alaska  99588                                                    
  822-3451                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Douglas Euers                                                                
  P.O. Box 201                                                                 
  Tok, Alaska 99780                                                            
  883-5351                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Paul Miller                                                                  
  P.O. Box 384                                                                 
  Delta Junction, Alaska 99737                                                 
  895-4493                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  John Shaffer                                                                 
  303 Kimsham Street                                                           
  Sitka, Alaska 99835                                                          
  747-8425                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Earl Westphal                                                                
  P.O. Box 288                                                                 
  Sterling, Alaska  99672                                                      
  262-6061                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Lee Carman                                                                   
  712 Bentley Drive                                                            
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                      
  452-6296                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Mellie Terwilliger                                                           
  P.O. Box 206                                                                 
  Tok, Alaska  99780                                                           
  883-5351                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Charles Broker                                                               
  P.O. Box 84                                                                  
  Tok, Alaska  99780                                                           
  883-2531                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Gloria Maschmeyer                                                            
  Anchorage, Alaska                                                            
  277-0787                                                                     
  Position Statement: Supported HB 81                                          
                                                                               
  Harry Jenkins                                                                
  210 10th Avenue                                                              
  Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                     
  456-4901                                                                     
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 81                                            
                                                                               
  Nancy Bear Usera, Commissioner                                               
  Department of Administration                                                 
  P.O. Box 110200                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska  99811-0200                                                   
  465-2200                                                                     
  Position Statement: Supported HB 81                                          
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB 153                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: REDUCTION OF PRESUMPTIVE SENTENCES                              
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): JUDICIARY BY REQUEST                                             
  TITLE: "An Act related to sentencing."                                       
  JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
  02/15/93       345    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  02/15/93       345    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY,                        
                              FINANCE                                          
  02/27/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB 81                                                                 
  SHORT TITLE: PHASE OUT LONGEVITY BONUS                                       
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                 
  TITLE: "An Act relating to the longevity bonus program."                     
  JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
  01/22/93       130    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/22/93       130    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY,                        
                              FINANCE                                          
  01/22/93       130    (H)   -2 FNS (ADM)   1/22/93                           
  01/22/93       130    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                    
  02/02/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
  02/02/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/06/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
  02/13/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/13/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  02/27/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-22, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN AL VEZEY called the House State Affairs Committee                   
  to order at 8:01 a.m. on Saturday, February 27, 1993.                        
  Members present were Representatives Harley Olberg, Gary                     
  Davis, and Bettye Davis, which represented a quorum.  In                     
  attendance by teleconference from Anchorage was                              
  Representative Jerry Sanders.                                                
                                                                               
  HB 153:  REDUCTION OF PRESUMPTIVE SENTENCES                                  
                                                                               
  Number 039                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title of HB 153 and called for                       
  testimony.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 048                                                                   
                                                                               
  KAREN HUNT, STATE SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE, testified via                        
  teleconference from Anchorage.  She listed her                               
  qualifications to testify on HB 153 as the deputy presiding                  
  judge in charge of criminal affairs in the Third Judicial                    
  District, and also as the chair of the statewide three-judge                 
  panel.  She outlined the history of the legislative intent                   
  of AS 33.19.010(b), which HB 153 addressed.  She stated that                 
  a previous revision of the statue was an obstruction to the                  
  intent of the law, and that HB 153 was needed to make the                    
  three-judge panel on presumptive sentences as effective as                   
  possible.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 222                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked Judge Hunt to clarify her position, and                 
  then asked if she could state how HB 153 might affect the                    
  prison system.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 251                                                                   
                                                                               
  JUDGE HUNT said HB 153 would likely reduce the number of                     
  people in prison, because the statute now required many                      
  people to stay in jail longer than necessary.  She also said                 
  this should help in lowering costs, but reminded the chair                   
  the statute involved affected a limited number of cases.                     
                                                                               
  Number 298                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY called for other testimony.  Seeing none, he                  
  closed testimony.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 302                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE BETTYE DAVIS MOVED to pass HB 153 from                        
  committee.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 310                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS SECONDED the motion.                               
                                                                               
  Number 316                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY called for a vote and HB 153 was unanimously                  
  PASSED from committee.                                                       
                                                                               
  HB 81:  PHASE OUT LONGEVITY BONUS                                            
                                                                               
  Number 333                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title of HB 81 and called for                        
  testimony from Juneau.  Seeing none, he polled the                           
  teleconference sites for testimony.                                          
                                                                               
  Number 346                                                                   
                                                                               
  DAVE TRANTHAM, a 46 year resident of Bethel, testified via                   
  teleconference from Bethel against HB 81.  He stated the                     
  bill would be challenged in court, and would hurt many                       
  seniors' ability to stay in Alaska.  He favored an across                    
  the board budget cut instead.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 411                                                                   
                                                                               
  NAT KENNEY, a resident of Delta Junction, testified via                      
  teleconference from Delta Junction in opposition to HB 81.                   
  He stated the longevity bonus returned money to the state at                 
  an 11 to 1 ratio, and seniors would be forced to leave the                   
  state if it was terminated.                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 472                                                                   
                                                                               
  VYOLA BELLE, a resident of Sitka, testified via                              
  teleconference from Sitka, in opposition to HB 81.  She said                 
  the bonus was needed to keep seniors independent.                            
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 489                                                                   
                                                                               
  DORIS SOUTHALL, a resident of Fairbanks, testified via                       
  teleconference from Fairbanks against HB 81.  She favored                    
  SB 6 instead.                                                                
                                                                               
  Number 519                                                                   
                                                                               
  DOROTHY WESTPHAL, a resident of Sterling, testified via                      
  teleconference from Kenai.  She stated HB 81 would be                        
  contested in court, and that she favored SB 6 over HB 81.                    
                                                                               
  Number 548                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS asked Mrs. Westphal if she had                       
  looked into the annuity plan, and had seen the                               
  Administration's research which indicated the annuity was                    
  unfeasible.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 554                                                                   
                                                                               
  MRS. WESTPHAL stated she knew of the Administration's                        
  position, but felt SB 6 could be amended.                                    
                                                                               
  Number 571                                                                   
                                                                               
  ROSE PALMQUIST, a resident of Palmer, testified via                          
  teleconference from Mat-Su in opposition to HB 81.  She said                 
  an annuity plan should have been implemented years ago.                      
  She also challenged the Administration's contention that                     
  most seniors did not need the bonus to live on.                              
                                                                               
  Number 632                                                                   
                                                                               
  MARVIN BUSHEY, a resident of Fairbanks, testified via                        
  teleconference from Fairbanks, in opposition to HB 81.  He                   
  favored SB 6, and stated it was unfair for long time                         
  citizens who were not yet qualified by age to be cut off                     
  from the bonus when outsiders who were of age can come in                    
  and qualify in one year.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 653                                                                   
                                                                               
  HERMAN LEIRER, a 69 year resident of Seward, testified via                   
  teleconference from Seward in opposition to HB 81.  He said                  
  it would cost Alaska 15 to 20 thousand citizens who would                    
  move.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 678                                                                   
                                                                               
  NICK ZERBINOS, a resident of Glennallen, testified via                       
  teleconference from Glennallen in opposition to HB 81, and                   
  stated many seniors had the choice of taking the bonus or                    
  going on welfare.                                                            
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-22, SIDE B                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 045                                                                   
                                                                               
  DOUGLAS EUERS, a resident of Tok, testified via                              
  teleconference from Tok in opposition to HB 81.  He favored                  
  SB 6.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 111                                                                   
                                                                               
  PAUL MILLER, a resident of Delta Junction, testified via                     
  teleconference from Delta Junction in opposition to HB 81,                   
  and stated with Alaskans sure to take a hit under the                        
  Clinton administration, the bonus would be especially needed                 
  by seniors.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 166                                                                   
                                                                               
  JOHN SHAFFER, a resident of Sitka, testified via                             
  teleconference from Sitka, on behalf of the Legislative                      
  Committee of the American Association of Retired Persons, in                 
  opposition to HB 81 and in favor of SB 6.  He said the                       
  current recipients must be protected.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 223                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. PALMQUIST stated legislators should consider the                         
  contribution of seniors to the state and if the state really                 
  was running out of money.  She stated the government should                  
  not balance the budget on the backs of seniors or kids.                      
                                                                               
  Number 298                                                                   
                                                                               
  EARL WESTPHAL, a 77 year old resident of Sterling, testified                 
  via teleconference from Kenai in opposition to HB 81 because                 
  he needed it to live.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 378                                                                   
                                                                               
  LEE CARMAN, a resident of Fairbanks, testified via                           
  teleconference from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 81, and in                 
  favor of SB 6.  He deemed HB 81 unfair to seniors close to                   
  qualifying by age.                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 465                                                                   
                                                                               
  MELLIE TERWILLIGER, a resident of Tok and a member of the                    
  Older Alaskans Commission, testified via teleconference from                 
  Tok in opposition to HB 81, and in favor of SB 6.  She                       
  believed lawmakers must consider the contribution of seniors                 
  to the state.                                                                
                                                                               
  Number 502                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHARLES BROKER, a resident of Tok, testified via                             
  teleconference from Tok in opposition to HB 81.  He favored                  
  amending SB 6, and said seniors under qualification age in                   
  HB 81 would lose out.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 543                                                                   
                                                                               
  GLORIA MASCHMEYER, a 13 year resident of Anchorage,                          
  testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support of HB
  81.  She believed the SB 6 annuity plan was too complicated,                 
  created bureaucracy, and would prevent her family from                       
  collecting her savings if she died after the age of 65.  She                 
  questioned whether the annuity could be supported since many                 
  people could not contribute their permanent fund checks                      
  because they used those to live.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 605                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS asked Mrs. Maschmeyer if she knew                    
  what the annuity would provide her family.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 611                                                                   
                                                                               
  MRS. MASCHMEYER stated she had no figures from Senator                       
  Kerttula's office, but understood she would only get $100 a                  
  month under the annuity plan.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 635                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY called for any other testimony from the                       
  teleconference sites.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 668                                                                   
                                                                               
  HARRY JENKINS, a resident of Fairbanks, testified via                        
  teleconference from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 81.  He                    
  felt Alaska would lose citizens if the program ended.                        
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-23, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 020                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. EUERS stated lawmakers must look to the future, and that                 
  ending the bonus would affect seniors' medical care.                         
                                                                               
  Number 067                                                                   
                                                                               
  There being no further public testimony, CHAIRMAN VEZEY                      
  called for committee discussion.                                             
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS asked for comments from the                          
  Commissioner of the Department of Administration.                            
                                                                               
  Number 090                                                                   
                                                                               
  NANCY BEAR USERA, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF                                
  ADMINISTRATION, addressed the constitutionality of HB 81.                    
  She said it was a phase out program and, therefore, was not                  
  subject to court challenge.                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 116                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS stated it was not fair for long-time                 
  residents below qualification age to be cut out of the bonus                 
  when newcomers of age were allowed to receive checks.                        
                                                                               
  Number 133                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER USERA stated if the program was operating the                   
  way it was intended to, the reform would not be needed.  She                 
  also stated any redesign on basis of residency would be                      
  subject to a court challenge, and HB 81 was the most                         
  favorable reform for current recipients.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 161                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS agreed with Rep. B. Davis' concerns,                 
  but stated HB 81 was the best middle of the road proposal.                   
  He favored HB 81 because the phase out would slow the in-                    
  migration of older people, and end a trend of growing                        
  outlays in the last 10 years.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 198                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS was concerned the program might not                  
  save money, since many seniors would have to go on public                    
  assistance.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 211                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER USERA had no figures on how many people would                   
  go on public assistance, but informed the committee that                     
  much of the bonus money would go toward new needs-based                      
  programs where seniors would be protected.  She stated the                   
  government also would not see a savings for at least four                    
  years while the program was implemented, because the growth                  
  trend would continue with the aging of the population.                       
                                                                               
  Number 288                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS favored moving HB 81 from committee.                 
                                                                               
  Number 306                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS supported moving HB 81 from                          
  committee.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 328                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY called for a vote, and HB 81 failed to move                   
  from committee by a 3-1 vote, with Chairman Vezey voting no.                 
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 333                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY adjourned the meeting at 9:52 a.m.                            

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