Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/03/1994 09:05 AM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS February 3, 1994 9:05 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Randy Phillips, Chairman Senator Loren Leman Senator Al Adams Senator Fred Zharoff MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Robin Taylor, Vice Chairman OTHERS PRESENT Senator Steve Rieger COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 203 "An Act requiring unified municipalities to provide police protection and law enforcement services; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 255 "An Act establishing a comprehensive policy relating to human resource development in the state." SENATE BILL NO. 2 "An Act requiring pay equity for certain public employees and requiring the compensation of certain public employees based on the value of work performed." SENATE BILL NO. 39 "An Act relating to credited service and retirement benefits." SENATE BILL NO. 232 "An Act relating to reimbursement of bonds issued for school construction; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 233 "An Act relating to state aid for education." SENATE BILL NO. 62 "An Act relating to the public school foundation program; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 203 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 11/3/93, 1/13/94, 1/20/94, 1/25/94, 2/1/94. SB 255 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 1/25/94, 2/1/94. SB 2 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 11/3/93, 1/11/94, 1/18/94, 1/20/94, 1/27/94, 2/1/94. SB 39 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 1/27/94, 2/1/94. SB 62 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 2/18/93, 4/1/93, 4/6/93 (a.m. & p.m. minutes), 4/16/93. SB 232 - No previous action to record. SB 233 - No previous action to record. WITNESS REGISTER C.E. Swackhammer, Deputy Commissioner Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 111200 Juneau, AK 99811-1200 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on SB 203 Richard Weinig 800 E. Dimond, Suite 3-620 Anchorage, AK 99515 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 203 Duane Udland, Deputy Chief Anchorage Police Dept. 4501 S. Bragaw Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 203 Barbara Weinig P.O. Box 113849 Anchorage, AK 99511 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports Senator Rieger's version of SB 203 Maribeth Brown 14960 Sierra Way Anchorage, AK 99516 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 203 Josh Fink, Staff to Senator Tim Kelly State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on SB 203 Tom Evans Alaska State AFL/CIO 1689 C St., Suite 204 Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Suggested changes to SB 255 Daniel Middaugh 1822 W. Northern Lights, #305 Anchorage, AK 99517 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 255 Roxanne Stewart, Staff to Senator Jim Duncan State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on SB 39 Gary Todd 44690 Wooden Lane Soldotna, AK 99669 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 39 Janet Parker Bob Church Division of Retirement & Benefits Department of Administration P.O. Box 110203 Juneau, AK 99811-0203 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on SB 39 Joan Wilkerson Alaska Pubic Employees Association Juneau, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 39 Dr. Clark Damon 1101 First St. Douglas, AK 99824 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 39 Carol Carrol, Staff to Senator Jay Kerttula State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on SB 232 and SB 233 Duane Guiley, Director School Finance Department of Education 801 W. 10th St., Suite 200 Juneau, AK 99801-1894 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 232 and SB 233 Ell Sorenson, Superintendent Mat-Su School District 125 W. Evergreen Palmer, AK 99645 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 62 & SB 233 Marilyn Leahy P.O. Box 689 Valdez, AK 99686 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 62 Becky Chapek P.O. Box 1564 Cordova, AK 99574 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 62 Larry Wiget, Director of Government Relations Anchorage School District 4600 Debarr Road Anchorage, AK 99519 POSITION STATEMENT: Questions on SB 233 Donna Emerson Funter Bay, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 62 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-9, SIDE A Number 001 The Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee was called to order by Chairman Randy Phillips at 9:05 a.m. He brought SB 203 (MUNICIPAL POLICE SERVICES) before the committee as the first order of business, but stated that after taking testimony on the bill, it was his intent to hold the bill to see what action the House of Representatives takes on the floor on a similar piece of legislation, HB 18. C.E. SWACKHAMMER, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Public Safety, stated that of the three different draft committee substitutes on SB 203 before the committee, the Department of Public Safety supports the version that takes the approach recommended by the Task Force on Governmental Roles (Work draft 8-LS0626\D), which the department believes is the best public policy. It would allow assemblies in a unified municipality, notwithstanding provisions in the home rule charter, to establish, operate, alter, or abolish a service area to furnish police protection and law enforcement services. Speaking to Senator Rieger's proposed committee substitute (Work draft 8-LS0626/M), which would continue trooper police protection to the Hillside and Girdwood areas, Deputy Commissioner Swackhammer said presently, the Anchorage Post spends slightly more than 60 percent of their time in response directly to the Hillside/Girdwood area at a current cost of $1,940,663.64. It has been the position of the Commissioner of Public Safety to withdraw troopers from urban areas which are authorized to provide police protection on their own, and to concentrate the department's resources in rural and unorganized areas of the State. Number 150 SENATOR RIEGER pointed out that the department has some suggested amendments to his version of the bill: a time period longer than three years to allow for personnel planning; a gear-up process for recruiting additional troopers; and a ceiling of one trooper for each 1,000 people in the municipality. DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER added that the department would like to see Section 3 deleted because it would not provide the commissioner any flexibility in determining the appropriate number of troopers for an area. The department also suggests some wording changes to better define what the costs are. Number 196 SENATOR LEMAN asked what the effect would be on Section 2 if Section 3 is deleted. SENATOR RIEGER answered that Section 3 was intended as a fall-back position in case an agreement couldn't be reached, and deleting it would not have an effect on Section 2. He stated that he is confident that there is a reasonable full-cost proposal that can be put forward. DEPUTY COMMISSIONER SWACKHAMMER added that Section 2 also allows the department some flexibility because the residents get charged for what services are provided. Number 250 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS opened the public hearing on SB 203 to witnesses waiting to testify at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office. Number 260 RICHARD WEINIG, an Anchorage attorney, a member of the Rabbit Creek Community Council and a Hillside resident, said under the Rieger bill and taking the figures drawn from the department's position paper on it, 60 percent of that cost for the actual trooper services and 30 percent of dispatch would be paid by the service area. He said that is a revenue generator for the state that he thinks would be particularly attractive to the Legislature. Mr. Weinig said Commissioner's Burton concern that there would be a loss of local control over police protection is a very small concern with the citizens of Anchorage because a majority of the ordinances are "flatland ordinances" that have no concern whatsoever for the Hillside. Mr. Weinig voiced his concern with Senator Kelly's proposed committee substitute. He said for the Legislature to legislatively dictate that a portion of the Bill of Rights of a charter is null and void is very poor public policy, and such an abrogation of the Bill of Rights, after the fact, is dishonorable. Concluding, Mr. Weinig said it is much better public policy to let those who seek services pay for their services and those who do not want services to be let alone by government. Number 369 DUANE UDLAND, Deputy Chief, Anchorage Police Department, said in previous hearings on this issue, it has been suggested that the department was not professional or was not up to the task of providing police service to the Hillside. He said he has the highest regard for the Alaska State Troopers, and there are more similarities than there are dissimilarities between the troopers and the police department. The Anchorage Police Department has a lot in common with the troopers in the areas of training and advanced schooling. Deputy Chief Udland stated the quality of the officers at the Anchorage Police Department is very high, and the issue that the Anchorage Police Department is not professional "does not hold water." Also, policing in a rural area is no different than policing in a city area - it is the same value system and it is the same laws. Concluding his comments, Deputy Chief Udland said Commissioner Burton and Deputy Commissioner Swackhammer are making decisions based on public policy and what is best for their organization. Although Anchorage is a good place to be working and living in, he doesn't think the committee should place any weight on the fact that maybe some of the troopers don't agree with the decisions of the trooper administration. Number 465 BARBARA WEINIG, President, Rabbit Creek Community Council, spoke to a recent survey she sent out to 5,000 property owners. The survey showed that the respondents are willing to pay more taxes, but they want trooper coverage. Senator Rieger's bill allows the residents of the upper Hillside to get used to paying for police protection, and it contains a sunset provision at which time the residents could make a change if they decided they wanted something different. Number 490 SENATOR RIEGER commented that there is a citizenry that is willing to organize themselves and pay for a service and, in contrast, there is a management problem where there are attempts by management or by the governing body itself and not the populace to say "No, we don't want to let you choose the service you want and pay for the service you want. We want you to do something else which we think is best for you." He said this is a very classic confrontation between a good government solution to an issue in the area he represents and a bad government solution. He added this has nothing to do with willingness to pay for a service; it has to do with paying for the service that they want. Number 506 SENATOR ADAMS requested that a copy of the survey sent out by Ms. Weinig be provided to the committee. Number 515 MARIBETH BROWN, a Hillside resident and Chair of the Southeast Anchorage Police Protection Task Force, said that elected officials should be extremely cautious about taking a position that they know what is best for the people. The people in Southeast Anchorage, the Hillside, Turnigan Arm and Girdwood have expressed very strongly what their preferences are, and that needs to be taken into account on this issue. Number 538 SENATOR ZHAROFF said he would like to have seen more of a response to these types of surveys so that some decisions could be made based on the surveys. He said if this is a major problem, he would have expected at least a 50 percent response from this area, particularly if we are going to continue with state funded protection. SENATOR RIEGER responded that there is a high level of concern and that with this type of survey a 20 percent response was really good. Number 570 JOSH FINK, staff to Senator Kelly, quoted figures from the April 1993 election which showed that the 46.2 percent of the lower Hillside wanted to join a police service area, 53.8 percent did not. He said as you go up the hill, 33.7 percent wanted to join a police service area, 66 percent did not. In the Turnigan Arm area, 27 percent want to join a police service area, 72 percent did not. Number 575 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS closed the public hearing on SB 203 and stated it would be back before the committee the following week. Number 578 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS brought SB 255 (STATE POLICY ON HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMT) before the committee as the next order of business. TAPE 94-9, SIDE B Number 001 TOM EVANS, Anchorage, representing the Alaska State AFL/CIO, made some suggested changes to the legislation. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS requested that Mr. Evans' suggested amendments be faxed to his office. Number 020 DANIEL MIDDAUGH, Anchorage, stated he is working with the statewide apprentiship and training coordinators association and they want to add their support to the passage of SB 255. They feel this is very important for the State of Alaska, that there is a major resource of young people, mainly in the Bush areas, that are not getting the help that they deserve. Number 042 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS closed the public hearing on SB 255 and stated that the bill, along with proposed amendments, would be back before the committee the following week. Number 046 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS brought SB 2 (PAY EQUITY BASED ON VALUE OF WORK) before the committee, and stated that he would entertain a motion to adopt the committee substitute. SENATOR LEMAN moved that CSSB 2(CRA) be adopted. SENATORS ADAMS and ZHAROFF objected. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Leman and Phillips voted "Yea" and Senators Zharoff and Adams voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion to adopt the committee substitute failed and that the bill would be back before the committee the following week. Number 063 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS introduced SB 39 (RETIREMENT CREDITED SERVICE & BENEFITS) as the next order of business. ROXANNE STEWART, staff to Senator Jim Duncan, informed the committee that they were unable to get a fiscal note on the amendment to SB 39 they had proposed the previous week because the Governor's office does not provide fiscal notes on amendments that have not been adopted. She noted that the Division of Retirement & Benefits has provided a letter relating to the effect of the amendment. Number 080 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated the committee would take testimony over the teleconference network. GARY TODD, Soldotna, a permanent seasonal employee of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, said there are a lot of people that work during the summer on a number of different jobs, and some of these people have been working for 14 to 16 years. Many of these people are not vested in the retirement system even though they have spent a lot of time working seasonally along side permanent people who have all the benefits. He would like to see these people credited with this time and at a reasonable cost. Number 120 JANET PARKER, Division of Retirement & Benefits, Department of Administration, explained that the actuarial cost would be different for each individual because it is based upon their salary and how much time the individual is buying. SENATOR LEMAN added that while it might seem like a large amount to be paid by an individual, the potential for recovery is excellent. Number 145 JOAN WILKERSON, Juneau, Alaska Public Employees Association, voiced support for SB 39. She said in 1980 the definition of "seasonal" or "temporary" was changed to "nonpermanent." This dealt with an inequity where previously, seasonal employees could not buy into or get credit for the years they had put in. SB 39 would cover people who put in seasonal work in the sixties and seventies. She added that if the same rights were afforded to people from 1980 on, it would seem appropriate to apply them to people who have been loyal and faithful workers to the State of Alaska in the previous two decades. Ms. Wilkerson noted that when the same legislation was before the Legislature two years ago the Division of Retirement & Benefits didn't see it as a cost, and she questioned why there is fiscal note on the current bill that shows a cost. Number 215 SENATOR PHILLIPS asked what conditions changed in two years so that they are now showing a cost to the system. JANET PARKER answered that this Administration decided that they would not present a bill to the Legislature with a zero fiscal note if they truly believe that there wasn't one there. At one point they said that there is no cost because it's all within the retirement system, and they presented the bills that way. This Administration has decided that if there is going to be a cost, no matter how big or small, the bill has to have a fiscal note. Number 250 DR. CLARK DAMON, Juneau, said he would be affected under the public service provision by combining the two retirement programs. He said if he paid the $50,000 which he would be required to pay to be eligible for the program, he would receive $237 a month, plus a $306 health benefit allowance. Projecting his costs out, it would take him 19.5 years to recoup his money. Number 275 SENATOR LEMAN requested that he be provided with calculations for some of these typical people who may choose this, showing how much it will cost and how long it takes to recoup the cost. SENATOR PHILLIPS suggested that the bill would be moving to the State Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Senator Leman, and that information could be provided to his committee. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated his intent to move SB 39 out of committee without the amendment because it lacks a fiscal note. Number 330 SENATOR ADAMS moved that SB 39 and the accompanying fiscal notes be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 345 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS introduced SB 232 (SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND D REIMBURSEMENT) and SB 233 (STATE EDUCATION AID: FUNDING COMMUNITIES) as the next order of business. CAROL CARROL, staff to Senator Jay Kerttula, the prime sponsor of SB 232 and SB 233, explained that SB 232 will increase by $90 million the ceiling for state participation in school construction by municipalities. There are several school districts that have already been approved for bonding, but there are three districts that can't go forward because there isn't any capacity left out of the $50 million allocation. It would be more fiscally positive for the state if this could done now because of the current low interest rates. Number 370 SENATOR ADAMS commented that he would like to have rural Alaska participate in this because they have more needs than in the urban areas of the state. CAROL CARROL responded that the $90 million would be available without regard to the population of any municipality. She also clarified that this does not apply to those areas that don't have a tax base and can't go out and bond for themselves. SENATOR ADAMS said regardless of whether there is a tax base or not, there has got be equity and fairness in these pieces of legislation because there are needs out in rural Alaska. Number 400 Ms. Carrol explained that SB 233 takes out of regulation the ability of the Department of Education to waive or delete or add funding communities at their own discretion by putting the definition of "funding community" into statute. Senator Kerttula believes that this will enable the Legislature to review any change that the Department of Education would like to make that would have a fiscal impact on some of the school districts. Number 425 DUANE GUILEY, Director, School Finance, Department of Education, speaking to SB 232, stated that at the present time the Department of Education does not support increasing the debt limit on school construction projects. Through compromise legislation approved by both bodies of the Legislature in the prior session, the department did support reinstating school debt with a cap of $250 million of new project principal. That $250 million was allocated to municipalities based on size. Those allocations provided $133 million of project principal to Anchorage; $67 million to Fairbanks; and $50 million to the remainder of the state. The allocations expire on July 1, 1996, and at the present time there are many outstanding bond project authorizations that have yet to be voted on by the local voters. There is remaining capacity within the $250 million, so the department feels it is premature to increase the ceiling, and there is a strong likelihood that some of the money will come available to be able to fund the remaining projects on their list without increasing the capacity. Number 540 Speaking to SB 233, Mr. Guiley said the position of the Department of Education is that currently the commissioner has the discretion in relation to funding communities and the establishment of the funding communities and the deletion of the funding communities. The State Board of Education has adopted a plan to phase out the funding for very small schools in the state, and that plan calls for the deletion or decertification of funding communities on a five-year schedule out through the year 1999. That would increase the minimum school size to 10. SB 233 sets the minimum school size at eight, and the department would not be able to carry out the plan as is currently approved by the State Board of Education. Decertification this year will save the state $754,000. Based on funding communities that are scheduled to be decertified in 1996 or 1997, the savings would be another $988,000. SB 233 would grandfather in those funding communities and the state would continue to fund $6,637,000 in additional state aid to those funding communities that are exception to the current regulation and proposed statute. Mr. Guiley stated the Department of Education does not support SB 233. Number 600 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated SB 232 and SB 233 would be held until the following week. Number 605 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS brought SB 62 (PUBLIC SCHOOL FOUNDATION PROGRAM) before the committee and stated that testimony would be taken over the teleconference network. ELL SORENSON, Superintendent, Mat-Su School District, testifying from the Mat-Su LIO on SB 232, stated their district continues to have serious crowding problems so they favor a bill that will put more money out there to build schools. He added they are very sympathetic with rural schools that may not be included in this legislation and they would support them being added. Mr. Sorenson also stated support for SB 233, although he did recommend a small change to it. TAPE 94-10, SIDE A Number 001 Mr. Sorenson, commenting on SB 62, said they have some serious reservations with the reduction that it makes to schools with 25 students in average daily membership. Doing away with some of these schools and providing education through other strategies may prove to be equal to a greater expense. Mr. Sorenson said the Mat-Su School District would like to go on record as maintaining the status quo and improving the level of funding for schools as opposed to taking large dollars out. Number 055 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS requested that Mr. Sorenson fax his suggested changes to SB 233 to his office. Number 060 MARILYN LEAHY, a school board member in Valdez, stated the board's opposition to SB 62 and their agreement with comments made by Mr. Sorenson on the bill. The legislation could have a very negative impact on the Valdez School District. Number 070 BECKY CHAPEK, a member of the Cordova School Board, referred to the section in the bill relating to the Alaska School Price Index, and stated concern that the index may be based on historic average expenditures of a district. By using the Alaska School Price Index, it appears that districts will penalized and locked into low salary positions. She also urged that the Legislature seek a permanent solution to the single dual site inequities that were put in place when the foundation formula went into being. Number 100 LARRY WIGET, Director of Government Relations, Anchorage School District, said currently, Anchorage has three funding communities: Eagle River, Girdwood, and the Anchorage bowl. He asked if under SB 233 Eagle River would still be considered a separate funding community. DUANE GUILEY acknowledged that it would. Number 125 DONNA EMERSON, the mother of two children who are in their seventh year of using the Centralized Correspondence Study program, testified from Funter Bay. Speaking to SB 62 and the portion that relates to how centralized correspondence is funded, she said there is widespread concern among the families on this program that the secondary portion of the program needs some strengthening in order to continue to meet a student's needs. At present, the correspondence staff is providing services to more students with fewer dollars than any other public school in the state. She urged that the committee allow SB 62 to strengthen the Centralized Correspondence Study program in a conservative manner. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS announced that the teleconference testimony was concluded. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 10:50 a.m.