Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/22/1995 01:37 PM Senate CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                         
                         March 22, 1995                                        
                           1:37 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator John Torgerson, Chairman                                              
 Senator Randy Phillips, Vice Chairman                                         
 Senator Tim Kelly                                                             
 Senator Fred Zharoff                                                          
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 All members present                                                           
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 96                                                            
 "An Act relating to municipal activities or services mandated by              
 state statute."                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 107                                                           
 "An Act relating to general grant land entitlements for the Denali            
 SENATE BILL NO. 32                                                            
 "An Act relating to a curriculum for Native language education; and           
 providing for an effective date."                                             
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SB  96 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated                       
          3/8/95, 3/17/95.                                                     
 SB 107 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SB  32 - No previous action to record.                                        
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Josh Fink, Aide to Senator Kelly                                              
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on CSSB 96(CRA)                    
 Janet Kelly, Assistant Professor of Political Sceince &                       
   Public Administration                                                       
 Clemson University                                                            
 South Carolina                                                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:   CSSB 96(CRA) is excellent legislation                  
 Scott Brandt-Erichsen, Assistant Municipal Attorney                           
 Municipality of Anchorage                                                     
 P.O. Box 196650                                                               
 Anchorage, AK 99519-6650                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of CSSB 96(CRA)                   
 Kevin Ritchie, Executive Director                                             
 Alaska Municipal League                                                       
 217 2nd St.                                                                   
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports CSSB 96(CRA)                                  
 Kim Metcalfe-Helmar, Special Assistant                                        
 Department of Community & Regional Affairs                                    
 P.O. Box 112100                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-2100                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Questions on CSSB 96(CRA)                              
 Randy Welker, Legislative Auditor                                             
 Legislative Audit Division                                                    
 P.O. Box 113300                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-3300                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on CSSB 96(CRA)                    
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of SB 107                                
 Mayor John Gonzales                                                           
 Denali Borough                                                                
 P.O. Box 480                                                                  
 Healy, AK 99743                                                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 107                                        
 Darrell Mueller, Chairman, Land Planning                                      
 Denali Borough                                                                
 P.O. Box 480                                                                  
 Healy, AK 99743                                                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 107                         
 Ron Swanson, Director                                                         
 Division of Land                                                              
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 3601 C St., Suite 1122                                                        
 Anchorage, AK 99503-5947                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Neutral on SB 107                                      
 Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                    
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of SB 32                                 
 David Cornberg                                                                
 Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                      
 Fairbanks AK                                                                  
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 32                                         
 Vince Barry, Director, Education Program Support                              
 Anne Kessler, Education Program Support                                       
 Department of Education                                                       
 801 W. 10th St., Suite 200                                                    
 Juneau, AK 99801-1894                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in opposition to SB 32                       
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 95-8, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
 SCRA - 3/22/95                                                                
           SB 96 UNFUNDED MANDATES ON MUNICIPALITIES                          
   CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  called the Senate Community & Regional Affairs         
 Committee meeting to order at 1:37 p.m.  He brought  SB 96 ,                  
 sponsored by Senate Kelly, before the committee as the first order            
 of business.                                                                  
 Number 010                                                                    
 JOSH FINK, aide to Senator Kelly,  explained that just as the U.S.            
 Congress is attempting to address the considerable financial                  
 hardships unfunded federal mandates place on state governments,               
 many state legislatures are beginning to address the same financial           
 hardships unfunded state mandates are placing on local governments.           
 At present, 16 states have laws to try to limit or prohibit state             
 government from imposing unfunded mandates on municipalities.                 
 Additionally, more than 20 other state legislatures are considering           
 legislation much like SB 96.                                                  
 SB 96 was introduced by Senator Kelly to remedy the problem of                
 unfunded state mandates in Alaska.  The legislation is a high                 
 priority for the Alaska Municipal League, the Municipality of                 
 Anchorage, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the Alaska Conference            
 of Mayors, and the City of Unalaska, among others.                            
 Unfunded mandates cause cash-strapped cities to decrease basic                
 municipal services in order to pay for the unfunded mandates.  As             
 these unfunded mandates increase for local governments, aid to                
 municipalities has been cut more than 55 percent.  As                         
 municipalities and local governments struggle to provide services             
 mandated but not funded by the Legislature, increased property                
 taxes and other local taxes have been used as funding vehicles as             
 well as cuts in other services.                                               
 Mr. Fink said the principal imperative of this legislation is that            
 the state government should not require municipalities by statute,            
 regulation or administrative action to implement any new programs,            
 service or activity which significantly impacts that municipality's           
 budget unless the legislature is willing to provide funding for               
 that new mandate.                                                             
 SB 96 sets us a mechanism which will go a long way to preventing              
 state government from imposing new mandates without funding them.             
 However, the legislature is, ultimately, constitutionally capable             
 of imposing such mandates if it desires.                                      
 Number 070                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON directed attention to a proposed committee                  
 substitute.  SENATOR KELLY moved the adoption of CSSB 96(CRA) as a            
 working document.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                   
 Number 080                                                                    
 JOSH FINK, in presenting a section-by-section analysis of CSSB
 96(CRA), said Section 2 is the crux of the legislation.  It adds a            
 new section to Title 24 and provides that a bill enacted after                
 January 1, 1996 that imposes new or increased costs to                        
 municipalities is not effective unless funds are appropriated at              
 the time of enactment to fully fund these new or increased costs              
 resulting from the new legislation.                                           
 Further, unless sufficient funds continue to be appropriated each             
 successive legislative session that the mandate is in effect, the             
 mandate shall be revoked.   Exceptions to this are:  a bill passed            
 by two-thirds of the members of each house; a mandate requested by            
 the affected municipalities; a bill that affirms existing law as it           
 has been construed by the courts or enacts federal law or                     
 regulation; and a bill that creates, eliminates, or changes a                 
 criminal offense as defined in Title 11.                                      
 Number 190                                                                    
 JANET KELLY, Assistant Professor of Political Science & Public                
 Administration at Clemson University in South Carolina, informed              
 the committee she has been studying state mandates to localities              
 for the last 10 years.                                                        
 Professor Kelly has discussed the legislation before the committee            
 at some length with Kevin Ritchie of the Alaska Municipal League,             
 as well as discussing some of the potential pitfalls of other                 
 states' experience with a statutory prohibition on unfunded                   
 mandates.  She added that SB 96 avoids much of that pitfall and she           
 believes it is an excellent bill.                                             
 Professor Kelly said this sort of legislative attempt at self-                
 limitation is very useful and that it heightens legislative                   
 awareness of the fiscal constraints of municipalities, but it also            
 recognizes the state legislature's right and necessity to impose              
 unfunded mandates in the event that there is an emergency, etc.,              
 where such a mandate is clearly indicated.                                    
 Professor Kelly reiterated SB 96 is an excellent bill and she has             
 no difficulties with it.                                                      
 Number 240                                                                    
 SCOTT BRANDT-ERICHSEN, Assistant Municipal Attorney, Municipality             
 of Anchorage, testifying from Anchorage, voiced the municipality's            
 support for CSSB 96(CRA), and stated he was available for                     
 SENATOR TORGERSON said a question has come up concerning the                  
 exception in Section 2, (d)(2), "mandate requested by the affected            
 municipalities," and asked if this language was too broad.  SCOTT             
 BRANDT-ERICHSEN answered that there is procedure which would help             
 in identifying whether a municipality or whether all of the                   
 affected municipalities have requested a change.  He suggested that           
 section could be worded in a way that would provide a clearer                 
 Number 318                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY noted that in her testimony, Professor Kelly referred           
 to an "emergency."  Professor KELLY said she was referring to a               
 history of other states' experience with similar legislation in               
 which legislatures have been able to, in the event of the                     
 emergency, quickly generate the two-thirds majority that they need            
 in each house in order to enact an unfunded mandate.  SENATOR KELLY           
 commented that as a state that seems to stagger from natural                  
 disaster to natural disaster, we could probably anticipate some               
 type of an emergency in the next several years, and he suggested              
 adding an exception relating to bills passed in response to a state           
 of emergency as proclaimed by the governor.  He also suggested that           
 maybe an approach on (d)(2) "mandate requested by the affected                
 municipalities" could be changed to  "mandate officially requested            
 by the Alaska Municipal League" which would be relatively                     
 representative of the majority of communities throughout Alaska.              
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS pointed out that communities drop in and out of           
 the League and there are different reasons that they may oppose a             
 mandate and at what levels they may oppose it at.                             
 Number 360                                                                    
 KEVIN RITCHIE, Executive Director, Alaska Municipal League, noted             
 that federal anti-mandates legislation had  been signed by                    
 President Clinton earlier in the day, and he believes it will have            
 a big effect on state/federal relations, as well as with                      
 Mr. Ritchie said the Leagues believes that SB 96 is a real strong             
 statement and more of a moral imperative and a discussion point               
 than a law that's going to be enforced by the courts.  He said                
 there are ways to get around the bill, but the thing that makes it            
 a moral imperative is the fact that it is written down and agreed             
 to.  It is a very strong, very supportable bill.                              
 Number 525                                                                    
 SENATOR HOFFMAN asked how many unfunded mandates have been passed             
 on to the municipalities in the last two or three years and their             
 costs.  KEVIN RITCHIE responded that the state has been very                  
 conscientious in not creating additional statutory mandates, and              
 the League feels the state restraint has been really good as budget           
 pressures increase.  He noted that the Legislative Research Agency            
 created a report which includes all of the mandates from state                
 government to local government, but there wasn't a breakdown on               
 what Senator Hoffman was asking.  However, probably the poignant              
 example would be the senior citizen property tax.  It was a bill              
 that passed years ago, but the decision to underfund it has                   
 happened annually.  SENATOR KELLY said he would have staff research           
 the last four legislative sessions to see if any legislation that             
 mandates was passed and that falls under the purview of this bill,            
 as well as to look at some of the pieces of legislation that didn't           
 Number 575                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY moved the following amendments to CSSB 96(CRA)                  
 Page 3, line 16:  Delete "audit" and insert "finance"                         
 Page 3, after line 30:  Insert a new paragraph to read as follows:            
   "(1)  bill passed in response to a disaster emergency                       
 declared by the governor under AS 26.23.020;"                                 
 Renumber the following paragraphs accordingly.                                
 Page 4, line 1:  Delete "the affected municipalities" and insert              
 "resolution from the Alaska Municipal League"                                 
 Hearing no objection, SENATOR TORGERSON stated the amendments were            
 TAPE 94-5, SIDE B                                                             
 Number 010                                                                    
 KIM METCALFE-HELMAR, Special Assistant, Department of Community &             
 Regional Affairs, stated the department had just received the new             
 committee substitute and has not had an opportunity to take a close           
 look the fiscal impacts of the new language on page 5, which                  
 requires the department to prepare an estimate of the increased               
 costs if the adoption, amendment, or repeal of a regulation would             
 require increased costs to municipalities.  Also, it is unclear to            
 the department how it would fit in with the findings that would be            
 undertaken by the legislative finance division as outlined in                 
 subsection (b) on page 3.                                                     
 Number 035                                                                    
 RANDY WELKER, Legislative Auditor, Legislative Audit Division, said           
 his initial concern with the original committee substitute was in             
 the provision on page 3, line 16 that was just changed in Senator             
 Kelly's amendment from the legislative audit division to the                  
 legislative finance division.                                                 
 Mr. Welker related that the zero fiscal note prepared by                      
 Legislative Audit was prepared based on the provisions of                     
 subsection (c) on page 3, which provides that if a municipality               
 disputes the findings it can petition the audit division for                  
 review.  He said if we are putting a good faith effort into the               
 legislation, where the findings are well thought out, the only time           
 where a municipality might dispute findings is if a finding is                
 determined to not impact a municipality when, in fact, it clearly             
 Number 070                                                                    
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS voiced his concern on how legislators on the              
 Budget and Audit Committee are going to know what is going on                 
 unless there is some of kind of reporting system to the committee             
 itself.  RANDY WELKER said there are a lot of requests that the               
 audit division gets for quick turn-around type of things that they            
 can do, and he would consider this in that regard.  He added that             
 if it was something that would significantly impact the division,             
 he would then go to the committee and ask for prioritization.                 
 However, he thinks the primary emphasis is going to be on the                 
 definition of "sufficiently funded" which is outside of the                   
 findings and the role that he sees the audit division playing.  But           
 he not sure that the bill defines who will make the determination             
 of whether or not a mandate is sufficiently funded.  SENATOR Kelly            
 agreed that is a weakness in the bill, and he thinks some work is             
 going to have to be done on that particular section.                          
 Number 110                                                                    
 There being no further testimony on CSSB 96(CRA), SENATOR TORGERSON           
 stated the bill would be held over for additional work and would be           
 back before the committee at its next meeting.                                
 SCRA - 3/22/95                                                                
              SB 107 LAND GRANT FOR DENALI BOROUGH                            
 SENATOR TORGERSON brought  SB 107  before the committee as the next           
 order of business.                                                            
 Number 125                                                                    
 SENATOR MIKE MILLER, prime sponsor of SB 107, said he introduced              
 the legislation at the request of the Denali Borough Assembly.                
 The purpose of SB 107 is to increase the land grant to the borough.           
 Under the Municipal Land Entitlement Act, the borough would be                
 getting approximately 51,000.  However, the borough is going                  
 through a process of identifying their needs and they would like to           
 have 71,000 acres of state land in order to build an economic base            
 in their borough.                                                             
 Senator Miller said his position over the years has been that the             
 closer government is to the people the better it is.  There is a              
 lot of land in state inventory and nothing will happen to a lot of            
 that land, but if it is the hands of the local government, chances            
 are much greater that it will be put into production and provide an           
 economic base for the community.                                              
 Number 208                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY voiced his concern that in the past there have been             
 boroughs that weren't able to get all of their land entitlements so           
 they were given cash settlements instead.                                     
 Number 215                                                                    
 JOHN GONZALES, Mayor of the Denali Borough testified from Healy in            
 support of SB 107.  He said the borough hired consultants and has             
 been working the last two years to determine what the borough would           
 need in order to support itself.  The lands they are asking for are           
 VUU (vacant, unappropriated, unreserved) lands inside the borough,            
 and the 71,000 acres they have identified are needed in order to              
 meet their goals.                                                             
 Number 245                                                                    
 DARREL MUELLER, Chairman of the Land Planning Committee in Healy,             
 stated most of the land within their boundary is in federal control           
 or restricted by state classifications, making them unselectable              
 under the Municipal Entitlement Act.  The Denali Borough not only             
 needs land now for development, but they need it for future growth            
 as well.  They expect it will provide a tax base for providing                
 services for borough residents, as well as visitors to the Denali             
 area.  He said they are involved in a community planning process              
 and they are in the process of establishing their property                    
 management system.                                                            
 Number 290                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked if the Denali Borough has selected its                
 entitlement of 51,000 acres, as well as how much state land is                
 within the boundaries of their borough.  DARREL MUELLER answered              
 that they are in the preliminary process right now and they've come           
 up with approximately 25,000 acres that come under the VUU                    
 requirement for state land.  There are approximately 510,000 acres            
 of state land within their boundaries.                                        
 Number 305                                                                    
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS asked what the status was on the northeast part           
 of the Mat-SU area annexing with the Denali Borough.  DARREL                  
 MUELLER answered that the only requests that they have received               
 have been from a Native corporation to annex part of their                    
 corporate land into the southern area of the borough.                         
 Number 315                                                                    
 SENATOR HOFFMAN asked if there was a breakdown on the lands they              
 are contemplating selecting under the 51,000 limit and the lands              
 they anticipate selecting under the 71,000 limit.  DARREL MUELLER             
 acknowledged that a breakdown could be prepared and forwarded to              
 the committee.                                                                
 Number 325                                                                    
 RON SWANSON, Director, Division of Land, Department of Natural                
 Resources, said he wasn't present to take a position on the bill,             
 but to provide the committee with information so it could decide              
 the direction it wants to take.                                               
 Last year the same type of process was done with the Lake &                   
 Peninsula Borough and they ended up with an entitlement of 125,000            
 acres, which is quite a bit more than their 10 percent figure that            
 they would have been otherwise entitled to.  The division worked              
 with the Lake & Peninsula Borough to look at particular maps of               
 where their selections would be, the type of land they would get,             
 and the purpose they would put them to.                                       
 Mr. Swanson said in the case of the Denali Borough, they have not             
 yet been certified for their original entitlement.  Within two                
 years and a half years from incorporation, the Department of                  
 Natural Resources must certify what their entitlement would be and            
 that is due in December of this year.  Within one year of the date            
 of certification, the municipalities must make their selections.              
 Mr. Swanson related that within the Denali Borough there is a                 
 little over 2 million acres of state land.  About 500,000 of that             
 is considered VUU land and the borough's entitlement would be 10              
 percent of that.                                                              
 Mr. Swanson said the department wants the borough to become self              
 sufficient, but they need to have a better sense for where these              
 selections would be, for what purposes, and any pitfalls that they            
 might see that might be out there.                                            
 Number 375                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked Mr. Swanson when he thought everyone could            
 get together and try to figure this out.  RON SWANSON answered that           
 the sooner the borough can get the department maps to look at, the            
 sooner he could give an answer on that.  He pointed out that they             
 haven't completed their process for the 51,000 acres and, yet, they           
 are asking for an additional entitlement.  MAYOR GONZALES said one            
 of the reasons they have come with the 71,000 acre figure is                  
 because they would like to do this process all at once instead of             
 having to spend more money to go through a process again.                     
 Number 400                                                                    
 SENATOR ZHAROFF requested that information be provided to the                 
 committee on how the formula works for these land selections.                 
 There being no other witnesses wishing to testify on SB 107,                  
 SENATOR TORGERSON stated the bill would be held over.                         
 SCRA - 3/22/95                                                                
                SB 32 NATIVE LANGUAGE EDUCATION                               
 Number 415                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON introduced  SB 32  as the final order of business.          
 SENATOR GEORGIANNA LINCOLN, prime sponsor of SB 32, told the                  
 committee that while campaigning five years ago, she went to a                
 rather large, predominantly Native village and found that the                 
 students there were learning the Russian language through a                   
 television set.  Through the Star Program they had a choice of                
 Russian, Spanish or Japanese languages.  She asked how many of the            
 students would have chose their Native language if that were an               
 option, and all hands, regardless of their ethic background, were             
 raised.  She asked the same question, not only in her district, but           
 all over the state, and, without hesitation, the youths would raise           
 their hands unanimously in their desire to have the Native language           
 Senator Lincoln directed attention to backup from the University of           
 Alaska that shows that by the year 2030 most of the languages,                
 other than Central and Siberian Yupik, will become extinct.  She              
 noted that there are very few anymore that all speak the Native               
 language.  It has been pointed out that students actually do much             
 better in their classes and in basic reading, writing and                     
 arithmetic if they have the background of their Native language.              
 Number 495                                                                    
 DAVID CORNBERG, an independent consultant, testified from                     
 Fairbanks.  He informed the committee he has a Ph.D. in education             
 with specialization in cross-cultural education, and he has been on           
 contract with Tanana Chiefs Conference for over two years as the              
 primary planner for their new tribal college.  The college serves             
 villages of the Interior which are primarily Athabascan Indian.               
 Part of the curriculum mandate for the tribal college from the                
 people of the Interior is keeping Athabascan language a culture.              
 Therefore, they are very eager to see a coherent language and                 
 culture program in Natives languages from Head Start all the way              
 through 12th grade.                                                           
 Mr. Cornberg said there is very good evidence that young people who           
 are competently taught in a Native or indigenous language, along              
 with a mainstream language such as English, do better academically.           
 In the long run, the bill will save money for the state, because              
 those same people gain better self respect, better self esteem and            
 a higher ability to tolerate differences around, and, therefore,              
 they become less likely to act out in socially negative ways.                 
 Mr. Cornberg said the fiscal note on the bill may be a little high,           
 but there are teacher aides in many schools in Alaska who would be            
 able to step into the position of advisory board to teachers                  
 without any additional cost to the state.  There are also thousands           
 of pages of useable curriculum in the closets and the shelves of              
 school districts and local school all over Alaska that are quite              
 literally waiting for this legislation.                                       
 Number 590                                                                    
 VINCE BARRY, Education Program, Department of Education, stated the           
 department is in agreement with the general tenor of SB 32.  They             
 are extremely interested in bilingual education, dealing with                 
 youngsters in the state that speak 102 different languages.                   
 However, the department is in opposition to the bill because it               
 outlines what is already happening in about half of the districts,            
 and those districts chose to undertake these kinds of activities.             
 Mr. Barry said SB 32 would be duplicative and the issues in the               
 bill may be done now by any district that so chooses.  There are              
 bilingual programs in 50 districts, and the state foundation                  
 represents a cost of close to $20 million a year.                             
 Mr. Barry, in discussing the fiscal note, said the bill itself                
 would not create any further costs to the department, but it would            
 to the state foundation program.                                              
 Number 650                                                                    
 SENATOR LINCOLN commented that this is not a bilingual bill.                  
 Presently, the bilingual teachers in the communities are teaching             
 words and phrases, but they are not teaching the language as                  
 language like they do with Russian, Spanish and Japanese.                     
 TAPE 95-9, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 005                                                                    
 SENATOR LINCOLN reiterated that SB 32 is not a bilingual bill, and            
 she pointed out that it provides for local advisory boards, where             
 it is predominately Native, to make the determination of the                  
 affordability and establishment of a Native language curriculum for           
 a school.                                                                     
 Number 010                                                                    
 ANNE KESSLER, Education Program Support, Department of Education,             
 said the use of the word "bilingual" education is one that creates            
 a lot of confusion.  The department's viewpoint of bilingual                  
 education programs, as they are currently funded in the state, is             
 that Native language is one of several other languages within the             
 bilingual program.                                                            
 Ms. Kessler said districts who choose to submit a bilingual plan of           
 service, work with their school boards, work with parent and local            
 advisory boards, to make the selection as far as what type of                 
 program to offer.                                                             
 Number 056                                                                    
 SENATOR HOFFMAN questioned why, if there are all of these programs            
 going on, there are statistics saying that many of these Native               
 languages are going to die by the year 2030.  ANNE KESSLER answered           
 that there has been 20 years of bilingual education programs.                 
 There are other social and economic factors that have created at              
 least a one-generation gap in the students who are now parents,               
 because of not having access to those programs for various reasons.           
 She agreed that the statistics are probably accurate, but she                 
 thinks some of the languages have a very good chance of surviving.            
 Number 145                                                                    
 DAVID CORNBERG added that what needs to be considered is that while           
 the bilingual programs are effective to some extent, they are not             
 the programs that are going to reverse the decline of the language.           
 The emersion programs will reverse the decline of the languages.              
 He added that is being shown all over the world, it is not just an            
 Alaskan experience.  ANNE KESSLER agreed that research has shown              
 the emersion programs to be very effective, and she said any                  
 district that wants to start an emersion program can do so within             
 the provisions of the LOESL program (language other than english as           
 a second language program).  The department is supportive of these            
 programs and will work with districts to implement them within the            
 realm of the bilingual education regulations.                                 
 Number 188                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON stated he agreed with an observation made earlier           
 by Senator Hoffman that if they were doing a good job with their              
 bilingual program, there wouldn't be a need for SB 32.                        
 There being no further witnesses to testify, SENATOR TORGERSON                
 asked for the will of the committee on SB 32.                                 
 SENATOR HOFFMAN moved that SB 32, along with a new zero fiscal                
 note, be passed out of committee with individual recommendations.             
 Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                                      
 There being no further business to come before the committee, the             
 meetin  g was adjourned at 3:25 p.m.                                          

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