Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/07/1995 01:40 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                         
                         April 7, 1995                                         
                           1:40 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator John Torgerson, Chairman                                              
 Senator Randy Phillips, Vice Chairman                                         
 Senator Tim Kelly                                                             
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Fred Zharoff                                                          
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 Relating to establishment of an Arctic council.                               
 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 21                                                
 Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska               
 creating a special fund related to the use of federal mineral                 
 revenue sharing payments due the state from certain federal leases            
 on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.                  
 SENATE BILL NO. 124                                                           
 "An Act relating to the human services community matching grant               
 program; and providing for an effective date."                                
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SJR 18 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SJR 21 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SB 124 - No previous action to record.                                        
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Senator Drue Pearce                                                           
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of SJR 21                                
 Charles McKee                                                                 
 P.O. Box 143452                                                               
 Anchorage, AK 99514                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified on SJR 18, SJR 21 & SB 124                   
 Brad Pierce, Senior Policy Analyst                                            
 Office of Management & Budget                                                 
 P.O. Box 110020                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0020                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   No position on SJR 21                                  
 Kevin Ritchie, Executive Director                                             
 Alaska Municipal League                                                       
 217 Second St., Suite 200                                                     
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports concept of SJR 21                             
 Cheryl Davis, Staff to Senator Al Adams                                       
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on SJR 18                          
 Teresa Sager, Staff to Senator Mike Miller                                    
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on SB 124                          
 Cheryl Keepers                                                                
 Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                  
 P.O. Box 71267                                                                
 Fairbanks, AK 99707                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified on SB 124                                    
 Nadine Winters                                                                
 Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                  
 P.O. Box 71267                                                                
 Fairbanks, AK 99707                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Available to respond to questions on SB 124            
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 95-11, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                SJR 21 ANWR SPECIAL REVENUE FUND                              
   CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  called the Senate Community & Regional Affairs          
 Committee meeting to order at 1:40 p.m. and introduced  SJR 21  as            
 the first order of business.                                                  
 SENATOR DRUE PEARCE, prime sponsor of SJR 21, said members of the             
 Senate and House were in Washington, D.C. the past weekend and  she           
 came away from Washington feeling like this is the year that                  
 Congress is going to act on allowing exploration and what is hoped            
 will then be eventual development on the coastal plain of the                 
 Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  She added there is a sense of               
 urgency because this is the "window of opportunity year," and she             
 has been thinking for a period of time about how to deal with the             
 revenues that will come in from ANWR when the time comes.                     
 SJR 21 proposes placing before the voters of the state at the next            
 general election an amendment to the Constitution that would create           
 a special revenue fund of the revenues coming in from the Arctic              
 National Wildlife Refuge.  These are the royalties from any future            
 development except for the 50 percent share that's already required           
 by Alaska's Constitution to go in the Alaska Permanent Fund.  The             
 resolution does not get into the question of whether there should             
 be a 90/10 royalty split with the federal government, or whether              
 there should be a 50/50 royalty split with the federal government.            
 Senator Pearce said it is her personal belief that 50 percent of              
 something is a lot better than 90 percent of nothing, but that is             
 a decision that Congress will have to make.                                   
 Senator Pearce said the legislature could appropriate the money               
 that's in the fund only for assistance or aid to a municipality               
 under a program of aid to local governments that would be                     
 established by law in Title 29, or, secondly, for the support of              
 school construction and school major maintenance programs as is               
 currently embodied in Title 14.  She acknowledged that this is a              
 dedication of funds, but she believes that it is a dedication of a            
 special stream of funds.                                                      
 Senator Pearce said if ratified by the citizens of the state, there           
 would be a mechanism in place before ANWR is explored and before              
 development is a reality.  She believes that being able to go back            
 to Congress and letting them know how the state plans to use any              
 revenues that the state receives will help get some teetering back            
 at the Congressional level.                                                   
 Senator Pearce spoke to the funding problems municipalities have              
 been facing in the last 10 years and the increased financial                  
 responsibilities they are being required to take on because of                
 falling oil revenues.                                                         
 Number 095                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON opened the meeting to public comment.                       
 CHARLES MCKEE, testifying from Anchorage, stated his opposition to            
 SJR 21 because he believes it takes revenues away from the                    
 permanent fund and the state treasury and places them in the                  
 control of a very large municipality in the Arctic that has run up            
 a very large debt burden.                                                     
 Number 125                                                                    
 BRAD PIERCE, Policy Analyst, Office of Management & Budget, stated            
 there is no official Governor's position on SJR 21 except that it             
 is "an interesting concept."                                                  
 Mr. Pierce said Governor Knowles is squarely behind the development           
 of ANWR and has repeatedly expressed his strong support for full              
 funding of education, as well as working out an equitable                     
 partnership with municipalities.  However, linking these three                
 concepts via a constitutional amendment is where the concerns                 
 The basic concern is with dedicated funds, and the basic problem is           
 that the particular interests of the education community and                  
 municipalities are elevated over other public service                         
 responsibilities.  As much as the public education, they question             
 whether it is in the state's interest to put it above everything              
 else.  Mr. Pierce believes this will run into the same kind of                
 opposition that Governor Cowper's education endowment did when                
 people begin to seriously examine the implications of giving school           
 construction and maintenance a higher priority than road                      
 maintenance, village sanitation facilities, etc.                              
 Number 215                                                                    
 KEVIN RITCHIE, Executive Director, Alaska Municipal League,                   
 expressed the appreciation of the 118 member communities in the               
 League for the introduction of SJR 21.  He stated their support for           
 the concept and the long-range planning process as one method of              
 bringing municipalities to the table and talking about the long-              
 term stability of the communities.                                            
 Number 235                                                                    
 There being no further testimony on SJR 21, SENATOR TORGERSON asked           
 for the will of the committee.                                                
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS moved that SJR 21 be passed out of committee              
 with individual recommendations.  SENATOR KELLY objected and stated           
 he has never voted for a dedicated fund in 18 years and he is not             
 going to start this year.  A roll call was taken with the following           
 result:  Senators Phillips, Hoffman & Torgerson voted "Yea" and               
 Senator Kelly voted "Nay."  The Chairman stated the motion carried.           
              SSSJR 18 CREATION OF ARCTIC COUNCIL                             
 Number 247                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON brought  SSSJR 18  before the committee as the next         
 order of business.                                                            
 CHERYL DAVIS, staff to Senator Al Adams who is the prime sponsor of           
 the resolution, read the following sponsor statement into the                 
 "Senator Adams supports the formation of an Arctic Council.  This             
 Arctic Council would be a permanent, intergovernmental  policy                
 forum.  It would involve citizens from the northern region to                 
 discuss issues that affect them directly.  The countries that would           
 participate are:  the United States, Denmark, Finland, Iceland,               
 Norway, Russia, Sweden and Canada.  This forum would provide a                
 broader and coordinated voice in response to critical issues facing           
 the Arctic countries."                                                        
 "Over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness of the           
 needs and the mutual concerns of Arctic countries and their                   
 indigenous people.  Organizations have been established to look at            
 specialized needs affecting the northern countries.  The purpose of           
 the Arctic Council is not to duplicate or replace the specialized             
 organizations but to serve as an umbrella body.  This forum would             
 ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness by provide focus and              
 policy direction to existing Arctic related organizations."                   
 "The Arctic Council would provide a mechanism or mandate to address           
 the full range of Arctic issues.  It would be the singular                    
 international entity to direct better coordination and interaction            
 among the Arctic governments."                                                
 "The Arctic Council would operate on a consensus basis.  The                  
 relationship between the Arctic Council and other existing                    
 organizations would be defined more precisely as part of the                  
 process of the establishment of the Arctic Council.  This forum               
 would strengthen circumpolar initiatives to contribute to                     
 international cooperation to meet the new challenges of sustainable           
 "Senator Adams urges your support for this resolution."                       
 Number 280                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON directed attention to his proposed amendment to             
 SSSJR 18 and asked Mr. Davis if Senator Adams has a position on it.           
 CHERYL DAVIS responded that Senator Adams does not have a problem             
 with the proposed changes and believes they will help clarify the             
 establishment of the council.                                                 
 Number 285                                                                    
 CHARLES MCKEE, testifying from Anchorage, voiced his opposition to            
 SSSJR 18.                                                                     
 Number 330                                                                    
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS moved the following amendment offered by                  
 Senator Torgerson:                                                            
 Amendment No. 1                                                             
 Page 1, lines 6 - 7:  Delete "political energy and" and insert "a"            
 Page 1, lines 12 - 14:  Delete "Canada, the Clinton administration,           
 and the administration of the State of Alaska have indicated that             
 they support creation of the council;"                                        
 Page 2, line 5:  Following "appropriate," and insert "recommending"           
 Page 2, line 6:  Delete "Arctic-related organizations" and insert             
 "agencies with authority over Arctic-related issues"                          
 Page 2, line 15 - 16:  Delete "the Honorable Strom Thurmond,                  
 President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate;"                                    
 Hearing no objection to the adoption of Amendment No. 1, SENATOR              
 TORGERSON stated it was adopted and would be incorporated into a              
 Community & Regional Affairs CS.                                              
 Number 360                                                                    
 SENATOR HOFFMAN moved that CS SSSJR 18(CRA) be passed out of                  
 committee with individual recommendations.  SENATOR KELLY objected            
 and stated he thinks it is reflective of the Northern Forum which             
 he thinks has been very successful in getting these Arctic                    
 governments together.  A roll call vote was taken with the                    
 following result:  Senators Phillips, Hoffman & Torgerson voted               
 "Yea" and Senator Kelly voted "Nay."  The Chairman stated the                 
 motion to move the resolution out of committee carried.                       
        SB 124 HUMAN SERVICES COMMUNITY MATCHING GRANTS                       
 Number 370                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON brought  SB 124  before the committee as the final          
 order of business.                                                            
 TERESA SAGER, staff to Senator Mike Miller, the prime sponsor of SB
 124, explained that the legislation would permanently set the local           
 match rate for the Human Services Community Matching Grant Program.           
 The local match would be 30 percent and the state portion would be            
 70 percent.                                                                   
 Ms. Sager said the program, when created a few years ago, was                 
 intended to start out at a 10 percent local match, increase the               
 following fiscal year to a 30 percent match, and then in the third            
 and subsequent years the local match would be 50 percent.                     
 Unfortunately, the 50 percent match would become difficult for the            
 municipalities to meet due to declines in federal funds that they             
 receive, as well as declines in municipal assistance and revenue              
 Ms. Sager noted that similar legislation passed the Senate and                
 House last session but was vetoed by the Governor.  She also                  
 pointed out that this legislation would bring the Human Services              
 Matching Grants program in line with other matching grant programs            
 which are set at 30 percent.                                                  
 Number 395                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON voiced concern with the Fairbanks North Star                
 Borough applying for a large share of these grants when according             
 to a municipal population figure there are only 47,000 in the                 
 municipality instead of the 65,000 figure stated in the definition            
 of a "second class borough."  However, he added that he realizes              
 they are including the population of the City of Fairbanks                    
 Number 406                                                                    
 CHARLES MCKEE, testified from Anchorage on SB 124, but did not                
 state a position on the legislation.                                          
 Number 440                                                                    
 CHERYL KEEPERS, an employee of the Fairbanks North Star Borough,              
 stated their population is closer to 82,000 so they do meet the               
 minimum of 65,000.  SENATOR TORGERSON said he made the point that             
 they are including the City of Fairbanks to reach that 82,000                 
 figure, but the borough itself is at 47,000 and he considers that             
 double dipping with the program.  MS. KEEPERS clarified that the              
 City of Fairbanks is no longer applying for the grants and FY 94              
 was the last year they did so.                                                
 Number 465                                                                    
 NADINE WINTERS, an employee of the Fairbanks North Star Borough,              
 stated she was present to respond to questions, and she urged the             
 passage of SB 124 out of committee.                                           
 Number 469                                                                    
 There being no further witnesses to testify on SB 124, SENATOR                
 TORGERSON asked for the will of the committee.                                
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS stated he was not in support of SB 124.                   
 SENATOR KELLY stated that although he knows that this would benefit           
 his community and some of the larger municipalities, it is not a              
 responsible position for the State of Alaska to be taking when                
 looking at a $500 million deficit at the state level, so he will              
 continue to oppose the bill.                                                  
 Number 484                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON stated that due to the lack of a motion, SB 124             
 would be held over until the next committee meeting.                          
 There being no further business to come before the committee, the             
 meeting was adjourned at 2:13 p.m.                                            

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