Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/12/1996 02:10 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                         
                       February 12, 1996                                       
                           2:10 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator John Torgerson, Chairman                                              
 Senator Randy Phillips, Vice Chairman                                         
 Senator Tim Kelly                                                             
 Senator Fred Zharoff                                                          
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 14                                           
 Endorsing a proposal by which the Alaska Housing Finance                      
 Corporation, under provisions of law by which the corporation may             
 exercise its powers to complete moderate income and rental housing,           
 will make interest-subsidized loans for the construction of student           
 housing facilities at certain campuses of the University of Alaska,           
 and relating to an agreement between the parties respecting the               
 initiation of student housing on certain campuses of the University           
 of Alaska.                                                                    
 SENATE BILL NO. 163                                                           
 "An Act approving the University of Alaska's plans to enter into              
 long-term obligations to borrow money from the Alaska Housing                 
 Finance Corporation for the acquisition of student housing                    
 facilities; and providing for an effective date."                             
 SENATE BILL NO. 229                                                           
 "An Act relating to employment contributions and to making the                
 state training and employment program a permanent state program;              
 and providing for an effective date."                                         
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SCR 14 - See State Affairs minutes dated 5/2/95.                              
 SB 163 - See State Affairs minutes dated 5/2/95.                              
 SB 229 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 2/7/96.               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Rebecca Nance, Director                                                       
 Division of Employment Security                                               
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 25509                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802-5509                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on SB 229                          
 Arbe Williams, Director                                                       
 Division of Administrative Services                                           
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 21149                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802-1149                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on SB 229                          
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 96-5, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  called the Senate Community & Regional Affairs           
 Committee meeting to order at 2:10 p.m.                                       
          SCR 14 UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA STUDENT HOUSING                        
        SB 163 APPROVE U OF A DEBT FOR STUDENT HOUSING                        
  SENATOR TORGERSON  brought  SCR 14  and  SB 163  before the committee        
 the first order of business.                                                  
  SENATOR KELLY  noted that the Administration, as well as the House,          
 are in support of SCR 14 and SB 163 and that the House Finance                
 Committee is currently working on committee substitutes.  He                  
 requested that the committee pass both pieces of legislation out of           
 committee so that they can be worked on in Senate Finance and then            
 their work will then be completed by the time the House legislation           
 passes over to the Senate.                                                    
  SENATOR TORGERSON  pointed out, for the record, that both pieces of          
 legislation have a referral to the Health, Education and Social               
 Services Committee before going to the Finance Committee.                     
  SENATOR KELLY  moved that SCR 14 be passed out of committee with             
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
  SENATOR KELLY  moved that SB 163 be passed out of committee with             
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
         SB 229 STATE TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM                        
  SENATOR TORGERSON  brought SB 229 before the committee as the next           
 order of business.  He directed attention to a letter from Rebecca            
 Nance of the Department of Labor providing additional information             
 to the committee on questions raised during the February 7 hearing            
 on the legislation.                                                           
 Number 070                                                                    
  REBECCA NANCE , Director, Division of Employment Security, in                
 response to clarifying administrative costs for accounting and                
 collection, explained that this is a U.S. Department of Labor                 
 compliance measure, which mandated that STEP's share for use of the           
 federally funded collection and accounting system was computed to             
 be 19 percent.  She added that is 19 percent of the state's                   
 employment service tax data collection and accounting.                        
  SENATOR KELLY  inquired how many people in the department collect            
 these taxes.   ARBE WILLIAMS , Director, Administrative Services,             
 Department of Labor, replied that there are 19 positions in the tax           
 section.  The federal agreement requires that 19 percent of those             
 total costs are reimbursed in the system.  She clarified that the             
 money is not sent back to the federal government; it is used for              
 their internal operations.  It allows those supplanted UI dollars             
 in their field offices or in other operations of the Employment               
 Security Division.  She further clarified that the STEP program is            
 funded with one-tenth of one percent of employees' contribution to            
 the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.  The trust fund funds the              
 benefit payments process through the Employment Security Division.            
  SENATOR TORGERSON  asked if employee/employer contribution ratings           
 that must be posted for the Unemployment Insurance program show               
 that part of the money they are paying is going for administrative            
 costs for accounting and collection.   REBECCA NANCE  responded that          
 the contribution is lumped together on the form.   SENATOR TORGERSON          
 asked that she look into whether it should be listed on the form              
 separately should STEP become a permanent program.                            
 Number 200                                                                    
  REBECCA NANCE  also clarified that the Employment Security Division          
 received State Employment and Training Program Funds through two              
 Reimbursable Services Agreements (RSAs) with DCRA, which are used             
 for counseling, job seeking skills and employment assistance in               
 local offices.  These positions are located in Kenai, Fairbanks,              
 Nome and Ketchikan.  In addition, there are two positions in DCRA:            
 one is a grants administrator and one is an internal auditor.                 
 Ms. Nance noted that she had provided the committee with an                   
 expanded list of contractors with the type of training that was               
 provided from 1990 through 1994.  The 1995 list is still not                  
 complete because they are waiting on the Fairbanks service delivery           
 area, but she said she could provide the information on the other             
 service delivery areas.                                                       
  SENATOR KELLY  questioned if there wasn't a time frame for awarding          
 these grants.                                                                 
 Turning to the fiscal note, Ms. Nance said the $252,000 figure is             
 projected for inter-agency transfer to the Department of Labor for            
 Labor Market Information (LMI) so that they can track the program's           
 success and connect it to the UI Trust Fund to see if there is a              
 lesser impact on the trust fund.  It also provides for the analysis           
 of the data.                                                                  
  SENATOR KELLY  commented that it seems to him they are propping up           
 the LMI with STEP money that they are not getting out of the                  
 general funds.   ARBE WILLIAMS  agreed, and added that a couple of            
 years ago $50,000 was cut from their general funds and the                    
 Legislature specifically said that $50,000 would come from the STEP           
 fund for analysis and production of the Alaska Resident Hire                  
 Report.  The $252,000 provides a base for the ability for the                 
 department to evaluate not only the STEP program, but also track              
 the success of clients in the JOBS program and the AVTEC program.             
  SENATOR KELLY  said it is pretty clear from the clarification of the         
 fiscal note that we are entering some real soft uses for this STEP            
 money; it is getting far beyond training people who are out of                
 Number 300                                                                    
  SENATOR TORGERSON  asked if their formula tracks to the LMI so that          
 the money they allocate to their job training is to the at-risk               
 occupations.   ARBE WILLIAMS  responded that this is one of the very          
 few programs in the state where they can provide that kind of                 
 program evaluation.                                                           
 Number 325                                                                    
  SENATOR TORGERSON  said he wouldn't roll the STEP program into some          
 other employment program, but, by his count, there are currently 15           
 employment programs and he thinks that's too many.  He said it is             
 time to start consolidating some of them and doing away with a few            
 positions, and he requested the committee be provided with                    
 information on the job programs currently running.                            
 There being no further testimony on SB 229,  SENATOR TORGERSON                
 stated it would be held in committee for further information, and             
 then adjourned the meeting at 2:37 p.m.                                       

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