Legislature(2005 - 2006)FAHRENKAMP 203

01/26/2005 01:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 14 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ SB 51 PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 51 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                        January 26, 2005                                                                                        
                           1:34 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Thomas Wagoner                                                                                                          
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 14                                                                                                              
"An  Act   relating  to   municipal  initiative   and  referendum                                                               
elections."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 51                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to contracts for the provision  of state public                                                               
assistance  to certain  recipients  in the  state; providing  for                                                               
regional  public  assistance plans  and  programs  in the  state;                                                               
relating to grants for Alaska  Native family assistance programs;                                                               
relating to assignment  of child support by  Alaska Native family                                                               
assistance recipients;  relating to paternity  determinations and                                                               
genetic testing  involving recipients of assistance  under Alaska                                                               
Native  family   assistance  programs;   and  providing   for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SB 51 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  14                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL  ELECTIONS                                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) STEVENS G                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
01/11/05       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 12/30/04                                                                              
01/11/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/11/05       (S)       CRA                                                                                                    
01/26/05       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  51                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS                                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/12/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/12/05       (S)       CRA, HES, FIN                                                                                          
01/26/05       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Linda Murphy, Clerk                                                                                                             
Kenai Peninsula Borough                                                                                                         
144 North Binkley Street                                                                                                        
Soldotna, AK 99669                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 14                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mona Lisa Drexler, Clerk                                                                                                        
Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                                                                    
PO Box 71267                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska  99707                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 14                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Laurie Sica, Clerk                                                                                                              
City and Borough of Juneau                                                                                                      
155 So. Seward Street                                                                                                           
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 14                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Katherine Farnham, Director                                                                                                     
Health & Social Services                                                                                                        
Division of Public Assistance                                                                                                   
360 C Street, Ste 814                                                                                                           
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SB 51                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS called  the  Senate  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs Standing Committee  meeting to order at  1:34 pm. Present                                                               
were  Senators Kookesh,  Ellis, Wagoner,  Stedman and  Chair Gary                                                               
Stevens.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                  SB  14-MUNICIPAL  ELECTIONS                                                                               
                                                                                                                              
1:35:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS announced the  first order of business  to be                                                               
SB 14,  which is a  bill that he  introduced last year,  but that                                                               
didn't make it through the  process after it was amended. Several                                                               
boroughs  have requested  the legislation,  which is  intended to                                                               
help  local  governments  avoid  costly  special  initiative  and                                                               
referendum  elections  because  these   types  of  elections  are                                                               
expensive  and  tend to  have  low  voter  turnout. SB  14  gives                                                               
communities  the  option  of  waiting   until  the  next  regular                                                               
election or proceeding with a  special election if they choose to                                                               
do so.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:36:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SB 14  doesn't apply to  home rule municipalities and  the Alaska                                                               
Municipal League,  Fairbanks North Star Borough,  Kenai Peninsula                                                               
Borough, Mat-Su  Borough, Ketchikan Gateway Borough,  the City of                                                               
Juneau and  several other communities have  expressed support for                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS noted that  Mrs. Murphy from Kenai was largely                                                               
responsible for the bill.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MRS.  LINDA  MURPHY,  Kenai   Peninsula  Borough  clerk,  thanked                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens  for introducing the bill and  said that the                                                               
chair had  given a good  explanation of the bill.  She emphasized                                                               
that  special elections  can be  very expensive  to a  community.                                                               
Because they aren't budgeted items,  each time there is a special                                                               
election, a supplemental appropriation is necessary.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
She urged  members to  move the  bill and  remarked that  she was                                                               
hopeful  it wouldn't  get held  up with  unrelated amendments  as                                                               
happened last year.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MONA  LISA DREXLER,  Fairbanks North  Star  Borough clerk,  spoke                                                               
with the  approval of her  assembly in  support of SB  14 stating                                                               
that  it's a  priority  for  her borough.  She  reported that  in                                                               
Alaska there are about 140  municipalities that must follow Title                                                               
29 on  special elections. About  21 municipalities are  home rule                                                               
communities and the bill would not affect them.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:39:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
In closing she said, "But  whether you're a municipality that has                                                               
a population  base of 340 people,  such as Elum, or  86,500, such                                                               
as  the  Fairbanks North  Star  Borough,  a special  election  is                                                               
costly, timely and traditionally the turnout is very low."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LAURIE SICA, City and Borough  of Juneau (CBJ) clerk, stated that                                                               
Juneau  is a  home rule  municipality  so they  follow their  own                                                               
rules for elections.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:41:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
She reported  that the mayor  was not interested in  changing the                                                               
CBJ code unless  this change is made at the  state level, but she                                                               
would very much like SB 14 to  pass because in the last two years                                                               
CBJ  had  two special  elections  and  each cost  about  $35,000.                                                               
Although  she didn't  believe  the assembly  would  have put  the                                                               
issues  on  a  regular  ballot  because  they  were  timely,  she                                                               
anticipates another  issue for special  election in 2005  that is                                                               
not timely.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:42:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  said the  only criticism  he's heard  on the                                                               
bill  is some  saying that  it takes  power out  of the  peoples'                                                               
hands. However, the local borough  assembly or council can decide                                                               
whether the  issue is timely  enough to hold a  special election.                                                               
If not, they  would have the option of waiting  until the regular                                                               
election. He asked whether she thought that was agreeable.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SICA  replied it does  make it  a more political  decision at                                                               
the assembly, but  they certainly weigh the  timeliness of issues                                                               
and they are elected to serve the public.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOHNNY  ELLIS noted that he  is new to the  committee and                                                               
was  unfamiliar with  the  issues  that came  up  last year  that                                                               
caused the bill to fail.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS  said an amendment was made  that brought in                                                               
the  Anchorage  elections,  which  resulted  in  the  bill  being                                                               
sidetracked. "Other than that, I  think the bill would have moved                                                               
right on through without any problem," he said.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS said he remembers the blowup                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THOMAS  WAGONER announced that  he might amend  the bill.                                                               
He  explained  that  he  likes the  fact  that  Washington  State                                                               
requires a 60 percent voter  turnout for special elections or the                                                               
election isn't certified.  This forces issues to  be carried over                                                               
to a  regular election  whenever possible so  that a  majority of                                                               
the people decide  on the issue. As a result,  there are very few                                                               
special elections that promote special interest issues.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He said he would look into the matter further.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:45:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS  agreed that  special elections  frequently                                                               
have  a smaller  turnout  than regular  elections.  He said  that                                                               
working  for increased  voter turnout  is part  of the  rationale                                                               
behind SB 14.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:46:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS asked whether there  were further comments,                                                               
questions or  concerns. He said  the motion before  the committee                                                               
was  to approve,  with the  attached  fiscal note,  and asked  if                                                               
there was objection.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked whether  it was  a motion  to move  the bill                                                               
from committee with individual recommendations.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  Senator  Wagoner  to  restate  his                                                               
motion.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WAGONER  motioned to  move  SB  14 from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal note.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked  if an amendment might be  offered at another                                                               
stage of the process.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER said  yes, he'd have to study  the matter further                                                               
and talk with legislative legal  to determine whether there was a                                                               
constitutional question.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS  asked  if  this  might  not  be  the  appropriate                                                               
committee to  consider the amendment  particularly since  this is                                                               
the only committee of referral.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS  agreed that  this was  the only  committee                                                               
that would hear the bill.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER  said he could  amend the  bill on the  floor and                                                               
assured  members  that  he  wouldn't  ambush  the  chair  or  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS pointed out that  although he wouldn't intend to do                                                               
so, committee work conducted on the floor could be problematic.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER said it's up to the chair.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked how quickly he could prepare the amendment.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WAGONER said  he'd have  his staff  contact Tam  Cook in                                                               
legislative legal to discuss the possibilities.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS stated  that if  there were  another committee  of                                                               
referral it would  be reasonable to move the bill  since the bill                                                               
presented no  problems in the  original form. He  assured members                                                               
that he had no  reason to block the bill, but  he thought the CRA                                                               
Committee  should consider  the  amendment if  it  could be  done                                                               
expeditiously.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS  said he understood, but he  wasn't sure the                                                               
suggested amendment would fit within SB 14.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:48:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WAGONER  said  people  that  run  municipal  governments                                                               
frequently have an agenda to  bring up special elections and this                                                               
wouldn't keep  them from  using that  authority to  further their                                                               
agenda. The taxpayers would lose  and his amendment would address                                                               
that.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS said he was willing to hold the bill.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER said that was agreeable.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS thanked  the  chair  and said  this  was the  only                                                               
committee that  the public could  weigh in  on the idea  and that                                                               
was all he asked.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS announced he would hold SB 14 in committee.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:50:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
               SB  51-PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS  announced SB 51 to be  before the committee                                                               
and asked Ms Farnham to introduce herself.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
KATHERINE FARNAM, director of the  Division of Public Assistance,                                                               
said she would  give background for the  Temporary Assistance for                                                               
Needy  Families Program  to frame  the  Native Family  Assistance                                                               
Program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
In  1996 the  State  of  Alaska began  to  rework welfare  reform                                                               
through  a state  block grant  that helped  families work  toward                                                               
self-sufficiency.  She  pointed  to  a  chart  illustrating  that                                                               
Alaska  has   reduced  the  number   of  families   on  temporary                                                               
assistance by  58 percent. At  the high point, there  were 13,000                                                               
families on temporary  assistance and in October  2004 there were                                                               
just  5,500.  This success  is  attributable  to the  flexibility                                                               
provided by the  block grant program and the  emphasis on welfare                                                               
to work. The  program also instituted a five  year lifetime limit                                                               
for welfare benefits.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:51:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. FARNAM  said the effort  to help families move  to employment                                                               
and self-sufficiency  has certainly  been successful and  when FY                                                               
04  is compared  to FY  97,  it shows  that $66  million in  cash                                                               
benefits have been saved.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
She pointed  out that their Native  partnerships have contributed                                                               
to  the  success   of  their  program.  When   the  1996  federal                                                               
legislation enabled  the state's  block grant, it  instituted the                                                               
ability for  tribal organizations  to offer  temporary assistance                                                               
programs directly.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:52:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
In  the   federal  law,  12  regional   Native  non-profits  plus                                                               
Metlakatla were  identified as  able to  run their  own temporary                                                               
assistance  program.  There  are  state matching  funds  for  the                                                               
program and  the maintenance of effort  associated with temporary                                                               
assistance  federal monies  is  at nearly  an  80 percent  level.                                                               
Because of the  success in employment and  work participation, it                                                               
will be at the 75 percent level in years to come, she said.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. FARNAM continued to explain  that to operate a tribal program                                                               
at a level that is comparable  to a state run program, some state                                                               
funds are required  to go with the federal grant  that they would                                                               
get  directly on  an  approved program.  To  authorize the  state                                                               
funds,  the  Legislature in  2000  introduced  the Native  Family                                                               
Assistance Program, which  is the program under  discussion in SB                                                               
51.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
In  Alaska,   Tlingit  Haida   Central  Council,   Tanana  Chiefs                                                               
Conference,  and the  Association of  Village Council  Presidents                                                               
have been running  a tribal TANF program since  2000. Those three                                                               
non-profits serve 20  percent of the Alaska  Natives on temporary                                                               
assistance in the state.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Because  it  was  a  new way  of  serving  families,  legislators                                                               
elected to set it up as  a time limited program that sunsets June                                                               
30, 2005. It also identified  four tribal organizations that were                                                               
eligible instead of  the 13 designated in the  federal law. Those                                                               
are the three  mentioned previously and Metlakatla.  Three of the                                                               
four non-profits have been running  very successful programs that                                                               
outperform what  the state could  have done in those  same years.                                                               
This is due  to familiarity of the culture, the  families and the                                                               
economic needs in the region.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FARNAM pointed  to the  legislatively  required report  that                                                               
provides  information on  how  the  organizations achieved  their                                                               
gains,  how  they built  their  programs  and the  advantages  of                                                               
integrating those services with others that are provided.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:56:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Nationally,  37 tribes  have started  tribal  TANF programs  that                                                               
help about 8400 families. The  three Native non-profits have been                                                               
serving about  1,000 families  in Alaska  and receive  about $8.7                                                               
million  from the  Native Family  Assistance  Program each  year.                                                               
This is  in support of  the federal money  to give them  fair and                                                               
equitable  resources to  continue  running  their program  rather                                                               
than continuing a state program.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Currently  there  are three  other  Native  non-profits that  are                                                               
working  to  set  up  their own  tribal  TANF  programs.  Without                                                               
extending  the sunset  date and  reauthorizing the  program, they                                                               
wouldn't be  able to develop   programs and receive  state funds.                                                               
The  three  additional  Native non-profits  are  the  Cook  Inlet                                                               
Tribal  Corporation,  the  Bristol  Bay  Native  Association  and                                                               
Maniilaq Association.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:57:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FARNAM   recommended  making   the  program   permanent  and                                                               
expanding  it  to  match  the   organizations  that  the  federal                                                               
government authorizes for tribal TANF.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
She noted  that the fiscal  note is  based on the  fiscal changes                                                               
associated with  including Cook Inlet Native  Association (CINA).                                                               
Instead of receiving  federal money for the  Cook Inlet families,                                                               
that  federal money  would go  directly to  CINA. Money  would be                                                               
taken out  of general  fund expenditures  that currently  go into                                                               
Alaska Temporary  Assistance Program and  place it in  the Native                                                               
Family Assistance Program.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:58:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
This  reduces the  federal block  fund  by the  amount that  Cook                                                               
Inlet would  receive directly, which  reduces the  maintenance of                                                               
effort limit  so there  would be an  associated net  general fund                                                               
savings.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:59:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS  recapped saying  the service  goes to  the                                                               
people wherever they  are. If they were living  in Anchorage they                                                               
would be served as fairly as if they lived in Cook Inlet (CIRI).                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. FARNAM  said yes, their  policy has been that  their services                                                               
have  been  for  all  Natives  in the  area  not  just  corporate                                                               
shareholders.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THOMAS WAGONER remarked that  it looks to be an excellent                                                               
program.  He  questioned whether  there  is  overlap between  her                                                               
agency and tribes that are working with the families.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. FARNAM  said that  in very rural  areas with  a predominantly                                                               
Native  population  her  agency  elected  to  contract  with  the                                                               
Association  of Village  Council Presidents  (AVCP) to  serve all                                                               
regional  residents to  avoid duplication  of services.  She said                                                               
they would likely continue to do  that in regions such as Bristol                                                               
Bay.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
In some  of the  more populated  areas such as  Cook Inlet  or in                                                               
Southeast, they collaborate closely  with the regional non-profit                                                               
partners.  Tribal   organizations  are   often  better   able  to                                                               
integrate services than the state.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:01:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER said, "You avoid turf wars."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. FARNAM replied, "We don't turf war."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:01:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ALBERT KOOKESH asked whether  there would be turf wars if                                                               
the bill were to die.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS FARNAM  assured him there  would be grave difficulties  if the                                                               
bill  didn't pass.  It would  be particularly  difficult for  the                                                               
three  existing  programs  because  they  would  be  entitled  to                                                               
federal money, but  they wouldn't have the $8.7  million in state                                                               
money that is necessary to provide a fair program.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KOOKESH  said his  point is  that the  cost to  the state                                                               
would  rise dramatically  if the  bill  didn't pass.  He said  he                                                               
didn't want everyone to think  this would just benefit the Native                                                               
community.  The  state  will  benefit   as  much  as  the  Native                                                               
community because the Native non-profits  are shouldering some of                                                               
the load for the state.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. FARNAM agreed  and said they have not only  taken some of the                                                               
workload they've done a good job  and saved the state money. They                                                               
estimate that  there's been $33  million in general  fund savings                                                               
since the  first tribal TANF  program. She emphasized  that there                                                               
would  be  major   shifts  in  service  quality   if  the  tribal                                                               
organizations continued to serve families without state support.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KOOKESH said it works both ways.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. FARNAM agreed.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS  restated  the  point  saying  that  state                                                               
responsibility   would  increase   dramatically  if   the  tribal                                                               
organizations didn't continue the programs.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. FARNAM clarified  that it would require  reassuming the cases                                                               
they haven't been managing, which  would be a significant effort.                                                               
If the block grants were turned  down the state would receive the                                                               
money,  but the  state general  fund commitment  to the  programs                                                               
would increase.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS  thanked Senator  Kookesh  for bringing  up                                                               
that point.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOHNNY  ELLIS said the bill  was great and that  when the                                                               
Governor puts  out the traditional  must-have list at the  end of                                                               
the session she  should make sure this was  included. It warrants                                                               
the attention and support.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. FARNAM thanked him for the suggestion and the support.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS called Ms. Merritt Duren.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MOLLY MERRITT  DUREN, employment  training services  director for                                                               
Cook Inlet Tribal  Council, explained that they  are a non-profit                                                               
service agency that  serves Anchorage and the  six CIRI villages.                                                               
She  said  they  provide employment  training,  family  substance                                                               
abuse,  and education  services. They've  been a  vendor for  the                                                               
state providing welfare to work TANF services for eight years.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:05:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
They serve all Alaska Natives  and American Indians in the region                                                               
and they've become the largest village in the state.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:07:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The  1994 caseload  in  the  Anchorage area  was  1,123 and  that                                                               
number  was used  for the  original tribal  TANF caseload.  As of                                                               
November 2004  the caseload was  692 while census  reports showed                                                               
the  Native population  increased  from 12,000  to 46,000  during                                                               
that time. This shows a caseload decrease of 62 percent.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
She said  they have  worked in close  partnership with  the state                                                               
and would  like legislative support  so they could begin  being a                                                               
tribal TANF provider in July 2005.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:08:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
To  show their  ability to  become  a tribal  TANF provider,  she                                                               
informed  members   that  Cook  Inlet  Tribal   Council  provides                                                               
accounting services for  39 non-profits in the  state through the                                                               
Foraker Group, and information technology for five non-profits.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER  asked whether there  were 46,000 Natives  in the                                                               
entire region or just Anchorage.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. MERRITT-DUREN clarified that it was just Anchorage.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER  asked how many  Natives live in the  region they                                                               
serve.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. MERRITT-DUREN  thought the  1994 figure  was right  at 1,300.                                                               
She added, "We do propose to  offer our villages the option of us                                                               
becoming a  tribal TANF  provider for them  in years  two, three,                                                               
four and we get a little experience under our belt."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:10:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  asked whether the program  also served Native                                                               
Americans that came from outside Alaska.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. MERRITT-DUREN replied they serve  Alaska Natives and American                                                               
Indians.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
OZZIE  SHEAKLEY, Tlingit  Haida  Central Council  representative,                                                               
informed  members  that  he was  representing  his  boss,  Sharon                                                               
Olsen, and  the tribe president,  Ed Thomas. He pointed  out that                                                               
Ms. Olsen's  testimony was in  the report he distributed,  but he                                                               
wanted  members  to note  the  employment  figures in  particular                                                               
because  in  some  communities,   the  Native  unemployment  rate                                                               
reaches 80 percent.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:12:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He thanked the  state for complementing the work  they have done.                                                               
He  pointed to  a press  release stating  that the  Department of                                                               
Labor  gave them  the highest  award  for work  they've done  for                                                               
their people.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:13:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AMANDA BLACKGOAT, financial systems  specialist for Tlingit Haida                                                               
TANF program said  she has been with the  program since inception                                                               
in March 2000. They took on their caseload in July 2000.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
She noted that  the Tlingit Haida TANF program  averages over 360                                                               
cases  per  month, which  is  reduced  from  the 440  cases  they                                                               
handled in  the beginning. In  addition, there are  300 potential                                                               
TANF  clients  that don't  use  the  program  for one  reason  or                                                               
another,  but  they might  do  so  at  some point.  "The  program                                                               
benefits the culture  here in Southeast and Juneau  in that we're                                                               
trying to  be specific.  We're trying  to establish  a foundation                                                               
for our  clients. We're  trying to be  all encompassing  in order                                                               
for them to be self sufficient," Ms. Blackgoat said.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:15:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHEAKLEY closed saying they support SB 51.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for a motion.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:16:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS motioned to move SB 51 from committee with                                                                        
individual recommendations and four attached fiscal notes. There                                                                
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Gary Stevens adjourned the meeting at 2:17:28 PM                                                                        
                                                                                                                                

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