Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/02/2001 09:08 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                              MINUTES                                                                                         
                     SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                          April 02, 2001                                                                                      
                              9:08 AM                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPES                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SFC-01 # 63,  Side A                                                                                                            
SFC 01 # 63,  Side B                                                                                                            
SFC 01 # 64,  Side A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Dave Donley convened the meeting at approximately 9:08 AM.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dave Donley, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Pete Kelly, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Jerry Ward, Vice Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Loren Leman                                                                                                             
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Senator Gary Wilken                                                                                                             
Senator Alan Austerman                                                                                                          
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donald Olson                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Also Attending: Witnesses are listed in the summary information in                                                            
the order they testified.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 103-APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                     
HB 104-APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The Committee continued taking public testimony. The Committee                                                                  
Substitutes were adopted and were held in Committee.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 103(FIN)(brf sup maj fld)                                                                            
     "An  Act  making appropriations   for the  operating  and  loan                                                            
     program  expenses of  state government,  for certain  programs,                                                            
     and to capitalize  funds; and providing for an effective date."                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 104(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An Act making appropriations for the operating and capital                                                                
     expenses of the state's integrated comprehensive mental health                                                             
     program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley  announced public testimony would  be limited to two                                                            
minutes.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PAUL GONZALAS,  on behalf  of treatment and  mental health  centers,                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Mat-Su and indicated that without                                                            
the treatment  programs nobody wins and with the treatment  programs                                                            
everyone wins.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TOM BOLEN,  member, Local Emergency  Planning Committee Association                                                             
Of Alaska  (LEPC), testified  via teleconference  from Kotzebue.  He                                                            
indicated that hazard funding  for natural disasters have never been                                                            
funded by the  state.  This year the governor agreed  to support the                                                            
funding,  and Mr. Bolen is  asking the Committee  to fully  fund the                                                            
$90,800 request.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA JANITSCHEK, speaking  on behalf of Dennis Sipleman, Chairman                                                            
and CEO of Maniilaq  Association, testified via teleconference  from                                                            
Kotzebue, requested  the continuation  of budget request  unit (BRU)                                                            
funding to assist  Maniilaq Association in providing  adequate level                                                            
of health care to the citizens within their service area.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SUE WHITE,  Director,  Family Resources  for  Maniilaq Association,                                                             
testified via teleconference  from Kotzebue that her agency provides                                                            
welfare  programs,  including  a  childcare  assistance  program  to                                                            
Native and non-Native  citizens and has an operating  budget of $1.3                                                            
million a year. She stressed  that no other family resources program                                                            
provides  the  depth  of  service  in the  region  as  the  Maniilaq                                                            
Association does, and requested  the "same level of BRU funding that                                                            
we had this year".                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
KATHY   YULE,   Director,   Counseling   Services,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference    from   Kotzebue   for   the   pre-maternal    non-                                                            
discriminatory  home program  for non-expectant  mother and  infants                                                            
and  homecare  services for  the  elderly.  She explained  that  her                                                            
organization  provides services to  Kotzebue and eleven surrounding                                                             
communities.  She requested that the  BRU funding not be  reduced so                                                            
that these services could be continued.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHARLIE  FAUTIN,   Director,  Community  Health  Services   for  the                                                            
Maniilaq, testified  via teleconference  from Kotzebue that  the BRU                                                            
funding had  not increased for nursing  services in more  than eight                                                            
years for  the region.  He  urged the Committee  to restore  the BRU                                                            
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MICHEAL  TOAHTY,  testified  via teleconference  from  Kotzebue  and                                                            
indicated   that  substance  abuse   programs  for  in-patient   and                                                            
outpatient  treatment in  the NANA Regional  Native Corporation  and                                                            
Point Hope  areas in the North Slope  Borough need adequate  funding                                                            
to help provide treatment and recruitment of staff.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE  RUTTENBURG,  Doctor  and Director  of  the  Maniilaq  Council                                                            
mental health services,  testified via teleconference from Kotzebue,                                                            
that  the council  "does  not discriminate"  when  providing  mental                                                            
health  care.  He  commented that  traveling  to provide  meaningful                                                            
services to  eleven small villages  near Kotzebue presents  a unique                                                            
challenge.  He also noted  the high  suicide rate  in the region  as                                                            
evidence of  the challenges faced.  He pointed out that the  council                                                            
relies on the  BRUs for funding, and noted that it  must compete for                                                            
these funds  each year. He strongly  recommended the Committee  fund                                                            
the BRUs, which have been flat for at least eight years.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DEBBIE  OSSIANDER, member,  Anchorage  School Board,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference   from   Anchorage  to   thank   the  Committee   and                                                            
respectfully  ask for funding for  K-12 education at the  same level                                                            
as the  previous year.  She declared  that ten  years ago the  state                                                            
funded 73.4  percent of the school  district budget compared  to the                                                            
current 62.5  percent, and  that the local  budget has increased  to                                                            
make up that difference and to cover costs of new programs.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SHEREE BEVINS, a fourteen-year-old  resident of the State of Alaska,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from Anchorage  on behalf of  funding                                                            
for  the  Challenge  to Quit  program  that  helps  people  to  stop                                                            
smoking.  She commented  that  she  has been  able to  quit  smoking                                                            
because  of the program  and that  other members  of her family  are                                                            
using the program to try to quit.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JENNY  MURRAY,  member,  American  Cancer   Society,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage  and urged the  Committee to  use the                                                            
$8.1  million received  from  the tobacco  settlements  to fund  the                                                            
state  smoking  prevention   programs.  She  informed   that  Alaska                                                            
currently  ranks thirty-sixth  in the nation  in funding of  smoking                                                            
prevention programs.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PEGGY ROBINSON,  President,  Anchorage School  Board, testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Anchorage, regarding  the  state's  foundation                                                            
formula as  it relates to funding  for recruitment of teachers.  She                                                            
communicated  that   other  state  legislatures  were  implementing                                                             
across-the-board  salary  increases for  teachers.  Referring to  SB                                                            
149, she noted  that Anchorage has not kept up with  the rest of the                                                            
states or  Alaska in offering  sufficient  salaries or benefits  for                                                            
teachers. She urged for an increase in state education funding.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman referred  to SB 149  and indicated  that the  sponsor                                                            
substitute does include  more funding than the witness mentioned. He                                                            
stated HB  149 would be  heard in the Senate  Health, Education  and                                                            
Social Services Committee.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DON RINKER, representing  the "diverse users of the  state satellite                                                            
interconnection   project",   testified  via   teleconference   from                                                            
Anchorage in support  of the interconnection project.  He noted that                                                            
the satellite  service is used to  support the University  of Alaska                                                            
distance delivery  of courses, as well as statewide  emergency alert                                                            
services, Alaska  Rural Communication Service (ARCS),  and Gavel-to-                                                            
Gavel Legislative  coverage.  He asked that the Committee  adopt the                                                            
same  amount as  the House  of Representatives  for  funding of  the                                                            
satellite project.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JUDITH BENDERSKY,  member, Golden  View and Service schools'  Parent                                                            
Teacher Associations,  testified via  teleconference from  Anchorage                                                            
and voiced  that she has been very  involved in tobacco prevention.                                                             
She  urged the  Committee  to fully  use  the $8.1  million  tobacco                                                            
settlement money  for tobacco prevention. She stressed  the need for                                                            
a comprehensive approach.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TERRY DENUPTIIS,  on behalf  of Karen Hodge  and himself,  testified                                                            
via teleconference  from  Anchorage and pleaded  that the  Committee                                                            
not cut any  mental health projects  from the budgets in  HB 103 and                                                            
HB 104.  He stated  that thousands  of people  in Alaska lost  their                                                            
Medicaid and Medicare benefits  as of January 1, 2001 which has been                                                            
a real hardship. He informed  that Karen's mental health visit costs                                                            
rose from six dollars to $190.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JAN MACCLARENCE,  volunteer, Alaska  Mental Health Board,  testified                                                            
via teleconference  from Anchorage and noted that  the Alaska Mental                                                            
Health  Trust Board  and Authority  has tried to  build support  for                                                            
people to stay  in their own communities  rather than being  sent to                                                            
state  hospitals for  treatment. She  voiced  concern over  proposed                                                            
cuts in alcohol and drug  abuse programs and insufficient funding to                                                            
increase bed  capacity in hospitals.  She stated that funding  needs                                                            
would have to  be "increased to reach the goals" that  the Board and                                                            
Authority and State have all been working toward.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MARIE LAVIGNE, representing  National Association of Social Workers,                                                            
Alaska  Chapter, testified  via  teleconference  from Anchorage  and                                                            
expressed   that   community   health  grants   are   essential   to                                                            
communities. She urged  the restoration of funding to the prevention                                                            
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JULIE  SERSTAD,   Director,  Norton   Sound  Mental  Health   (NSMH)                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Nome to urge the Committee to not                                                            
reduce the  BRUs or change the structure  of the BRU operation.  She                                                            
noted that  NSMH staff  travel in  small planes,  often through  bad                                                            
weather,  and work  long hours  in the  Bering Straits  region.   As                                                            
required  in the  region,  she added,  NSMH  staff test  the  entire                                                            
school population  every year for tuberculosis (TB)  due to the high                                                            
percentage  of outbreaks. However,  she stated, the staff  could not                                                            
make a difference  without adequate  funding. She urged funding  the                                                            
proposal another  eight percent, if  not twenty-five percent.  Eight                                                            
percent translates  to a whole staffing position,  she stated, and a                                                            
"proposed  decrease in  funding is  a discriminatory  slap in  their                                                            
face".                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson   asked  Ms.  Serstad   to  give  the  Committee   an                                                            
abbreviated update of the TB outbreaks in the Nome area.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Serstad recapped  that this past year, NSMH treated  62 cases of                                                            
TB. She  said she  would submit  written breakout  information  at a                                                            
later date. She informed  the cost is approximately $15,599 to treat                                                            
each active case of TB.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MIKE OWENS,  testified via  teleconference  from Nome and  expressed                                                            
concern regarding the proposed  changes and cuts to the BRU funding,                                                            
and how  it will  negatively affect  the Emergency  Medical  Service                                                            
(EMS)  volunteer  service in  his area  as well  as  the EMS  office                                                            
covering the whole state.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JANE FRANKS,  Director,  Norton Sound Behavioral  Health,  testified                                                            
via teleconference from  Nome and urged the Committee to restore the                                                            
BRUs at  the previous level  of funding even  thought there  has not                                                            
been an increase in seven  years. She said the organization, in this                                                            
case,  "could plan  and implement  best  practices  instead of  just                                                            
responding to  a crisis". She detailed the services  provided to all                                                            
residents of the area,  Native and non-Native alike. She also stated                                                            
the organization  is  already dealing  with inadequate  funding  for                                                            
Native  care,  according to  a  recent Alaska  Native  Health  Board                                                            
position paper on Indian health service.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 01 # 63, Side B 09:55 AM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Franks continued by requesting more funding, not less.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES  LEAN,  Chief,  Nome  Volunteer  Ambulance   Department  and                                                            
member,   Nome   Emergency    Medical   Services,   testified    via                                                            
teleconference from Nome  and expressed concern with the cuts to the                                                            
BRUs that  would affect  training, supplies,  recruitment and  other                                                            
services  on the local level,  and the cuts  to the EMS office  that                                                            
would affect  all Alaskans.  "Please don't  cut it any further",  he                                                            
expressed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DANIEL E. KNUDSEN,  Director, Norton Sound Audiology,  testified via                                                            
teleconference  from  Nome  and  voiced  that the  proposal  to  cut                                                            
funding in the  BRUs and "redistribution on a competitive  basis for                                                            
FY 02 would have very serious  and detrimental effects on the health                                                            
care in the Norton  Sound Region." He emphasized the  appropriations                                                            
for the past nine years  have only covered the travel budget for his                                                            
small  organization which  serves  fifteen rural  villages. He  said                                                            
further  cuts would  be  "greatly felt",  especially  in  preventive                                                            
audiology treatment.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
GLORIA EATON,  testified via teleconference from Nome  and expressed                                                            
concern regarding  her father-in-law and other elders  who currently                                                            
receive health  care in their homes. She stated that  her father-in-                                                            
law is  "very stressed  with  the idea of  being sent  back" into  a                                                            
nursing  home due to  the effect  these funding  cuts would  have on                                                            
home care services.  She pleaded with  the Committee not  to cut the                                                            
BRU funding.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LORRETTA BULLARD, testified  via teleconference from Nome, on behalf                                                            
of Melanie  Edwards and  Kawerak, Inc, a  non-profit social  workers                                                            
organization, which provides  services throughout the Bering Straits                                                            
region. She spoke  in favor of retaining the current  BRUs for state                                                            
funded social workers. She inquired, "Why it is the rural non-                                                                  
profit BRUs  which are being  cut". She said  the BRU grants  enable                                                            
the village  staff to work  collaboratively  with the Department  of                                                            
Health and  Social Services.  She noted these  BRU grants have  been                                                            
cut 44 percent since their high in 1985.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JANA VARRATI, testified  via teleconference from Nome, and urged the                                                            
Committee instead of cutting  funding for "real" people to develop a                                                            
budgetary plan. She stated  that programs have been "cut to the bone                                                            
and into  the marrow". She  said it appears  there are more  funding                                                            
reductions  to the rural  areas BRUs.  She said  that if these  cuts                                                            
occur,  there would be  no services  in this rural  area, which  has                                                            
only one Senator  and one Representative  but comprises the  biggest                                                            
area in Alaska.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHUCK DEGNAN, Bering Straits  CRSA, testified in Juneau and observed                                                            
that  one  of the  problems  he  has  witnessed  over the  years  is                                                            
appropriate  "funding  based  on  need",  especially  regarding  the                                                            
situation of small communities'  economy of scale and cost of living                                                            
differentials.  He stressed that small  communities need  more basic                                                            
funding than  larger communities.  He urged  the Committee  "to take                                                            
the next  step to  take care"  of those small  communities'  funding                                                            
needs.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green reiterated  that the Health and Social Services budget                                                            
reflects  a $15  million increase  in general  funds,  and of  this,                                                            
$658,200   is   an   increase   for   infant   learning    programs,                                                            
developmentally  disabled  programs, rural  social service  workers,                                                            
and mental health  and alcohol programs. Within this  component, she                                                            
said, there have been some  fund shifts in grants, but overall there                                                            
have been funding transfers  not reductions. She noted that this may                                                            
be difficult  to spot, but  in light of  public testimony  comments,                                                            
she wanted to point out that funding has been increased.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
KENNETH  WHITESIDE,  testified  via teleconference  from  Mat-Su  in                                                            
support of alcohol  treatment programs. He informed  that Alaska has                                                            
the  highest drug  and  alcohol abuse  in the  nation  and that  the                                                            
treatment  programs  are  necessary   and  important.  He  said  the                                                            
treatment program  saved his life  and stressed long-term  treatment                                                            
is about education,  saving lives  and rehabilitation. He  urged the                                                            
Committee  to "please  weight this  in your hearts  as the  decision                                                            
affects us all."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS MCELWAIN testified  via teleconference from Mat-Su in support                                                            
of  long-term   alcohol  treatment   programs.  He  indicated   that                                                            
treatment  facilities are  very important  because alcohol  and drug                                                            
addictions   "are  progressive   addictions   and  can't  be   cured                                                            
overnight."  He said "jails  are not helping  anybody stop  drinking                                                            
and  driving,"  but  he  felt long-term   treatment  facilities  are                                                            
"changing  lives".  He stressed  the need  to fund  these  treatment                                                            
programs because the programs achieve results.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL EXUUM  testified via teleconference  from Mat-Su  in support                                                            
of  long-term  alcohol   treatment  programs.  He   noted  that  the                                                            
treatment  programs  have  helped  him  stay  sober  and  also  stop                                                            
smoking. He  said that without those  programs he would not  be able                                                            
to do what  he has done  with his life.  He testified in support  of                                                            
the  Nugent De-Tox  Center,  also.  He urged  the committee  to  re-                                                            
consider the funding cuts that would affect these programs.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley referred  to Senator Green's comments and reiterated                                                            
that the  Senate Finance  Committee is  actually increasing  funding                                                            
for alcohol  and drug treatment programs  and is continuing  to meet                                                            
federal standards to receive federal funding.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ALLEN JOHN, SR. testified  via teleconference from Mat-Su in support                                                            
of  alcohol  treatment  programs.  He had  lost  family  members  to                                                            
alcohol problems,  and explained how hard it is for  people in rural                                                            
areas  to have  to fly  somewhere  to get  treatment.  He urged  the                                                            
Committee to not cut the budget.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DANNY WAGNER testified  via teleconference from Mat-Su in support of                                                            
alcohol rehabilitation  and what it  has done for him. He  indicated                                                            
that alcohol rehabilitation  had given him a "different and positive                                                            
outlook on life."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BOYD  KILGORE,  retired  member,  Plumbers  and  Pipefitters  Union,                                                            
testified  via teleconference   from Mat-Su  in support  of  Alcohol                                                            
treatment   programs.  He  indicated   that  he  has  been   through                                                            
Alcoholics Anonymous  and other programs that did  not work for him.                                                            
He stated the  Nugent Ranch long-term treatment program  "has worked                                                            
for him,  and it is  a great program."  He said  that his  insurance                                                            
covered costs  of the program, but  there are several people  in the                                                            
program who do  not have insurance coverage and the  funding support                                                            
of the program  makes it possible  for those people to get  help. He                                                            
urged continued support for the program.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ERIC WAGENIUS  testified  via teleconference  from Mat-Su and  noted                                                            
that he  had been "in and  out of jail his  whole life." He  said he                                                            
now "has a  clue about his life" thanks  to the addiction  treatment                                                            
he received at  Nugent Ranch. He urged continued funding  support of                                                            
this program.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE CULVER,  member, Local  Emergency  Planning Committee  (LEPC),                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from Barrow  urging the Committee  to                                                            
provide funds  so the LEPC can start addressing community  awareness                                                            
of natural disasters in addition to oil spill awareness.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SKYE  RUBADEAU,  University  of  Alaska  Anchorage   (UAA)  student,                                                            
testified  via  teleconference   from  Anchorage   and  thanked  the                                                            
Committee  for  the  investment  the Legislature   has made  in  the                                                            
University.  She said the  University is  very dependent on  funding                                                            
from the  Legislature.  She urged  the Committee  to fully fund  the                                                            
University to allow it to continue its forward momentum.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman  stated that the University budget has  increased $102                                                            
million over the  last two years and will increase  $32 million to a                                                            
total of $134 million this year.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Rubadeau   expressed   her  appreciation   for  all  that   the                                                            
Legislature has done.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ILOSH AZARSEPANDAN,  UAA student, testified via teleconference  from                                                            
Anchorage and indicated  that the Legislature's increased investment                                                            
in  the  university  system  is important   and has  really  made  a                                                            
difference.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
GRAHAM  SIEBE,  UAA  student,  testified  via  teleconference   from                                                            
Anchorage  and  said that  by  being  fully funded  with  the  $18.4                                                            
million  increase   this  year,  the   university  would   have  the                                                            
opportunity  to better  meet  the growing  needs  of businesses  and                                                            
communities, could continue  to have enrollment growth, and would be                                                            
better  able to  provide  Alaskan students  with  meaningful  career                                                            
opportunities.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ANNETTE  MARLEY,  on  behalf  of the  Alaska  Native  Health  Board,                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Anchorage and urged the Committee                                                            
to use one  third of the tobacco settlement  for smoking  prevention                                                            
in the state. She mentioned  that 34 percent of Alaska's high school                                                            
kids are  smoking and that  tobacco prevention  programs would  help                                                            
"prevent further tragedies."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHERYL EDENSHAW,  testified  via teleconference  from Kotzebue,  and                                                            
respectfully  requested  funding  support  of  the  Alaska  Kotzebue                                                            
Technical  Center. She  said that  cuts to this  program would  have                                                            
devastating economic  effects on the region as the  Technical Center                                                            
provides  training for  people to work  at the Red  Dog Mine  and in                                                            
healthcare  occupations.  She stated  the $609,000  funding  request                                                            
funds  programs that  have proven  long-term  occupational  training                                                            
results.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley  commented  that  there  is separate  legislation,                                                             
currently under  consideration, that  would provide funding  for the                                                            
Kotzebue Technical Center.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COLE  SCHAEFFER,  testified  via teleconference  from  Kotzebue,  in                                                            
support of  funding for the Kotzebue  Technical Center. He  stressed                                                            
that  trained  personnel  are essential  for  Alaskan  business  and                                                            
industry  and that  technical  centers provide  a  service that  the                                                            
university and other educational  forums cannot fulfill. He urged as                                                            
much funding as possible to be designated for technical centers.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN THEONNES,  career  pathways high school  counselor,  Northwest                                                            
Arctic Borough  School District, testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Kotzebue  about the importance  of the  Kotzebue Technical  Training                                                            
Program, especially  with its location in the rural  area of Alaska.                                                            
He  commended  Senator  Torgerson  for  his  efforts  in  supporting                                                            
vocational education.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ERIN MARTIN testified  via teleconference from Mat  Su to stress the                                                            
importance  of alcohol  and drug  long-term treatment  centers.  She                                                            
stated that without such programs, "I would not be here today."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ROBERTA KOPPENBERGH, testified  via teleconference from Mat Su, that                                                            
alcohol treatment centers have also saved her life.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DENISE BOWEN testified  via teleconference from Mat Su in support of                                                            
long-term  substance  abuse treatment  centers.  They  "are good  in                                                            
Alaska",  she said, and that  "her stay in  a center has made  her a                                                            
better person".  She also  stated that without  treatment she  would                                                            
probably be dead,  and she is thankful that Alaska  has the centers.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Ward  moved  for adoption  of  SCS  CS  HB 103  (FIN),  22-                                                            
LS0410\S, as a working draft.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There was no objection and the Committee Substitute was ADOPTED.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DENNY DEGROSS,  Director, Alaska Center for Rural  Health, testified                                                            
via  teleconference  from Anchorage,  to  talk about  BRUs,  tobacco                                                            
funding, and the University  of Alaska funding. He said that the BRU                                                            
reductions are  not a good thing and any "savings  are illusionary,"                                                            
and  would  end  up  costing  the  state  money.  He  spoke  to  the                                                            
importance  of community based and  operated programs, and  how they                                                            
are  much  more  effective  than  management  from  outside  of  the                                                            
community.  He also detailed  the history of  BRU funding.  He urged                                                            
full funding  for tobacco  education. He  stated that, if  "Alaskans                                                            
are  serious about  the university",  the  university  needed to  be                                                            
fully funded.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ERIN CASTLE  testified via teleconference  from Anchorage  about her                                                            
own, and  her stepfather's,  experience  with  substance abuse.  She                                                            
said  that  without  treatment,  "alcoholism  is  passed  along"  to                                                            
children.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ROSELYN CASEY, director,  Adult Learning Center, a technical college                                                            
in  conjunction  with  the  University   of Alaska,   testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage as  to the importance of funding  the                                                            
University of  Alaska. She stated that young people  in Alaska would                                                            
prefer to  attend college  in the state and  that many young  people                                                            
who had  not finished high  school, had gone  back and gotten  their                                                            
GEDs  because  of   the  variety  of  pertinent  courses   that  the                                                            
university   now  offers.  She  urged   continued  support   of  the                                                            
University.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 01 # 64, Side A 10:44 AM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SHERRY  THOMPSON  testified  via teleconference  from  Anchorage  in                                                            
support of  the University  of Alaska's budget  request. She  shared                                                            
information she  had read that a Chugiak Electric  Association Board                                                            
of Directors  candidate said  that Alaska once  had the highest  per                                                            
capital  income  in  the  nation,  but now  it  below  the  national                                                            
average. She shared  the positive changes that continuing  education                                                            
has made in her  life, and that a good university  system could turn                                                            
people's  life  around  for  the better.  She  stated  that  funding                                                            
support  of  the  university  would  help  the  health  of  Alaska's                                                            
economy.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward moved  to adopt SCS CS HB 104 (FIN),  22-LS0411\J, as a                                                            
working draft.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The Committee Substitute was ADOPTED without objection.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley  announced  that  public  testimony  would  now  be                                                            
limited  to one  minute per  testifier due  to limited  time in  the                                                            
morning  session. He  continued that  speakers could  come back  and                                                            
testify that afternoon for two minutes.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN  SPELLS,  Alaska   Women's  Resource  Center,   testified  via                                                            
teleconference from Anchorage  and noted that Alaska has the highest                                                            
per capital alcohol  consumption, the highest alcohol  related death                                                            
rate, and  the highest  Fetal Alcohol  Syndrome  (FAS) rates  in the                                                            
nation.  She stressed  that  research  supports that  treatment  for                                                            
substance abuse does work.  She urged the Committee to not cut funds                                                            
to these programs.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
SCOT PRINZ, Alcohol and  Behavioral Health Consultant, Alaska Native                                                            
Tribal  Health   Consortium,  testified   via  teleconference   from                                                            
Anchorage to urge  support for the BRU grants. He  stressed the need                                                            
to fund the  alcohol and mental health  treatment programs,  as well                                                            
as providing funds to recruit  and retain the necessary staff to run                                                            
these programs, especially in the rural areas.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TADD  OWENS,  Executive  Director,  Resource  Development   Council,                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Anchorage and referred to HB 361.                                                            
He urged  the Committee to  reinstate the  line item for $40,000  of                                                            
funds  that  a  Senate  Department  of  Environmental  Conservation                                                             
Subcommittee   had  removed.  This   funding  removal,  he   stated,                                                            
undermined the effectiveness of the bill.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DAVID  WOODLEY,   Chair,  University   of  Alaska  Statewide   Staff                                                            
Alliance, testified  via teleconference  from Anchorage and  thanked                                                            
the legislature  for continued support for the University.  He hoped                                                            
they  would  continue to  lay  the  foundation  for the  system  and                                                            
support the programs that  are needed throughout the state. He urged                                                            
the Committee  to  support the  University's budget  request in  its                                                            
entirety.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MARY  K. HUGHES,  member,  University of  Alaska  Board of  Trustees                                                            
Foundation, testified  via teleconference from Anchorage,  and urged                                                            
support  for  the   University  budget  request.  She   thanked  the                                                            
Committee for their past and continuing support.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHARLOTTE PHELPS,  Senior Advocate,  Division of Justice,  testified                                                            
via  teleconference  from  Anchorage,  and  said  she  had  recently                                                            
noticed  that the House  had cut  $10,000 from  her Division,  which                                                            
receives  most of its funding  in a line item  in the budget  of the                                                            
Department of Public Safety.  She stressed this amount of money to a                                                            
small organization  such as hers,  is a substantial cut and  affects                                                            
how they  can provide services  to victims  of crime on a  statewide                                                            
basis,  especially   rural  areas.   She  urged  the  Committee   to                                                            
reconsider the $10,000 cut.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JULIANNA  GUY,  representing  public  broadcasting,   testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage to  advocate for the full  funding of                                                            
the  satellite service  that  public  broadcasting  uses to  provide                                                            
radio and  television programming  on a statewide  basis. She  feels                                                            
that  it  is  extremely   important  because  of  the   high  usage,                                                            
especially   in  the   Bush,  of   educational   and  other   public                                                            
broadcasting programming that is provided, statewide.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley recessed  the Committee until 1:30 PM at which time,                                                            
he stated,  they would  resume public testimony  from the  Anchorage                                                            
and Mat-Su areas.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
RECESS 11:00AM / 1:35PM                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                              
CHRIS NOAKES,  a representative of Back Country Avalanche  Awareness                                                            
and Response Team (BAART),  testified via teleconference from Mat-Su                                                            
and urged the  Committee to accept  Governor Knowles budget  request                                                            
for  $350,000  for  the Department   of Public  Safety  to  use  for                                                            
avalanche  public  safety  and  training,   and  search  and  rescue                                                            
equipment. She  informed the Committee that Alaska  ranks number one                                                            
in the  nation for  avalanche deaths  per capita,  largely due,  she                                                            
felt, to  the lack of public  education and  avalanche forecast  and                                                            
warning systems.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
KEN KLUNDER,  speaking as a substitute  for Jerry Arthur,  testified                                                            
via teleconference from  Mat-Su and referred to Alaska State Statute                                                            
Number  18.76.010   that  mandated   the  State  of  Alaska   should                                                            
participate in  a statewide warning system. He said  the funding for                                                            
the warning system  was eliminated, due to budget  cuts, in 1986. He                                                            
stated that since the warning  system and public education cuts were                                                            
made, sixty-one  people have died from avalanche related  deaths. He                                                            
read the  names of some of  the victims. He  urged the Committee  to                                                            
fund the avalanche warning system.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ADENE ARTHUR testified  via teleconference from Mat-Su in support of                                                            
the  Public  Safety  Avalanche  Program  funding.  She  thanked  the                                                            
Committee  for  proclaiming  November 2001  as  Avalanche  Awareness                                                            
Month. At a meeting  held in Anchorage last November  on avalanches,                                                            
she noted  that Governor  Knowles "was amazed"  at the turnout  with                                                            
only a two-day  notice. She informed  that the people attending  the                                                            
meeting  represented  the  Red Cross,  state  parks,  troopers,  and                                                            
families and  friends of victims.  She said that those who  spoke at                                                            
that meeting  said that too many people  were dying from  avalanches                                                            
and something  needed to be done. She remarked that,  as a result of                                                            
that meeting,  Governor Knowles  put $350,000  in the budget  of the                                                            
Department of  Public Safety to fund avalanche safety  programs, and                                                            
she  felt  that  the legislative   budget has  so  far  ignored  the                                                            
Governor's request.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Arthur said  she has learned since her own son  was killed in an                                                            
avalanche, that thirty  percent of avalanche victims die immediately                                                            
from trauma suffered  when involved in an avalanche  and the chances                                                            
of survival  decrease  in a  short time  for those  who survive  the                                                            
initial   avalanche.  She   stated  that   the  growing  number   of                                                            
backcountry "recreationalists  need to be educated and responsible,"                                                            
but BAART and  others "cannot do what the state is  legally supposed                                                            
to do" without adequate funding and assistance.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PATRICIA  COYNE, member,  BAART, testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Mat-Su  and said  she  lost  her thirty-seven  year  old  son in  an                                                            
avalanche  because he was  not aware of the  high avalanche  danger.                                                            
She stated  that the backcountry awareness  response team  is trying                                                            
to educate  people so that no more  lives would be lost due  to lack                                                            
of awareness of snow and  avalanche conditions. She pleaded with the                                                            
Committee to pass HB 103  to help fund the avalanche warning system.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ROSALIE  NADEAU,   representing  AKEELA  the  largest   provider  of                                                            
institutionalized  treatment  service  in the state,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage, and  voiced concern with  the budget                                                            
regarding  substance  abuse  and the  appearance  of  reductions  in                                                            
funding due  to transferring of funds  within that budget.  She says                                                            
the transfers  leave  less money  in the  budget  for treatment  and                                                            
prevention programs.  She was concerned that the Committee  does not                                                            
seem to see the importance of these programs.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TINA DELAPP  testified via teleconference  from Anchorage  and urged                                                            
full funding  of the university's  budget  request. She pointed  out                                                            
that the  university offers  programs that  address Alaska's  needs,                                                            
specifically  nursing programs.  She  stated that  expansion of  the                                                            
nursing programs  would help offset the expected shortage  of nurses                                                            
in the state.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
RICH  SEWELL,  University of  Alaska  Anchorage  Alumni Association                                                             
Board of Directors, testified  via teleconference from Anchorage and                                                            
asked  the Committee  to  fully  fund the  University's  budget.  He                                                            
wanted  to  echo University  of  Alaska  President  Mark  Hamilton's                                                            
message regarding  economic development in Alaska  and stressed that                                                            
the  University  could lead  the  way with  sufficient  funding.  He                                                            
stated that outside investors  who have been looking at investing in                                                            
Alaska were  shocked to hear  "that the University  has been  short-                                                            
funded",   and  he  wanted   the  Committee   to  think  about   the                                                            
ramifications of short-funding the university.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DAN  DUCEY,  new member  of  Statewide  Independent  Living  Council                                                            
(SILK),  testified  via  teleconference  from  Mat-Su on  behalf  of                                                            
developmental  disabled Alaskans and ACCESS ALASKA.   He stated that                                                            
SILK has  not had a budget  increase since  it's inception  in 1984,                                                            
although the  growth of the area "has  been tremendous" and  has put                                                            
increased  demands  on  the program.    He urged  the  Committee  to                                                            
continue to increase those funds.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley  said the Committee  would take a short recess,  but                                                            
would reconvene as public  testimony was scheduled to continue until                                                            
2:30PM.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
RECESS 2:00PM/2:29PM                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
There being no more public testimony speakers on HB 103 and HB                                                                  
104, Co-Chair Dave Donley adjourned the meeting at 02:29 PM.                                                                    

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