Legislature(2007 - 2008)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/16/2007 09:00 AM FINANCE

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09:10:53 AM Start
09:12:06 AM Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Sound Families Initiative
09:56:13 AM SB89
10:05:23 AM SB69
10:39:27 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: Bill & Melinda Gates TELECONFERENCED
Foundation: Sound Families Initiative
David Wertheimer, Sen. Program Officer
Jeff Jessee, CEO, AK Mental Health Trust
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                  
                         April 16, 2007                                                                                       
                           9:10 a.m.                                                                                          
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
Co-Chair  Bert  Stedman  convened the  meeting  at  approximately                                                               
9:10:53 AM.                                                                                                                   
Senator Lyman Hoffman, Co-Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
Senator Joe Thomas                                                                                                              
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Also  Attending:   SENATOR BILL  WIELECHOWSKI; DAVID  WERTHEIMER,                                                             
Senior  Program  Officer,  Pacific Northwest  Program,  Bill  and                                                               
Melinda Gates  Foundation; JEFF JESSEE, Chief  Executive Officer,                                                               
The Alaska Mental Health Trust  Authority; DWAYNE PEEPLES, Deputy                                                               
Commissioner, Department of  Corrections; MARIT CARLSON-VAN DORT,                                                               
Staff to Senator Lesil McGuire;  VANCE SANDERS, President, Alaska                                                               
Legal Services Corporation;                                                                                                     
Attending via  Teleconference:  From Fairbanks:  ANDY HARRINGTON,                                                             
Executive Director,  Alaska Legal  Services Corporation;  From an                                                               
offnet  location: CHRISTINE  PATE,  Attorney,  Alaska Network  on                                                               
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.                                                                                           
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
Presentation: Sound Families Initiative                                                                                         
The Committee  heard from the  Bill and Melinda  Gates Foundation                                                               
and The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.                                                                                   
SB  89-ELECTRONIC MONITORING OF GANG PROBATIONER                                                                                
The  Committee  heard from  the  sponsor  and the  Department  of                                                               
Corrections. A committee substitute was  adopted and the bill was                                                               
held in Committee.                                                                                                              
SB  69-CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUND                                                                                                
The  Committee  heard from  the  sponsor,  Alaska Legal  Services                                                               
Corporation, the  Alaska Network on Domestic  Violence and Sexual                                                               
Assault, the Alaska Mental Health  Trust Authority, and a private                                                               
attorney. The bill was held in Committee.                                                                                       
^Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Sound Families Initiative                                                                   
9:12:06 AM                                                                                                                    
     Presentation by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:                                                                     
     Sound Families Initiative                                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Stedman  reminded  of   a  presentation  given  to  the                                                               
Committee by the Alaska Mental  Health Trust Authority pertaining                                                               
to the Alaska Housing Trust and  its relationship to the Bill and                                                               
Melinda  Gates   Foundation's  Sound  Families   Initiative.  The                                                               
Foundation accepted an invitation to address the Committee.                                                                     
9:13:40 AM                                                                                                                    
JEFF JESSEE,  Chief Executive Officer,  The Alaska  Mental Health                                                               
Trust  Authority,  introduced  Dr.  Wertheimer  and  relayed  his                                                               
credentials   and  experiences   improving  mental   health  care                                                               
9:14:43 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  WERTHEIMER,  Senior  Program  Officer,  Pacific  Northwest                                                               
Program,   Bill  and   Melinda  Gates   Foundation,  utilized   a                                                               
PowerPoint   presentation  titled,   "Sound   Families  and   the                                                               
Washington Families Fund, Alaska  Legislative Briefing, April 16,                                                               
2007" [copy  on file].  He first  told of  a delegation  from the                                                               
Alaska  Mental Health  Trust Authority  (AMHTA) that  traveled to                                                               
the state  of Washington to meet  with Foundation representatives                                                               
to learn about its programs.                                                                                                    
9:15:25 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 2                                                                                                                     
     Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation                                                                                            
        · Our value: All lives have equal value                                                                                 
        · Our goal: Every person gets the opportunity to live a                                                                 
          healthy, productive life                                                                                              
        · What we do:                                                                                                           
             o Help harness advances to benefit people who need                                                                 
               them the most                                                                                                    
             o Encourage shared responsibility for all                                                                          
        · How we do it:                                                                                                         
             o Focus on a limited set of problems                                                                               
             o Promote innovative solutions                                                                                     
             o Create partnerships with governments, businesses                                                                 
               and non-profits                                                                                                  
             o Share results and adjust our strategies as we                                                                    
Mr. Wertheimer  outlined this information. He  expressed that the                                                               
"value" of  the Foundation, "which  drives everything that  we do                                                               
and has been  a primary driver of our  Sound Families initiative,                                                               
is that  every life no  matter where it  is, not matter  whose it                                                               
is, has equal  value." Activities to "help  harness advances" are                                                               
"usually very  rigorous and very scientific,"  whether pertaining                                                               
to development of treatment of  malaria or family homelessness in                                                               
Washington   State.  These   efforts  are   rooted  in   science,                                                               
economics, and a strategic approach to problem solving.                                                                         
Mr.  Wertheimer  stated  that partnerships  are  also  important.                                                               
Despite  the  breadth  of   the  Foundation's  activities,  these                                                               
programs  could not  be accomplished  without multiple  partners.                                                               
The   Sound  Families   Initiatives   represents  a   significant                                                               
commitment  and  partnership  from  the  government  sector,  the                                                               
business sector,  the philanthropic sector, and  the private non-                                                               
profit sector.  The scopes of the  systems are "so large  that no                                                               
one system  on its own  can provide the solution."  An integrated                                                               
system  involving  all  the different  systems  "concerned  about                                                               
homelessness" is necessary to effectively address the issue.                                                                    
Mr.  Wertheimer informed  that the  Foundation supports  studying                                                               
its efforts. Much  of the information presented  would be derived                                                               
from "a very detailed evaluation"  conducted by the University of                                                               
Washington.  The results  of evaluation  are  utilized to  adjust                                                               
efforts as they progress.                                                                                                       
9:17:22 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 3                                                                                                                     
     Foundation Program Areas                                                                                                   
        · Global Development                                                                                                    
             o Agricultural Development                                                                                         
             o Financial Services for the Poor                                                                                  
             o Global Libraries                                                                                                 
        · Global Health                                                                                                         
             o Priority Diseases & Conditions                                                                                   
             o Breakthrough Science                                                                                             
             o Other Initiatives                                                                                                
        · United States                                                                                                         
             o Education                                                                                                        
             o U.S. Libraries                                                                                                   
             o Special Initiatives                                                                                              
             o Pacific Northwest (limited to Washington State                                                                   
               and the Greater Portland area)                                                                                   
Mr. Wertheimer directed attention to the Pacific Northwest                                                                      
program areas.                                                                                                                  
9:17:38 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 4                                                                                                                     
     The Sound Families Story:                                                                                                  
     Three Phases                                                                                                               
        · Launch (2000-2002)                                                                                                    
        · Going to Scale (2003-2005)                                                                                            
        · Learn, Reflect, & Finish (2006-2008)                                                                                  
Mr. Wertheimer indicated the presentation would be divided into                                                                 
these three phases.                                                                                                             
9:17:53 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 5                                                                                                                     
     Sound Families Origin, cont.                                                                                               
        · Gates Foundation approached cities, counties, and                                                                     
          state about entering into a collaborative effort to                                                                   
          address homeless family issues                                                                                        
        · $40 million commitment made by Gates Foundation in                                                                    
          July 2000 was a catalyst to alignment of existing                                                                     
          resources and stimulation of new funding streams                                                                      
        · Strong partnerships established with local and                                                                        
          regional governments and housing authorities                                                                          
        · Goals: System change and creation of an unprecedented                                                                 
         number of housing units for homeless families                                                                          
Mr. Wertheimer  reported that  the program  actually began  as an                                                               
effort  to produce  more  housing. It  was  initially a  "housing                                                               
production   investment".   However   a  significant   need   for                                                               
transitional  and supportive  housing for  homeless families  was                                                               
recognized in the Puget Sound  greater metropolitan area of King,                                                               
Pierce and Snohomish counties.                                                                                                  
Mr. Wertheimer remarked that to  create an incentive to encourage                                                               
participation of  interested parties,  the Gates  Foundation made                                                               
the $40 million donation.                                                                                                       
Mr. Wertheimer continued outlining the information on this page.                                                                
9:19:03 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 6                                                                                                                     
     1. Launch Phase                                                                                                            
     Goals and outcomes established                                                                                             
        · System Improvement: leverage and coordinate capital                                                                   
          and service resources for homeless families across                                                                    
          multiple systems                                                                                                      
        · Organizational    Impact:     enhance    capacity    of                                                               
          developers/service providers to develop and manage                                                                    
          1.500 units of service-enriched housing                                                                               
        · Family Benefit: increase ability of families to obtain                                                                
          and sustain housing. Improve economic status and well-                                                                
Mr. Wertheimer detailed  the three impact levels  in which change                                                               
was desired.  In improving  systems, the intent  was to  create a                                                               
cohesive  system  devoted  to  the  issue  of  addressing  family                                                               
homelessness    rather    than   multiple    groups,    agencies,                                                               
organizations and providers working  separately. In improving the                                                               
organizational  level,  the  Foundation  intended  to  strengthen                                                               
housing  providers  and   service  providers;  including  housing                                                               
authorities,  quasi-governmental organizations  and private  non-                                                               
profit housing and service providers.                                                                                           
Mr.  Wertheimer  stressed  "results  at the  family  level"  with                                                               
families benefiting from  the investments made by  the public and                                                               
private sectors, as likely the most important goal.                                                                             
9:20:11 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 7                                                                                                                     
     1. Launch Phase                                                                                                            
     Solidify Key Partnerships                                                                                                  
        · Memorandum of Understanding signed with public                                                                        
             o Tacoma and Pierce County                                                                                         
             o Seattle and King County                                                                                          
             o Everett and Snohomish County                                                                                     
             o State of Washington                                                                                              
        · Memorandum of Understanding signed with housing                                                                       
             o Pierce,   King,   Snohomish,   Everett,   Seattle,                                                               
               Tacoma, and Renton                                                                                               
Mr. Wertheimer  explained the Foundation's intent  to have formal                                                               
relationships  with  stakeholders.  County  executives  and  city                                                               
mayors,  as  well as  state  officials  entered into  agreements.                                                               
Agreements were also made with local housing authorities.                                                                       
9:21:23 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 8                                                                                                                     
     1. Launch Phase                                                                                                            
     The Sound Families "Incentive"                                                                                             
        · Capital and service dollars from the foundation                                                                       
          provide critical leverage and promote alignment and                                                                   
          enhancement of existing funding streams                                                                               
             o Up to $20,000 per unit for capital expenses                                                                      
             o Up to $1,500 per unit per year for services for                                                                  
               five years, committed at the front end                                                                           
             o Capital funds plus five years of guaranteed                                                                      
               service funds lie near the core of the viability                                                                 
               and stability of Sound Families projects                                                                         
Mr.  Wertheimer   stated  that   the  Foundation's   $40  million                                                               
investment  was the  "catalyst to  making some  of this  happen."                                                               
While $1,500  was not sufficient  to meet  the needs of  a family                                                               
"recovering   from   homelessness",   it  "helped   to   leverage                                                               
commitment of other  service dollars that were  attached to those                                                               
funds to create an adequate resource."                                                                                          
Mr. Wertheimer  surmised that the five-year  financial commitment                                                               
made by the Foundation "lies at  the core of the viability of the                                                               
program"  because  "organizations were  willing  to  come to  the                                                               
table to  say 'yes we  want to play; we  want to apply  for these                                                               
funds and we'll be able to  survive the economic ups and downs of                                                               
our communities over the next five  years if we know that we have                                                               
a committed revenue stream to services.'"                                                                                       
9:22:47 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 9                                                                                                                     
     1. Launch Phase                                                                                                            
     Partners deliver key resources                                                                                             
        · Capital funders - aligned resource decisions                                                                          
             o Washington State Tax Credit Criteria revised to                                                                  
               prioritize homeless units and to allow set-aside                                                                 
               of transitional as part of larger project                                                                        
             o City, county and state housing trust funds made                                                                  
               substantial investments                                                                                          
             o Total   other   resources   leveraged   by   Gates                                                               
               Foundation exceeds $175 million to date                                                                          
Mr. Wertheimer remarked that other  stakeholders also made "major                                                               
commitments  to  ensuring  the  success  of  the  Sound  Families                                                               
Initiative." The tax credit criteria  were revised to "encourage"                                                               
applications for  tax credits from  developers working  to create                                                               
units for  homeless families.  The State  Housing Trust  Fund was                                                               
created in  1988, has  developed a "good  track record",  and has                                                               
invested  a total  of approximately  $500  million in  Washington                                                               
State's housing infrastructure for  affordable housing. The funds                                                               
have  been  utilized  to create  approximately  32,000  units  of                                                               
housing  and  leveraged  an additional  $2  billion  of  federal,                                                               
state,  local and  private  funds. The  amount  leveraged by  the                                                               
Gates Foundation  is anticipated  to exceed  $200 million  at the                                                               
conclusion of the program.                                                                                                      
9:24:33 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 10                                                                                                                    
     1. Launch Phase                                                                                                            
     Partners deliver key resources                                                                                             
        · Housing authorities - delivered Section 8                                                                             
             o HUD waiver was secured to allow Section 8                                                                        
               allocation to Sound Families transitional housing                                                                
               units and either Section 8 voucher or priority                                                                   
               for public housing upon exit                                                                                     
             o Overall, PHA's committed 1,200 vouchers - an                                                                     
               exceptional level of project-based Section 8 for                                                                 
               supportive housing                                                                                               
             o Section 8 adds revenue of $6-8K per unit per year                                                                
Mr. Wertheimer  emphasized that housing authorities  are critical                                                               
partners  in  the  success  of  the  Sound  Families  Initiative,                                                               
particularly with the delivery of  Section 8 vouchers. The $6,000                                                               
to   $8,000  has   contributed  substantial   revenue  that   the                                                               
Initiative  could   utilize  to   support  operations   and  some                                                               
services. These vouchers were also  beneficial in assisting those                                                               
families "graduating" from the Sound  Families program and moving                                                               
into independent housing.  The commitment of 1,200  vouchers is a                                                               
"remarkable feat"  on the  part of  the housing  authorities. The                                                               
"project-based" categorization  for some  of the  vouchers allows                                                               
for  the  voucher  to  be  dedicated to  the  unit  as  different                                                               
families enter the transitional housing process.                                                                                
9:25:56 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 11                                                                                                                    
     2. Going to Scale Phase                                                                                                    
     Partnerships and funding changes                                                                                           
        · New partnerships form                                                                                                 
             o Private housing owners/service providers                                                                         
             o Nonprofit housing owners/service providers                                                                       
            o Housing authorities/service providers                                                                             
       · Initiative evolves as early lessons are learned                                                                        
             o Service Reserves in lieu of Capital                                                                              
             o Advanced Funding Initiative                                                                                      
             o Permanent Housing Pilot                                                                                          
Mr. Wertheimer outlined this  information. Private housing owners                                                               
were "brought  to the  table" and  worked with  service providers                                                               
for the  first time.  This guaranteed a  revenue stream  for both                                                               
rent  and guarantee  of services.  Nonprofit housing  owners were                                                               
able to  participate and  expand their housing  to allow  them to                                                               
"service   more  challenging   families  with   more  significant                                                               
issues."  Additionally,  housing   authorities  were  enabled  to                                                               
"provide a richer array of services to offer their tenants."                                                                    
Mr. Wertheimer  noted the realization  that a number  of projects                                                               
did not  require capital  investment, such  as the  transition of                                                               
existing units into the Sound  Families program, and that Service                                                               
Reserves  could  be  created for  those  units.  Several  "strong                                                               
housing  developers" approached  the Foundation  to request  "the                                                               
upfront first  dollar in support  for projects that were  not yet                                                               
completely  baked but  had very  strong  potential." Funding  was                                                               
provided to "help push those projects forward".                                                                                 
9:27:20 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 12                                                                                                                    
     2. Going to Scale Phase                                                                                                    
     Evaluation lessons emerge                                                                                                  
        · 2004 preliminary evaluation findings show Service                                                                     
          enriched housing promotes:                                                                                            
             o Housing stability                                                                                                
             o Increased economic self-sufficiency                                                                              
        · Public policy makers and advocacy community show                                                                      
          interest in findings                                                                                                  
        · Sound families findings and legislative interest                                                                      
         combine to create the Washington Families Fund                                                                         
Mr.  Wertheimer stated  that by  the year  2004, the  program was                                                               
about  three   to  four  years   in  operation   and  preliminary                                                               
evaluation findings  by the University  of Washington  "were very                                                               
promising".  Participating families  were  experiencing a  modest                                                               
level   of  wage   progression  and   significant  increases   in                                                               
9:27:57 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 13                                                                                                                    
     2. Going to Scale Phase                                                                                                    
     Washington Families Fund                                                                                                   
          · Created in 2005 to replicate Sound Families model                                                                   
             o Authorized by the Washington State Legislature in                                                                
             o The Fund expands availability of supportive                                                                      
               housing by providing stable long-term funding for                                                                
               housing-based services across Washington State                                                                   
             o Services funding is committed for up to 10 years                                                                 
               at the front end of the granting process                                                                         
             o Operating costs of projects will be covered by                                                                   
               Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers or other                                                                       
               sources through local housing authorities and                                                                    
               state rental assistance programs                                                                                 
             o State   and   philanthropic   sector   commitments                                                               
               mutually leveraged: Fund may total $12 million by                                                                
               end of 2007                                                                                                      
             o Funds and grants are managed through a community-                                                                
               based intermediary                                                                                               
Mr. Wertheimer reported  that as a result of  the findings, state                                                               
public  policy  makers  and   advocates  created  the  Washington                                                               
Families  Fund. He  outlined the  information on  this page.  The                                                               
legislature provided  an initial  investment of  approximately $2                                                               
million  and  a  secondary  investment   made  last  year  of  an                                                               
additional  $4  million. The  statewide  program  allows for  the                                                               
delivery of "service enriched" housing  in communities around the                                                               
state  that apply  for the  funding. The  ten-year commitment  of                                                               
funding  allows those  communities  experiencing  the benefit  of                                                               
combined  housing and  services for  the first  time to  make the                                                               
investment.  Increased   state  funding  is  contingent   upon  a                                                               
community match of private funds at a rate of one-to-one.                                                                       
9:29:14 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 14                                                                                                                    
     Where We Stand                                                                                                             
     Sound Families Snapshot in April 2007                                                                                      
        · 42 unique Sound Families grantees, 78 separate grants                                                                 
          made, 100 unique projects                                                                                             
        · King County: 706 units, $19.6 million                                                                                 
        · Pierce County: 251 units, $6.5 million                                                                                
        · Snohomish County: 308 units, $8 million                                                                               
        · Average grant: $812,000                                                                                               
        · 94% or 1,188 units funded by Sound Families to date                                                                   
          have included Section 8 awards from our Housing                                                                       
          Authority partners                                                                                                    
Mr. Wertheimer listed the number of units and investments made.                                                                 
9:29:47 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 15                                                                                                                    
     3. Learn, Reflect & Finish                                                                                                 
     Evaluation findings                                                                                                        
          Latest Case Study Findings - January 2007                                                                             
             · Evaluator interviews with families                                                                               
             · One and two years after families leave service-                                                                  
               enriched housing programs                                                                                        
Mr. Wertheimer told of evaluations conducted.                                                                                   
9:30:21 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 16                                                                                                                    
     Housing Two Years After Exit                                                                                               
     Families sustain permanent housing                                                                                         
        · 87% in permanent housing                                                                                              
        · 8% living with family or friends                                                                                      
        · 5% back in transitional housing                                                                                       
        · 69% using Section 8                                                                                                   
        · 22% had moved in the past year                                                                                        
        · "I'm pretty much on my own except for Section 8                                                                       
               N=40 families with 2 year post-exit interviews                                                                   
Mr. Wertheimer overviewed this information.                                                                                     
9:30:56 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 17                                                                                                                    
     Housing Following Exit                                                                                                     
     Importance of Rent Assistance                                                                                              
        · Median FMR in Washington state is $745/month*                                                                         
        · Six months after exit, families were paying a median                                                                  
          of $172/month for rent                                                                                                
        · One year after exit, families were paying a median of                                                                 
          $271/month for rent                                                                                                   
               *Out of Reach, 2004, NLIHC, based on HUD FMR data                                                                
Mr.  Wertheimer explained  the percentage  of  fair market  value                                                               
rents  paid   by  former  participants  of   the  Sound  Families                                                               
Initiative.  These figures  are not  significantly dissimilar  to                                                               
the situation experienced in Alaska.                                                                                            
9:31:42 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 18                                                                                                                    
     Changes in Monthly Household Income                                                                                        
     Progress still leaves families poor                                                                                        
     [Bar graph showing the following:                                                                                          
          Upon exit from program:                                                                                               
               $1,000-$2,000: 32 percent                                                                                        
               Greater than $2,000: 3 percent                                                                                   
          1 year post-exit                                                                                                      
               $1,000-$2,000: 52 percent                                                                                        
               Greater than $2,000: 15 percent                                                                                  
          2 years post-exit                                                                                                     
               $1,000-$2,000: 55 percent                                                                                        
               Greater than $2,000: 20 percent]                                                                                 
Mr. Wertheimer noted  the data on the changes  in monthly incomes                                                               
for families that had completed the Sound Families program.                                                                     
9:32:13 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 19                                                                                                                    
     Income and Employment                                                                                                      
     Median hourly wage increases                                                                                               
     [Bar graph  showing the  median hourly wage  at the  time of                                                               
     intake into  the Sound Families  program (at last  job held)                                                               
     as $8.40;  at the time  of exit  from the program  at $8.50;                                                               
     six months after exit at $10.00;  and one year after exit at                                                               
Mr.  Wertheimer  outlined the  data  on  wage progression,  which                                                               
although  significant,  is  not a  family  self-sufficiency  wage                                                               
level.  Addressing  this  issue  is being  considered.  The  wage                                                               
earners in these families are usually single mothers.                                                                           
9:32:37 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 20                                                                                                                    
     Changes in TANF Receipt                                                                                                    
     Decreasing TANF enrollment                                                                                                 
     [Bar  graph  showing  the  percentage  decline  of  families                                                               
     receiving  federal Temporary  Assistance for  Needy Families                                                               
     services  from  approximately  48  percent at  the  time  of                                                               
     exiting the  program, to approximately  31 percent  one year                                                               
     post-exit and approximately 25 percent 2 years post exit.]                                                                 
Mr. Wertheimer cited these declines as "promising".                                                                             
9:32:51 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 21                                                                                                                    
     Level of Social Support                                                                                                    
     Continues to increase after exit                                                                                           
     [Bar graph showing 13 percent  of caregivers Before program;                                                               
     32 percent  During program; 55  percent One  year post-exit;                                                               
     and  67  percent  Two years  post-exit.  A  notation  reads:                                                               
     Caregivers reporting feeling "very"  supported by persons in                                                               
     their lives.]                                                                                                              
Mr. Wertheimer characterized this as  one of the most significant                                                               
findings,  yet one  of the  hardest to  understand. Families  are                                                               
connecting to  support systems. Most  families upon  entering the                                                               
Sound Families program  are dependant upon their  case manager or                                                               
service providers for  almost all the support  they receive. Many                                                               
have "burned  bridges" with relatives,  have no neighbors  and do                                                               
not necessarily  have friends they  could depend upon  to provide                                                               
or exchange child  care, etc. However, over  time, these families                                                               
create and  build social networks  in their  communities critical                                                               
to their  recovery and  stability. Caregivers  in the  context of                                                               
this graph are usually parents. This finding is also promising.                                                                 
9:33:56 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 22                                                                                                                    
     Children and School Stability                                                                                              
     Fewer changes in schools                                                                                                   
     [Line  graph showing  family's oldest  child attending  more                                                               
     than 2 schools in past year  averages 20 percent at the time                                                               
     the family entered the program; approximately 2.5 percent                                                                  
     upon transition from the program and zero percent six                                                                      
     months and one year after exiting the program.                                                                             
Mr. Wertheimer  expressed this as  another promising  finding. He                                                               
commented,  "Homelessness  really does  a  number  on kids  in  a                                                               
variety of different ways." He  explained, "Without a stable home                                                               
environment, children  have a great  deal of difficulty  in their                                                               
developmental   processes  and   achieving  their   developmental                                                               
milestones in  a timely  fashion. Those  developmental milestones                                                               
often are delayed and then follow  them all the way through their                                                               
school  and  adolescent  lives."  Prior  to  entering  the  Sound                                                               
Families  program,  homeless  families experience  a  significant                                                               
amount of  "movement", which often results  in "great disruption"                                                               
in  school  attendance.  He  informed  that  some  children  were                                                               
attending five or  more schools a year. Those  children would not                                                               
learn much.                                                                                                                     
Mr.  Wertheimer   disclosed  that  parents,  or   caregivers,  of                                                               
families  transitioned   from  the  program  report   that  their                                                               
children were having fewer behavioral  problems and are easier to                                                               
care for and  manage at home. Children are also  more involved in                                                               
school activities,  which allows more  time for the  caregiver to                                                               
"take  care  of  her  needs"  and  to  "connect  with  employment                                                               
9:35:42 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 23                                                                                                                    
     3. Learn, Reflect, and Finish                                                                                              
     Lessons learned                                                                                                            
        · Housing + services are effective in stabilizing                                                                       
          families in housing and improving other life outcomes                                                                 
        "(I was able) to find new personal strengths. I didn't                                                                  
        think I could finish school and could turn things                                                                       
        around…just having a hope that things could get better."                                                                
Mr. Wertheimer overviewed this information.                                                                                     
9:35:56 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 24                                                                                                                    
     3. Learn, Reflect, and Finish                                                                                              
     Lessons learned: family level                                                                                              
        · Families require varying levels of support to succeed;                                                                
          some require intensive services                                                                                       
        · Few families are able to transition into market rate                                                                  
          housing; families typically continue to need some form                                                                
          of rent assistance                                                                                                    
        · Families need access to mainstream services while                                                                     
          living in transitional housing and after moving to                                                                    
          permanent housing                                                                                                     
Mr.  Wertheimer   informed  that  approximately  20   percent  of                                                               
participating  families  do  not  complete the  program  and  are                                                               
either evicted or asked to leave.  Upon study of the clinical and                                                               
demographic   profile,   the   needs  of   those   families   are                                                               
significantly  higher  in  areas  including  addictive  disorder,                                                               
mental  illness, active  domestic violence,  etc. The  Washington                                                               
Families  Fund  is  creating  a second  tier  of  more  intensive                                                               
supportive  services to  address those  families "struggling  the                                                               
most" to remain stable in housing.                                                                                              
Mr. Wertheimer overviewed the remaining bullet points.                                                                          
9:37:18 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 25                                                                                                                    
     3. Learn, Reflect, and Finish                                                                                              
     Lessons learned: organizational level                                                                                      
        · Building and enhancing the capacity of community-based                                                                
          organizations to provide housing and services is                                                                      
        · Case managers are central to family success                                                                           
        · Integrated, rather than fragmented, models of care are                                                                
          essential, even when funding is adequate                                                                              
        · Partnerships take awhile to solidify, require a lot of                                                                
         effort, and require a deep commitment to last                                                                          
Mr. Wertheimer stressed  that the case managers are  cited as the                                                               
most critical component by families in  the first six months to a                                                               
year involvement  in the program.  Additionally, even  if funding                                                               
is  adequate,  if  programs  are fragmented  they  do  little  to                                                               
benefit the families.                                                                                                           
9:38:07 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 26                                                                                                                    
     3. Learn, Reflect, and Finish                                                                                              
     Lessons learned: systems level                                                                                             
        · Local responses  depend on  federal and  state policies                                                               
         related to housing subsidies and entitlements                                                                          
        · Braiding  of   resources  further   "upstream"  creates                                                               
          efficiencies for providers                                                                                            
        · Housing,  service and  workforce  systems  are not  yet                                                               
          well aligned                                                                                                          
        · More  progress  is  needed   to  secure  and  integrate                                                               
          mainstream funds for housing-based supportive services                                                                
        · Successful  philanthropy collaborations  require strong                                                               
          philanthropic leadership, educating other potential                                                                   
          funders, and building in opportunities for "aligned"                                                                  
Mr. Wertheimer opined that none of the systems "exist in a                                                                      
vacuum". He further outlined the bullet points.                                                                                 
9:39:28 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 27                                                                                                                    
     3. Learn, Reflect, and Finish                                                                                              
     Other lessons learned                                                                                                      
        · Sustainability  of  intermediary and  grantee  partners                                                               
          must be considered from the beginning                                                                                 
        · Leadership coordination  takes a  lot of effort  and it                                                               
          is difficult to incorporate funding to pay for this                                                                   
          type of work                                                                                                          
        · Reductions/uncertainty  in government  funding programs                                                               
          makes private philanthropy nervous                                                                                    
        · Shorter  term interests  of private  philanthropy makes                                                               
          government partners nervous                                                                                           
        · Up-front,  multi-year  commitment  of  service  funding                                                               
          allows projects to achieve stability over time and                                                                    
          through periods of economic/funding uncertainty                                                                       
Mr. Wertheimer detailed these additional findings.                                                                              
9:40:54 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 28                                                                                                                    
     3. Learn, Reflect, and Finish                                                                                              
     On the horizon for Sound Families                                                                                          
        · Final funding round of Sound Families funding in 2007                                                                 
        · WFF grows; could reach $12 million by end of 2007                                                                     
        · Working with Sound Families providers to describe and                                                                 
          develop strategies to promote sustainability and                                                                      
          capacity over time                                                                                                    
Mr. Wertheimer  noted the application deadline  to receive grants                                                               
under the  Sound Families program  for 2007 was  approaching. The                                                               
Foundation  was   collaborating  with   the  42   Sound  Families                                                               
providers to determine future activities.                                                                                       
9:41:17 AM                                                                                                                    
     Page 29                                                                                                                    
     Moving Forward Based On What We Have Learned                                                                               
        · The foundation will examine the most effective                                                                        
          responses to family homelessness, and build any new                                                                   
          strategies utilizing existing knowledge                                                                               
        · Our activities will continue to be focused on                                                                         
          effective partnerships with other key stakeholders,                                                                   
          including the public sector                                                                                           
        · Our work in the area of family homelessness will                                                                      
          remain focused in Washington State                                                                                    
        · We are committed to sharing with others the lessons we                                                                
          have learned and the strategies that have worked well                                                                 
Mr. Wertheimer  concluded his presentation  by speaking  to these                                                               
future plans.                                                                                                                   
9:41:48 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Elton asked  how easily this program  could be replicated                                                               
in  other  regions.  The  significant  funding  provided  by  the                                                               
Foundation "got  the attention"  of government  agencies. Without                                                               
such "seed money" he asked how other programs could proceed.                                                                    
9:42:16 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Wertheimer  answered that the  issue could be a  "question of                                                               
scale." The Sound Families Initiative  was able to accomplish the                                                               
largest  supportive  housing  initiative   of  its  type  in  the                                                               
country,  in part  as  a result  of the  Bill  and Melinda  Gates                                                               
Foundation  commitment  of  resources  "up  front".  The  capital                                                               
funding provided  through the Washington  Housing Trust  fund was                                                               
critical to  the success of  the program.  Multiple opportunities                                                               
exist in Alaska through the  Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority                                                               
to undertake a similar program.                                                                                                 
9:43:19 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Jesse furthered speaking to  the many opportunities available                                                               
in  Alaska for  "creating this  synergy".  In the  visits to  the                                                               
Seattle  area, Trust  representatives were  relieved that  Alaska                                                               
does not have the "huge number  of players" involved as exists in                                                               
Washington. In  Alaska the parties  "know everybody that  we need                                                               
to engage".                                                                                                                     
Mr. Jesse  reported over 70  different organizations  support the                                                               
creation of the  Alaska Housing Trust, including  entities in the                                                               
banking  industry,  mortgage   industry,  construction  industry,                                                               
housing development,  service providers. If Governor  Palin signs                                                               
a  proposed  administrative  order  to dedicate  the  Council  on                                                               
Homelessness  to  provide  the  overall  leadership,  efforts  to                                                               
"advance our cause quite significantly" would be achievable.                                                                    
9:44:25 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Olson asked  how long Section 8  funding assistance would                                                               
continue for those families transitioned  from the Sound Families                                                               
program to permanent housing.                                                                                                   
9:44:43 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Wertheimer  responded  that   the  housing  authorities  are                                                               
committed  to  maintaining  the  Section  8  vouchers  for  those                                                               
families  as  long  as  needed.  The question  is  how  long  the                                                               
vouchers would be needed.                                                                                                       
Mr. Wertheimer stated that a  primary focus of the Foundation has                                                               
become the  issue of  providing for  families to  achieve greater                                                               
economic capacity on their own to  pay rent, pay taxes and become                                                               
participating  members of  society  to an  extent  they would  no                                                               
longer be dependant upon a  housing subsidy. This would allow for                                                               
other families "not  as far developed in the  pipeline to benefit                                                               
from   that   resource".   Accomplishing   this   would   require                                                               
collaboration with workforce  development partners in determining                                                               
what activities would be successful.                                                                                            
Mr. Wertheimer  informed that an  "interim step"  currently under                                                               
discussion is the establishment  of "shallower housing subsidies"                                                               
that  would  decrease  the  amount  of  housing  subsidies  as  a                                                               
family's income increased.                                                                                                      
9:46:16 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Thomas  asked  how the  Foundation  convinces  potential                                                               
partners that this effort is  beneficial in ways other than "just                                                               
getting people off  the street". He asked if it  was difficult to                                                               
convey  that  the   long  term  impact  of   the  Sound  Families                                                               
Initiative  is reduced  impact on  social services  and that  "up                                                               
front" investments would save money in the long term.                                                                           
9:47:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Wertheimer  responded  that  such  arguments  represent  the                                                               
"core"  of  the  Initiative.  Almost   all  of  the  Foundation's                                                               
activities  are "driven  by data  and by  what the  science tells                                                               
us".  Evaluation of  the Sound  Families  program has  determined                                                               
that as  families "move  toward stability  in housing",  which he                                                               
acknowledged "has a  price attached to it",  utilization of other                                                               
publicly  funded  sectors  decreases,  including  the  correction                                                               
system,  criminal justice  "arena", child  welfare system,  child                                                               
protective  services,  crisis  services  for  emergency  medical,                                                               
psychiatric  and substance  abuse,  decreases. Emergency  medical                                                               
room  treatment  is the  most  expensive  method of  health  care                                                               
Mr. Wertheimer reported that examination  of this program as well                                                               
as studies  of other programs  indicate that when  stable housing                                                               
is provided, utilization of the  "other very expensive sectors of                                                               
service" decreases.                                                                                                             
Mr. Wertheimer  disclosed that a  significant reduction  in costs                                                               
does   not   occur.   Instead,  revenues   are   "shifted"   from                                                               
homelessness programs  to other  sectors and  "hopefully creating                                                               
healthier  families  that  will become  economically  more  self-                                                               
Mr.  Wertheimer emphasized  the goal  of interrupting  the multi-                                                               
generational cycle  of homelessness and crisis  "that becomes the                                                               
permanent burden on  the public sector. A parent  who is homeless                                                               
is  at greater  risk of  losing  custody of  her children.  Those                                                               
children, when  they enter the  foster care system, "at  least in                                                               
Washington State  are entering a  system that over the  long term                                                               
will more likely result in  their being homeless as adults." This                                                               
results  in  a  "cost  center"   in  government  programs  for  a                                                               
population. The social  services cost to "interrupt  the cycle of                                                               
homelessness"  is about  the  same as  the  cost of  homelessness                                                               
itself. The benefit is that the  next generation would be "a much                                                               
healthier  group of  young  adults who  are not  going  to be  as                                                               
dependant  upon  the  public sector  resources  and  services  as                                                               
perhaps their parents and grandparents had been over time."                                                                     
9:50:17 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Huggins commented  that  a model  similar  to the  Sound                                                               
Families Initiative  exists in Anchorage and  is operated through                                                               
the  veterans'  home. Although  the  Alaska  program is  directed                                                               
toward   individuals   rather    than   families,   it   includes                                                               
transitional housing, substance abuse,  job search and placement,                                                               
skills training and other components.                                                                                           
9:51:05 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman  thanked the Bill  and Melinda  Gates Foundation                                                               
for the  presentation. The Committee  would collaborate  with the                                                               
Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority  to assist Alaskan residents                                                               
to  "move  forward".  He  anticipated that  Mr.  Jesse  would  be                                                               
invited to  return to  the Committee in  January 2008  to present                                                               
"the next step".                                                                                                                
AT EASE 9:51:58 AM / 9:56:06 AM                                                                                             
9:56:13 AM                                                                                                                    
     CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 89(JUD)                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to requiring electronic monitoring as a                                                                   
     special condition of probation for offenders whose offense                                                                 
     was related to a criminal street gang."                                                                                    
This was the  second hearing for this bill in  the Senate Finance                                                               
Co-Chair Stedman informed  that his staff as well  as the sponsor                                                               
had been preparing a new committee substitute.                                                                                  
9:57:02 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Huggins offered  a motion to adopt CS  SB 89, 25LS0644\L,                                                               
as a working document.                                                                                                          
[Note: Although the  motion was not formally  passed no objection                                                               
was  made and  the intent  of  the Committee  was that  committee                                                               
substitute Version "L" be ADOPTED.]                                                                                             
9:57:35 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BILL WIELECHOWSKI,  Sponsor  of the  bill, outlined  the                                                               
changes  included  in the  committee  substitute.  The title  was                                                               
changed  to  reflect the  expansion  of  the program  to  include                                                               
parolees,  as  initially provided  for  in  the Senate  Judiciary                                                               
Committee  substitute. Language  of Version  "S" was  inserted to                                                               
provide  for  participants   to  pay  a  portion   of  the  costs                                                               
associated with their monitoring system.                                                                                        
Senator  Wielechowski  reminded  that   the  Committee  had  also                                                               
requested  a  "more  solid  understanding" of  the  cost  of  the                                                               
program.  A   revised  fiscal  note   was  prepared,   which  the                                                               
Department of Corrections could address.                                                                                        
9:59:29 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman  deduced the Committee  had no questions  of the                                                               
sponsor. He requested the Department  speak to the revised fiscal                                                               
10:00:04 AM                                                                                                                   
DWAYNE PEEPLES,  Deputy Commissioner, Department  of Corrections,                                                               
testified  that  the  original   indeterminate  fiscal  note  was                                                               
amended at  the request of  the Committee to provide  an estimate                                                               
of the  costs. However,  an error  was made  in that  the figures                                                               
listed for FY  08 would not actually be incurred  until FY 09. He                                                               
explained that  little expense is  anticipated for FY 08,  as the                                                               
program  would  have  few  participants  in  its  inception.  The                                                               
Department would  apprise both finance  committees of  any actual                                                               
expenses  and if  unable  to  absorb those  costs  in  the FY  08                                                               
operating budget,  a supplemental funding appropriation  would be                                                               
Mr.  Peeples  spoke  to  the  decision  rendered  in  Blakely  v.                                                               
Washington  pertaining to  mandatory  sentencing guidelines  that                                                               
prohibited  judges from  enhancing  criminal  sentences based  on                                                               
facts not presented to the jury.  He stated that the ruling would                                                               
require  a second  determination  in court  that the  aggravating                                                               
factor  existed.  The  Department concluded  therefore  that  few                                                               
would participate in the proposed program in FY 08.                                                                             
Mr.  Peeples   informed  that  the  Department   would  submit  a                                                               
corrected  fiscal  note in  which  FY  08 expenditures  would  be                                                               
changed  to indeterminate  and subsequent  expenditures would  be                                                               
moved "one year out."                                                                                                           
AT EASE 10:01:37 AM / 10:02:07 AM                                                                                           
10:02:17 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  Thomas  asked  if  the  forthcoming  fiscal  note  would                                                               
reflect    "any    significant   impact"    from    participant's                                                               
contributions toward expenses.                                                                                                  
10:02:53 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr.  Peeples   replied  that  the   language  of   the  committee                                                               
substitute is reflected  in the calculations of  the fiscal note.                                                               
No additional impact is expected.                                                                                               
10:03:14 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman announced  that although his intent  had been to                                                               
report  this bill  from Committee  at this  meeting, such  action                                                               
would be delayed  until a corrected fiscal note  was obtained and                                                               
reviewed. He also requested additional  detail on the anticipated                                                               
revenue   and  likelihood   of  collection   from  parolees   and                                                               
probationers ordered to pay a portion of the cost.                                                                              
10:04:23 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Peeples apologized for the error in the revised fiscal note.                                                                
10:04:38 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman accepted the apology. He established that no                                                                   
other testimony was forthcoming.                                                                                                
10:05:01 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman ordered the bill HELD in Committee.                                                                            
10:05:23 AM                                                                                                                   
     SENATE BILL NO. 69                                                                                                         
     "An Act relating to the creation of a civil legal services                                                                 
This was the first hearing for this bill in the Senate Finance                                                                  
10:05:35 AM                                                                                                                   
MARIT CARLSON-VAN DORT, Staff to Senator Lesil McGuire,                                                                         
presented the bill, listing "talking points" into the record as                                                                 
        · SB 69 is designed to provide a financial mechanism                                                                    
          whereby  the  legislature  may make  appropriations  to                                                               
          organizations  that  provide  civil legal  services  to                                                               
          low-income Alaskans.                                                                                                  
        · SB 69 would create a civil legal services account                                                                     
          funded by provisions required  under AS 09.17.020(j), a                                                               
          section  of Alaska  law requiring  50% of  all punitive                                                               
          damage awards be given to  the state and deposited into                                                               
          the general fund.                                                                                                     
        · SB 69 logically calls for the funds needed to assist                                                                  
          the disadvantaged  in civil legal  matters flow  out of                                                               
          the civil legal system itself.                                                                                        
        · These low-income Alaskans can unduly strain and make                                                                  
          inefficient  the court  system. Often  self-represented                                                               
          litigants   find  themselves   unable  to   effectively                                                               
          represent  their  interests.   This  pro-Senator  Elton                                                               
          representation  costs   the  system  time   and  money,                                                               
          placing additional burdens on the legal system.                                                                       
        · Necessary efficiencies are achieved throughout the                                                                    
          entire process by working these cases through a non-                                                                  
          profit entity such as the Alaska Legal Services                                                                       
        · ASLC was founded in 1966 and handles cases involving                                                                  
          family    law     issues,    landlord/tenant,    public                                                               
          entitlements, health, probate and consumer issues.                                                                    
        · SB 69 identifies an ongoing source of funding designed                                                                
          to aid the ASLC in its efforts to provide civil legal                                                                 
          assistance to low-income Alaskans.                                                                                    
        · SB 69 does not create a mandatory expenditure. Each                                                                   
          legislature possesses an option to appropriate these                                                                  
          monies to a civil legal services fund.                                                                                
10:07:47 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman  announced intent  that this  bill would  not be                                                               
reported  from  Committee  at this  meeting,  but  rather  public                                                               
testimony  would be  taken  and the  Committee  would review  the                                                               
10:08:26 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Hoffman asked  if  a similar  program  exists in  other                                                               
10:08:44 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Carlson-Van  Dort could  not speak to  the programs  of other                                                               
states but indicated she would research the matter.                                                                             
10:08:57 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  Olson asked  for  a comparison  of  the current  general                                                               
budget of  the Alaska Legal  Services Corporation (ALSC)  to that                                                               
at the agency's inception in 1966.                                                                                              
10:09:07 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Carlson-Van Dort answered that  the budget has decreased from                                                               
the budget at the agency's formation.                                                                                           
10:09:15 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Huggins  asked the amount  of civil damages  awarded over                                                               
the past several years.                                                                                                         
10:09:44 AM                                                                                                                   
VANCE  SANDERS,   President,  and   former  Staff   Attorney  and                                                               
Supervising   Attorney,   Alaska  Legal   Services   Corporation,                                                               
testified that  Mr. Harrington could  provide figures  of amounts                                                               
collected by the State in civil damages.                                                                                        
10:10:43 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Carlson-Van Dort informed that  a spreadsheet was included in                                                               
the supporting documentation for this bill provided to Members.                                                                 
10:10:52 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr.  Sanders understood  that less  than  $600,000 was  collected                                                               
over  the last  three fiscal  years. He  had expected  the Alaska                                                               
Court System to provide exact figures.                                                                                          
10:11:13 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman  shared that the aforementioned  spreadsheet was                                                               
included in  a memorandum addressed to  Representative Jay Ramras                                                               
from  the Department  of  Law  dated January  22,  2007 [copy  on                                                               
AT EASE 10:11:43 AM / 10:12:13 AM                                                                                           
10:12:44 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Sanders  stated that his  knowledge of the ALSC  budget dates                                                               
to 1984. In that year  the agency's budget was approximately $3.5                                                               
million   and  included   $1.2   million   appropriated  by   the                                                               
legislature. During that period, the  ALSC had offices located in                                                               
Nome,   Kotzebue,   Dillingham,    Kodiak,   Juneau,   Ketchikan,                                                               
Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Barrow.                                                                                               
Mr. Sanders  reminded that the  agency received no  State funding                                                               
for  FY  07.  Although  federal   funding  had  been  "relatively                                                               
constant",  U.S.  Senator  Ted  Stevens  has  warned  that  funds                                                               
received for  "Native allotment work"  would likely no  longer be                                                               
available and  therefore the agency  would experience  a decrease                                                               
in federal funding.                                                                                                             
Mr.  Sanders  advised  that  the   concept  to  utilize  revenues                                                               
generated  from  punitive damages  was  suggested  by the  Alaska                                                               
Court System in a study it  conducted on equal access to justice.                                                               
The  Alaska Court  System decided  against including  civil legal                                                               
services funding in its budget and offered this option.                                                                         
Mr. Sanders  spoke of  the "serious funding  issue" of  the ALSC.                                                               
The offices  located in  Kodiak and Barrow  had been  closed, and                                                               
although the Nome  office had been recently  reopened after being                                                               
closed, future operation of that location was uncertain.                                                                        
Mr.  Sanders  communicated  efforts  undertaken by  the  ALSC  to                                                               
secure  funding from  private attorneys  in the  State. Donations                                                               
had  been  received  and a  "gifting  program"  was  established.                                                               
Approximately  $300,000  had  been  raised  for  the  purpose  of                                                               
creating  a foundation  with  the intent  that  the agency  would                                                               
eventually become self-sufficient.                                                                                              
10:15:01 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Olson asked if the  ALSC primarily represented plaintiffs                                                               
or defendants.                                                                                                                  
Mr. Sanders  answered that the  parties represented  varies, with                                                               
the  constant  being  "poor  people". In  some  cases  these  are                                                               
plaintiffs and in others they  are defendants. Approximately one-                                                               
third  of   the  cases  pertain   to  domestic   relations,  with                                                               
approximately  two-thirds of  those  cases  involving victims  of                                                               
domestic violence.                                                                                                              
10:15:30 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Olson  pointed out one  case listed in  the documentation                                                               
involving  a business  and  asked if  the  ALSC represented  that                                                               
Mr.  Sanders  clarified that  the  list  of cases  Senator  Olson                                                               
referenced was cases in which  punitive awards were obtained. The                                                               
ALSC "would  never be involved  in a case where  punitive damages                                                               
were awarded."                                                                                                                  
10:15:56 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator   Huggins  directed   attention  to   the  aforementioned                                                               
spreadsheet detailing  punitive damage  awards made in  the years                                                               
2005 through  2007. Determining the  actual amount of  the awards                                                               
was difficult given the notation of "minus attorney fees".                                                                      
10:16:15 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Carlson-Van Dort  did not have a cumulative  total, but noted                                                               
the spreadsheet  is intended to  demonstrate the  "variability in                                                               
the  punitive   damage  awards"  and  relay   the  difficulty  in                                                               
collecting the monies.                                                                                                          
10:16:32 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  Huggins assumed  that funds  could be  allocated to  the                                                               
ALSC  directly from  the general  fund since  such appropriations                                                               
would not be limited to  a funding source. Because the collection                                                               
of punitive  damages was  not "lucrative",  the zero  fiscal note                                                               
was inaccurate  and that  a "debit from  the general  fund" would                                                               
10:17:30 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms.  Carlson-Van  Dort  corrected  that  this  legislation  would                                                               
provide "an  additional avenue  to gain funds  in the  event that                                                               
the  general funds  were unavailable."  She  reiterated that  the                                                               
ALSC had received no general funds in the last several years.                                                                   
10:17:50 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  Huggins  reposed  his  assertion  that  punitive  damage                                                               
awards "does not appear to be  a very robust source to gain money                                                               
10:18:14 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Sanders characterized  punitive awards as a  "windfall to the                                                               
State".  However,  such  judgments  were  "pretty  rare"  with  a                                                               
cumulative total of $586,000 awarded by juries in Alaska.                                                                       
10:18:54 AM                                                                                                                   
ANDY  HARRINGTON,  Executive   Director,  Alaska  Legal  Services                                                               
Corporation,  testified via  teleconference  from Fairbanks  that                                                               
during  calendar  year  2004  the   State  received  $167,000  in                                                               
punitive damages,  $300,000 in  2005, and  $333.00 in  2006. This                                                               
demonstrates  that the  amount received  by the  State from  this                                                               
source "are  a bit of  a roller  coaster ride." However,  "all of                                                               
these numbers are greater than  zero," the amount received by the                                                               
ALSC from  the State for the  past few years. For  this reason he                                                               
was appreciative of Senator McGuire for sponsoring the bill.                                                                    
10:20:39 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Harrington gave  examples of a commercial  fisherman not paid                                                               
for fish delivered  to a large seafood  producer headquartered in                                                               
another state;  a patient  traveling out  of state  for emergency                                                               
medical treatment  whose Medicare and Social  Security disability                                                               
claims  are  denied; and  a  young  family  locked out  of  their                                                               
apartment. Similar  situations are  experienced by  many Alaskans                                                               
but are especially  difficult for the poor. The  ASLC attempts to                                                               
assist these people.                                                                                                            
Mr.  Harrington   spoke  to  efforts  to   establish  offices  in                                                               
additional communities  in which  population increases  and other                                                               
factors have created a need for services.                                                                                       
10:25:00 AM                                                                                                                   
CHRISTINE  PATE, Attorney,  Alaska Network  on Domestic  Violence                                                               
and Sexual  Assault, testified via teleconference  from an offnet                                                               
location  in Sitka  and characterized  this bill  as "a  critical                                                               
piece of legislation  in helping to end the cycle  of violence in                                                               
the lives  of many Alaskans."  She told  of a study  conducted by                                                               
two  economists that  found  that legal  services  are "the  most                                                               
effective means of ending the  violence in the victims' lives." A                                                               
victim deciding  to leave  her batterer  for immediate  safety is                                                               
"just the  beginning of her  journey for  safety for her  and her                                                               
children." To  maintain safety,  several resources  are necessary                                                               
and  include  economic help  to  support  her family  from  child                                                               
support  or  spousal  support, a  protection  order  to  maintain                                                               
physical  safety,  a  custody  order   granting  custody  of  her                                                               
children, and  permanent housing.  Only an attorney  could assist                                                               
in securing all these elements.                                                                                                 
Ms.  Pate   identified  the  insufficient  number   of  attorneys                                                               
providing  these  legal services.  The  Network,  comprised of  a                                                               
coalition of  the domestic violence  shelters located  in Alaska,                                                               
has repeatedly  surveyed its legal  advocates, which  report that                                                               
"civil legal representation  is one of the  most important things                                                               
and the  highest priority they see  as an ongoing need  for their                                                               
Ms.  Pate daily  administered  a volunteer  attorney program  for                                                               
those entering the domestic violence  shelter. This is a separate                                                               
program  from   that  operated  by  the   Alaska  Legal  Services                                                               
Corporation. Many  attorneys accept one  or more cases  per year,                                                               
donating up  to 100 hours  per case. In  the past seven  or eight                                                               
years  the  program  has  been  in  existence,  approximately  $2                                                               
million  in  legal services  has  been  donated to  the  Network.                                                               
Despite these efforts, almost one-half  of those in need of legal                                                               
assistance could  not receive  services due  to lack  of adequate                                                               
Ms.  Pate  told of  the  consequences  to  a victim  of  domestic                                                               
violence who is unable to  secure legal representation, including                                                               
losing custody  of children, not  being awarded child  support or                                                               
spousal  support,  and denial  of  a  protection order.  In  this                                                               
event,  some victims  return  to the  abuser  uncertain if  "they                                                               
could not make it on their own."                                                                                                
Ms. Pate reported that the  Alaska Court System informed her that                                                               
70 percent  of those "going  to court in family  law proceedings"                                                               
were  pro  se.  Many  of  those "are  people  who  have  domestic                                                               
violence and  sexual assault issues  in their  lives." Therefore,                                                               
the Alaska Legal Services Corporation  must have the resources to                                                               
provide services to "the most needy Alaskans".                                                                                  
10:28:52 AM                                                                                                                   
ALLEN BAILEY,  Family Lawyer,  testified via  teleconference from                                                               
Anchorage that he  serves as an advocate for  victims of domestic                                                               
violence,  in civil  legal proceedings.  He listed  his positions                                                               
and  memberships  in   professional  and  service  organizations,                                                               
including  the  Alaska  Bar   Association  (ABA),  Commission  on                                                               
Domestic Violence;  Chair, ABA Family  Law Section;  and Co-chair                                                               
of  a   joint  workgroup  between   the  ABA  and   the  American                                                               
Psychological Association on abuse issues.                                                                                      
Mr. Bailey  read from the  report conducted by the  economists as                                                               
referenced  by  Ms.   Pate.  The  report  said,   in  part,  "The                                                               
availability of legal services has  a significant negative effect                                                               
on  the   incidence  of  abuse."  Additionally   it  found,  "The                                                               
continued expansion  of the availability of  civil legal services                                                               
will likely  continue to lower  of incidence of  intimate partner                                                               
abuse in  the future."  This research  was conducted  to identify                                                               
the reasons  that domestic  violence has  declined in  the United                                                               
States   over    the   past   several   years.    He   qualified,                                                               
"Unfortunately, Alaska has the distinction  of having the highest                                                               
rate of rape in  the United States and one of  the top five rates                                                               
of domestic violence."                                                                                                          
Mr. Bailey stressed  that victims of domestic  violence must have                                                               
legal assistance  necessary to  "get to  safe places,  to achieve                                                               
safety for their children, their  families, and to obtain support                                                               
for the  future." He averred,  "The first step  is to get  out of                                                               
the abusive home and, for many  people, the second step is simply                                                               
not there; they  have no help." This legislation  would "at least                                                               
contribute a small amount" towards rectifying this.                                                                             
10:32:20 AM                                                                                                                   
JEFF JESSEE,  Chief Executive Officer,  The Alaska  Mental Health                                                               
Trust Authority, testified as follows.                                                                                          
     I came  to Alaska in  1980 as  a Vista Volunteer  and worked                                                               
     part time for Alaska Legal  Services and part time for, what                                                               
     now is,  the Disability  Law Center. I  thought it  would be                                                               
     helpful  for the  Committee to  know  that for  many of  the                                                               
     Mental  Health Trust  beneficiaries, access  to civil  legal                                                               
     help is really very essential  to their well being. They are                                                               
     uniquely unable  to actually  do any of  this work  on their                                                               
     I'll give you a couple  of examples. Mr. Harrington referred                                                               
     to Social Security  disability. That's huge for  many of our                                                               
     beneficiaries, not  only because  of being eligible  for the                                                               
     SSI payment, but  that's the gateway to  Medicaid. If you're                                                               
     unable to get  SSI eligibility and you  don't have Medicaid,                                                               
     then you  end up  in the  emergency room  to get  your care.                                                               
     That's uncompensated care that all the rest of us pay for.                                                                 
     I'll give you an example of  how difficult this can be. Back                                                               
     in  the 80s  there was  a period  of time  where the  Social                                                               
     Security    Administration   on    re-determination   kicked                                                               
     thousands of  people off of  SSI. And they actually  found a                                                               
     memo coming  out of the Social  Security Administration that                                                               
     said, "You  know, we should  kick a  bunch of people  off of                                                               
     SSI and  only a  fraction of those  people will  appeal. Now                                                               
     most of  them that appeal will  get back on because  in fact                                                               
     they are eligible,  but in the end we'll  save money because                                                               
     a lot of people won't appeal  and they won't end up with any                                                               
     benefits." For our beneficiaries  there's really no recourse                                                               
     for them.  I'm not  saying that that's  going on  today, but                                                               
     that's just one  example of how difficult it can  be for our                                                               
     beneficiaries  if they  don't have  access to  some sort  of                                                               
     civil legal representation.                                                                                                
10:34:40 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Stedman   established  that  no  other   testimony  was                                                               
10:35:00 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Thomas  asked the number  of the recommendations  made on                                                               
page 31  of the "Access  to Civil  Justice Task Force  Report and                                                               
Recommendation" had been implemented.                                                                                           
10:35:28 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Carlson-Van Dort could not answer.                                                                                          
10:35:53 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr.   Harrington  responded   that   the   Alaska  Court   System                                                               
established    a   "follow-up    committee"   to    address   the                                                               
recommendations.  Most recommendations  pertaining to  the Alaska                                                               
Court  System  had  been  implemented.  Additionally  a  separate                                                               
agency was established  to handle those civil cases  in which the                                                               
Alaska Legal  Services Corporation was prohibited  from accepting                                                               
under  "Congressional restrictions".  This agency  is called  the                                                               
Alaska Pro Bono Program Incorporated.                                                                                           
Mr.  Harrington informed  that the  recommendation that  the ALSC                                                               
required a  budget of  approximately $5  million to  achieve "the                                                               
minimum access" that "should be  the goal." The current budget of                                                               
the ALSC  is approximately $3.4  million, of  which approximately                                                               
$300,000  to $400,000  represents volunteer  services donated  by                                                               
private attorneys handling cases pro bono.                                                                                      
10:38:04 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman ordered the bill HELD in Committee.                                                                            
Co-Chair Bert Stedman adjourned the meeting at 10:39:27 AM                                                                    

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