Legislature(2009 - 2010)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/10/2010 09:00 AM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 221 LEGISLATIVE TASK FORCE ON HIGHER ED TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 221(EDC) Out of Committee
+= SB 269 ECON. STIMULUS BONDS: REALLOCATION/WAIVER TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 269(FIN) Out of Committee
+ SB 168 TRAUMA CARE CENTERS/FUND TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 210 MILITARY DEPLOYMENT AND CHILD CUSTODY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 266 VIOLENT CRIMES EMERGENCY COMPENSATION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 305 SEPARATE OIL & GAS PRODUCTION TAX TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+= SB 306 SEPARATE OIL & GAS PRODUCTION TAX TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      March 10, 2010                                                                                            
                         9:02 a.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:02:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman   called  the  Senate   Finance  Committee                                                                    
meeting to order at 9:02 a.m.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman, Co-Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice-Chair                                                                                             
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Dennis Egan                                                                                                             
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Joe Thomas                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Darwin  Peterson,  Staff,  Co-Chair  Bart  Stedman;  Senator                                                                    
Bettye   Davis;    Senator   John   Coghill;    Rod   Betit,                                                                    
President/CEO,  Alaska  Hospital   Association  (AHA);  Mark                                                                    
Johnson, former  EMS president, Juneau; Josh  Temple, Staff,                                                                    
Senator   Charlie  Huggins;   Kate  Hudson,   Administrator,                                                                    
Violent Crimes Compensation Board (VCCB)                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Deven  Mitchell, Executive  Director, Alaska  Municipal Bond                                                                    
Bank  Authority, Department  of  Revenue;  Dr. Frank  Sacco,                                                                    
Director,  Alaska  Trauma  System; Dr.  Virginia  Chennault,                                                                    
Trauma   Commission,   Anchorage;  David   Hull,   Chairman,                                                                    
Governor's Task  Force, Alaska Council on  Emergency Medical                                                                    
Services   (ACEMS);  Adam   Torem,   Washington  State   Bar                                                                    
Association,  Legal Assistance  to Military;  Mark Sansouci,                                                                    
Regional  Liaison,  Department  of  Defense;  Andrea  Wells,                                                                    
Military Families,  Fort Richardson; Gerald  Godfrey, Chair,                                                                    
Violent Crimes Compensation Board (VCCB)                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB 221    LEGISLATIVE TASK FORCE ON HIGHER ED                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
          CSSB 221 (EDC) was  REPORTED out of committee with                                                                    
          a  "do pass"  recommendation  and with  zero FN  1                                                                    
          (EED),  zero FN  3 (EED),  and a  new zero  fiscal                                                                    
          note by the Legislature.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SB 269    ECON. STIMULUS BONDS: REALLOCATION/WAIVER                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          CSSB 269 (FIN) was  REPORTED out of committee with                                                                    
          a  "do pass"  recommendation  and with  zero FN  1                                                                    
          (CED) and FN 2 (REV).                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SB 168    TRAUMA CARE CENTERS/FUND                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          SB  168  was  heard  and  HELD  in  Committee  for                                                                    
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB 210    MILITARY DEPLOYMENT AND CHILD CUSTODY                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          SB  210  was  heard  and  HELD  in  Committee  for                                                                    
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB 266    VIOLENT CRIMES EMERGENCY COMPENSATION                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          SB  266  was  heard  and  HELD  in  Committee  for                                                                    
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:02:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 221                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act establishing an advisory task force on higher                                                                      
     education in the legislative branch of government; and                                                                     
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:03:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  asked if the  committee had  any questions                                                                    
regarding the  bill. He noted  three zero fiscal  notes, two                                                                    
from  the   Department  of  Education   and  one   from  the                                                                    
Legislature.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman MOVED  to  report CSSB  221  (EDC) out  of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal notes. There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                    
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CSSB  221 (EDC)  was REPORTED  out of  committee with  a "do                                                                    
pass" recommendation  and with  zero FN 1  (EED), zero  FN 2                                                                    
(EED), and a new zero fiscal note by the Legislature.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:05:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 269                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the waiver of volume cap of                                                                            
     recovery zone economic development bonds authorized by                                                                     
     26 U.S.C. 1400U-2 and reallocation by the Alaska                                                                           
     Municipal Bond Bank Authority of the waived volume                                                                         
     cap; relating to the waiver of volume cap of recovery                                                                      
     zone facility bonds authorized by 26 U.S.C. 1400U-3                                                                        
     and reallocation by the Alaska Industrial Development                                                                      
     and Export Authority of the waived volume cap;                                                                             
     increasing the total amount of bonds and notes that                                                                        
     the Alaska Municipal Bond Bank Authority may have                                                                          
     outstanding; relating to revenue bonds issued by the                                                                       
     Alaska Municipal Bond Bank Authority; and providing                                                                        
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:05:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Stedman  stated   that  he   had  requested   the                                                                    
Department of Revenue to provide  a schedule for outstanding                                                                    
bonds and  for debt  service by community.  That information                                                                    
has been provided.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman MOVED to ADOPT a  new CS for SB 269 labeled                                                                    
26-GS2880\E, Cook, 3/8/2010.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman OBJECTED for discussion purposes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:06:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DARWIN  PETERSON, STAFF,  CO-CHAIR  BART STEDMAN,  explained                                                                    
the four changes in the bill.  The first change is a list of                                                                    
technical changes  that Legislative Legal made  in the first                                                                    
CS of  the governor's  bill. The second  change is  found on                                                                    
page 4, lines 14 and 15.  This change deletes the words "for                                                                    
equipment  for  building  improvements",  which  allows  the                                                                    
Municipal  Bond  Bank  to  partner  with  municipalities  to                                                                    
finance lease  purchase options  for any  lease, not  just a                                                                    
lease  for building  equipment  or  improvements. The  third                                                                    
change is in  the form of an amendment by  the Department of                                                                    
Revenue  found on  page  3, lines  9 -  14,  adding the  new                                                                    
subsection  (2), and  on  page 8,  lines 9  -  10, with  new                                                                    
Section  7.  The change  is  a  catchall amendment  for  any                                                                    
future  bond authority  that  comes to  the  state from  the                                                                    
federal government.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:07:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Peterson  described the fourth  change, which is  at the                                                                    
request of Senator  Thomas. It is found on page  4, line 25,                                                                    
beginning  with "unless  the borough"  and continuing  on to                                                                    
the subsection  at the end of  line 29. It is  also found on                                                                    
page  5,  line  28,  beginning   with  "if  a  borough"  and                                                                    
continuing  on to  page 6,  the end  of line  1. The  change                                                                    
continues on  page 6, line 16  and continuing on to  the end                                                                    
of the subsection  on line 20. It continues on  page 7, line                                                                    
17, to the end of the subsection on page 21.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:08:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Thomas explained  that  the changes  would allow  a                                                                    
sixty-day extension for boroughs or  entities to make use of                                                                    
the  bonds  before AIDEA  takes  over.  Due to  the  federal                                                                    
government's misunderstanding  of Alaskan entities,  some of                                                                    
the  money  was  given  to  entities that  do  not  have  an                                                                    
opportunity to sell bonds.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:11:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  requested  an explanation  of  the  other                                                                    
amendment. Mr.  Peterson related  that the  previous version                                                                    
of  the bill  would allow  for  the Municipal  Bond Bank  to                                                                    
enter into a relationship with  the municipality in order to                                                                    
lease  equipment  or  building  improvements,  but  did  not                                                                    
include  existing  buildings  or  land.  The  Department  of                                                                    
Revenue suggested the change in  order to enter into a lease                                                                    
purchase option with any municipality in the state.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas  added that the amendment  allows boroughs to                                                                    
cooperate  with  the Bond  Bank  and  AIDEA to  continue  to                                                                    
continue   development    activity   outside    of   borough                                                                    
jurisdiction.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:13:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman WITHDREW  his objection  to adopt  the new                                                                    
CS. There being NO further OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DEVEN  MITCHELL, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, ALASKA  MUNICIPAL BOND                                                                    
BANK  AUTHORITY,   DEPARTMENT  OF  REVENUE,   testified  via                                                                    
teleconference. He spoke in favor of the bill as amended.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman   noted  a  zero  fiscal   note  from  the                                                                    
Department of  Commerce, Community and  Economic Development                                                                    
and a fiscal note from the Department of Revenue.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:15:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman MOVED  to  report CSSB  269  (FIN) out  of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal notes. There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                    
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CSSB  269 (FIN)  was REPORTED  out of  committee with  a "do                                                                    
pass"  recommendation and  with zero  FN  1 (CED)  and FN  2                                                                    
(REV).                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
AT-EASE        9:16:46 AM                                                                                                     
RECONVENED     9:17:11 AM                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 168                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An   Act   relating   to   state   certification   and                                                                    
     designation   of    trauma   centers;    creating   the                                                                    
     uncompensated trauma care fund to offset uncompensated                                                                     
     trauma care provided at certified and designated                                                                           
     trauma centers; and providing for an effective date."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BETTYE DAVIS, sponsor, introduced herself.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:18:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOHN COGHILL, explained  that the bill establishes a                                                                    
fund that will incentivize a  higher level of trauma care in                                                                    
Alaska.  Section 1  established  that  the department  would                                                                    
establish  regulations as  to how  it would  be administered                                                                    
and work with  hospitals and doctors to try  to increase the                                                                    
delivery of trauma care.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Coghill  explained that there are  several different                                                                    
levels  of trauma  care,  levels  I, II,  III,  and IV,  and                                                                    
national standards to follow. The  trauma care fund would be                                                                    
administered  to those  who want  to  apply. The  limitation                                                                    
under  Section 2  says that  more than  25 percent  of total                                                                    
assets of  the fund  could not  be given  to any  one trauma                                                                    
center in a year.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Coghill  related that  the  bill  has been  through                                                                    
several iterations. The  bill originally anticipated general                                                                    
funds and matching funds.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:20:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Coghill pointed to Section  3, the alcohol tax, as a                                                                    
potential funding  source. He left  that decision up  to the                                                                    
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Coghill  reported that  the  trauma  care issue  in                                                                    
Alaska  has  been  moving  forward   since  about  1992.  He                                                                    
referred  to a  booklet  entitled, "Trauma  Care in  Alaska"                                                                    
(copy on file). He highlighted  section nine in the booklet,                                                                    
specifically  pages  6  and 7,  which  list  advantages  and                                                                    
challenges.  He  spoke  of the  reluctance  of  doctors  and                                                                    
hospitals   to    work   together   because    of   economic                                                                    
considerations. The fund  is set to provide  an incentive to                                                                    
raise  the  level  of  trauma   care.  He  referred  to  the                                                                    
challenges on  page 7, some  of which have been  assuaged by                                                                    
this legislation, such as lack of a strategic plan.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Coghill   shared  that   there  are   currently  24                                                                    
hospitals in Alaska  and only 4 have some  trauma care level                                                                    
designation.  Most   of  those  hospitals  are   outside  of                                                                    
Anchorage or  Fairbanks and  are run  by Native  Health care                                                                    
organization. There  is one Trauma  II level care  system in                                                                    
Alaska,  the Alaska  Native  Health  Hospital in  Anchorage.                                                                    
Anchorage, itself, does not have a trauma center.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:23:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Coghill stressed  that the  fund would  incentivize                                                                    
increasing trauma care, rather  than mandate it. He reported                                                                    
that  there  needs  to  be   a  plan  in  his  district  and                                                                    
especially in rural areas.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  asked if  there  were  any questions.  He                                                                    
noted zero fiscal  notes from the Department  of Revenue and                                                                    
the  Department  of  Health and  Social  Services,  and  one                                                                    
fiscal note  for $2.5 in  general funds and $2.5  in federal                                                                    
receipts, drafted by Senator  Coghill's office to capitalize                                                                    
the funds used to compensate trauma centers.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:26:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. FRANK  SACCO, DIRECTOR, ALASKA TRAUMA  SYSTEM, testified                                                                    
via teleconference.  He addressed two  issues - trauma  as a                                                                    
public  health problem  and trauma  and its  relationship to                                                                    
alcohol.  Alaska  has the  second  highest  death rate  from                                                                    
trauma  in  the  country.  The  trauma  system  is  a  model                                                                    
developed by the military -  a preplanned response. The goal                                                                    
of  trauma  care  is  to  decrease  mortality  from  serious                                                                    
injuries by 15 to 25 percent.  He said that 500 Alaskans die                                                                    
each year  from trauma. Alaska  is the only state  that does                                                                    
not have  a Level I  or II  trauma center. Anchorage  is the                                                                    
largest  city  in  the  U.S. without  a  trauma  center.  He                                                                    
maintained that the value of a trauma center is undisputed.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:29:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Dr.  Sacco referred  to  trauma  as a  disease.  One of  the                                                                    
biggest  risk  factors  for  trauma  is  alcohol.  About  50                                                                    
percent  of those  admitted to  trauma centers  with serious                                                                    
injuries  have  screened  positive for  alcohol.  He  shared                                                                    
information about the teachable  moment for alcoholics after                                                                    
a   traumatic   incident.   He   shared   statistics   about                                                                    
alcoholism.  He  concluded  that  the  readmission  rate  of                                                                    
alcoholism-related  trauma is  decreased with  intervention.                                                                    
He thought the alcohol tax was an appropriate guideline.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:33:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VIRGINIA   CHENNAULT,  TRAUMA   COMMISSION,  ANCHORAGE,                                                                    
testified  via teleconference.  She  spoke in  favor of  the                                                                    
legislation.  She  maintained  that drugs  and  alcohol  are                                                                    
involved  in 70-80  percent of  trauma cases.  She suggested                                                                    
that  alcohol intervention  should be  done in  the form  of                                                                    
screening.  She stressed  that  the  legislation would  save                                                                    
money in  the long run.  She concluded that  Alaska deserves                                                                    
trauma care.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:35:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROD  BETIT,   PRESIDENT/CEO,  ALASKA   HOSPITAL  ASSOCIATION                                                                    
(AHA),  related  that  AHA  supports  this  legislation.  He                                                                    
shared statistics  about which states have  a trauma center.                                                                    
The issue is that Anchorage does  not have a Level II trauma                                                                    
center  other than  a  tribal program.  He  made two  points                                                                    
about Level  II trauma  hospital advantages:  having staffed                                                                    
employees  for trauma  care and  compensated care.  The bill                                                                    
would  allow the  department to  address those  services. He                                                                    
thought this approach was better than a mandated approach.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:40:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK  JOHNSON, FORMER  EMS PRESIDENT,  JUNEAU, made  several                                                                    
points about  trauma care. He  pointed out that trauma  is a                                                                    
major  cause  of   hospital  admissions,  disabilities,  and                                                                    
death.  He  related  that the  legislation  passed  in  1993                                                                    
allowing the  Department of Health  and Social  Services the                                                                    
authority  to   certify  trauma  centers  was   a  voluntary                                                                    
approach  without  incentives. In  the  1990's  there was  a                                                                    
federal grant  which co-sponsored reviews of  trauma care at                                                                    
eight  hospitals.   Currently,  there  are  24   acute  care                                                                    
hospitals, but  only five have achieved  national standards.                                                                    
He maintained  that every  hospital should  meet one  of the                                                                    
three  levels of  standards of  trauma care.  Trauma centers                                                                    
are expected  to be involved  in prevention  activities such                                                                    
as alcohol screening. He urged  the committee to support the                                                                    
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:44:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ellis thanked  the presenter for his  work. He asked                                                                    
how  many states  require this  level of  licensure and  how                                                                    
many have incentives  to upgrade. Mr. Johnson  did not know,                                                                    
but offered to find out.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked if the  number of first  responders has                                                                    
kept  up.  Mr.  Johnson  said EMS  in  Alaska  does  provide                                                                    
excellent  training for  first  responders.  He thought  the                                                                    
numbers compare favorably with other  states. One out of two                                                                    
first responders is a volunteer.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:46:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID HULL, CHAIRMAN, GOVERNOR'S  TASK FORCE, ALASKA COUNCIL                                                                    
ON  EMERGENCY   MEDICAL  SERVICES  (ACEMS),   testified  via                                                                    
teleconference. He  agreed that EMS  is doing a good  job of                                                                    
getting people to the hospitals.  He spoke in support of the                                                                    
trauma system. The Alaska Council fully supports the bill.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:49:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Coghill addressed  the  question  asked by  Senator                                                                    
Ellis. The information is found  in the booklet under Tab 7.                                                                    
It reviews  which states  have trauma  care centers  and how                                                                    
they are funded.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB  168  was  heard  and   HELD  in  Committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:50:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 210                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act establishing child custody, modification, and                                                                      
     visitation standards for a military parent who is                                                                          
     deployed; and amending Rule 99, Alaska Rules of Civil                                                                      
     Procedure."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:50:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Huggins, sponsor, explained  the necessity of having                                                                    
a  bill that  gets it  right  because other  states will  be                                                                    
modeling their legislation after this legislation.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JOSH TEMPLE,  STAFF, SENATOR CHARLIE  HUGGINS, spoke  of the                                                                    
reasons for  needing version K  of SB 210. He  described the                                                                    
stress  put  on  military  couples  and  the  high  rate  of                                                                    
divorce.  The  bill  defines and  reinforces  child  custody                                                                    
standards for  a military parent.  The bill looks  after the                                                                    
best interests of  the children. The bill has  a zero fiscal                                                                    
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Temple reported  that Congress decided not  to deal with                                                                    
this  issue  on  a  federal level  because  of  a  potential                                                                    
conflict  with  state statutes.  He  related  that the  bill                                                                    
defines  what "deployment"  means as  it relates  to custody                                                                    
hearings.  It also  provides for  testimony from  deployment                                                                    
stations  or combat  zones. There  is language  included for                                                                    
hearings  to address  custody issues,  keeping  in mind  the                                                                    
best interest of the child.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:57:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ellis  asked if the  best interest of the  child, as                                                                    
found  in current  statute, is  being rewritten.  Mr. Temple                                                                    
clarified  that  the  bill reinforces  what  is  already  in                                                                    
statute and does not create any new standards.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman noted five zero fiscal notes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:59:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADAM   TOREM,  WASHINGTON   STATE  BAR   ASSOCIATION,  LEGAL                                                                    
ASSISTANCE  TO MILITARY,  testified  via teleconference.  He                                                                    
spoke in  support of the  bill. He  said he worked  with the                                                                    
sponsors to  draft the bill. The  bill is set up  to protect                                                                    
the  rights  of parents.  He  described  an example  of  how                                                                    
custody would  work. He maintained  that the  legislation is                                                                    
in the best interest of  the child. He addressed whether the                                                                    
third  party designation  was constitutional.  He maintained                                                                    
that it was.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:04:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARK  SANSOUCI,  REGIONAL  LIAISON, DEPARTMENT  OF  DEFENSE,                                                                    
testified  via teleconference.  He spoke  of a  survey which                                                                    
provided  data from  families regarding  child custody.  The                                                                    
bill  addresses all  of those  concerns. He  noted that  the                                                                    
bill  covers  all issues  related  to  military parents  and                                                                    
child custody.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:08:58 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ANDREA WELLS, MILITARY  FAMILIES, FORT RICHARDSON, testified                                                                    
via  teleconference.  She  spoke   of  her  experience  with                                                                    
military  families and  child custody  issues. She  spoke in                                                                    
favor of the legislation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:11:42 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson asked  how many families would  be affected by                                                                    
the  bill. Mr.  Temple  said  there is  a  large problem  in                                                                    
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Huggins  commented  that   the  bill  would  reduce                                                                    
ambiguity and smooth out the legal proceedings.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SB  210  was  heard  and   HELD  in  Committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:13:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 266                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to emergency compensation from the                                                                        
     Violent Crimes Compensation Board."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:13:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas, sponsor, read the sponsor statement:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Senate  Bill 266  proposes to  increase the  limit that                                                                    
     victims  of violent  crimes  can  receive in  emergency                                                                    
     compensation from $1,500 to $3,500.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     This  limit for  emergency  compensation  has not  been                                                                    
     increased since  1975. Emergency compensation  can only                                                                    
     be awarded  for relocation,  verifiable lost  wages and                                                                    
     counseling for  families and  victims whose  safety and                                                                    
     well being are at risk.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The  reason for  this increase  is that  the costs  for                                                                    
     these emergency  expenses have  increased substantially                                                                    
     over the years,  and $1,500 is not  sufficient to cover                                                                    
     deposits, first  and last month rents,  especially when                                                                    
     a  family  or  dependents   are  involved,  travel  for                                                                    
     relocation and other associated expenses.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Emergency awards are necessary  as the Board only meets                                                                    
     five times per year, and it  may be 2-3 months before a                                                                    
     claim is considered.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The  victim  compensation fund  receives  approximately                                                                    
     70% of  its appropriations from  the state in  the form                                                                    
     of felon's  withheld Permanent  Fund Dividends  and 30%                                                                    
     from a  federal grant. This  money does not  lapse once                                                                    
     placed in the fund.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Emergency  compensation  is   considered  part  of  the                                                                    
     maximum  award and  is deducted  from  the final  award                                                                    
     given to  the victim, any  excess award must  be repaid                                                                    
     to the fund.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     This bill does not increase  the overall cap of $40,000                                                                    
     that can awarded  to a victim. Senate  Bill 266 carries                                                                    
     a zero  fiscal note  because it  does not  increase the                                                                    
     final award.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     I urge you to join  me in assisting Alaska's victims of                                                                    
     violent  crimes  when  their   need  is  greatest,  and                                                                    
     support Senate Bill 266.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     I  have   attached  a  sheet  titled   "Violent  Crimes                                                                    
     Compensation   Board:  Emergency   Compensation"  which                                                                    
     contains some  facts and figures and  amounts of awards                                                                    
     as well  as some  of the details  of those  awards, and                                                                    
     several   other   documents    explaining   facts   and                                                                    
     demographics of violent crimes victims.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     My   staff,    Grier   Hopkins,   and    Kate   Hudson,                                                                    
     administrator  for  the   Violent  Crimes  Compensation                                                                    
     Board   are  available   for  questions.   Also,  Jared                                                                    
     Godfrey, Chair of the Board, is  on the phone to make a                                                                    
     short statement and answer any questions.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman   noted  one  zero  fiscal   note  by  the                                                                    
Department of Administration.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:16:30 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
GERALD  GODFREY, CHAIR,  VIOLENT  CRIMES COMPENSATION  BOARD                                                                    
(VCCB), testified  via teleconference. He spoke  in favor of                                                                    
the bill.  He related  the history of  the cap.  The initial                                                                    
amount when  the board was created  in 1972 was at  $500. In                                                                    
1975  it was  adjusted upward  to  $1,500 and  has not  been                                                                    
adjusted since. If adjusted for  inflation, the amount would                                                                    
be over $6,000 now.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Godfrey  shared statistics about the  hardships suffered                                                                    
by victims of  violent crimes. He gave an  example of awards                                                                    
given for lost wages,  counseling, and relocation. He shared                                                                    
an example of a domestic violence victim.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:20:30 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KATE  HUDSON,  ADMINISTRATOR,  VIOLENT  CRIMES  COMPENSATION                                                                    
BOARD, stated support for the bill.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:21:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked how  often the  fund has  been depleted                                                                    
due  to  the increased  number  of  violent crimes  or  from                                                                    
inflation. Ms. Hudson said the board  has not yet run out of                                                                    
money. Senator  Olson asked if  money would be short  if the                                                                    
cap is increased. Ms. Hudson said  it would not be a concern                                                                    
because the cap is not being increased.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:22:57 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SB 266 was heard and HELD in Committee for further                                                                              
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 10:22 AM.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
New SB168CS(HSS)-DHSS-IPEMS-03-05-10.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 168
SB 168 - Document-Ltr Support ANTHC 4-8-09.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 168
SB 168 documents 2-25-2010.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 168
SB 168 Fiscal Notes - attached 2-25-2010.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 168
SB 168 Sponsor Statement revised 2-16-2010.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 168
SB 168 Trauma System Consultation Nov 2008.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 168
Gates letter.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 210
NAUS Military Divorce Rate Continues to Climb.docx SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 210
Persons to Call in for Testimony on SB 210.docx SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 210
Resolution 106.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 210
SB 210 Finance Committee Request.doc SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 210
SB 210 Sponsor Statement - Military Child Custody.doc SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 210
Sectional SB 210.doc SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 210
Vermont Legislation.docx SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 210
Sample of Emergency Awards from Fiscal Year 2009.docx SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/15/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 266
Sponsor Statement - SB 266.docx SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/15/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 266
VCCB Awards 2009 graphs - 1.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/15/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 266
VCCB Awards 2009 graphs - 2.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/15/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 266
VCCB Claims Chart.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/15/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 266
VCCB Emergency Awards FACTS (1).pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/15/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 266
VCCB Emergency awards FACTS (2).doc SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/15/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 266
SB 168 Sen FIN.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 168
SB 168 - Document-Ltr Support ANTHC 4-8-09.pdf SFIN 3/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
SB 168