Legislature(2009 - 2010)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/11/2010 11:00 AM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 139 INCENTIVES FOR CERTAIN MEDICAL PROVIDERS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 139(FIN) Out of Committee
+= SB 174 PROF STUDENT EXCHANGE LOAN FORGIVENESS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 234 EXTEND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL BOARD TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 234(FIN) Out of Committee
+= HB 292 GRANTS TO DISASTER VICTIMS TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 292 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      April 11, 2010                                                                                            
                        11:07 a.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:07:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman   called  the  Senate   Finance  Committee                                                                    
meeting to order at 11:07 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                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Denise  Liccioli,  Staff,  Senator Olson;  Darwin  Peterson,                                                                    
Staff,  Senator Bert  Stedman; Senator  Linda Menard;  Diane                                                                    
Barrans,   Executive   Director,   Postsecondary   Education                                                                    
Commission,  Department  of  Education; Wendy  Redman,  Vice                                                                    
President,  Statewide Programs,  University of  Alaska; Josh                                                                    
Applebee, Staff, Senator Meyer.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Shirley Gifford, Director,  Alcoholic Beverage Control Board                                                                    
(ABC).                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB 139    INCENTIVES FOR CERTAIN MEDICAL PROVIDERS                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          CS SB 139 was REPORTED out of Committee with a                                                                        
          "do pass" recommendation and with one new fiscal                                                                      
          impact note from the Department of Health and                                                                         
          Social Services.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SB 174    PROF STUDENT EXCHANGE LOAN FORGIVENESS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          SB 174 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB 234    EXTEND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL BOARD                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
          CS SB 234 was REPORTED out of Committee with a                                                                        
          "do pass" recommendation and with one previously                                                                      
          published fiscal note: FN 1 (DPS).                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 292    GRANTS TO DISASTER VICTIMS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
          HB 292 was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do                                                                       
          pass" recommendation and with one previously                                                                          
          published fiscal note: FN 2 (MVA).                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 139                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act  establishing  a loan  repayment  program  and                                                                    
     employment  incentive program  for certain  health care                                                                    
     professionals employed in the  state; and providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
11:07:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Ellis  proposed  committee substitute,  work  draft                                                                    
#26-LS0503\U, Mischel, 4/9/10. Co-Chair Stedman OBJECTED.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DENISE  LICCIOLI, STAFF,  SENATOR  OLSON noted  that the  CS                                                                    
before the  committee makes four significant  changes to the                                                                    
bill. The new  Section 1, Page 1 was added  to reinforce the                                                                    
primary purpose of the bill  of making health care providers                                                                    
available to  rural areas of  the state. In  addition, areas                                                                    
that  serve the  uninsured, Medicare  recipients, and  those                                                                    
with  tribal   medical  benefits  are  also   targeted.  She                                                                    
highlighted a  rewording on Page  4, Line 19 added  with the                                                                    
same  intent  which  states  that  the  "commissioner  shall                                                                    
prioritize eligible  sights based  on the remoteness  of the                                                                    
site and  the percentage of  patients treated at  the site."                                                                    
The  previous  Section  1  which  held  loan  repayments  as                                                                    
incentive  was  removed.  It  was   decided  that  the  loan                                                                    
repayment  piece  required  further research  best  done  in                                                                    
future   legislative  sessions.   The  applicable   sections                                                                    
referencing  Section  1 were  also  updated  to reflect  the                                                                    
change. She introduced the third  change on Page 4, Lines 4-                                                                    
6.  The section  was reworded  to direct  the department  to                                                                    
reserve funding with  which to make payments  as it provided                                                                    
a  clear statement.  The final  change is  found on  Page 4,                                                                    
Lines  23-25  and  implements a  sunset  which  directs  the                                                                    
department to cease the writing  of new three year contracts                                                                    
after June  10, 2017.  Page 5, Lines  17-25 further  guide a                                                                    
request for a final report and provide a sunset date.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  REMOVED  his  OBJECTION.  Version  U  was                                                                    
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
11:13:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson stated  that the  bill establishes  incentive                                                                    
regulations  that allow  licensed health  care providers  to                                                                    
arrive  in Alaska  and treat  patients, especially  in urban                                                                    
inner-city or rural parts of the state.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman mentioned  one zero  fiscal note  from the                                                                    
Department  of Education  and Early  Development (DEED)  and                                                                    
one fiscal  impact note  from the  Department of  Health and                                                                    
Social Services  (DHSS) for $2,847,300  in general  funds to                                                                    
cover the estimated  cost of incentive payments  and to hire                                                                    
one  additional full  time staff  person  to administer  the                                                                    
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Thomas asked  about the  last change  considered on                                                                    
Page 4, Line 23-25. He asked  if the purpose was for Alaskan                                                                    
residents  to  become  more  engaged   in  the  system.  Ms.                                                                    
Liccioli  responded that  the  profits  from the  Washington                                                                    
Alaska Montana  Idaho (WAMI) program  would be  available in                                                                    
seven years allowing the contracts to play out.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson expressed appreciation for the hearing.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:16:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman MOVED to report  CS SB 139 out of Committee                                                                    
with individual recommendations  and the accompanying fiscal                                                                    
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CS SB  139 was REPORTED  out of  Committee with a  "do pass"                                                                    
recommendation and with one new  fiscal impact note from the                                                                    
Department of Health and Social Services.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 174                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to professional student exchange                                                                          
     program   availability   and    conditions   for   loan                                                                    
     forgiveness."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
11:16:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman  MOVED  TO   ADOPT  WORK  DRAFT  LS0764\U,                                                                    
Mischel,  4/10/10  AS  THE  COMMITTEE  SUBSTITUTE.  Co-Chair                                                                    
Stedman OBJECTED.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DARWIN PETERSON, STAFF, SENATOR  BERT STEDMAN, explained the                                                                    
legislation.  He  explained  that   the  CS  contains  three                                                                    
different post secondary education  proposals; a merit based                                                                    
scholarship program, a needs  based scholarship program, and                                                                    
an expansion of eligible  students in the Western Interstate                                                                    
Commission for  Higher Education (WICHE) program.  Section 1                                                                    
creates the Alaska Scholars program  in statute. The program                                                                    
currently  exists   as  a  University  of   Alaska  scholars                                                                    
program,  but   the  state  has  yet   to  participate.  The                                                                    
university  currently contributes  $3.8  million from  their                                                                    
land  grant  trust fund  to  provide  scholarships to  those                                                                    
students who  graduate in the  top 10 percent of  their high                                                                    
school  class.  The  CS  acknowledges  the  success  of  the                                                                    
program by  bolstering with state participation.  The Alaska                                                                    
Scholars  program will  continue to  be administered  by the                                                                    
Board of  Regents. Alaskan high  school students  ranking in                                                                    
the top 15 percent of their  class are eligible for a tiered                                                                    
scholarship.  Students  in the  top  five  percent of  their                                                                    
class will receive a 100  percent tuition scholarship at the                                                                    
University  of Alaska.  The next  tier  comprises those  who                                                                    
rank in  the top six to  ten percent of their  class and are                                                                    
eligible  for a  75 percent  tuition scholarship.  The third                                                                    
tier is comprised of those students  who rank in the top 11-                                                                    
15  percent of  their class  and  are eligible  for a  fifty                                                                    
percent  scholarship. Students  who  rank below  the top  15                                                                    
percent  are  not  eligible for  a  scholarship  under  this                                                                    
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr.   Peterson   explained   that  the   funding   for   the                                                                    
scholarships  will  include  the continued  contribution  of                                                                    
$3.8  million dollars  annually from  the university's  land                                                                    
grant  trust  fund and  the  remainder  will come  from  the                                                                    
general fund.  The anticipated cost  of the  scholarships in                                                                    
the first  year is $11.5  million dollars with  $3.8 million                                                                    
from the  university and  $7.7 million  from the  state. The                                                                    
amount  increases  each  year as  new  classes  of  students                                                                    
enroll  until  all  four classes  are  filled  leveling  the                                                                    
annual cost  to approximately $9.2 million  in general funds                                                                    
and $3.8 million  in university funds. The  board of regents                                                                    
may adjust the  amount of scholarships awarded  in the event                                                                    
the  state does  not  appropriate its  share  of the  funds.                                                                    
Sections  8 and  9 of  the CS  are housecleaning  amendments                                                                    
conforming  to the  new Alaska  Scholars program.  Section 8                                                                    
amends  AS  1443930  which  identify  the  information  made                                                                    
available to the  board of regents. Section 9  makes a cross                                                                    
reference to the new definition  of a qualified high school.                                                                    
Section 12  repeals the sections  of statute that  refers to                                                                    
scholarships    for   high    school   graduates    offering                                                                    
scholarships   for  dormitory   rent.  Section   13  is   an                                                                    
applicability  section which  states that  only high  school                                                                    
students  graduating  in the  class  of  2010 or  later  are                                                                    
eligible  for  the  new   scholarship  program.  Section  14                                                                    
instructs the  replacement of the name  University of Alaska                                                                    
scholarships  for  high  school graduates  with  the  Alaska                                                                    
Scholars program.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Peterson  commented  that  Sections  2-7  of  the  bill                                                                    
includes the needs-based  scholarship component which amends                                                                    
the existing Alaska Advantage  education grant program which                                                                    
closely  resembles  Senator  Ellis'   SB  33  heard  by  the                                                                    
committee on March  31, 2010. In order to be  eligible for a                                                                    
scholarship, the  applicant must demonstrate  financial need                                                                    
in accordance  with standards  established in  federal code.                                                                    
Scholarships are awarded  in the amount not  less than $1000                                                                    
and not more  than $5000 per year and not  more than a total                                                                    
of  $20,000 per  student. The  program will  continue to  be                                                                    
administered  by the  Alaska  Commission  on Post  Secondary                                                                    
Education. The  commission is  instructed to  distribute $10                                                                    
million   annually  in   scholarships  to   needy  students.                                                                    
Sections 10 and 11 include  the original language in SB 174,                                                                    
expanding  the  eligibility  of   Alaskan  students  in  the                                                                    
western  interstate  commission   for  higher  education  to                                                                    
include not fewer  than five students in each  of the fields                                                                    
of dentistry, optometry, and pharmacy.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
11:22:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  Removed  his OBJECTION.  There  being  NO                                                                    
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINDA  MENARD  expressed  support  of  the  CS  and                                                                    
appreciation for the hearing.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:23:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DIANE BARRANS,  EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION                                                                    
COMMISSION,  DEPARTMENT   OF  EDUCATION,  stated   that  the                                                                    
proposed  changes were  straightforward, but  in respect  to                                                                    
the Professional  Student Exchange  Program (PSEP)  loan she                                                                    
was  not  sure if  the  drafting  accomplished the  expected                                                                    
outcome.  She understood  that rather  than eliminating  the                                                                    
loan repayment  benefits, the bill instead  superimposes the                                                                    
service  obligation and  work discharge  of WAMI  onto these                                                                    
PSEP loans.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman requested  a  page  reference. Ms  Barrans                                                                    
responded  Page  6, Lines  22-24.  She  added that  the  new                                                                    
version   establishes  a   minimum  number   of  seats   for                                                                    
dentistry, optometry and pharmacy; it  does not speak to the                                                                    
other fields  of study currently supported  through the PSEP                                                                    
loan program.  She did not  understand if the intent  was to                                                                    
set the minimum number.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:27:04 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
WENDY   REDMAN,   VICE    PRESIDENT,   STATEWIDE   PROGRAMS,                                                                    
UNIVERSITY  OF  ALASKA,  noted  continued  interest  in  the                                                                    
incorporation of the strict merit  based program included in                                                                    
the  Governor's  Performance  Scholarship  (GPS)  bill.  She                                                                    
believed  that  the merit  based  program  would change  the                                                                    
goals of the current high  school curriculum and get schools                                                                    
and  communities  much more  involved  in  the process.  She                                                                    
appreciated  the accommodation  of university  concerns. The                                                                    
bill provides access  to information previously inaccessible                                                                    
such as names and addresses of students.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
11:29:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas asked if  homeschooled children are currently                                                                    
eligible  for   the  Alaska   Scholars  grant.   Ms.  Redman                                                                    
responded  no,  only  licensed  schools  in  the  state  are                                                                    
covered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Thomas   asked  how  much  money   the  land  trust                                                                    
generates on an annual basis.  Ms. Redman responded that the                                                                    
university is contributing $3.8  million to the program. She                                                                    
explained that  the trust may  generate $4 million  and does                                                                    
not generate much income.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson asked  about  the  effect of  the  CS on  the                                                                    
forgiveness  of  retention   and  recruitment.  Ms.  Barrans                                                                    
responded  that  the CS  would  prove  helpful in  terms  of                                                                    
having  a  higher rate  of  return  of participants  to  the                                                                    
program  to  the  state.  The   return  rate  for  WICHE  is                                                                    
positive.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
11:31:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Thomas  asked  about Page  2  and  the  scholarship                                                                    
award.  He  requested  an  explanation of  Page  3  and  the                                                                    
transmission of  the bulk  amount awarded.  Co-Chair Stedman                                                                    
stated that  the questions  would be answered  in a  24 hour                                                                    
period.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman   noted  one   fiscal  impact   note  from                                                                    
Department  of Education  and Early  Development (DEED)  for                                                                    
$230,500  in  general  funds with  the  cost  increasing  in                                                                    
subsequent years.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SB  174  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  Committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 234                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act extending the termination date of the                                                                              
     Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; and providing for an                                                                     
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:33:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOSH APPLEBEE, STAFF, SENATOR MEYER  explained that the bill                                                                    
is  an  extension bill.  The  Legislative  Budget and  Audit                                                                    
Committee (LB&A) expressed concerns  with the last audit. He                                                                    
discussed the changes made in the last CS.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SHIRLEY GIFFORD, DIRECTOR,  ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL BOARD                                                                    
(ABC) (via teleconference)  discussed the additional changes                                                                    
in the CS. She expressed support  for the change on the vote                                                                    
procedure.  She explained  that  the majority  of ABC  board                                                                    
information is  available to the  public with  the exception                                                                    
of  financial  matters  and security  interests.  She  noted                                                                    
concern with the repeal of 416049  F and 416060 F which give                                                                    
the ABC board the ability  to conduct compliance checks. She                                                                    
believed the compliance checks are  an important function of                                                                    
the  ABC  board.  She   understood  that  improvements  were                                                                    
necessary. Compliance  checks are instituted  throughout the                                                                    
country. Alaska  enjoys the  lowest rate  in the  country of                                                                    
underage persons purchasing alcohol  and she attributed this                                                                    
to  the  compliance checks.  She  discussed  changes to  the                                                                    
compliance  check  program  such  as  the  addition  of  new                                                                    
policies.  She  expressed  understanding  of  the  need  for                                                                    
sensitivity in regard to businesses.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
11:43:34 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman explained the one  year sunset date for the                                                                    
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas  asked about  the process in  the event  of a                                                                    
tie vote. Ms. Gifford responded  that holding the vote would                                                                    
be best if the results  were not time sensitive, otherwise a                                                                    
telephone  vote would  occur.  An  administrative law  judge                                                                    
might also be called upon to break the tie.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas asked about the  penalty of $1500 for the use                                                                    
of  a   false  identification.  He  asked   about  potential                                                                    
conflict  among   police  and   bar  owners   regarding  the                                                                    
penalties. Ms.  Gifford responded that she  was working with                                                                    
police  personnel and  discussing the  issue of  minors with                                                                    
false identification and the enforcement of the penalties.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas believed  that the identification information                                                                    
required posting.  Ms. Gifford agreed that  statute requires                                                                    
posting  of a  sign stating  that underage  persons are  not                                                                    
allowed on premises.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
11:47:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  mentioned one fiscal note  form Department                                                                    
of Public  Safety (DPS) for  $1,432,100 for funding  the ABC                                                                    
board for the next fiscal year.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman MOVED to report  CS SB 234 out of Committee                                                                    
with individual recommendations  and the accompanying fiscal                                                                    
note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CS SB  234 was REPORTED  out of  Committee with a  "do pass"                                                                    
recommendation  and  with  one previously  published  fiscal                                                                    
note: FN 1 (DPS).                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 292                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to grants to victims of a disaster in                                                                     
     this state; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
11:48:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman mentioned  one zero  fiscal note  from the                                                                    
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman  MOVED to  report HB  292 out  of Committee                                                                    
with individual recommendations  and the accompanying fiscal                                                                    
note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HB  292 was  REPORTED  out  of Committee  with  a "do  pass"                                                                    
recommendation  and  with  one previously  published  fiscal                                                                    
note: FN 2 (MVA).                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 AM.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 174 2010 0411 Proposed CS SFIN Version U.pdf SFIN 4/11/2010 11:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB 139 2010 0411 Proposed CS FIN Version U.pdf SFIN 4/11/2010 11:00:00 AM
SB 139