Legislature(2013 - 2014)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/11/2013 01:30 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 90 SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 129 OIL & GAS EXPLORATION/DEVELOPMENT AREAS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 71 AK REGIONAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAM TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 71(FIN) Out of Committee
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      April 11, 2013                                                                                            
                         1:47 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:47:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  called the Senate Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 1:47 p.m.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Pete Kelly, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Anna Fairclough, Vice-Chair                                                                                             
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Mike Dunleavy                                                                                                           
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Christine  Marasigan,   Staff,  Senator  Kevin   Meyer;  Joe                                                                    
Balash,   Deputy   Commissioner,   Department   of   Natural                                                                    
Resources;  Lisa  Weisslar,  Self, Juneau;  James  Sullivan,                                                                    
Southeast   Alaska  Conservation   Council,  Juneau;   Deena                                                                    
Paramo,  Superintendent,  Mat-Su  School  District,  Mat-Su;                                                                    
Carl Rose, Executive Director,  Alaska Association of Alaska                                                                    
School  Boards;  Doug  Swanson,  Business  Manager,  Alaskan                                                                    
Public   Employees   Association;   Representative   Shelley                                                                    
Hughes; David Scott, Staff, Senator  Donny Olson; Ben Brown,                                                                    
Commissioner, Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Rosemary  Autuangaruak, Self,  Barrow;  Ken Forrest,  Mat-Su                                                                    
School  District,  Mat-Su;  Steve  Atwater,  Superintendent,                                                                    
Kenai   Peninsula  School   District;   Dr.  Rob   Thomason,                                                                    
Superintendent,  Petersburg   School  District,  Petersburg;                                                                    
Bruce Johnson, Executive Director,  Alaska Council of School                                                                    
Administrators,  Juneau;  Rhonda   Kitter,  Chief  Financial                                                                    
Officer,  NEA Alaska  Health  Plan,  Anchorage; Jason  Hoke,                                                                    
Executive Director,  Copper Valley  Development Association,                                                                    
Glennallen; Barbara Johnson,  Executive Director, North Star                                                                    
Borough  Mayor's Office,  Fairbanks; Andy  Varner, Executive                                                                    
Director, Southwest Alaska  Municipal Conference, Anchorage;                                                                    
Melody Nibeck, Bristol Bay Native Association, Dillingham.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB  90    SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          SB 90 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CS HB 71(FIN)                                                                                                                   
          AK REGIONAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAM                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
          SCS CS  HB 71(FIN)  was REPORTED out  of committee                                                                    
          with a  "do pass" recommendation and  with two new                                                                    
          zero  fiscal notes  from  Department  of Fish  and                                                                    
          Game,  and a  previously  published fiscal  impact                                                                    
          note: FN2 (CED).                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CS HB 129(FIN)                                                                                                                  
          OIL & GAS EXPLORATION/DEVELOPMENT AREAS                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
          CS HB 129(FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee                                                                        
          for further consideration.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 129(FIN)                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to approval for oil and gas or gas                                                                        
     only exploration and development in a geographical                                                                         
     area; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:48:32 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:48:51 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE MARASIGAN,  STAFF, SENATOR KEVIN  MEYER, explained                                                                    
HB 129. She  stated that the committee  had previously heard                                                                    
SB 59,  and Section O of  that bill was included  in HB 129.                                                                    
She explained that the bill had  the same material as SB 59,                                                                    
with the addition of Section 1 of HB 129.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JOE  BALASH,  DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT  OF  NATURAL                                                                    
RESOURCES,  announced  that  HB  129  will  consolidate  the                                                                    
Department   of    Natural   Resources'    exploration   and                                                                    
development   approvals,   while    still   protecting   the                                                                    
environment  and  providing  for public  participation.  The                                                                    
right to explore and develop  oil and gas is granted through                                                                    
a lease that  has been through an  extensive public disposal                                                                    
process.  A   lease  is  subject  to   mitigation  measures,                                                                    
multiple agency  permits, and plans of  operations approval.                                                                    
Exploration   and   development   approvals  are   made   in                                                                    
conjunction with individual plans  of operations for a lease                                                                    
or project  and include  a separate  public notice  for each                                                                    
approval.  Many approvals  are  repetitive,  subject to  the                                                                    
same mitigation  measures, and within the  same geographical                                                                    
area. He explained that HB  129 will allow the department to                                                                    
comprehensively  evaluate   oil  and  gas   exploration  and                                                                    
development in a geographical area,  without regard to lease                                                                    
boundaries,  and  define  the  criteria  by  which  specific                                                                    
projects   are   evaluated   and   approved.   The   initial                                                                    
comprehensive  review  of  a  geographical  area  gives  the                                                                    
public, government  agencies and industry an  opportunity to                                                                    
participate   and  identify   exploration  and   development                                                                    
considerations  for all  subsequent  projects. Projects  may                                                                    
then move forward within the  defined parameters and subject                                                                    
to the  lease mitigation measures without  additional public                                                                    
review  following the  geographical  area approval  process,                                                                    
saving  time and  resources for  both the  state and  lessee                                                                    
when approving subsequent plans of operations.                                                                                  
Approvals  covering   a  broader  area  would   both  create                                                                    
efficiencies  in  the  exploration  and  development  review                                                                    
process  and  provide for  the  department  to look  at  the                                                                    
overall  effects  of   exploration  and  development  across                                                                    
multiple  leases. This  bill will  still protect  the public                                                                    
interest by  requiring public notice  and an  opportunity to                                                                    
comment under  AS 38.05.945. Further, it  provides certainty                                                                    
to   the  oil   and  gas   industry  that   exploration  and                                                                    
development projects may proceed within defined parameters.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:53:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROSEMARY  AUTUANGARUAK, SELF,  BARROW (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  against HB  129. She  felt  that the  legislation                                                                    
would   restrict  her   ability   to   participate  in   the                                                                    
communication  regarding decisions  related to  oil and  gas                                                                    
access. She  stressed that activity  in the Arctic  was very                                                                    
expensive,  so it  took effort  to communicate  with various                                                                    
layers  in the  process to  effectively place  the concerns.                                                                    
She   remarked   that   if   effective   participation   was                                                                    
restricted, the  daily lives of  members of  the surrounding                                                                    
communities would be negatively  impacted. She remarked that                                                                    
traditional cultural activities were  often occurring at the                                                                    
same  time  as  oil  and  gas  exploration  activities.  She                                                                    
stressed the importance of community involvement.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:58:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LISA  WEISSLAR,  SELF, JUNEAU,  spoke  against  HB 129.  She                                                                    
looked at  the findings  section of  the bill.  She remarked                                                                    
that  the section  was added  on the  previous Sunday,  with                                                                    
limited testimony  and no public comment.  She remarked that                                                                    
the section  was added as  a result  to the court  case that                                                                    
submitted a decision  on March 29, 2013.  She explained that                                                                    
the  Supreme  Court  issued a  decision  that  examined  the                                                                    
constitutional principle that  the state's natural resources                                                                    
were to  be made  available for  maximum use  consistent the                                                                    
public  interest. She  remarked that  prior court  decisions                                                                    
stated  that DNR  was required  to  examine new  information                                                                    
that  became available  for  a project.  She  felt that  DNR                                                                    
still  had a  responsibility  to analyze,  and consider  the                                                                    
cumulative impacts  through every  phase of  an oil  and gas                                                                    
project; and provide timely and  meaningful public notice of                                                                    
DNR's cumulative  impact analysis. She continued  to discuss                                                                    
a possible amendment to the bill.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer  shared that  Mr.  Shine  would address  the                                                                    
legislative findings.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman asked  to receive  the  amendment that  Ms.                                                                    
Weisslar discussed.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:04:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMES  SULLIVAN,  SOUTHEAST   ALASKA  CONSERVATION  COUNCIL,                                                                    
JUNEAU, testified  against HB 129.  He remarked that  he had                                                                    
already testified  against the  senate version of  the bill.                                                                    
He felt  that the problems  were apparent in  the geographic                                                                    
areas. He  pointed out  that the areas  were not  defined in                                                                    
statute, and were very nebulous.  He remarked that there had                                                                    
been testimony regarding  the size of the  areas, which gave                                                                    
the impression that  the areas could be as small  as a unit.                                                                    
He stressed that there was  no specific definition as to the                                                                    
size of  the area in the  bill, and felt that  the allowance                                                                    
gave undue  pressure on  the public,  because they  would be                                                                    
unable to provide the needed accurate testimony.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Meyer CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer asked  for  more  information regarding  the                                                                    
findings section.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Balash shared  that the findings and  intent section was                                                                    
put  together  by  DNR  and   Department  of  Law  (DOL)  in                                                                    
consultation  with the  Attorney General.  He felt  that DNR                                                                    
had no  reason to  question the  additions, and  shared that                                                                    
DNR was happy with the  language in that section. He pointed                                                                    
out that  the Supreme  Court decision  used the  verbiage in                                                                    
two  places, and  remarked that  there may  be focus  on two                                                                    
separate instances within that decision.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:10:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer shared  that there  were various  testifiers                                                                    
available for more information.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bishop  wondered  if   the  bill  would  slow  down                                                                    
development on the  North Slope. Mr. Balash  replied that he                                                                    
did not  believe that the  bill would slow  down development                                                                    
on the North Slope.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough did  not  know of  the Supreme  Court                                                                    
ruling, and  it had been  implied that the  Attorney General                                                                    
had turned  the case around.  She felt that there  should be                                                                    
an  examination  of  cumulative  impact,  and  sharing  that                                                                    
impact  with  the public.  She  asked  for more  information                                                                    
regarding that  proposal. Mr. Balash  replied that  when DNR                                                                    
considers  offering state  land for  lease, a  best interest                                                                    
finding  is initially  required. The  best interest  finding                                                                    
was required  for a  disposal of  interest for  any property                                                                    
that  DNR  manages.  He furthered  that  the  best  interest                                                                    
finding was conducted  for each sale area,  every ten years.                                                                    
He  stated  that  it  was   a  comprehensive  document  that                                                                    
requires  a  substantial  amount of  public  notice,  public                                                                    
hearing,  and   decision  making.   Once  the   document  is                                                                    
completed, the finding  is used for the next  ten years. For                                                                    
each of the next ten years,  there is an annual call for new                                                                    
information to  see if there  are any additional  studies or                                                                    
developments that may change the evaluation.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:15:15 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:16:50 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough  looked at  page  10  of the  Supreme                                                                    
Court  decision, and  wondered if  it references  the public                                                                    
notice  process. Mr.  Balash responded  that  DNR relied  on                                                                    
that statute to serve the best interest of Alaskans.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Hoffman  queried   the  differences   between  the                                                                    
statutes. Mr.  Balash responded that the  referenced statute                                                                    
were the factors  to consider. He remarked  that the methods                                                                    
were outlined in a separate statute.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  wondered if  there  would  concern if  the                                                                    
cumulative  impact  analysis  were included.  He  felt  that                                                                    
there was  a concern  regarding public participation  in the                                                                    
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough referenced  the Alaska  Statutes, and                                                                    
stressed that  there was required  notice for  the outlining                                                                    
communities regarding land use.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CS HB 129(FIN)  was HEARD and HELD in  committee for further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:22:24 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:24:35 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 90                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to group insurance coverage and self-                                                                     
     insurance coverage for school district employees; and                                                                      
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:25:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dunleavy  explained SB 90,  and state that  the cost                                                                    
of  health care  insurance for  all employees  has escalated                                                                    
far  greater than  the  rate of  inflation  and Alaska's  53                                                                    
school  districts  have  felt  the  financial  pinch.  Under                                                                    
Senate  Bill   90,  all   Alaska  public   school  districts                                                                    
employees will  be covered by  a state-managed  group health                                                                    
insurance  program.  Approximately  19,000  school  district                                                                    
employees and  their families, an estimated  total of 47,000                                                                    
individuals,  would  be  added  to  the  State  of  Alaska's                                                                    
Employee Health Plan. This larger  insurance pool places the                                                                    
State of Alaska in a  position to negotiate a more favorable                                                                    
employee  health  care  insurance  plan.  By  moving  school                                                                    
districts  into  an integrated  state  plan,  the state  and                                                                    
school  districts  benefit  from  the  economies  of  scale.                                                                    
Currently  each   school  district   must  obtain   its  own                                                                    
insurance coverage; consequently, the  level of coverage and                                                                    
the cost  of premiums vary  widely throughout the  state. In                                                                    
addition  to  the  potential savings  with  lower  insurance                                                                    
premiums,   two  other   advantages   are  afforded   school                                                                    
districts  and the  state through  this legislation.  Senate                                                                    
Bill  90  will  provide standardized  health  care  coverage                                                                    
statewide for  all school district  employees. A  person who                                                                    
may elect  to move  between school  districts will  know the                                                                    
basic  insurance  coverage   offered  before  the  transfer.                                                                    
Secondly,  the need  for administrative  time and  effort by                                                                    
each  school  district  to secure  and  negotiate  a  health                                                                    
insurance  plan  for  its   employees  is  eliminated.  This                                                                    
responsibility  shifts to  the Department  of Administration                                                                    
(DOA),  a   department  that  routinely   manages  insurance                                                                    
policies  for   all  state  employees,  and   allows  school                                                                    
districts to  focus on  educational policy  issues. Starting                                                                    
July 1,  2014, school districts  will transition to  the new                                                                    
state health  care insurance plan as  each school district's                                                                    
existing  employee contracts  expire.  All school  districts                                                                    
are  expected to  changeover  to the  State  of Alaska  plan                                                                    
within three to five years.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:27:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEENA PARAMO,  SUPERINTENDENT, MAT-SU SCHOOL  DISTRICT, MAT-                                                                    
SU, testified in favor of SB  90. She shared that her school                                                                    
district  currently  spends  approximately  $30  million  on                                                                    
health  insurance   benefits  each   year  in   its  general                                                                    
operating  fund,  which  was   roughly  15  percent  of  all                                                                    
expenditures.  With   the  average   cost  of   health  care                                                                    
increasing by  approximately 12  percent annual,  the Mat-Su                                                                    
Borough School District could  potentially experience a $3.6                                                                    
million  increase, which  is the  equivalent of  36 teaching                                                                    
positions. In  an effort to preserve  teaching positions and                                                                    
control   escalating  costs,   the  Mat-Su   Borough  School                                                                    
District  fully   supports  the   concept  of   a  statewide                                                                    
insurance plan.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  wondered if  an employee  was covered                                                                    
by  another  insurance  company,  the  district's  contracts                                                                    
required them to  pay into the trust,  regardless of whether                                                                    
the employee  draws that  money or  not. Ms.  Paramo replied                                                                    
that it  was not  true for the  Mat-Su school  district, but                                                                    
may be the case in the Anchorage School District.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dunleavy  shared that there  was a  testifier online                                                                    
who may be able to answer some questions.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman queried the  circumstances for other Alaskan                                                                    
school  districts  to  oppose the  legislation.  Ms.  Paramo                                                                    
replied that the  opposition may be based on  the costs that                                                                    
they  were currently  incurring, but  felt that,  over time,                                                                    
all the school districts would be in the same situation.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:34:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  remarked that  it  was  difficult to  hire                                                                    
teachers  in the  rural areas  of the  state, and  felt that                                                                    
teachers  may  be  lured  away  by  a  premium  health  care                                                                    
package. Ms. Paramo  responded that the cost  in each school                                                                    
district  would still  have an  availability to  provide the                                                                    
additional coverage. She felt that  there could be a premium                                                                    
plan  in  the   statewide  plan,  and  the   cost  would  be                                                                    
determined by the individual school districts.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KEN   FORREST,   MAT-SU   SCHOOL   DISTRICT,   MAT-SU   (via                                                                    
teleconference), explained that  there was approximately two                                                                    
years'  worth of  work to  determine the  appropriateness of                                                                    
the affordability  of sustainable health care  plans for the                                                                    
Mat-Su Borough  School District employees.  He stated  a bid                                                                    
was  conducted  the  year prior  for  non-NEA  health  trust                                                                    
coverage  for  classified  employees,  and  it  was  a  very                                                                    
competitive bid.  He felt that  it was important  to examine                                                                    
alternatives,  because  the  employer  was  responsible  for                                                                    
ensuring compliance  with the minimal  coverage requirements                                                                    
and  the part  time  employee requirements.  He pointed  out                                                                    
that  when a  large group  of  employees were  added to  any                                                                    
health care plan, the overall cost would be lowered.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  wondered if there  were any  school districts                                                                    
whose health  care coverage costs  would increase  under the                                                                    
legislation.  Mr. Forrest  replied  that there  may be  some                                                                    
school districts that were paying  less, but those costs may                                                                    
be equalized as the 2014 requirements were adopted.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson felt  that the bill would  require the smaller                                                                    
school  districts to  pay more  for their  health insurance,                                                                    
because they did not have  the economy of scale of Anchorage                                                                    
or  Mat-Su. Mr.  Forrest responded  that there  would be  an                                                                    
opportunity  for  the  larger  groups to  spread  the  costs                                                                    
equitably across the state.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:39:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  ATWATER,   SUPERINTENDENT,  KENAI   PENINSULA  SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT (KPBSD)  (via teleconference), spoke in  support of                                                                    
SB 90. He  stated that during FY 12  KPBSD spent $21,247,476                                                                    
on  employee   health  care  costs.  This   compares  to  Si                                                                    
3,053,373 spent  for employee  health care  costs in  FY 08.                                                                    
The  cost  per employee  was  $11,813  in  2008 and  it  was                                                                    
$17,204  in 2012.  This increase  came despite  cost savings                                                                    
efforts  within the  district, and  illustrates the  need to                                                                    
reduce health care  costs in the district.  He stressed that                                                                    
the larger  pool of participants would  experience a greater                                                                    
cost  savings,  because  of  the  economies  and  scale  and                                                                    
leveraged purchasing afforded by  the increased volume. Such                                                                    
savings would allow the district  to continue to focus their                                                                    
efforts  and resources  directly on  the instruction  of the                                                                    
students,  instead of  choosing which  services or  programs                                                                    
would be reduced.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR.   ROB   THOMASON,  SUPERINTENDENT,   PETERSBURG   SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT,  PETERSBURG  (via  teleconference),  testified  in                                                                    
support of  SB 90. He  remarked that health insurance  was a                                                                    
very complex topic, but felt  that economies of scale and an                                                                    
increased   pool  of   participants  made   statistical  and                                                                    
economic sense  at a time of  declining financial resources.                                                                    
He remarked that the employees,  students, and programs were                                                                    
stressed due to increased health care costs.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:49:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CARL ROSE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  ALASKA ASSOCIATION OF ALASKA                                                                    
SCHOOL  BOARDS (AASB),  testified in  support of  SB 90.  He                                                                    
remarked  that AASB  had  recently  aligned themselves  with                                                                    
Resolution  4.8, which  was a  resolution related  to health                                                                    
care costs and medical insurance.  He stated that the effect                                                                    
of  the Affordable  Care Act  was not  fully understood,  so                                                                    
AASB called upon the governor,  legislature, and congress to                                                                    
eliminate  the  unintended  consequences harmful  to  school                                                                    
districts.  He felt  that there  were  many school  district                                                                    
employees who  were currently content, but  pointed out that                                                                    
there could be negative effects  of the Affordable Care Act.                                                                    
He remarked that that the  anticipated negative effect would                                                                    
require health  insurance payments  to go toward  people who                                                                    
did not currently hold health insurance.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson   noted  that  Mr.   Rose  had   a  statewide                                                                    
perspective  and  wondered  the number  of  school  district                                                                    
employees  that  would be  covered  would  change. Mr.  Rose                                                                    
replied  that  he  felt  that he  was  only  addressing  the                                                                    
current  employee   number,  and   AASB  was   basing  their                                                                    
projections on those numbers.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson queried  if school  districts  would more  if                                                                    
they had a  smaller number of employees.  Mr. Rose responded                                                                    
that  AASB  attempted  to address  the  economies  of  scale                                                                    
through the  foundation formula  and area  cost differential                                                                    
in terms  of real  dollars. He furthered  that the  pool was                                                                    
intended  to level  the marketplace  between  the large  and                                                                    
small school districts.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson queried a level-out  date for health care cost                                                                    
equity  state-wide.  Mr.  Rose  replied that  he  could  not                                                                    
project that  far out,  and that  his membership  felt there                                                                    
would be an increase immediately, but not in the long-term.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson noted  that there  were many  school district                                                                    
with  IHS   beneficent  employees.  He  wondered   if  those                                                                    
employees would  be affected. Mr.  Rose deferred  to experts                                                                    
in the area and related that  he was referring in general to                                                                    
the school  districts. He stressed  that AASB saw  a general                                                                    
cost savings,  but understood  that the  cost would  vary by                                                                    
district.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson wondered  if AASB would be in favor  of a non-                                                                    
mandatory  health insurance  plan. Mr.  Rose responded  that                                                                    
one of the  aspects of the legislation  was mandatory health                                                                    
care and medical insurance coverage.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:59:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  remarked that  the state  covered the                                                                    
cost of  health care for  many of the small  school district                                                                    
through   the  base   student  allocation   (BSA)  and   the                                                                    
distribution  of  funds. She  stressed  that  the state  was                                                                    
paying  up to  70 percent  for some  districts' health  care                                                                    
cost increases.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE JOHNSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  ALASKA COUNCIL OF SCHOOL                                                                    
ADMINISTRATORS   (ACSA),    JUNEAU   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified in support of SB 90.  He stressed that the cost of                                                                    
health  insurance  was  a  major   factor  in  every  school                                                                    
district's budget.  He pointed  out that  the total  cost of                                                                    
health  insurance across  the  53  school districts  totaled                                                                    
nearly $300  million with anticipated ongoing  increases due                                                                    
to  the Affordable  Care Act  and continued  increased costs                                                                    
for  health  services.  He explained  that  the  total  cost                                                                    
included  school  districts  and employee  contributions  to                                                                    
health insurance.  He recognized the value  of and supported                                                                    
a health  work force, and he  stressed that he did  not want                                                                    
to  minimize  the  importance of  quality  health  insurance                                                                    
coverage  and the  promotion of  wellness. He  stressed that                                                                    
health  insurance  costs  would continue  to  strain  school                                                                    
district budgets  and would  limit the  funds that  could be                                                                    
directed toward the classroom.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dunleavy  queried the groups that  ACSA represented.                                                                    
Mr.   Johnson   responded    that   ACSA   represented   the                                                                    
superintendents,  elementary  school  principals,  secondary                                                                    
school principals, and school business officials.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:05:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RHONDA KITTER,  CHIEF FINANCIAL  OFFICER, NEA  ALASKA HEALTH                                                                    
PLAN, ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference), testified  against SB                                                                    
90. She referred to a letter of opposition (copy on file).                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The NEA-Alaska  Health Plan (Trust) was  formed in 1996                                                                    
     as  a  self-insured health  trust  for  the benefit  of                                                                    
     public  education   employees.  We  serve   over  5,800                                                                    
     members and  including their dependents  provide direct                                                                    
     services  to over  17,000  individuals.  The Trust  has                                                                    
     worked  collaboratively  with  both  school  districts,                                                                    
     employers   and  bargaining   associations  to   create                                                                    
     benefit options that meet the needs of those members.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Through the Trust we are able to provide:                                                                                  
     - Eight different medical plan designs                                                                                     
     - Two different dental plan designs                                                                                        
     - Vision and prescription benefits                                                                                         
     - Member (employee) assistance programs                                                                                    
     - Orthodontia coverage                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Each  association/school  district  has the  option  of                                                                    
     selecting  any of  the plan  design  offerings and  the                                                                    
     associated deductible/out-of-pocket  combination. Often                                                                    
     the  choice  is made  according  to  the benefit  level                                                                    
     although many  choose to select  a plan based  upon its                                                                    
     premium.  Individual  school districts  have  different                                                                    
     approaches   in   attracting  and   retaining   quality                                                                    
     employees to  their area. The  Trust affords  them this                                                                    
     opportunity  in selecting  the  plan  design that  fits                                                                    
     their needs.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     For the  past 15  years the Trust  has averaged  a less                                                                    
     than  10 percent  increase annually  in premiums.  As a                                                                    
     non-profit entity,  all monies  collected by  the Trust                                                                    
     must  be  only  utilized  for the  health  and  welfare                                                                    
     benefits of the members. In  addition to our lower than                                                                    
     average annual  health plan cost increases,  the Trusts                                                                    
     administrative  costs  are  only  3  percent,  national                                                                    
     benchmarks  are 6  percent with  several fully  insured                                                                    
     products averaging  closer to  20 percent. To  state it                                                                    
     another  way,   97  cents   of  every   premium  dollar                                                                    
     collected  goes  towards  paying for  the  health  care                                                                    
     received  by   the  members  of  the   Trust.  I  would                                                                    
     challenge any carrier to  match that low administrative                                                                    
     fee.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Last year  the Trust had  a zero percent  rate increase                                                                    
     in  its premium.  This was  a  substantial savings  for                                                                    
     many of  Alaska's school districts who  were faced with                                                                    
     the  public   news  of  high  double   digit  increases                                                                    
     expected due to ACA.                                                                                                       
     We work  closely with the  school districts  in helping                                                                    
     their  employees  understand  their  benefits  and  our                                                                    
     office in Anchorage  is a point of  contact for members                                                                    
     experiencing     difficulties    with     claims    and                                                                    
     understanding  their benefits.  The  level of  customer                                                                    
     service  provided   to  both  the  members   and  their                                                                    
     employers is  important to  the Trust.  We are  able to                                                                    
     remove grievance  issues from the employers  as well as                                                                    
     the  administrative burden  of keeping  up with  health                                                                    
     care reform.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     As one of the largest  self-insured trusts in Alaska we                                                                    
     are  able to  negotiate very  favorable contracts  with                                                                    
     providers  in  Alaska as  well  as  our contracts  with                                                                    
     specialists outside of Alaska.                                                                                             
     In addition over the last year the Trust has:                                                                              
     - Audited  our pharmacy  vendor to  assure they  are in                                                                    
     compliance performance standards                                                                                           
     - Did  a complete assessment of  our disease management                                                                    
     program to measure its effectiveness                                                                                       
     -  Identified  a  need  for a  new  vendor  to  address                                                                    
     behavioral health issues                                                                                                   
    - Are addressing the cost of air ambulance services                                                                         
     - Piloted a surgical travel benefit                                                                                        
     -  Are  piloting  a  bio-metric  screening  program  to                                                                    
     better manage the population's health                                                                                      
     - Are aggressively applying data  analytics in order to                                                                    
     understand  what  member  health issues  we  should  be                                                                    
     focused on                                                                                                                 
     - Are responding  to the changing needs  of the members                                                                    
     as healthcare evolves in Alaska                                                                                            
     -  Seeking   to  pilot  preferred   relationships  with                                                                    
     medical providers that measure cost and quality                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The Trust is always assessing  its costs and service to                                                                    
     its members  and as a  result modifies the plans  on an                                                                    
     annual basis. In this environment  any health plan that                                                                    
     is restrained  so that  it can  only address  its costs                                                                    
     every three years at the  bargaining table or through a                                                                    
     lengthy  procurement   process  cannot   be  efficient,                                                                    
     effective and affordable.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     A number  of consultants have expressed  concern that a                                                                    
     State  Government  take-over   of  insurance  industry,                                                                    
     third party  administration service  seems a  little at                                                                    
     odds  with policy  prescriptions  in  favor of  private                                                                    
     sector free enterprise                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The comments  from the sponsor  suggest that  the State                                                                    
     would negotiate  with carriers.  This implies  that the                                                                    
     State  might enter  into  a  fully-insured contract  on                                                                    
     behalf of  the school districts. This  would do nothing                                                                    
     but add  costs to the  programs as new PPACA  taxes are                                                                    
     going to  much more aggressive for  fully-insured plans                                                                    
     than self-funded programs.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     If the  State intends  to self-fund  this plan  then it                                                                    
     would become the sponsor. The  State already sponsors a                                                                    
     plan for  its employees  and retired members.  There is                                                                    
     nothing  to suggest  that  the State  has  done a  more                                                                    
     effective  job   at  maintaining  costs   and  securing                                                                    
     preferred  contracts that  would  be  better than  what                                                                    
     most school districts already enjoy.                                                                                       
     The State,  should it become  a sponsor, would  have to                                                                    
     allow  vendors to  compete  through  a restrictive  and                                                                    
     antiquated procurement process.  Healthcare is changing                                                                    
     and buying care or  more importantly buying services is                                                                    
     not the same as buying  pencils. The NEA Health Plan is                                                                    
     nimble and  can respond  to the  changing needs  of the                                                                    
     healthcare concerns  of our members without  being tied                                                                    
     to  the  bureaucratic  processes that  the  State  must                                                                    
     comply  with. The  current TPA  bid that  the State  is                                                                    
     involved with  has already gone  on four  months longer                                                                    
     than anticipated.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     We oppose  SB 90  and HB 196,  the mandate  to purchase                                                                    
     health  insurance  through  the State  of  Alaska.  The                                                                    
     Trust  provides school  districts  with cost  effective                                                                    
     plan  designs,  provides  low  administrative  services                                                                    
     leaving  more  premium  for  benefits,  provides  local                                                                    
     knowledgeable  customer  service,  provides  aggressive                                                                    
     contract    negotiations     and    has    demonstrated                                                                    
     successfully since 1996  that we are able  to work with                                                                    
     our members to control costs and improve their health.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Nothing  in  the  SB  90 or  HB  196  demonstrates  the                                                                    
     ability  for the  State to  have a  positive impact  on                                                                    
     controlling healthcare spending,  improve on measurable                                                                    
     health  of participants,  or increase  customer service                                                                    
     quality.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dunleavy  wondered if  NEA was  against the  bill or                                                                    
the  speed at  which the  bill was  progressing. Ms.  Kitter                                                                    
responded that NEA  was against the speed at  which the bill                                                                    
was progressing,  because she felt  that there had  not been                                                                    
sufficient  notification  to  the  employees  or  sufficient                                                                    
research on the impact of the legislation.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer handed the gavel to Co-Chair Kelly.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dunleavy  surmised that  NEA  was  not against  the                                                                    
bill,  but the  speed at  which the  bill was  examined. Ms.                                                                    
Kitter agreed.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly handed the gavel to Vice-Chair Fairclough.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough remarked that  the state was currently                                                                    
experiencing a revenue shortfall,  and the legislature hoped                                                                    
for  a  positive  financial future.  She  wondered  if  each                                                                    
district  had  individual  contracts with  NEA.  Ms.  Kitter                                                                    
responded that  the NEA health  trust offered  a combination                                                                    
of  eight  different  health  plans,  two  different  dental                                                                    
plans,  and   the  option   to  purchase   orthodontia.  She                                                                    
furthered that,  under a matrix  formula, there  were thirty                                                                    
different  available plan  designs. She  explained that  the                                                                    
economy,  standard,   and  premium  plans  were   the  three                                                                    
different plans that were offered  under the State of Alaska                                                                    
"My Care, Alaska Care" formula.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:19:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  wondered if  the costs to  the thirty                                                                    
plans  had  increased  over the  years.  She  remarked  that                                                                    
various  school districts  had  testified about  substantial                                                                    
increases  since  2000.  Ms.  Kitter  replied  that  medical                                                                    
inflation was  driving the cost  of health care  upward, but                                                                    
she remarked  that the  NEA Health  Trust maintained  a less                                                                    
than 10 percent increase on an annual basis.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair   Fairclough  inquired   if   the  benefits   had                                                                    
increased on the negotiated  contracts. Ms. Kitter responded                                                                    
that  the benefit  increases to  NEA members  were federally                                                                    
mandated.  She  remarked  that  the  plans  were  not  under                                                                    
grandfather  status.  She  furthered that  the  negotiations                                                                    
with   the  community   and   the  providers   significantly                                                                    
decreased the annual increases.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bishop wondered if the  admin fee was 3 percent. Ms.                                                                    
Kitter responded in the affirmative.  She furthered that the                                                                    
3 percent  went toward non-claim activity,  and specifically                                                                    
pointed out that 97 percent  went to direct health, medical,                                                                    
prescription, dental, and vision claims.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dunleavy wondered  if NEA  was prepared  to release                                                                    
its  claims data  in order  to help  the legislature  make a                                                                    
final,  informed decision.  Ms.  Kitter  responded that  NEA                                                                    
would be  providing the requested  data. She  clarified that                                                                    
NEA  was   against  the   speed  at   which  the   bill  was                                                                    
progressing,  because   they  were   not  able  to   make  a                                                                    
legitimate response  on the validity  of the outcome  of the                                                                    
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:24:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dunleavy restated his  question, and wondered if the                                                                    
NEA would  release claims data,  in order to  determine what                                                                    
is best for  Alaska. Ms. Kitter replied that  she would take                                                                    
that  question  to  the  trustees,   who  were  meeting  the                                                                    
following day.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dunleavy  wondered when  he would be  able to  get a                                                                    
response.  Ms.  Kitter responded  that  she  would supply  a                                                                    
response by Friday evening.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough surmised  that NEA  would be  managed                                                                    
under  the Affordable  Care  Act, and  wondered  if NEA  had                                                                    
filed an  exemption petition  on the  basis of  a non-profit                                                                    
organization. Ms. Kitter  replied that NEA did  not have the                                                                    
option of being exempt from the Affordable Care Act.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough handed the gavel to Co-Chair Meyer.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dunleavy remarked  that  many  testifiers spoke  in                                                                    
support of  the legislation,  and wondered  if she  had more                                                                    
information   to  those   testifiers  that   they  may   not                                                                    
understand about  the legislation.  Ms. Kitter  replied that                                                                    
she   understands  the   frustration  regarding   what  some                                                                    
consider  the high  cost of  health insurance.  She stressed                                                                    
that  individuals  had the  option  to  pay for  lower  cost                                                                    
health insurance, and opted not to.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dunleavy  surmised that some of  the individuals had                                                                    
opted to not purchase lower  cost health insurance, thus the                                                                    
high cost of  insurance was an optional issue  that could be                                                                    
dealt with by the school  districts. Ms. Kitter replied that                                                                    
there were  many different plan  designs available,  and the                                                                    
school districts had  the option to shop  for different plan                                                                    
designs to provide for their employees.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:28:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair    Fairclough    wondered   if    NEA    received                                                                    
contributions from school districts  or plan participants on                                                                    
district employees that  were not covered by  the trust. Ms.                                                                    
Kitter  responded  that  the  NEA  trust  did  not  directly                                                                    
receive waiver  funds for the school  district employees who                                                                    
had waived  off the  plan. She  believed there  were several                                                                    
school  districts that  agreed  to provide  funding for  the                                                                    
individuals who had  waived; and that funding  was then used                                                                    
to offset  the premiums that  were paid for  the individuals                                                                    
who had enrolled in the plan.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  surmised that all premiums  go to the                                                                    
trust,  and all  funds  received were  used  to benefit  the                                                                    
employees  inside  of  the  trust  receiving  benefits.  Ms.                                                                    
Kitter agreed.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough surmised that  the NEA did not receive                                                                    
waiver funds. Ms. Kitter agreed,  and furthered that the NEA                                                                    
did  not  receive a  direct  payment  of waiver  funds.  She                                                                    
shared that  the Anchorage School District  allocates waiver                                                                    
funds  to a  separate pool,  and  then utilize  the pool  to                                                                    
offset the costs of the enrolled individuals.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair   Fairclough  wondered   where  that   money  was                                                                    
directed.  She understood  that the  money offset  premiums,                                                                    
and felt  that the  NEA should have  that money.  Ms. Kitter                                                                    
responded that the Anchorage School  District and NEA agreed                                                                    
that  the district  would fund  for all  eligible employees.                                                                    
The money for  employees who chose not to  take coverage was                                                                    
set aside into a separate waiver  pool in the district. On a                                                                    
monthly  basis, the  school district  utilizes a  portion of                                                                    
the funds  to pay the  premiums that would normally  be held                                                                    
by the  employees. Anchorage  School District  employees did                                                                    
not  have  a deduction  from  their  payroll check  for  the                                                                    
summer  months  through  December. She  furthered  that  the                                                                    
money  that was  previously accounted  for in  waiver funds,                                                                    
became  the  premium  that  employees  portion  of  enrolled                                                                    
individuals.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough surmised  that  the Anchorage  School                                                                    
District was still collecting money  from the state, and the                                                                    
district set  that money aside  to pay the premiums  to NEA.                                                                    
Ms.  Kitter replied  that Vice-Chair  Fairclough's summation                                                                    
reflected Ms. Katter's impression.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:33:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOUG  SWANSON, BUSINESS  MANAGER,  ALASKAN PUBLIC  EMPLOYEES                                                                    
ASSOCIATION,  testified against  SB 90.  He stated  that for                                                                    
the  current  benefit  year,  July   2012-  June  2013,  the                                                                    
Anchorage School  District has paid $1,235  per employee per                                                                    
month  to the  Trust to  provide health  coverage. Employees                                                                    
who selected  coverage under the Trust's  full family health                                                                    
plan  option,  which  is  similar   to  the  State's  Select                                                                    
Benefits  Standard  Plan  and  includes  dental  and  vision                                                                    
coverage, School  District employees  pay $125  per employee                                                                    
per  month. In  comparison, this  year the  State of  Alaska                                                                    
paid $1,330  per employee  per month  for its  employees. In                                                                    
order to obtain family  medical, dental, and vision coverage                                                                    
similar to  the PE7I plans,  employees paid $214  per month.                                                                    
If  the  Public  Employees  Local   71  bargaining  unit  of                                                                    
Anchorage School  District were  covered under the  State of                                                                    
Alaska plan this benefit year  at the State of Alaska rates,                                                                    
the School District would have  paid an additional $400,000,                                                                    
and  each employee  who needed  the full  family plan  would                                                                    
have paid an  additional $1,068 for the year.  While cost is                                                                    
a  meaningful   consideration,  we  believe   that  customer                                                                    
service  is important,  as well.  We are  able to  craft our                                                                    
health plan  to address the  issues which are  meaningful to                                                                    
our employees. For example, we  were among the Alaska health                                                                    
plans  to offer  health fairs  to our  covered members,  and                                                                    
provide  them  with  free  and  low  cost  inoculations  and                                                                    
preventive  blood testing.  We  maintain a  Trust office  in                                                                    
Anchorage, and Anchorage School  District employees are able                                                                    
to  meet  with   our  Trust  staff  in   person  to  discuss                                                                    
enrollment or  benefit issues.  This has  proven invaluable,                                                                    
especially  when working  with  employees  and families  for                                                                    
whom English  is a second  language. It also  relieves their                                                                    
employer.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dunleavy  wondered if Mr. Swanson  would support the                                                                    
legislation,  if  the data  reflected  a  cost savings.  Mr.                                                                    
Swanson replied that he would support cost savings.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SB  90  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:43:16 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:44:56 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 71(FIN)                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     "An   Act  requiring   the   Department  of   Commerce,                                                                    
     Community, and  Economic Development to file  an annual                                                                    
     report  to  the  legislature  regarding  statewide  and                                                                    
     regional  economic  development projects  and  regional                                                                    
     development  organizations;  extending the  termination                                                                    
     date  of   the  Alaska  regional   economic  assistance                                                                    
     program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:45:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SHELLEY HUGHES,  explained HB  71. The  bill                                                                    
would extend the program for  an additional three years. She                                                                    
shared that there were 12  ardors in Alaska with the purpose                                                                    
of providing local  input and she stressed  that the program                                                                    
was  formed  25 years  earlier.  She  communicated that  the                                                                    
program  had  been  a  lifeline  for  some  of  the  state's                                                                    
villages.  She  discussed the  annual  cost  per ARDOR.  She                                                                    
noted  there  were   different  accomplishments  across  the                                                                    
state.  She stated  that  an audit  had  not been  conducted                                                                    
during  the program's  lifetime.  She pointed  to an  ARDORS                                                                    
Annual Report  (copy on file). She  explained that Anchorage                                                                    
had   worked  with   their  ARDOR   to  reach   out  on   an                                                                    
international  level. She  shared that  the Anchorage  ARDOR                                                                    
had  recently hosted  a supplier  conference related  to the                                                                    
Kodiak  based  aerospace  program.  She  stressed  that  the                                                                    
ARDORS   had  a   positive  impact   on  Alaska's   economic                                                                    
development.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough  wondered  if  the  public  testimony                                                                    
could be heard, before an amendment was addressed.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JASON  HOKE, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, COPPER  VALLEY DEVELOPMENT                                                                    
ASSOCIATION, GLENNALLEN  (via teleconference),  testified in                                                                    
support of  HB 71. He  stated that  he had developed  a food                                                                    
distribution  network  thanks  to   the  ARDOR  program.  He                                                                    
remarked that  he had  reached out  to an  ARDOR in  Nome to                                                                    
share some agriculture feasibility  issues. He remarked that                                                                    
the ARDORs had been instrumental in regional energy plans.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:51:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA  JOHNSON,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, NORTH  STAR  BOROUGH                                                                    
MAYOR'S  OFFICE, FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
support of HB 71.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ANDY VARNER, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, SOUTHWEST ALASKA MUNICIPAL                                                                    
CONFERENCE,  ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference),  testified  in                                                                    
support of HB 71.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MELODY  NIBECK, BRISTOL  BAY NATIVE  ASSOCIATION, DILLINGHAM                                                                    
(via teleconference), spoke in support of HB 71.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:00:09 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:00:52 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  explained that there  was a CS to  extend the                                                                    
hair crab  and scallop  limited entry  program for  the next                                                                    
five years.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  MOVED to  ADOPT the  Senate committee                                                                    
substitute  for  CS  HB   71(FIN),  Work  Draft  28-LS0288\P                                                                    
(Martin, 4/11/13).                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DAVID SCOTT, STAFF, SENATOR DONNY  OLSON, explained that the                                                                    
change  added the  extension of  the scallop  and hair  crab                                                                    
limited entry program for five years.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer felt like five years may be too long.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:04:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough wondered if  five years was consistent                                                                    
with a  previous bill.  Senator Olson  shared that  the last                                                                    
extension was made five years prior.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer  noted  that  the  sponsor  requested  three                                                                    
years,  because  there  was a  requested  audit.  Vice-Chair                                                                    
Fairclough  explained that  the programs  are two  different                                                                    
programs.  She  wondered if  there  was  a title  change  in                                                                    
order.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer  WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.  There  being  NO                                                                    
further OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hughes  stated that she had  not reviewed the                                                                    
CS, and hoped  that she could have  discussions with Senator                                                                    
Olson.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough wondered  if  a conceptual  amendment                                                                    
could be offered to insert a severability clause.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Scott explained  that  Section 1  was  inserted at  the                                                                    
advice of Legislative Legal.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough  felt  that the  severability  clause                                                                    
could be used to separate the program. Mr. Scott agreed.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:09:23 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:11:06 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BEN   BROWN,   COMMISSIONER,  COMMERCIAL   FISHERIES   ENTRY                                                                    
COMMISSION, explained  that there  was not a  single subject                                                                    
problem  with the  legislation,  even  absent the  reporting                                                                    
requirement, based on the precedent  of five years prior. He                                                                    
felt that  the addition  of the reporting  requirement, made                                                                    
the two programs very similar.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough shared  that  there  were many  issue                                                                    
that  were  important  for Alaskans,  and  wondered  if  the                                                                    
language was similar to the  House version. Mr. Brown agreed                                                                    
to provide that information.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough remarked  that the  House would  have                                                                    
conversations regarding this issue.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson thanked the sponsor for the legislation                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MOVED  to REPORT  SCS CS  HB 71(FIN)  out of  committee with                                                                    
individual  recommendations  and   the  accompanying  fiscal                                                                    
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SCS CS HB  71(FIN) was REPORTED out of committee  with a "do                                                                    
pass"  recommendation and  with  two new  zero fiscal  notes                                                                    
from  Department   of  Fish  and  Game,   and  a  previously                                                                    
published fiscal impact note: FN2 (CED).                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
4:15:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 90 Copper River Support Letter.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
SB 90 Copper River2 Support Letter.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
SB 90 Cordova Support Letter.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
SB 90 Opposition Northern Economics2.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
SB 90 Sitka Support Letter.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
SB 90 Sitka2 Support Letter.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
SB 90 Sopport - MacManus.doc SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
SB 90 St Marys Support Letter.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
SB 90 Unalaska Opposition.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
SB 90 Yukon Koyukuk Support Letter.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
HB 129 CSHB 129 Weissler Testimony.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
HB 129
HB71 Work Draft Version P 041113.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
HB 71
SB 90 Opposition Letter Packet 2.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90
12102013 SFC Hay Report.pdf SFIN 4/11/2013 1:30:00 PM
SB 90