Legislature(2021 - 2022)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/16/2021 09:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 10 FREE/REDUCED TUITION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKER TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 76 EXTENDING COVID 19 DISASTER EMERGENCY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 76(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      April 16, 2021                                                                                            
                         9:05 a.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:05:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Bishop called the Senate Finance Committee meeting                                                                     
to order at 9:05 a.m.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Natasha von Imhof (via teleconference)                                                                                  
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
Senator David Wilson                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Erin Shine, Staff, Senator Click Bishop; Loki Tobin, Staff,                                                                     
Senator Begich; Senator Lora Reinbold.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB 10     FREE/REDUCED TUITION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKER                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          SB 10 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CSHB 76(FIN)am                                                                                                                  
          EXTENDING COVID 19 DISASTER EMERGENCY                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          SCS  CSHB 76(FIN)  was REPORTED  out of  committee                                                                    
          with  a "do  pass" recommendation  and with  three                                                                    
          previously   published  zero   fiscal  notes:   FN                                                                    
          1(CED),  FN   2  (DHS),  FN   3  (DPS);   and  two                                                                    
          indeterminate fiscal  notes: FN  4 (MVA) and  FN 5                                                                    
          (REV).                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 76(FIN) am                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act extending  the  January  15, 2021,  governor's                                                                    
     declaration of  a public  health disaster  emergency in                                                                    
     response  to the  novel coronavirus  disease (COVID-19)                                                                    
     pandemic;  approving and  ratifying  declarations of  a                                                                    
     public  health  disaster  emergency;  providing  for  a                                                                    
     financing plan;  making temporary changes to  state law                                                                    
     in response to the COVID-  19 outbreak in the following                                                                    
     areas:   occupational   and   professional   licensing,                                                                    
     practice,   and  billing;   telehealth;  fingerprinting                                                                    
     requirements  for  health  care  providers;  charitable                                                                    
     gaming  and  online  ticket sales;  access  to  federal                                                                    
     stabilization funds;  wills; unfair or  deceptive trade                                                                    
     practices;   meetings  of   shareholders;  and   school                                                                    
     operating  funds;  relating  to  informed  consent  for                                                                    
     COVID-19 vaccines;  relating to personal  objections to                                                                    
     the  administration  of  COVID-19  vaccines;  providing                                                                    
     immunity  from liability  and  disciplinary action  for                                                                    
     occupational  licensees  for  exposure  of  clients  to                                                                    
     COVID-19;   providing  immunity   from  liability   for                                                                    
     persons engaging  in business  and their  employees for                                                                    
     exposure of  customers to  COVID-19; and  providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:06:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman MOVED to ADOPT the committee substitute for                                                                     
CSHB 76(FIN)am, Work Draft 32-GH1011\R (Dunmire, 4/15/210).                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Bishop OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:07:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ERIN SHINE, STAFF, SENATOR CLICK BISHOP, discussed the                                                                          
Explanation of Changes (copy on file):                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1: Findings                                                                                                        
     Changes date  on page 3,  line 24 from September  30 to                                                                    
     December 31                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2: Public  Health Disaster Emergency; Approval,                                                                    
     Ratification, and Extension of Disaster Emergency                                                                          
     Changes date  on page 3,  line 31 from September  30 to                                                                    
     December 31                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     New Section Added                                                                                                          
     Section 3: Emergency Powers of The Governor                                                                                
     Restricts  the  governor  from acting  in  response  to                                                                    
     COVID-10 public  health disaster emergency  by removing                                                                    
     access to 26.23.020(g)(4-6),(8), and (11)                                                                                  
     New Section Added                                                                                                          
     Section  4: Emergency  Powers  of  The Commissioner  of                                                                    
     Health and Social Services                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Provides  declaration  powers  to the  commissioner  or                                                                    
     Health  and   Social  Services  for  a   public  health                                                                    
     emergency to  respond to the ongoing  COVID-19 pandemic                                                                    
     to  support   emergency  allotments   for  Supplemental                                                                    
     Nutritional  Assistance Program,  CMS blanket  waivers,                                                                    
     1135 Social  Security Act  waivers; 1915(c)  Appendix K                                                                    
     waivers; and funding under the  Stafford Act related to                                                                    
     non-congregate sheltering.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Provides authority  for the commissioner of  Health and                                                                    
     Social  Services   during  a  declared   public  health                                                                    
     emergency to:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          ?  coordinate,  allocate, distribute,  and  manage                                                                    
          vaccine doses and therapeutics; and                                                                                   
          ?   request    the   utilization    of   emergency                                                                    
          procurement if it is related  to the public health                                                                    
          emergency.                                                                                                            
          The  public  health   emergency  will  expire  the                                                                    
          earlier  of when  the commissioner  determines the                                                                    
          public health emergency is  no longer necessary or                                                                    
          when  the federal  public health  emergency issued                                                                    
          under sec.  319 of the Public  Health Services Act                                                                    
          expires.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5: Public  Health Disaster Emergency; Financing                                                                    
     Plan                                                                                                                       
     Removes previous subsection (a)(8)                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section 6: Reports                                                                                                         
     Changes date on page 7, line 4 from March 1 to May 1                                                                       
     Changes date on  page 7, lines 11-12  from November 30,                                                                    
     2021 to January 31, 2022                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
    Section 7: Professional and Occupational Licensing                                                                          
     Changes date  on page 7,  line 27 from September  30 to                                                                    
     December 31                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 8: Telemedicine and Telehealth                                                                                     
     On  page 9,  lines  20-21,  includes behavioral  health                                                                    
     care  service providers  to  the  definition of  health                                                                    
     care provider.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Section 10: School Operating Funds                                                                                         
     Changes  repeal date  from June  30, 2023  to June  30,                                                                    
     2025.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     New Section Added                                                                                                          
     Section  11:   Workers'  Compensation   Presumption  of                                                                    
     Compensability                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Provides  that  individuals employed  as  firefighters,                                                                    
     emergency   medical   technicians,  paramedics,   peace                                                                    
     officers,  or  health   care  providers,  who  contract                                                                    
     COVID-19,   are   presumed   to  have   contracted   an                                                                    
     occupational disease  arising out of and  in the course                                                                    
     of  employment   during  the  public   health  disaster                                                                    
     emergency  declaration and  are  eligible for  workers'                                                                    
     compensation benefits.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     New Section Added                                                                                                          
     Section 12: Program Execution                                                                                              
     Restricts the  governor from  increasing appropriations                                                                    
     through the  revised program legislation  (RPL) process                                                                    
     for federal receipts of:                                                                                                   
          ?  Coronavirus  Response and  Relief  Supplemental                                                                    
          Appropriations  Act funds  for  the Department  of                                                                    
          Transportation and Public Facilities,                                                                                 
          ?  American   Rescue  Plan   Act  funds   for  the                                                                    
          Coronavirus  State   and  Local   Fiscal  Recovery                                                                    
          Funds, or                                                                                                             
          ?  funds appropriated  by the  117th Congress  for                                                                    
          infrastructure,  jobs,  as  part of  the  American                                                                    
          Jobs  Plan,   related  to  COVID-19   or  economic                                                                    
          recovery.                                                                                                             
          Provides clarification that  this section does not                                                                    
          apply to appropriations  and expenditures ratified                                                                    
          under   HB  313   (ch.  32,   SLA  2020),   or  to                                                                    
          appropriations  increased  in compliance  with  AS                                                                    
          37.07.080(h) before  the retroactive  February 14,                                                                    
          2021 effective date.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     New Section Added                                                                                                          
     Section 13: Civil Liability                                                                                                
     Provides  civil  and  criminal liability  for  a  state                                                                    
     agency, or an employee or  agent of the state acting in                                                                    
     an official  capacity for the state  for acts performed                                                                    
     in good faith based on  the authority in this Act. This                                                                    
     section does  not grant immunity for  acts or omissions                                                                    
     that constitute gross  negligence, reckless misconduct,                                                                    
     or intentional misconduct.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Section 14:  Licensee Liability for Client  Exposure To                                                                    
     COVID-19                                                                                                                   
     Changes section from codified to  uncodified law and is                                                                    
     repealed June 30, 2023.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Provides   clarity   for    what   constitutes   "gross                                                                    
     negligence"  with   respect  to  licensee   actions  to                                                                    
     protect clients  from COVID-19.  Substantial compliance                                                                    
     with applicable  health mandates  proves a  licensee is                                                                    
     not negligent. If  there are no mandates  that apply to                                                                    
     the  licensee,  substantial  compliance  with  mandates                                                                    
     from another  municipality or federal  guidelines would                                                                    
     serve as proof that a licensee was not negligent.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section  15:   Business  and  Employee   Liability  for                                                                    
     Customer Exposure to COVID-19                                                                                              
     Changes section from codified to  uncodified law and is                                                                    
     repealed June 30, 2023.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Provides   clarity   for    what   constitutes   "gross                                                                    
     negligence"  with respect  to a  business's actions  to                                                                    
     protect    customers    from   COVID-19.    Substantial                                                                    
     compliance  with applicable  health  mandates proves  a                                                                    
     business  is not  negligent. If  there are  no mandates                                                                    
     that  apply  to  the business,  substantial  compliance                                                                    
     with  mandates  from  another municipality  or  federal                                                                    
     guidelines  would serve  as proof  that a  business was                                                                    
     not negligent.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Defines "business" for this  section using a definition                                                                    
     that currently exists in statute.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section 16: Abortion Funding                                                                                               
     Prohibits  funds  received  by   the  State  under  the                                                                    
     Coronavirus   Aid,  Relief,   and  Economic   Act,  the                                                                    
     Coronavirus    Response    and    Relief    Supplements                                                                    
     Appropriations  Act, or  the American  Rescue Plan  Act                                                                    
     may be expended  for an abortion that  is not mandatory                                                                    
     under AS 47.07.030(a).                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 18: Repeals sections of SB 241                                                                                     
     Changes date on  page 14, line 16 from  September 30 to                                                                    
     December 31                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 20: Repeal Section                                                                                                 
     Adds  Sections 3  (Emergency Powers  of the  Governor),                                                                    
     and 13  (Civil Liability  Immunity) to the  repeal date                                                                    
     of December 31, 2021 or  when the governor determines a                                                                    
    public health disaster emergency no longer exists.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Adds Sections  4 (Emergency Powers of  the Commissioner                                                                    
     of the  Department of Health  and Social  Services), 14                                                                    
     (Licensee Liability  for Client Exposure  to COVID-19),                                                                    
     and 15  (Business and  Employee Liability  for Customer                                                                    
     Exposure to  COVID-19) to the  repeal date of  June 30,                                                                    
     2023.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Repeals  Section 10  (School Operating  Funds) on  June                                                                    
     30, 2025.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 21: Retroactivity                                                                                                  
     Adds Section  11 (Workers' Compensation  Presumption of                                                                    
     Compensability)  to retroactive  date  of November  15,                                                                    
     2020.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Sections Removed                                                                                                           
          ? Fingerprinting                                                                                                      
          ? Meetings of Shareholders                                                                                            
         ? Informed Consent for COVID-19 Vaccines                                                                               
          ? Personal Objection to the Administration of                                                                         
          Vaccines                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     All other changes are technical or conforming.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Bishop WITHDREW the OBJECTION. There being NO                                                                          
OBJECTION, the proposed committee substitute was adopted.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Bishop asked Co-Chair Stedman to review the fiscal                                                                     
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:14:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman explained the fiscal notes.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilson MOVED  to  REPORT SCS  CSHB  76(FIN) out  of                                                                    
committee with  individual recommendations  and accompanying                                                                    
zero  and   indeterminate  fiscal  notes.  There   being  NO                                                                    
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SCS CSHB  76(FIN) was REPORTED  out of committee with  a "do                                                                    
pass"  recommendation and  with  three previously  published                                                                    
zero fiscal  notes: FN 1(CED), FN  2 (DHS), FN 3  (DPS); and                                                                    
two indeterminate fiscal notes: FN 4 (MVA) and FN 5 (REV).                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:17:41 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:20:14 AM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 10                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act establishing  a grant  program  to provide  to                                                                    
     essential  workers the  tuition  and fees  to attend  a                                                                    
     state-supported        postsecondary        educational                                                                    
     institution."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:20:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LOKI   TOBIN,   STAFF,   SENATOR  BEGICH,   introduced   the                                                                    
legislation.  She stated  that  the bill  offered those  who                                                                    
were most significantly economically impacted by the Covid-                                                                     
19  pandemic the  opportunity to  retrain and  advance their                                                                    
employment  options. The  legislation  would offer  Alaskans                                                                    
who  served on  the  frontlines the  opportunity to  advance                                                                    
their  education. She  stated  that it  was  similar to  the                                                                    
Alaska   Education  Grant.   The   legislation  created   an                                                                    
education grant  that sought federal funds.  She stated that                                                                    
the result would be the  opportunity for students to explore                                                                    
career opportunities and move  past their current situations                                                                    
in a post-pandemic world.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  queried the  approximate amount  of leveraged                                                                    
federal funds.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tobin replied  that  she did  not  have an  approximate                                                                    
amount,   but   deferred   to  the   department   for   that                                                                    
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  wondered whether the  federal funds  would be                                                                    
delivered to the student or the educational institution.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tobin replied that the  funds given to the student would                                                                    
be funneled through the university or institution.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilson surmised that  the qualifying individuals was                                                                    
anyone who wanted to be a student in the state.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tobin pointed  to page  3 of  the bill,  line 9,  which                                                                    
outlined the eligibility of the program.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:24:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator von  Imhof did not  know why  the bill was  only for                                                                    
essential workers, and not for  anyone that needed to change                                                                    
their  circumstances. She  did  not like  that  UGF and  the                                                                    
Higher Education Fund were used to pay for the program.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  remarked that the committee  would address                                                                    
that  issue continually,  and stressed  that  the source  of                                                                    
funds should be  under close examination as a  result of the                                                                    
impact of Covid-19.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wielechowski  wondered whether the bill  sponsor had                                                                    
a position on whether  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic                                                                    
Security (CARES)  Act funds  or UGF should  be used  for the                                                                    
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tobin replied  that  the program  was  modeled after  a                                                                    
program  in Michigan,  which used  CARES  funds. She  stated                                                                    
that she  would be  open to the  committee's recommendations                                                                    
about opening up the program to more applicants.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Bishop  thanked  Senator   Begich  for  the  bill,                                                                    
because  of  the  conversations   about  education  and  the                                                                    
connectivity  between   the  state   agency  to   deliver  a                                                                    
workforce.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:30:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson queried an estimate of the extra cost.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tobin  stated that  it was  difficult to  determine that                                                                    
amount, and explained that there  was an overall cap to keep                                                                    
the costs low.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilson wondered  whether the  bill would  allow for                                                                    
attendance at the trade schools.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tobin replied in the affirmative.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilson  surmised  that the  program  would  not  be                                                                    
permitted in private trade schools.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tobin   stated  that,   per  the   recommendation  from                                                                    
Legislative  Legal, public  funds could  not be  utilized in                                                                    
private institutions.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilson  wondered  whether   the  bill  sponsor  had                                                                    
considered  conversing  with  Congress about  utilizing  the                                                                    
funds for the private institutions.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tobin replied that the  bill sponsor would entertain any                                                                    
conversation or amendment to the bill.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Bishop stated that the  amendment deadline would be                                                                    
Monday,  April 19  at 12  noon. He  discussed the  following                                                                    
week's schedule.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB  10  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
9:33:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 9:33 a.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 76 Sectional Analysis ver R 4.15.2021.pdf SFIN 4/16/2021 9:00:00 AM
HB 76
HB 76 ver. R 4.15.2021.pdf SFIN 4/16/2021 9:00:00 AM
HB 76
HB 76 Explanation of Changes ver W.A to R 4.15.2021.pdf SFIN 4/16/2021 9:00:00 AM
HB 76
HB 76 Follow Up Answers - SFIN April 14 Hearing_.pdf SFIN 4/16/2021 9:00:00 AM
HB 76
SB 10 2021 04 16 - Univ. Alaska - SB 10 Hearing Response QA.pdf SFIN 4/16/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 10