Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/13/1993 10:38 AM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE April 13, 1993 10:38 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Steve Rieger, Chairman Senator Bert Sharp, Vice-Chairman Senator Loren Leman Senator Mike Miller Senator Jim Duncan Senator Judy Salo MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Johnny Ellis COMMITTEE CALENDAR SJR 30 (SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE FUND) WAS SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD THIS DATE. SENATE BILL NO. 59 "An Act relating to school construction grants and major maintenance grants to school districts; providing for school district participation in the cost of school construction and major maintenance; creating a major maintenance grant fund; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 60 "An Act making appropriations for construction and major maintenance of schools; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 180 "An Act relating to reimbursement of school construction debt; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 181 "An Act relating to grants for school construction; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SJR 30 - No previous action to record. SB 59 - See HESS minutes dated 2/3/93 and 2/10/93. SB 60 - See HESS minutes dated 2/3/93 and 2/10/93. SB 180 - No previous action to record. SB 181 - No previous action to record. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-35, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN RIEGER called the Senate Health, Education and Social Services (HESS) Committee to order at 10:38 a.m. He said there are four bills scheduled, SB 59, SB 60, SB 180, and SB 181. He said it is not his intention to move SJR 30. The first piece of legislation to come before the committee was SB 60 (APPROP:SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION GRANT FUND). CHAIRMAN RIEGER said there is a HESS committee substitute. SENATOR MILLER moved to adopt CSSB 60 (HES). Hearing no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR SALO said she has a proposed amendment to delete on page 2, lines 4 through 25, and replace it with "Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools - Tustumena addition $3,850,000" and "Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools - Kenai Elementary $7,400,000." Chairman Rieger asked if there was an objection to the amendment. Hearing none, the amendment was adopted. Number 055 SENATOR MILLER moved to pass CSSB 60 (HES), as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 062 The next order of business was SB 59 (SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE GRANTS) SENATOR MILLER moved to adopt CSSB 59 (HES). Hearing no objection, the motion carried. CHAIRMAN RIEGER noted that the provisions of the Department of Education which were suspended did not extend to the matching grant provision. A matching grant is still required. The prioritization measures are suspended. There being no testimony on the measure, SENATOR MILLER moved to pass CSSB 59 (HES), out of committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. Hearing no objection, the motion carried. Number 088 The next piece of legislation the committee heard was SB 180 (SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION DEBT REIMBURSEMENT). CHAIRMAN RIEGER said the bill would reinstate a 70 percent of debt service reimbursement. He said SB 180 and SB 181 are one of two alternatives being sent to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration. The other two bills are the capital grant bills. SENATOR SALO referred to page 4 and said there is a new Section 5 that deals with prior debt. She asked how it would work. CHAIRMAN RIEGER said the idea is that there would be a limit on bonded indebtedness which is based on the population of that municipality. The limitation on bonded indebtedness would be higher as the population of the community was larger. The amount of debt which would count would be all other G.O. debt and the portion of school construction G.O. debt which is not eligible for reimbursement. Senator Salo asked what the reason was for including other municipal debt. Chairman Rieger said it is his understanding that the concern is the overall debt burden on a municipality. To have a program that speaks to school debt in isolation, without consideration of the other debt of that municipality, could lead a municipality into fiscal trouble. SENATOR MILLER said he believes it was the intent of the sponsor to control debt statewide. Even if a municipality does issue debt, the state would probably have to step in and pick it up as there is probably that moral obligation for the debt. CHAIRMAN RIEGER referred to Section 3, "In evaluating the projects, the department shall consider at least the following factors," and said he would like to amend that wording to make it absolutely clear that the ranking of priorities are not absolute. He said it might be better for it to be an intent statement. Chairman Rieger offered the following amendment: Page 5, lines 7 and 8, replace "at least" with "all of." Chairman Rieger said he thinks it would make it clear that all of the factors are to be considered. SENATOR LEMAN also offered to change "alternate" on page 5, line 15, to "alternative." CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked if there was an objection to the proposed amendment. Hearing none, the motion carried. Number 194 SENATOR MILLER moved to pass SB 180, as amended, out of the Senate HESS Committee with individual recommendations, and with accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 202 The last order of business was SB 181 (SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION GRANTS). CHAIRMAN RIEGER referred to page 3, line 3, and moved to delete "at least" and replace it with "all of." He also moved that on page 3, line 9, delete "alternate" and replace with "alternative." Hearing no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR LEMAN said at the previous meeting on the bill he distributed a proposed amendment for page 2, lines 11 through 17. The amendment was suggested by an engineer from Anchorage. He noted he hasn't had a chance to speak to the bill drafter. The amendment would provide that the department shall determine where standard specifications are applicable and if the school district wishes to exceed that, they may do so at their expense. CHAIRMAN RIEGER said that the concern is probably addressed on page 1, where it makes it clear that the department shall disallow project budgets for things which do not meet the design criteria. SENATOR SALO said she thinks the problem is on page 2, Section 4 of the bill. She said she agrees that we shouldn't be building outlandishly expensive or fancy schools. She said she thinks there will be a problem with a standard design. Standard specifications are probably a better approach than a standard design. There has to be some flexibility because we will find that the same design doesn't work in all areas of the state as Alaska is too vast to have a standard design. CHAIRMAN RIEGER suggested changing page 2 lines 13 through 16 to say "standard and regional school design specifications shall be developed..." He said also suggested changing line 16 to say "for which standard regional school design specifications are applicable." SENATOR SALO moved the amendment. Hearing no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR LEMAN noted that DOT/PF currently has standing specifications for construction projects in the state. It doesn't mean that you have to use and always follow the standard specifications. They become a guideline and, in many cases, they are adopted in the contract documents. He said the amendment addresses a number of his concerns. There being no objection to the amendment, it was adopted. Number 287 SENATOR MILLER moved to pass CSSB 181 (HES), out of committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. CHAIRMAN RIEGER objected. He said he is willing to see the accompanying fiscal notes moved with the bill, but believes the fiscal notes are totally unacceptable. He removed his objection. So CSSB 181 (HES,) moved out of committee with individual recommendations. Number 303 CHAIRMAN RIEGER adjourned the meeting at 10:55.