Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/13/1995 10:10 AM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
    SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE                     
            Anchorage Legislative Information Office                           
                         March 13, 1995                                        
                           10:10 a.m.                                          
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator Lyda Green, Chairman                                                  
 Senator Loren Leman, Vice-Chairman                                            
 Senator Johnny Ellis (via teleconference)                                     
 Senator Judy Salo (via teleconference)                                        
                                                                               
  OTHERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Randy Phillips                                                        
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 98                                                            
 "An Act making changes related to the aid to families with                    
 dependent children program, the Medicaid program, the general                 
 relief assistance program, and the adult public assistance program;           
 directing the Department of Health and Social Services to apply to            
 the federal government for waivers to implement the changes where             
 necessary; relating to eligibility for permanent fund dividends of            
 certain individuals who receive state assistance, to notice                   
 requirements applicable to the dividend program; and providing for            
 an effective date."                                                           
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 SB 98 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated                 
         3/8/95 and 3/10/95.                                                   
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Leonard Fabich, Teacher                                                       
 Russian Mission, Alaska                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed welfare as the largest barrier to              
                      education.  He read a letter from Julie                  
                      Fitzcowski.                                              
                                                                               
 Nancy Caughell                                                                
 808 W. Bragaw #4                                                              
 Anchorage, Alaska 99508                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported welfare reform, but noted problems             
                      with SB 98.                                              
                                                                               
 Reverend J. L. Smith                                                          
 903 E. 13th Avenue                                                            
 Anchorage, Alaska                                                             
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed welfare and suggested returning                
                      parental rights to the family.                           
                                                                               
 Jack Cook, Assistant Pastor                                                   
 3230 E. 41st Avenue                                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska                                                             
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed various welfare issues and did not             
                      want the permanent fund dividend to be taken             
                      from those who need it the most.                         
                                                                               
 Donna Scott, Director                                                         
 Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                      
 122 1st Avenue                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Requested another teleconference with rural              
                      areas on-line.  Suggested focusing on job                
                      creation.                                                
                                                                               
 Jack Doyle, Executive Director                                                
 Food Bank of Alaska                                                           
 2121 Spar Avenue                                                              
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Mentioned the notion of working poor and                 
                      suggested addressing this issue in a case by             
                      case manner.                                             
                                                                               
 Holly Hollis                                                                  
 P.O. Box 870675                                                               
 Wasilla, Anchorage 99687                                                      
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed the employment situation with                  
                      regards to welfare.                                      
                                                                               
 Sashinka Evans                                                                
 College Student & Single Parent                                               
 1402 West 26 Avenue #B-12                                                     
 Anchorage, Alaska 99503                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Related her own experience with welfare.                 
                                                                               
 Joanne Yaskell                                                                
 200 W. 34th Box 337                                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska 99503                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Suggested reviewing the criteria for emergency           
                     medical relief, health care reform and                    
                     realizing that welfare reform involves                    
                     dignity.                                                  
                                                                               
 Elden Sandvik                                                                 
 50 Year Alaskan Resident                                                      
 P.O. Box 878464                                                               
 Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                         
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Urged the committee to throw away SB 98.                 
                                                                               
 Hosanna Lahaie Lee                                                            
 1902 Logan                                                                    
 Anchorage, Alaska 99508                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Related her personal experience with welfare.            
                                                                               
 Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik, Executive Director                                     
 Social Services in Mat-Su                                                     
 P.O. Box 878464                                                               
 Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                         
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Stated that SB 98 would cost more than it                
                      would save.                                              
                                                                               
 Molly Kudrin                                                                  
 P.O. Box 112174                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska 99511                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Related her personal experience with welfare.            
                                                                               
 Mary Raymond                                                                  
 P.O. Box 2335                                                                 
 Homer, Alaska 99603                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Suggested reviewing the regulations of welfare           
                     agencies in order to allow flexibility for                
                     individual cases.                                         
                                                                               
 Kathleen Owens                                                                
 420 W. 54th Avenue                                                            
 Anchorage, Alaska 99518                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Related her personal experience with welfare.            
                                                                               
 Louise Charles, Coordinator                                                   
 Job Oppportunities & Base Work Program                                        
 Tanana Chiefs Council                                                         
 122 1st Avenue                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Suggested improving school attendance and                
                      educational programs.  Discussed AFDC in                 
                      relation to rural areas.                                 
                                                                               
 Patrick Jamson                                                                
 P.O. Box 1994                                                                 
 Bethel, Alaska 99559                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed SB 98.                                           
                                                                               
 Virginia Charlie                                                              
 P.O. Box 2327                                                                 
 Bethely, Alaska 99559                                                         
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Inaudible testimony.                                     
                                                                               
 Angela Mordan-Oxford                                                          
 3741 Parsons #A                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska 99508                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed problems with various sections of               
                      SB 98.                                                   
                                                                               
 Debbie Bates                                                                  
 30 Year Alaskan Resident                                                      
 8243 B Seaview                                                                
 Anchorage, Alaska 99502                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed her experiences and the permanent              
                      fund dividend as in SB 98.                               
                                                                               
 Minnie Fisher                                                                 
 P.O. Box 873252                                                               
 Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                         
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Stated that the children would suffer under              
                      the permanent fund dividend.                             
                                                                               
 Elisabeth Kachlino                                                            
 Teacher                                                                       
 1650 E 27th                                                                   
 Anchorage, Alaska 99508                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported welfare reform, but addressed                  
                      problems with the bill.                                  
                                                                               
 Roy Brittain                                                                  
 HC 60 Box 330-M                                                               
 Copper Center, Alaska 99573                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed education and the increased costs of           
                     health care.                                              
                                                                               
 Carol Olson                                                                   
 Educator                                                                      
 1032 W. 11th Avenue                                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed SB 98.                                           
                                                                               
 Bonnie McGrew                                                                 
 3642 W 88 Apt 210                                                             
 Anchorage, Alaska 99502                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Related her personal experience.                         
                                                                               
 Joy Roberts                                                                   
 Full-time Student and Single Mother                                           
 331 S. Bragaw                                                                 
 Anchorage, Alaska 99508                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed her situation, especially in regard            
                      to the permanent fund dividend.                          
                                                                               
 Tony Rauh                                                                     
 230 W. 14th 305                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Recounted his personal experience.                       
                                                                               
 Carolyn Laffon                                                                
 1346 Old Seward                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska 99515                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Suggested a transition program.                          
                                                                               
 Kendall Thomas, Public Health Nurse                                           
 Alaska Women's Health Advocate                                                
 5350 Little Tree Street                                                       
 Anchorage, Alaska 99507                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Predicted that SB 98 would cost more than it             
                      would save.                                              
                                                                               
 Angela Salerno, Executive Director                                            
 National Association of Social Workers                                        
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Recommended placing SB 98 in a subcommittee.             
                                                                               
 Jinan Phillips-Martini, Executive Director                                    
 Kenai Peninsula Care Center                                                   
 320 S. Spruce                                                                 
 Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed SB 98.                                           
                                                                               
 Terry Baines                                                                  
 Sitka Tribe of Alaska                                                         
 456 Katlian                                                                   
 Sitka, Alaska 99835                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Addressed various areas of welfare reform                
                                                                               
 Lynn Murphy                                                                   
 3701 Eureka Street 22C                                                        
 Anchorage, Alaska 99503                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed her personal situation.                        
                                                                               
 Michael Totemoff                                                              
 Tatitlek, Alaska 99677                                                        
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed the need to feed, cloth, and shelter           
                      the poor.                                                
                                                                               
 Mary Place                                                                    
 2820 Fishhook Road                                                            
 Anchorage, Alaska 99654                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed cutting benefits.                                
                                                                               
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-14, SIDE A                                                            
                                                                               
 SHES - 3/13/95                                                                
                                                                               
          SB  98 PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT OF 1995                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN called the work session of the Senate Health,                  
 Education and Social Services (HESS) Committee to order at 10:10              
 a.m.  She noted that at present there were two pages of amendments            
 which would be presented at a later time.  She informed those who             
 had signed up to testify that there would be a five minute limit on           
 testimony.  As the work session progressed, the time allotted for             
 each testimony would be reduced in order to here as many people as            
 possible.                                                                     
                                                                               
 LEONARD FABICH, from the Russian Mission, felt that his life                  
 experience made him highly qualified to comment on the current                
 welfare situation.  He recounted his past experiences that varied             
 from trapping, commercial fishing, and teaching.  In his opinion,             
 as an educator, welfare had created the largest barrier to                    
 successful education.  He stated that his effectiveness as a                  
 teacher had been effected by welfare.  In the eight years he has              
 taught in Russian Mission, Mr. Fabich had seen the attitude of the            
 students deteriorate and the drop out rate escalate.  He noted that           
 it was not uncommon for students to drop out of school at age 16.             
 He explained that much of this can be attributed to community role            
 models; 50 percent of the village rely on some type of assistance.            
 He implied that those who receive assistance serve as role models             
 because they are the ones riding their snow machines during the               
 day, watching movies all night and sleeping until noon.  He                   
 informed everyone of the drop out statistics in the Russian Mission           
 community.  Reduction and loss of benefits to those who do not                
 place value on education should be a priority.  Mr. Fabich said               
 that in order to hold on to the present students, teachers are                
 decreasing the standards due to the overall poor work ethic of the            
 students.  He felt that if all children were encouraged by their              
 parents to attend school and work towards good grades significant             
 changes in the success of education would result.  Mr. Fabich                 
 stated that the current welfare funding levels are too high.  He              
 explained that the current culture of the Yupik Eskimo is being               
 lost.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 167                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN suggested that Mr. Fabich provide the committee with           
 any further comments in written testimony.  She also suggested that           
 if their are others who share Mr. Fabich's frustration, they too              
 could send written testimony for the committee.                               
                                                                               
 LEONARD FABICH read a letter from another teacher in the bush,                
 Julie Fitzcowski.  She indicated that welfare should be reformed.             
 Many village people who receive public assistance now view it as a            
 right, not a helping hand which leads to an apathetic attitude.               
 She suggested that students of welfare families should be required            
 to attend school a certain number of days in order for the family             
 to continue to receive assistance.  There should also be a cut-off            
 of welfare payments after a family reaches a preset limit in the              
 size of the family.  She also suggested that there should not be              
 welfare payments for unmarried women under age 18 with children.              
 She hoped that the welfare system would be reformed to promote work           
 and accountability from its recipients.                                       
                                                                               
 Mr. Sabich informed the committee that Mr. Fitzcowski felt that               
 persons under the age of 25 who have not completed high school                
 should be required to acquire a GED or job training in order to               
 obtain benefits.  Confirmation of student attendance and                      
 satisfactory progress should be required monthly in order to review           
 eligibility of the children for benefits.  Grants, bonuses, and               
 training should be offered so that people can establish home                  
 businesses and leave the welfare system.                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that Senators Ellis and Salo were on-line in             
 Juneau.  She invited Cynthia Lafferty from Fairbanks to testify.              
                                                                               
 Number 230                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked who was present in Anchorage.  She also inquired           
 as to the intentions for this meeting.                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN stated that testimony would be taken.  She noted               
 that Senator Leman and Senator Randy Phillips were present in                 
 Anchorage.  She clarified that this meeting would be a work session           
 to allow testimony from the Anchorage LIO and the various                     
 teleconference sites.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO expressed concern in Chairman Green's calling the                
 meeting a work session.  She pointed out that she and Senator Ellis           
 did not have copies of the amendments previously mentioned.                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN specified that the amendments had not been prepared.           
 After the meeting the amendments would be prepared and given to the           
 committee members.  She reiterated that the purpose of the meeting            
 would be to take testimony.                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS noted that he would have planned on attending the               
 meeting in Anchorage if he had received notice from Senator Green's           
 office in enough time to make arrangements.  He requested that if             
 a public hearing was scheduled in the future, the Minority be                 
 notified in order to make arrangements to fully participate in the            
 hearing.  He stated that the Minority did not receive notice in               
 enough time to make arrangements to attend the hearing in                     
 Anchorage.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 278                                                                    
                                                                               
 NANCY CAUGHELL, testifying in Anchorage, supported welfare reform,            
 but indicated with regard to her personal experience the need to              
 leave the hold harmless in the permanent fund dividend which SB 98            
 would eliminate.  She recounted her personal experience with the              
 welfare system and the barriers she had faced when attempting to              
 leave the system.  Discontinuing assistance in three to five years            
 of people with long-term medical problems would hurt those people.            
 She informed everyone of the barriers she faced when attempting to            
 leave the welfare system.  She addressed the issue of dead beat               
 parents.                                                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN stated that they are trying to promote workfare,               
 jobs, and encouraging everyone to continue their education.                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if Ms. Caughell's three children were            
 receiving child support.  NANCY CAUGHELL said no and explained her            
 situation with the children's father.  She noted that the children            
 did receive a permanent fund dividend.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 358                                                                    
                                                                               
 REVEREND J. L. SMITH, testifying from Anchorage, pointed out that             
 it is easy to plan, but implementing the plan is difficult.  He               
 suggested that the reality of possible cuts should be reviewed.  He           
 informed the committee that often unskilled low income employment             
 does not pay enough, the benefits are better.  He pointed out that            
 taking everything from dead beat dads would create another problem;           
 who would want to work when at the end of the week they do not                
 receive anything.  Another problem is related to job skills.  He              
 suggested that the education system be reconstructed to allow skill           
 training in the last few years of a student's education.  This                
 would help those who cannot go to a college.  He noted that this              
 skill training had been used in Montgomery, Alabama.                          
                                                                               
 Reverend Smith stated that those who need the permanent fund                  
 dividend are those on welfare.  Most people receive welfare because           
 there are no jobs.  He indicated that the reality of cuts would be            
 the loss of jobs which would put more people on the streets and               
 would probably lead to increases in crime.  He expressed the need             
 to review and attempt to solve the problems of the family unit.               
 Often welfare is the best choice when jobs are low paying and/or do           
 not offer benefits.  He asserted that everyone should realize that            
 we all made this problem and took away the parental rights of the             
 family.  He suggested that the state return the parental rights               
 back to the family.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 415                                                                    
                                                                               
 JACK COOK, Assistant Pastor at Greater Friendship Baptist Church,             
 asked what would be done with these parents and children that will            
 no longer receive public assistance.  He discussed the need for               
 families to assume their rightful place in society.  Fathers should           
 be accountable for their children and have the choice to                      
 participate in the raising of their children.  Perhaps, there                 
 should be parental training.  He suggested that men who are on the            
 run due to back child support and face the garnishment of their               
 wages should be given a moratorium in order to regain their                   
 respect.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Mr. Cook addressed the exploitation of women.  He suggested                   
 restoring the criminal penalties for rape to its former status.               
 Abortion should only be legalized in the situation of the eminent             
 death of the mother.  He felt that if a women willingly has                   
 intercourse with a man, they should be equally responsible. A woman           
 who has been violated should be able to name the person responsible           
 without fear.  Children should be accountable to their parents.  He           
 expressed the need for schools and government to support parental             
 efforts to nurture and support their children's well being.  In               
 conclusion, Mr. Cook stated that the permanent fund dividend was              
 granted to all Alaskans; it would be ridiculous to take the                   
 permanent fund dividend away from those who need it the most.                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked both pastors who they felt should be primarily            
 responsible for providing for needy people.                                   
                                                                               
 In response, JACK COOK said that historically, the local community            
 has been responsible for the welfare of those in the immediate area           
 of the community.  He explained that the structure had been set up            
 so that when the welfare of the needy could not be fulfilled by the           
 local community the next largest entity would take on that                    
 responsibility until it could not fulfill the needs and the next              
 largest entity would become involved.  This chain of responsibility           
 and support would reach all the way to the state level if necessary           
 and perhaps, the federal level.  Mr. Cook felt that the needy                 
 family and the local community would know their needs the best.               
                                                                               
 The discussion continued, REVEREND J. L. SMITH asserted that a lot            
 more could be done to help with the issue of welfare.  He explained           
 that many churches do not have benevolence offerings while others             
 offer as much support as possible.  There is a varied notion within           
 the church community as to the level of involvement the church                
 should have.  He pointed out that often the church is heavily                 
 involved in attacking social ills, but the community does not                 
 notice what takes place in the church.  The church could do more.             
 The community should be involved, they should recognize what the              
 church has to offer.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 510                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN felt that the pastors had been correct in pointing              
 out that the welfare system had been changed.  The system now                 
 places the federal government as the entity primarily responsible             
 for the welfare of the needy instead of the local community.  He              
 felt that individuals should be the ones primarily responsible for            
 the needy.  He agreed with the pastors that the churches could do             
 more and that individuals should do more to attack this problem.              
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN announced that in room 210, people could listen to             
 the teleconference and if they wished to testify they would be                
 called.  She noted that testimony would now be limited to two to              
 three minutes since more people had called in to testify.                     
                                                                               
 DONNA SCOTT, Director of the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks,           
 informed everyone that she was involved in a coalition on                     
 employment and training and organization for the non-profit                   
 employment and training directories throughout the state.  She also           
 noted that she is a member of the Alaska Job Training Council.  She           
 explained that the Tanana Chiefs Conference administered the JOBS             
 program for 14 villages in the Interior and eight villages in the             
 Arctic Slope.  She expressed concern about the process surrounding            
 SB 98.  Why are the rural areas not on-line; they too will be                 
 affected, not just the larger urban communities.  She requested               
 that the committee have another teleconference to accommodate the             
 rural areas.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Ms. Scott addressed the testimony of the first witness, Mr. Leonard           
 Fabich.  The reason people are on welfare in the rural areas is due           
 to the lack of jobs.  She emphasized that the discussion should be            
 focused on job creation, economic development.                                
                                                                               
 Number 559                                                                    
                                                                               
 JACK DOYLE, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Alaska,                    
 explained that the Food Bank serves as an umbrella for over 200               
 other non-profit agencies throughout Alaska.  SB 98 cuts welfare              
 from six to 15 percent.  He expressed concern with these cuts                 
 because the money seems to be going to people who need it.  Where             
 will the safety net be for those people after these cuts?  He was             
 concerned with the denial of the permanent fund dividend; that                
 money is needed.  Perhaps, the permanent fund dividend could be               
 spread over 12 months instead of receiving all the money at once.             
 He posed the question: how can welfare recipients make it with less           
 assistance when they cannot make it now at the current level of               
 assistance?                                                                   
                                                                               
 Mr. Doyle discussed the phenomena of the working poor which is                
 defined as both family members working at part-time positions which           
 leave the family at below the poverty level.  These people often              
 work at lower paying jobs that do not offer medical insurance.  He            
 suggested that often medical bills become the priority and the                
 children go to school hungry.  Hungry children do not learn as well           
 which could result in an uneducated population entering the labor             
 market.  He addressed the notion of training for existing jobs.               
                                                                               
 Mr. Doyle commented that many state social service agencies are               
 already financially stressed and additional clients will not be               
 served if there is no safety net for these agencies.  He pointed              
 out that all these agencies look to the same outside sources of               
 funding.  Funding will become competitive with a limited amount of            
 funding.  He suggested that this issue should be dealt with in a              
 case by case manner.                                                          
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-14, SIDE B                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 590                                                                    
                                                                               
 Mr. Doyle questioned the practicality of forcing single parent                
 families to live with their parents.  He urged the committee to               
 move with caution on these issues.  Who will provide the safety net           
 for those who need assistance and who will provide the funding for            
 that assistance?                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 587                                                                    
                                                                               
 HOLLY HOLLIS, testifying from Wasilla, expressed concern that the             
 suggestions to employ these people did not also address making jobs           
 available.  There are many people who would like to work, but there           
 may not be jobs available or they do not have the proper education.           
 Furthermore, when these people are employed, they often face low              
 rages that do not support the family.  She pointed out that the               
 welfare system was set up to be available to everyone.  She                   
 suggested that a volunteer program could be utilized to address the           
 issues of behavior and responsibility for these people.  She                  
 expressed dismay that persons on welfare often face condescension             
 from others.                                                                  
                                                                               
 SASHINKA EVANS, a college student and single parent, said that she            
 was not opposed to welfare reform, but without assistance she could           
 not attend college.  She posed the scenario that without assistance           
 she would be working a minimum wage job and face enormous child               
 care expenses; she would not be able to earn enough to live and pay           
 for child care.  Welfare reform should acknowledge those who are in           
 her situation.  There are people trying to do better for                      
 themselves.                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN applauded Ms. Evans efforts to obtain a better                 
 education.                                                                    
                                                                               
 JOANNE YASKELL read a portion of her story that ran in the Daily             
 News last week.  She was proud of the fact that she is a divorced            
 mother of two who has provided for herself and her children.  She             
 is an active member of the community who owns her own business.               
 She said that she never thought that she would be asking for                  
 support from the non-profit agencies for which she had once                   
 contracted her services.  She explained that she became unable to             
 obtain affordable health care insurance due to a pre-existing                 
 condition.  Her children are covered under their father's health              
 care insurance.  She recounted her surgeries and their costs.  With           
 medical expenses in excess of $33,000, no income, and minimal                 
 savings, Ms. Yaskell applied for emergency medical assistance.  She           
 was not eligible for emergency medical assistance because her bank            
 account of $542.84 was $42.84 more than allowable.  She asserted              
 that she no longer has even $42.00.  She did not for how long she             
 would be on a schedule with her children because she cannot provide           
 for them.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 500                                                                    
                                                                               
 Ms. Yaskell pointed out that the requirements for emergency medical           
 relief were the same as those for AFDC.  That does not make sense.            
 She expressed confusion in the reasoning behind placing someone who           
 needs emergency medical relief, a temporary situation, on a long-             
 term program.  After her article ran, she has received 15 callers             
 in support of her, two callers felt that if she had stayed with her           
 husband he would not be in this situation, and six callers told her           
 that she did not play the game.  Those six callers said that Ms.              
 Yaskell should not have admitted to having a bank account or being            
 a professional.  She asserted that she had integrity and would not            
 lie in order to receive assistance.  In conclusion, Ms. Yaskell               
 asked the committee to review the criteria for emergency medical              
 relief, review health care reform, and remember that welfare reform           
 is also about dignity as well as money.                                       
                                                                               
 ELDEN SANDVIK, an Alaskan resident for over 50 years, expressed               
 shame in regards to SB 98.  He suggested that welfare and reform be           
 defined.  SB 98 is not welfare reform, it is an attack on the poor.           
 To achieve welfare reform, the need for welfare must be eliminated.           
 He expressed disbelief to the idea of taking the permanent dividend           
 fund away from the blind, the elderly, the disabled, and poor                 
 children.  He noted that he had worked as an eligibility technician           
 for three years in a public assistance office and he had never seen           
 the so called "welfare queen."  He acknowledged that there is a               
 welfare problem.                                                              
                                                                               
 Mr. Sandvik pointed out that the legislature could not survive on             
 a $100 per diem which equals approximately $3,000 per month so they           
 raised the per diem to equal approximately $4,500 per month.  The             
 per diem is in addition to their salary.  In comparison to that               
 situation, a welfare mother with one child is expected to live on             
 $821 per month and now she would face a reduction.  He remembered             
 that someone had made the suggestion that welfare recipients need             
 assistance in budgeting their money; perhaps, the legislators need            
 assistance in budgeting their money as well.  He pointed out past             
 inconsistences in administrations.  Welfare for the rich needs to             
 be addressed.  There has been $60 million worth of subsidized state           
 loans to the those that have money.  He urged the committee to                
 throw this bill in the dump.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 447                                                                    
                                                                               
 HOSANNA LAHAIE LEE, testifying from Anchorage, was appalled that a            
 welfare recipient, herself, had to notify the media about this                
 meeting and that testimony was now being limited to three minutes.            
 Two or three minutes of testimony is not sufficient.  She noted               
 that she has a chronic illness with a probable secondary diagnosis.           
 She said that she would give her life in order to be able to work             
 again.  She informed the committee that she receives social                   
 security disability and disability assistance.  After reporting               
 that she received $65 per month, she lost her Medicare because that           
 is $32 per month more than is allowable.                                      
                                                                               
 Ms. Lee pointed out that most of the legislators do not have family           
 members on assistance and implied that they cannot know about the             
 situation.  She inquired as to who the legislators were helping.              
 She addressed a successful pilot program in Alaska.  She challenged           
 the committee to have more of these meetings.  The truth regarding            
 the availability of funds, jobs, child care, and skills training              
 should be revealed.  She explained that she had applied for a                 
 program and while applying she met a man who was applying as well.            
 This man had children.  She wanted to give this man the job and               
 intended to do so.  She recounted various stories of welfare                  
 recipients.  She asserted that having the funds to focus on                   
 people's self-esteem is critical.  She concluded by recommending              
 the consolidation of services with individual's in the community              
 being mentors.                                                                
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN requested a copy of Ms. Lee's testimony in order to            
 put it in the packet.  An indiscernible discussion ensued between             
 the senators and Ms. Lee.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 351                                                                    
                                                                               
 In response to the senators, Ms. Lee explained that after sitting             
 in welfare offices and talking to individuals there, she had                  
 discovered that people coming to Alaska did want to work.  Those              
 same people cited child care as a problem.  She pointed out the               
 need for a comprehensive review to stop the shame; help people help           
 themselves.                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN said that the work fair portion of the bill attempts           
 to address what Ms. Lee spoke of.  HOSANNA LEE emphasized that the            
 rules that penalizing people like herself should be changed.  She             
 explained the shame she feels in receiving welfare.  She charged              
 the committee to help everyone to become employed and increase                
 their self-esteem.                                                            
                                                                               
 PAMELA LUTGEN-SANDVIK, testifying from Mat-Su, noted that Section             
 28 and the increase in Medicaid coverage are positive aspects of              
 SB 98.  The remainder of the bill poses a major punishment to the             
 poor, disabled, elderly, and the blind.  She pointed out that the             
 explanation of SB 98 states that the bill attempts to provide the             
 opportunity and the incentive to become self sufficient.  That                
 specifies the problem with cutting welfare, nothing is offered in             
 return for cutting welfare.  She explained that there are                     
 approximately 1,500 to 2,000 AFDC families in her community, there            
 are only 18 or 19 jobs in the paper.  There is no work for these              
 people.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Ms. Lutgen-Sandvik, Executive Director of Social Services, informed           
 the committee that there are no jobs to give the people she sees in           
 her agency.  She mentioned that a clerk position received 21                  
 applicants, some of which have college degrees.  She expressed                
 dislike of the permanent dividend portion of SB 98.  She questioned           
 if the working parent who barely makes it now would still receive             
 their permanent fund dividend.                                                
                                                                               
 Ms. Lutgen-Sandvik pointed out that SB 98 places additional                   
 responsibilities on the Division of Public Assistance (DPA) such as           
 alcohol and substance abuse screening, school attendance screening,           
 mental and emotional support systems.  DPA cannot keep up with the            
 work they have now and when people quit the division does not fill            
 the position.  SB 98 would cost more money than it would save.                
                                                                               
 Number 289                                                                    
                                                                               
 MOLLY KUDRIN, currently on welfare, said that she did not like                
 being on welfare.  The six to 15 percent cut wouls hurt those on              
 welfare even more.  She urged the committee not to take away the              
 permanent fund dividend which she uses for the well-being of her              
 children.  She noted that she had worked for the federal government           
 and after leaving that job she returned to school for computer                
 technology.  She is hoping that the state will hire her.  She wants           
 to help herself as well as having the state help her get off                  
 assistance.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Ms. Kudrin asked Chairman Green if she would be willing to give up            
 her permanent fund dividend.  Everyone has the right to receive the           
 permanent fund dividend.  She recounted a hardship that she                   
 experienced during Christmas.  She commented that she could help              
 herself and was going to school and wanted to work.                           
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN said that they wanted SB 98 to create more                     
 opportunities and flexibility in encouraging people to return to              
 work.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 213                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARY RAYMOND, testifying from Homer, reiterated the need to not               
 punish people by taking away the permanent fund dividend.  She                
 reminded the committee that the welfare program often discourages             
 people because as soon as people on assistance attempt to help                
 themselves and they make a few dollars over the limit, they lose              
 their benefits.  There are other programs that could be cut such as           
 the longevity bonus.  She suggested reviewing the regulations of              
 the welfare agencies so as to allow a flexibility for individual              
 cases.  She charged the legislative body to review manners in which           
 to create employment.                                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN reiterated the need to allow flexibility of agency             
 workers to use exceptions and waivers in certain cases.  She                  
 announced that another statewide teleconference would be held on              
 Saturday, March 25th in Juneau.  The meeting would be properly                
 noticed in the papers.  She noted that anyone can call in.                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN stated that she intended to remove the permanent               
 fund dividend portion of SB 98.  She explained that the permanent             
 fund dividend is a Department of Revenue issue.  This legislation             
 attempts to help the Department of Health & Social Services better            
 serve the needs of those needing assistance.  The permanent fund              
 dividend can better be handled in another forum.                              
                                                                               
 Number 149                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS noted for everyone that removing the permanent fund             
 dividend portion of SB 98 should not be of great relief.  Denial of           
 the permanent fund dividend to those living in poverty is contained           
 in another house and senate bill both of which are moving very                
 quickly in the process towards becoming law.                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS informed everyone that the senate bill was             
 SB 37 of which he was prime sponsor.  SB 37 is currently in Senate            
 Finance.  He pointed out that SB 37 exempts those who receive                 
 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Adult Public Assistance (APA)           
 which add up to approximately 8,000 people.  Those who receive SSI            
 or APA would receive their permanent fund dividend as well as their           
 current assistance.  He noted that all others receiving other types           
 of assistance would not receive their dividend.                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS clarified that the other 24,000 would include the               
 poor children and their parents.  SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS replied              
 that would be correct.                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS asked Senator Randy Phillips if he knew the status of           
 Representative Kott's bill.  SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS did not know              
 the status of that bill.  Senator Randy Phillips noted that he and            
 Representative Kott had not coordinated their legislation.                    
                                                                               
 Number 116                                                                    
                                                                               
 KATHLEEN OWENS stated that she was currently a resident at Claire             
 House.  She emphasized that she needed AFDC now.  She did not think           
 it was fair to take assistance away from her.  People on assistance           
 are not lazy.  She explained that she had graduated from high                 
 school and she attended Girl's State as well.  She emphasized that            
 everyone needs health care; Medicaid should remain.  She explained            
 that currently her doctor had ordered that she not work due to her            
 high risk pregnancy.  She recounted her bad experience with child             
 care.  Funding should not be cut from those, like herself, who are            
 doing the best that they can.                                                 
                                                                               
 In response to one of the senators, Ms. Owens informed everyone she           
 came with her husband to Alaska in order to work in Dutch Harbor.             
 Ms. Owens discussed her history of abuse.  She stated that the                
 people at Claire House were wonderful and had helped her                      
 tremendously.                                                                 
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-15, SIDE A                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 006                                                                    
                                                                               
 LOUISE CHARLES, Job Opportunities & Base Work Program Coordinator,            
 Tanana Chiefs Conference, testifying from Fairbanks, informed the             
 committee that she is originally from Southwest Alaska and is a               
 Yupik Eskimo.  She informed the committee that people use snow                
 machines for subsistence food gathering activities.  Ms. Charles              
 thinks school attendance and educational programs should be                   
 improved to encourage students to strive for higher educational               
 opportunities.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 060                                                                    
                                                                               
 Ms. Charles reminded committee members that the cost of living is             
 two to six times higher in rural Alaska, so decreasing AFDC would             
 severely impact rural areas.  There are also few employment                   
 opportunities if any in rural Alaska.  She expressed the need to              
 coordinate employment programs and local-hire programs.  Ms.                  
 Charles thinks things are moving to quickly, and we need long-term            
 goals.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 090                                                                    
                                                                               
 PATRICK JAMSON, testifying from Bethel, opposed SB 98.  He                    
 applauded encouraging AFDC recipients to seek jobs, but in rural              
 Alaska, there are no jobs available.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 129                                                                    
                                                                               
 VIRGINIA CHARLIE, testifying from Bethel, stated she works in the             
 same office as Mr. Jamson.  Due to unintelligible teleconferece               
 transmission the remainder of Ms. Charlie's testimony is unclear.             
                                                                               
 Number 139                                                                    
                                                                               
 ANGELA MORDAN-OXFORD, testifying from Anchorage, stated that                  
 Section 1 infers that people on public assistance have no desire to           
 take personal responsibility.  Section 2 penalizes children for               
 decisions made by adults, and for circumstances over which they               
 have no control.  She felt that the permanent fund dividend                   
 provided basic needs not afforded by AFDC.  Ms. Mordan-Oxford                 
 stated that Section 4 does not allow for rising rental payments in            
 the Anchorage area.  Section 10 does not have proper regulations.             
 Section 16 does not allow for parents of handicapped children.  A             
 parent might be employable, but that does not mean they can afford            
 to be employed.  If they have a child with pre-existing conditions            
 who would not be covered by their employer's health insurance they            
 often cannot afford to work.  Ms. Mordan-Oxford asks how "totally             
 handicapped" would be defined.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 175                                                                    
                                                                               
 Ms. Mordan-Oxford commented that the section addressing personal              
 responsibility is slanderous.  Ms. Mordan-Oxford related her                  
 personal experience with her handicapped child and the difficulties           
 they have had.  She also questioned dividing Anchorage in to four             
 project areas and asked for an explanation on "uncompensated work             
 in a project area."                                                           
                                                                               
 In response to Ms. Mordan-Oxford, CHAIRMAN GREEN replied SB 98 does           
 not contain any language referring to group homes.  MS. MORDAN-               
 OXFORD declared that SB 98 does refer to group homes: it                      
 stipulates that teenage mothers to be in group homes, foster homes,           
 or maternity homes.                                                           
                                                                               
 DEBBIE BATES, testifying from Anchorage, informed the committee she           
 is a 30-year Alaska resident, and was in the work force for more              
 than 15 years.  Ms. Bates stated that she has two children, and it            
 costs more than the amount she pays for rent to pay someone to                
 raise her children for her while she goes to work.  In order for              
 her to pay for child care and still meet her minimum living                   
 expenses, she must make $14 per hour.  She has a college degree,              
 and still cannot find a job that pays enough to support her family.           
 Ms. Bates remarked, regarding the cutting of permanent fund                   
 dividend to public assistance recipients, that the legislature is             
 engineering punitive damages against recipients.  The only other              
 group excluded from receiving the permanent fund dividend are                 
 criminals.   That is not fair.  Ms. Bates expressed the need to               
 teach people how to budget their money and to become self                     
 sufficient, not just have someone tell them to be self sufficient,            
 without giving them the tools.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 258                                                                    
                                                                               
 MINNIE FISHER, testifying from Mat-Su, testified that there needs             
 to be welfare reform.  There should be stricter field                         
 investigations on welfare recipients.  We need in-state job                   
 training.  Ms. Fisher thinks the children are the ones who would be           
 hit hardest by the provision taking away permanent fund dividend.             
 She asked Chairman Green to come with her when the chairman gets              
 home to see how people spend their dividends.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 290                                                                    
                                                                               
 ELISABETH A. KACHLINO, teacher, testifying from Anchorage, stated             
 she is in favor of welfare reform: no system is perfect, no system            
 will make everyone happy.  However, she is present to speak on                
 behalf of the students she has taught in the Anchorage School                 
 District.  She expressed concern with the denial of the permanent             
 fund dividend and the creation of classes of citizenship, the                 
 necessity of children to use Medicare and Medicaid to obtain                  
 necessary medical services, and the damage which would be done to             
 family relationships when they face financial problems.  She agreed           
 that parents should be responsible, but this bill would penalize              
 the children.  The efforts of the legislature and congress are not            
 reform; they would only further stratify social classes, and                  
 nothing in the proposed reform would assure parent responsibility.            
 Responsibility can be neither enacted nor enforced.  She suggested            
 working toward assisting, not penalizing.  Ms. Kachlino informed              
 the committee that she already supplies her students with many                
 things their families cannot afford.  She predicted that there                
 would be more family break-down if aid is cut further.                        
                                                                               
 Number 330                                                                    
                                                                               
 Ms. Kachlino asserted that the state should end everyone's free               
 ride: the citizens of Alaska are not over-taxed.  She stated her              
 parents, who live in Pennsylvania, paid $3,000 dollars last year              
 for school taxes alone.  Pennsylvania does not give senior citizen            
 tax breaks, either.  Ms. Kachlino recommended re-implementing a $10           
 a year school tax which would go directly to the schools.                     
                                                                               
 Number 350                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked Ms. Kachlino at what school she                  
 teaches.  MS. KACHLINO said that she teaches at Muldoon Elementary.           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked Ms. Kachlino how parents spend their             
 children's dividends.  MS. KACHLINO noted that one family went to             
 Hawaii.  She thought that was frivolous, but that was a family                
 decision; a decision everyone should have a right to make.  Other             
 families spend their dividends on medical, clothing, and housing              
 needs.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 359                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated the intent of the dividend program              
 was to insure the permanent fund, and for recipients to purchase              
 desired or needed services.  Senator Phillips asserted that                   
 dividends were supposed to be used for the purchase of services               
 people request of the government.                                             
                                                                               
 MS. KACHLINO reminded Senator Phillips that the income tax was                
 abolished because the state did not need the money when oil                   
 revenues became large.  She said that is no longer the case, and              
 Alaskans are not over-taxed.  Ms. Kachlino stated she is willing to         
 pay more taxes.  Most people should be willing to pay.  She                   
 recommends re-implementing school and income taxes.                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS noted that the school tax would only                   
 generate about $3,000,000 or $4,000,000.  MS. KACHLINO interjected,           
 that is $3,000,000 or $4,000,000 we don't have right now.                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS commented that it would be implemented at the 1969              
 level.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 378                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS repeated that the intent of the dividend               
 program was to be used for desired services.  The new generation of           
 kids receiving dividends think they can spend it any way they want.           
 Senator Phillips expressed his belief that most dividends are spent           
 on non-necessities.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 392                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. KACHLINO informed the committee that "Johnny", who already                
 knows he is a "have not", will know so even more during the period            
 of October - December when the dividend checks are distributed.               
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS reminded Ms. Kachlino that under current               
 law, a child who does not receive a dividend can apply for missed             
 dividends.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 399                                                                    
                                                                               
 ROY BRITTAIN, testifying from Glennallen, opposed parts of SB 98.             
 He commented that other things have contributed to the short-fall             
 in the state treasury.  During the surplus years, money was being             
 spent by the state like a bunch of drunk sailors.  The high fees              
 charged by medical and health-care facilities and the spiraling               
 cost of education have contributed to the problem.  Mr. Brittain              
 does not think the rising cost of education has improved education.           
 He stated that for people earning minimum wage, almost any medical            
 situation is beyond their ability to pay.  He suggested removing              
 the permanent fund dividend from state employees and legislators              
 and other people receiving state funds.  Those people are no better           
 than the handicapped.  Mr. Brittain also suggestes looking into               
 fraud and pork-barreling.  The most unfortunate people should be              
 able to vote themselves a raise, just like the legislators do.  If            
 it's good enough for the legislators, it should be good enough for            
 the rest of us.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 425                                                                    
                                                                               
 CAROL OLSON, testifying from Anchorage, stated she is an Anchorage            
 educator and has been in Alaska since 1969 and is aware of the                
 history behind the dividend.  She has no connection with welfare,             
 other than some of her students being recipients.  Ms. Olson                  
 objected to SB 98 and to the denial of permanent fund dividend to             
 recipients of public aid.  She objected to recipients being                   
 permanently taken off the welfare rolls at the end of five years,             
 regardless of need.                                                           
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN interjected that SB 98 would not do that.  She                 
 stated that there is flexibility built in to the bill, and that               
 judgement calls could be made.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 445                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS OLSON found it ironic that legislators increased their per diem,           
 but want to decrease welfare benefits by six to 15 percent.  She              
 hoped people would keep in mind the need to be their brothers and             
 sisters keepers.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 461                                                                    
                                                                               
 BONNIE MCGREW, testifying from Anchorage, stated she is on                    
 disability.  Medicaid does not cover a lot of health needs and if             
 the permanent fund dividend is denied, it will cause hardships.               
 Ms. McGrew stated that her health problems had caused her to quit             
 work because she was not able to get insurance.                               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Ms. McGrew if she would be staying in contact            
 with Senator Phillips.  BONNIE MCGREW responded she was.                      
                                                                               
 Number 471                                                                    
                                                                               
 JOY ROBERTS, a full-time student at the University of Alaska and              
 single mother informed the committee that she is on the                       
 chancellor's list.  She is halfway through school.  Ms. Roberts               
 explained that she began receiving public assistance when she was             
 pregnant with her youngest child, and her husband left her.  Of her           
 six children, four have special needs.  Ms. Roberts emphasized that           
 she had given to the welfare system when she was working, and she             
 planed to do the same in the future.  There are people out there              
 who are trying.  She plans to be off welfare in a couple of years             
 when she receives her degree.  She has paid for most of her                   
 education herself with her permanent fund.  If the legislature                
 wants to take away dividends from people whom they feel do not                
 spend those dividends properly, they should take it away from                 
 everyone they feel do not spend it properly, not just single                
 parents.  That is discrimination; it is not right.  Ms. Roberts               
 stated she supports herself and her six children on $1,300 per                
 month.  When her husband left her, she could have gotten a full-              
 time job, but with three children not in school, her day-care                 
 expenses would have been greater than her salary.                             
 Number 524                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked Ms. Roberts if she is receiving child support.            
                                                                               
 JOY ROBERTS explained that she does receive child support which               
 goes directly to public assistance.  She does not receive it; it              
 reimburses the system.  Ms. Roberts informed the committee that the           
 paperwork involved in receiving assistance is invasive.  She is               
 trying to work with the system, and she does not want anything more           
 taken away from her.                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN acknowledged the importance of Ms. Roberts' decision            
 not to take the child support so she could go on welfare.  BONNIE             
 ROBERTS explained that child support was raised in the fall, for              
 that reason receiving child support would prove more beneficial.              
 However, that child support would have lasted only six months,                
 until her oldest child turned 18.  If Senator Leman had ever gone             
 through the paperwork to receive public aid, he would realize that            
 it would be easier not to receive the child support and remain on             
 welfare rather than going through the welfare process again.  She             
 does not have time as a full-time student and a single parent of              
 six children to jump through all the hoops.  She does not know what           
 it is like just to have an extra 15 minutes.                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN thanked Ms. Roberts for pointing out that flaw in              
 the system.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 556                                                                    
                                                                               
 TONY RAUH, testifying from Anchorage, informed the committee he has           
 a head injury.  He and his wife are both disabled and both receive            
 SSI and APA.  Mr. Rauh reported that the State of Alaska has an               
 insurance program for people who can't get regular health                     
 insurance, but the premiums are too high for individuals receiving            
 disability.  He wants to know if the state could give a price break           
 on the insurance premium to people with disabilities.  He also does           
 not want the permanent fund dividend denied to people with                    
 disabilities.                                                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked Mr. Rauh if he was on SSI or APA.                
 TONY RAUH clarified that he is on both.                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS told Mr. Rauh that in that case, he would              
 continue to receive SSI, APA, and a permanent fund dividend.  TONY            
 RAUH commented that Alaska is better than other states.                       
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-15, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 578                                                                    
                                                                               
 CAROLYN LAFFON pointed out that the people who are on welfare now             
 need to be separated from those who are going to be on welfare in             
 the future.  She said there should be some transition program for             
 people who are currently on welfare and a program for teaching the            
 new rules.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 551                                                                    
                                                                               
 CYNTHIA LAFFERTY, a mother on welfare with a special needs                    
 daughter, emphasized that she is doing everything possible to make            
 her daughter a whole human being when she grows up however, right             
 now she needs extra help and extra money.  There is a difference              
 between people who are trying to get themselves mentally together             
 and those people who do nothing for themselves.                               
                                                                               
 KENDALL THOMAS, Public Health Nurse representing the Alaska Women's           
 Health Advocate (AWHA), said they recognize the need for reform to            
 the existing welfare system, but they do not support SB 98.  SB 98            
 lacks the provisions to offer long-term sustaining solutions to               
 assist the people of the state to provide for themselves and their            
 families.  Cutting benefits puts families in peril.  Many of the              
 families receiving benefits that will face cuts are single mothers            
 with children.  She predicted that SB 98 would cost the government            
 more in the long-term than it could ever hope to save the state.              
                                                                               
 AWHA supports reform that keeps the dignity of the family in tact,            
 offers realistic solutions to getting off public assistance while             
 supporting individuals and families to assume responsibility for              
 their actions.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 495                                                                    
                                                                               
 ANGELA SALERNO, Executive Director of the National Association of             
 Social Workers, supported welfare reform and agreed with the                  
 objectives of SB 98.  Some of the provisions are excellent, some              
 are flawed, and some simply won't succeed in promoting the                    
 independence we are all looking for.  The reduction of benefits in            
 Section 7 will make families less able to care for their children             
 which is the goal of the AFDC program.  This bill calls for denial            
 of interim public assistance as the first part of the appeals                 
 process.  They would then be forced to repay benefits...                      
                                                                               
 Ms. Salerno supported Section 26 which regards treatment for drug             
 abuse.  She heartily supported Section 28.  She supported Section             
 29 which establishes a workfare program; the JOBS program in this             
 state functions very well.  Alaska has an economy that cannot                 
 support everyone nor afford a living wage to everyone.  The state             
 does not spend five cents on skills training.  She explained that             
 anyone who needs job training in this state must go to JTPA whose             
 funds are being cut at the federal level.  More funding is needed             
 for job training and we need more cheap management for people who             
 they track into work.  There needs to be a variety of services to             
 ensure that people return to work and stay there.                             
                                                                               
 Ms. Salerno recommended that SB 98 be put into a subcommittee where           
 it could be worked on without an emotionally charged atmosphere.              
 She strongly supported having a task force to address the issue.              
 She offered her services and the services of her organization.                
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN, referring to her comment about a task force, noted             
 that the legislative process is a public process where everyone can           
 have input.  Ms. Salerno believed that cutting the budget for                 
 programs which are severely needed was possibly motivated by                  
 politics.                                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR PHILLIPS agreed that the legislature is the proper forum              
 for discussing this issue.  Ms. Salerno did not want to discourage            
 the process.  She offered her services and emphasized the fact that           
 welfare reform was a huge job which needed as much information as             
 possible.  Everyone needs to work together.                                   
                                                                               
 JINAN PHILLIPS-MARTINI, Executive Director, Kenai Peninsula Care              
 Center, opposed SB 98.  She explained that they treat adolescents             
 with emotional problems as well as work with families to resolve              
 family conflicts.  She said there are social problems and then                
 there are problems with personal irresponsibility.  The way to                
 overcome poverty is to create quality affordable child care and               
 health coverage, and good paying jobs.                                        
                                                                               
 She commented that much legislation on this issue does not respect            
 the job of parenting which is one of the most important, most                 
 difficult, and most time consuming of any job.  Parenting is of               
 greater value than going out into the work force and earning money.           
 If parents are not allowed time with their kids, they cannot                  
 provide the structure and discipline their children need.                     
                                                                               
 She was concerned that the reforms try to punish the few abusers.             
 The abusers are not the majority of people on welfare programs.               
 Reform in this direction would create desperation and people who              
 cannot make ends meet would resort to crime.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 317                                                                    
                                                                               
 TERRY BAINES, Sitka, said he works for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska on           
 a tribal management grant to the Indian Health Service.  He also              
 has two severely handicapped children who receive a significant               
 amount of assistance from the state.  It is important to offer                
 incentives for citizens to become self sufficient; he agreed with             
 people being personally responsible.                                          
                                                                               
 He cited several issues that he felt were as important as the                 
 financial aspect of the welfare reform:  subsistence culture,                 
 mental health, and alcoholism.  They need to be addressed as a                
 system.  Budget cuts leave out enhanced economic development                  
 opportunities in rural areas.                                                 
                                                                               
 TERRY BAINES said that abuse of the welfare system has become a               
 lifestyle for some people.  Time is needed for families to                    
 transition from the system to self sufficiency.  There should be              
 the opportunity to develop some skills, education, and training to            
 head in that direction.  As abuse and fraud of the system are                 
 addressed, care should be taken in order to not penalize families             
 and children for federal government lack of foresight.                        
                                                                               
 Number 272                                                                    
                                                                               
 LYNN MURPHY informed the committee that although she has a southern           
 accent, she didn't move here from Mississippi because of Alaska's             
 welfare program.  She has three children and has been receiving               
 public funds for three years.  She said she now owns property and             
 must pay taxes.  Without the Permanent Fund, she cannot pay her               
 taxes.  Her children count on having new school clothes in October,           
 because of the Permanent Fund.  She said that she was not on                  
 welfare by choice.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 227                                                                    
                                                                               
 MICHAEL TOTEMOFF asked them not to harm the elderly, the disabled,            
 the poor, or the children.  He asked that the poor be fed, clothed,           
 and given shelter.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 222                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARY PLACE, testifying in Anchorage, informed everyone that each              
 time she tried to get off welfare the support system had not been             
 there.  She has tried to go to school for two and half years.                 
 There was no daycare and she was going through a divorce.  She has            
 had to stop going to school because she could not afford it.  She             
 opposed cutting benefits.                                                     
                                                                               
 At this point there was an indiscernible conversation between Ms.             
 Place and Senator Green.                                                      
                                                                               
 The meeting was adjourned at 1:35 p.m.                                        
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects