Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/30/2001 04:55 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
      SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE                                                                    
                         April 30, 2001                                                                                         
                            4:55 p.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyda Green, Chair                                                                                                       
Senator Loren Leman, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Gary Wilken                                                                                                             
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
Senator Jerry Ward                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 38                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to a new optional group of  persons eligible for                                                              
medical assistance  who require treatment  for breast  or cervical                                                              
cancer; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                   
     Committee Action: See HB 65                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 65(HES)                                                                                                   
"An Act relating  to a new optional group of  persons eligible for                                                              
medical assistance  who require treatment  for breast  or cervical                                                              
cancer; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                   
     MOVED SCS CSHB 65(HESS) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Confirmation Hearings for the Board  of Dental Examiners, Board of                                                              
Dispensing Opticians,  Board of  Education and Early  Development,                                                              
Board of Marital  and Family Therapy, State Medical  Board, Alaska                                                              
Mental  Health  Trust  Authority   Board  of  Trustees,  Board  of                                                              
Certified  Direct  Entry  Midwives,  Board of  Nursing,  Board  of                                                              
Examiners of Optometry, Board of  Pharmacy, State Physical Therapy                                                              
and Occupational Therapy Board, Board  of Professional Counselors,                                                              
Professional    Teaching    Practices   Commission,    Board    of                                                              
Psychologists  and Psychological  Associate Examiners,  University                                                              
of Alaska Board of Regents and Board of Social Work Examiners.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 192                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to  child care  grants;  and  providing for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
     MOVED SB 192 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 142(HES)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating  to the Alaska temporary assistance  program; and                                                              
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     MOVED SCS CSHB 142(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 1(STA)                                                                     
Relating   to   establishing  a   Task   Force   on  a   Statewide                                                              
Comprehensive Energy Plan.                                                                                                      
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 94                                                                                       
"An Act relating  to the financing of major maintenance  of public                                                              
school  facilities; authorizing  the  commissioner  of revenue  to                                                              
sell the  right to receive  a portion  of the anticipated  revenue                                                              
from  a certain  tobacco  litigation  settlement  to the  Northern                                                              
Tobacco  Securitization Corporation;  relating to  the deposit  of                                                              
certain  anticipated revenue  from  a certain  tobacco  litigation                                                              
settlement;  authorizing the  issuance  of bonds  by the  Northern                                                              
Tobacco  Securitization  Corporation   with  proceeds  to  finance                                                              
public school  major maintenance;  and providing for  an effective                                                              
date."                                                                                                                          
     MOVED SSSB 94 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
SB 38 - See Labor and Commerce minutes date 2/01/01 and 2/15/01                                                                 
        and HESS minutes dated 4/23/01.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HCR 1 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/24/01.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB 94 - See HESS minutes dated 3/16/01, 3/28/01.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mary Louden Johnson, Coordinator                                                                                                
Fairbanks Breast Cancer Support Group                                                                                           
Fairbanks, AK 99701                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 38                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Karen Perdue, Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Health &                                                                                                          
  Social Services                                                                                                               
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99801-0601                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 65                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Victoria Shaver                                                                                                                 
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 65                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Carla Williams                                                                                                                  
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 65                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Marsha Hastings                                                                                                                 
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 65                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Shelly Coolidge                                                                                                                 
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 65                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Kristy Tibbles                                                                                                                  
Legislative Aide to Senator Drue Pearce                                                                                         
Room 119                                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 192                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
YVONNE CHASE, Deputy Commissioner of Early Development                                                                          
Department of Education &                                                                                                       
 Early Development                                                                                                              
        th                                                                                                                      
801 W 10 St.                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK  99801-1894                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 192                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JOY LYON, President                                                                                                             
Alaska Chapter of the National Association of the Education of                                                                  
Young Children (AAEYC)                                                                                                          
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 192                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
GWENI MAKI, Owner and Director                                                                                                  
ABC Child Care Center                                                                                                           
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 192                                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
Patrick Flynn, Aide to Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                                           
Alaska State Capitol, Room 404                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HCR 1                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-01-42, SIDE A                                                                                                         
Number 001                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN LYDA GREEN called the Senate Committee meeting to order                                                              
at  4:55 p.m.  Present  were  Senators  Leman, Wilken,  Davis  and                                                              
Green.  Senator Ward  arrived  at  5:50 p.m.  The  first order  of                                                              
business was SB 38.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
        SB  38-MEDICAL ASSISTANCE:BREAST/CERVICAL CANCER                                                                    
        HB  65-MEDICAL ASSISTANCE:BREAST/CERVICAL CANCER                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  recapped written  testimony that told  the story                                                              
of a college student who was repeatedly  dismissed as too young to                                                              
have   cervical  abnormalities   each  time   she  described   the                                                              
difficulties she was having to various  physicians. At no time was                                                              
she offered free cervical screening  even though she qualified for                                                              
the service.  At the  age of  26 she  was diagnosed with  cervical                                                              
cancer and died  at the age of 28. The friends  relating the story                                                              
expressed support for SB 38.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY LOUDEN JOHNSON,  coordinator for the Fairbanks  Breast Cancer                                                              
Support Group, testified  via teleconference in support  of SB 38.                                                              
The group  represents about  150 women and  has some  members that                                                              
have been  recently diagnosed  with breast  cancer and  others who                                                              
are 15 year survivors.  She noted that, on average,  one woman per                                                              
week is  diagnosed with breast  cancer. Although most  members are                                                              
working women  with insurance,  they want  to support those  women                                                              
who are not fortunate enough to have coverage.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  announced HB  65 was moved  to the  Senate after                                                              
the  hearing for  SB 38  was scheduled.  Because  they are  mirror                                                              
bills, permission was received to  waive the 24-hour rule so HB 65                                                              
could be heard instead of SB 38.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN moved adoption of CSHB  65, version F as the working                                                              
document. There were no objections.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN noted that the language  in section 1, subsection                                                              
(b) requires that not more than $175,800.00  of general fund money                                                              
be spent in fiscal year 2002, and  not more than $189,500 be spent                                                              
in 2003.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
She asked Senator Leman to address page 2, line 3.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN explained  that the Department of  Health and Social                                                              
Services would  provide information  on environmental,  behavioral                                                              
and genetic  factors contributing  to breast and  cervical cancer.                                                              
From this, recommendations would  be made to reduce the incidences                                                              
in Alaska.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN moved adoption of amendment 1.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  explained amendment 1 requires  that information                                                              
concerning the total  medical cost per person for  the fiscal year                                                              
preceding the  date of the report,  whether paid for by  the state                                                              
or not, shall be provided separately  for each person who receives                                                              
assistance under section  1 of the bill. The information  would be                                                              
presented  in a way  that would  not allow  the identification  of                                                              
individuals.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS objected to the amendment.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN responded she wants  to know what the charges are                                                              
and what  the state  is actually paying  because she  believes the                                                              
measure is under  funded for the predicted number  of individuals.                                                              
She  wants  to  ensure that  Medicaid  is  not  requiring  Alaskan                                                              
doctors, vendors,  oncologists and others to settle  for an agreed                                                              
upon sum over which there is no control.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GREEN asked  that a representative from  the Department of                                                              
Health and Social Services speak to the amendment.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 319                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
KAREN PERDUE, Commissioner of the  Department of Health and Social                                                              
Services,  said  she saw  some  implementation problems  with  the                                                              
amendment  because  the total  medical  cost  per person  for  the                                                              
fiscal  year preceding  the date  of the report  may include  time                                                              
when the person  is not on medical assistance and  is therefore no                                                              
business  of  the state.  Additionally,  there  is no  method  for                                                              
collecting that private information.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  said her reason  for gathering  that information                                                              
is that  the measure  is under  funded and  not because  she wants                                                              
individuals to  be identified. She  wanted to know what  the total                                                              
billing would be and what amount Medicaid would pay.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PERDUE  replied the  fiscal note was  developed using                                                              
actual yearly  Medicaid  payments for breast  and cervical  cancer                                                              
diagnoses. From this data, they averaged  the cost per experience.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN asked  whether  the data  was  collected on  the                                                              
State's fiscal year.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PERDUE  said the fiscal  note was written  to collect                                                              
the information that way.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN said  the  way  the accounting  is  done is  the                                                              
department's  decision but  it is  important to  know how much  is                                                              
being paid for the service.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
She then  asked whether the  treatment expenses were  those coming                                                              
just from the State of Alaska.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PERDUE responded that  although some treatment is not                                                              
done in  state they do  have a policy  that favors  using in-state                                                              
providers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  commented that  if they have enough  information                                                              
to make the  payment, that's the information she's  talking about.                                                              
She wants to know what the impact is on the system.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS  asked why  the funding is  limited to  $175,800 and                                                              
$189,500 if she feels these amounts are not adequate.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN responded, "We  may have  a bigger issue  coming                                                              
back next  year and we  need to have  the information when  we get                                                              
ready for  another review.  If we  don't have  the information  we                                                              
don't  know."  They  based  their   figures  on  the  department's                                                              
numbers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  PERDUE pointed  out the fiscal  note represents  the                                                              
most accurate numbers  currently available and are  based on their                                                              
experience  of  the  average  cost.  She assumes  it  is  not  the                                                              
intention  of the  legislature to  cut  women off  if the  funding                                                              
estimate is inaccurate. Statute language  allows eligible women to                                                              
be served.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DAVIS  asked  whether women  would  continue  to  receive                                                              
treatment if the funds were exhausted.  She pointed out that there                                                              
is a monetary limitation in the bill  but statute says that once a                                                              
woman is identified, treatment will continue.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER PERDUE replied she would  be concerned about that and                                                              
didn't really  know its effect but  her reading is  that treatment                                                              
would continue.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
VICTORIA SHAVER, Diana Craig Cervical  Cancer Awareness Foundation                                                              
member, testified  via teleconference and asked  for clarification                                                              
on the amendment.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN  said  it  was a  temporary  law  that  requires                                                              
mandatory review in two years.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHAVER  thought it might  be better  if the amendment  did not                                                              
pass.  A five  year  review period  might  be  better because  the                                                              
appropriation  Senator  Frank Murkowski  secured  for Alaska  will                                                              
help the Alaska Medicaid program for five years.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 491                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CARLA WILLIAMS,  Coordinator  for the Alaska  State Breast  Cancer                                                              
Coalition, testified  via teleconference. She  particularly wanted                                                              
to address  the comment made  earlier about behavioral  changes to                                                              
prevent cancer. Scientists  do not know what causes  breast cancer                                                              
and as  an 11-year survivor  of breast  cancer she has  heard many                                                              
explanations.  She asked  whether  the 250  percent above  poverty                                                              
level measurement was addressed in the amendment.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN replied that it has not been changed.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILLIAMS  was  pleased  to  hear  that. She  said  it  was  a                                                              
bipartisan  bill because it  is a  bipartisan disease.  She agreed                                                              
with  Senator Murkowski's  call  for  an additional  $200  million                                                              
federal dollars  to expand the  state's Medicaid program  over the                                                              
next five years.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MARSHA  HASTINGS,  YWCA Encore  Plus  Program  and member  of  the                                                              
Alaska   Breast   Cancer   Advocacy    Partners,   testified   via                                                              
teleconference  in  support  of  the  legislation.  She  has  been                                                              
implementing early  screening for both breast and  cervical cancer                                                              
since 1995.  Accessing  early screening  is a positive  behavioral                                                              
change but additional screenings  bring more detections of cancer.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
The women being diagnosed are without  financial resources and are                                                              
uninsured. Because they have been  diagnosed with cancer they have                                                              
a preexisting  condition  and are  consequently uninsurable.  They                                                              
would  be  on the  Medicaid  program  for  the duration  of  their                                                              
treatment. She  would like  to see the  bill move forward  without                                                              
any amendments.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SHELLY  COOLIDGE,  member of  the  Alaska Breast  Cancer  Advocacy                                                              
Partners, testified  via teleconference. She helps  women who have                                                              
been diagnosed with  breast cancer move along  the care continuum.                                                              
In her experience,  it is not  unusual for the discussion  about a                                                              
woman's medical bills  to be as emotional as the  discussion about                                                              
her  cancer.  Unfortunately,  many   women  are  making  treatment                                                              
decisions  based  on  cost  of  treatment   rather  than  what  is                                                              
medically beneficial to them.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
She would like  to see the bill passed from  committee without the                                                              
amendment because the potential of  running out of treatment funds                                                              
is unacceptable.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN stated  that the public policy side  of the issue                                                              
is not whether or not women with  financial need should be offered                                                              
treatment  but  to  make certain  that  fairness  is  demonstrated                                                              
throughout the system.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
She called  for a roll call on  amendment 1. The measure  passed 3                                                              
to 1 with Senators Leman, Wilken  and Green voting yes and Senator                                                              
Davis voting no.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
She said  the figures  provided by  the Department  of Health  and                                                              
Social Services  as well as  information received  from Washington                                                              
were used to arrive at the dollar amounts in amendment 1.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS asked  whether or not the $189,500  amount came from                                                              
the department.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN responded  the figures came from  the fiscal note                                                              
prepared by the department.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
She called for additional testimony and received no response.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN moved  SCS CSHB 65(HESS) and corrected  fiscal notes                                                              
from committee with individual recommendations.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, the bill moved from committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 630                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN  announced  legislative   confirmation  hearings                                                              
would  be the  next order  of business.  Earlier in  the week  she                                                              
notified   committee  members   that   unless  they   specifically                                                              
requested a  confirmation hearing, the  list of nominees  would be                                                              
forwarded to the full Senate and House for consideration.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN moved  the Senate HESS Committee report  a letter to                                                              
the full Senate  stating they have reviewed the  qualifications of                                                              
the referrals but are giving no indication  whether they intend to                                                              
vote for or against those nominees.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  wanted it on  record that each  committee member                                                              
had an extensive  packet of background information on  each of the                                                              
nominees  and  many  of  them  have   been  approved  in  previous                                                              
legislatures.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The list of confirmation nominees  reported out to the full Senate                                                              
for action in a joint Senate & House session.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                SB 192-INCREASE CHILD CARE GRANTS                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
KRISTY  TIBBLES, legislative  assistant  to  Senator Drue  Pearce,                                                              
testified that  SB 192  would increase the  monthly base  rate for                                                              
child care from  $33.00 to $50.00 per child and  remove the $50.00                                                              
cap that  currently exists in the  Child Care Grant  Program. This                                                              
is a state funded  program that provides grants  to licensed child                                                              
care centers  and homes  for the benefit  of the facility  and the                                                              
children.  The  grants  are used  for  staff  salaries,  benefits,                                                              
substitute  staff,  goods  or  services  relating  to  the  health                                                              
nutrition  and  safety  of  children   in  care,  age  appropriate                                                              
equipment and supplies and activities for the children.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN reported  she  had heard  from  many child  care                                                              
providers  in  her  community  particularly  as  other  state  and                                                              
federally   funded  programs   receive   substantial  grants   and                                                              
training.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Side B                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
She's always  encouraged  to hear of  increased opportunities  for                                                              
people to make a choice on child care.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
YVONNE CHASE,  Deputy Commissioner  of Early  Development  for the                                                              
Department of Education  and Early Development, agreed  that it is                                                              
essential for small child care providers  in particular to get the                                                              
necessities to  continue in business.  Because this is  a flexible                                                              
pot of money,  it allows for a  wide variety of uses,  which is of                                                              
particular value to small providers.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Clearly,  as the  number  of providers  increases,  the base  rate                                                              
decreases if  the current level  of appropriation stays  the same.                                                              
Because the  department doesn't  know how the  final bill  will be                                                              
configured,  they have  submitted a  fiscal note  that reflects  a                                                              
range  of  costs  depending upon  whether  just  current  licensed                                                              
providers in the child care grant  program receive a base increase                                                              
or  whether current  and  new program  members  are included.  She                                                              
emphasized that this is not an entitlement.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN asked  whether there is a possibility  that child                                                              
care providers  will simply  drop out  of the business  altogether                                                              
causing a shortage of care givers.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  CHASE said that  all states are  finding that                                                              
because  this is  such  a low  pay industry,  it  is difficult  to                                                              
attract and retain  quality people. Small providers  feel this may                                                              
be  the only  money  that may  allow  them to  increase  salaries,                                                              
provide training and perhaps offer some health insurance.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  asked whether the  language in  this legislation                                                              
could change a grant to an entitlement program.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  CHASE  was not certain  whether the  language                                                              
would make it an entitlement but  this is why they gave a range on                                                              
the fiscal note.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN  responded  this  might  be  an  optional  grant                                                              
program, which would  keep it from being an entitlement.  She then                                                              
read the  following: "A grant under  (a) of this section  shall be                                                              
$50.00  per month for  each child  the child  care facility  cares                                                              
for,  or  for each  full  time  equivalent  as determined  by  the                                                              
department." She then asked whether that was an entitlement.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER CHASE replied  that currently and in the past,                                                              
a child care grant is not an entitlement.  They have increased the                                                              
rate  and limited  the  number of  providers  who may  participate                                                              
depending on the amount of funds available.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  then asked Ms.  Tibbles whether she  could clear                                                              
up the  confusion since  she did not  want to  "change a may  to a                                                              
shall if that's not the intention."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. TIBBLES  replied that Senator  Pearce's intention was  to make                                                              
the base level  $50.00 and then apply geographic  adjustments. She                                                              
was not sure about what she meant by entitlement.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN said a comparable  entitlement would be Medicaid.                                                              
If seven people came in for service  then seven people receive the                                                              
service.  Anyone   who  meets  the  qualifications   automatically                                                              
qualifies,  so it is  not possible  to determine  how many  people                                                              
will qualify  ahead of time.  If this is  the case, she  wanted to                                                              
make sure that the fiscal note reflects that adequately.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
She pointed  out they  could pass  the measure  along and  let the                                                              
Finance Committee make the decision.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER CHASE closed  by saying that the department is                                                              
supportive of  the Child  Care Grant and  also of the  increase of                                                              
the base rate. She  wanted to make sure it was  understood that as                                                              
the number  of providers  increases, those  same funds  are spread                                                              
across more providers and the base rate goes down.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN said, "That's the  difference in [an] entitlement                                                              
program. Nothing  goes down; just  the total amount goes  up every                                                              
time someone else walks through the door."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JOY LYON, President of Alaska Chapter  of the National Association                                                              
of the Education of Young Children  (AAEYC) represents individuals                                                              
and  groups  across  the  state that  are  concerned  about  young                                                              
children. She testified  in strong support of SB  192. Grant funds                                                              
are typically used for staff salaries  that average just $8.14 per                                                              
hour. An increase  in the base rate is needed to  help attract and                                                              
hold  quality staff  and reduce  the current  40 percent  turnover                                                              
rate. Additionally,  the Child  Care Grant  is the only  incentive                                                              
for family child care providers to become licensed.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 507                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
GWENI  MAKI, owner  and director  of  the ABC  Child Care  Center,                                                              
testified  in support of  SB 192.  The increase  in the  base rate                                                              
would allow  her to  improve salaries  for her  staff to  decrease                                                              
staff turnover.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN wanted  to cover several finance  issues that would                                                              
be  developed  further when  the  bill  is  heard in  the  Finance                                                              
Committee.  First  he  pointed  out  this  is  a  $34.528  million                                                              
program. The legislature and administration  can take pride in the                                                              
fact that by midyear  2001 there is no longer a  wait list for day                                                              
care.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
In 2000,  the grant program  was $1.7 million  and in 2001  it was                                                              
$2.25 million  and in 2002 it is  $3.7 million which means  a base                                                              
rate of $23.00  in the first year,  $33.00 in the second  and with                                                              
the monies  appropriated  in 2002  it will rise  to about  $40.00.                                                              
This  reflects  extraordinary  growth  in the  grant  program  and                                                              
really shows  you the impact of  this bill. When you  multiply the                                                              
area cost differential by $33.00  you get about $48.00 per day for                                                              
those areas with high costs. When  you use $40.00 and use the same                                                              
area cost differential  you get $58.00. Therefore,  the $50.00 cap                                                              
locks in  people with  higher costs  at $50.00.  Raising the  base                                                              
rate to  $50.00 would mean those  same people would  get somewhere                                                              
around $78.00 per day making this a very expensive bill.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
With the  increase from  $23.00 to  $33.00, he  wanted to  receive                                                              
information on  how that money  was used. He  sent a letter  to 50                                                              
child care  providers in Fairbanks  asking them how they  used the                                                              
extra money and he received a response  from just three providers.                                                              
He said he would try again and expected to receive an answer.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Next, he expressed  disappointment in the fiscal  note. He thought                                                              
it  was possible  to take  the existing  day  care population  and                                                              
multiply  it by the  higher number,  which would  give the  fiscal                                                              
impact today.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER CHASE  replied that  was the  reason for  the                                                              
range in  the fiscal  note. The  lower end  represents moving  the                                                              
individuals currently  on the program  up to the $50.00  base rate                                                              
that is adjusted for their area of operation.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN asked whether that was the $1.5 million.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  CHASE  said  it  was  the  additional  funds                                                              
bringing the total  up to $3.7 million. Next she  showed the total                                                              
estimated population  that is available to apply for  the grant if                                                              
it were open  to all licensed  providers and they opted  to apply.                                                              
In years  past, she thought many  did not apply because  the small                                                              
amount of money available was not  worth the additional paperwork.                                                              
As the rates increased, more providers returned to the program.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN  cautioned her  to have a  better fiscal  note when                                                              
the bill was heard in the Finance Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER CHASE agreed to do so.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN  then pointed out  that several years ago,  with HB
40,  daycare moved  to  the Department  of  Education providing  a                                                              
starting point in government. The  legislature wants to be able to                                                              
look back ten  years from now to  evaluate the costs.   During the                                                              
interim  they will be  working with  the department  so that  next                                                              
year  there will  be  more information  about  what providers  are                                                              
doing or  plan to do  with the money.  Since this is  an expensive                                                              
but  necessary  program there  needs  to be  accountability.  With                                                              
that, he reiterated his support for the program.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN said  one of her concerns is that  there tends to                                                              
be  a disincentive  for private  daycare providers.  She does  not                                                              
want all providers  to be government directed  programs. She wants                                                              
to equalize  the gift to  Head Start and  Boys and Girls  Club but                                                              
does not want to put others out of  business. It is her preference                                                              
to allow individuals a choice of child care options.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WARD  moved SB  192  and  accompanying fiscal  note  from                                                              
committee with individual recommendations.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, the bill moved from committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          HB 142-AK TEMP. ASSISTANCE PROGRAM AMENDMENTS                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
CHAIRWOMAN   GREEN  announced   that  members   had  a   committee                                                              
substitute  in their  bill packet  that  returns the  bill to  the                                                              
original language in the Senate version.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN  moved version O as  a working document.  There was                                                              
no objection.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WARD   moved  SCS  CSHB  142(HES)  from   committee  with                                                              
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, the bill moved from committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          HCR  1-STATEWIDE COMP ENERGY PLAN TASK FORCE                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK FLYNN, aide to Representative  Berkowitz, explained that a                                                              
reliable energy system in Alaska  is, among other things, a public                                                              
health issue. Late  last year when the development  of North Slope                                                              
natural gas  was being discussed, it  was brought to light  that a                                                              
statewide comprehensive energy plan  had never been produced. This                                                              
legislation  establishes  a  task  force  that  will  examine  the                                                              
condition  of Alaska's  energy resources,  identify areas  needing                                                              
improvement and recommend action.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD asked for the sunset date.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. FLYNN said it sunsets on March 1, 2002.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN referred  to page 1, line 10 and  asked whether the                                                              
words "and tribal governments" adds to the bill.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. FLYNN responded  it recognizes there are  tribal organizations                                                              
providing  energy programs  and  to  the extent  they  can aid  in                                                              
ensuring reliable,  affordable energy in Alaska,  their support is                                                              
welcome.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN  asked whether deleting "tribal  governments" would                                                              
exclude anyone  because it seemed  redundant since  federal, state                                                              
and municipal governments are already included.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FLYNN  said it  would  be exclusionary  because  some  tribal                                                              
governments are not municipal governments.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN thought  he would look into that  because it seemed                                                              
out of place to him.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN  looked  at  the list  of  proposed  task  force                                                              
members and  asked for an  explanation of Alaska  Village Electric                                                              
Cooperative (AVEC).                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. FLYNN said  AVEC is an organization that provides  power to 52                                                              
small  villages  throughout  rural Alaska.  Their  prospective  is                                                              
valuable  because  they understand  some  of the  difficulties  of                                                              
providing power in low population areas.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN asked if  they are  a part  of the Alaska  Rural                                                              
Electric Cooperative Association (ARECA).                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.   FLYNN  said   they  are   members  of   ARECA.  From   their                                                              
conversations, it  is presumed that their task  force member would                                                              
be from the rail belt region, along the intertie area.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN then asked about  the Alaska Coal Administration.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. FLYNN explained that the Alaska  Coal Administration felt they                                                              
should be represented  because interior Alaska power  comes almost                                                              
exclusively from coal.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN then asked about the Alaska Audubon Society.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. FLYNN  said they  recognize the  efforts to provide  interties                                                              
and   additional   power   production  in   Alaska   have   caused                                                              
difficulties  with conservation  groups. A  frequent complaint  is                                                              
that they  are not invited to  the table. Therefore,  when several                                                              
conservation organizations asked  to be included they decided this                                                              
was  a  reasonable  request.  Initially   they  asked  the  Alaska                                                              
Conservation  Alliance  to  join   the  task  force  but  received                                                              
complaints from other members.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  said she  did not intend  to move the  bill from                                                              
committee that day.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD asked  about the possibility that  the Alaska Audubon                                                              
Society member be  replace by a member from the  Alaska Federation                                                              
of Natives (AFN).                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. FLYNN  said AFN was contacted  and that although they  are not                                                              
opposed to the idea, neither are they overly enthusiastic.                                                                      
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN held SCS CSHCR 1 (STA) in committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                    SB  94-EDUCATION FUNDING                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  announced the final  order of business  was SSSB
94.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  TAYLOR,  bill sponsor,  said  the  dollar amount  in  the                                                              
substitute is  very similar to the  original bill. They  wanted to                                                              
raise the  formula by $210.00, which  would have generated  $57 to                                                              
$60  million  but  because  the bill  was  misread  and  therefore                                                              
misunderstood, it  was not successful.  Therefore, he  decided the                                                              
$58 million  could be  used to  repair every  school in  the state                                                              
according to  the list  provided by  the Department of  Education.                                                              
This  does not  include  any  new school  construction.  Forty-six                                                              
schools  are  listed that  would  benefit  from its  passage.  The                                                              
tobacco settlement is part of the  funding base and he knows there                                                              
is  controversy concerning  the funding  mechanism.  There are  at                                                              
least two mechanisms coming from the House.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  commented she has  no letters either  in support                                                              
or against the bill.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  TAYLOR said  that  is because  the  bill  is fairly  new.                                                              
Anyone having  read SB 94  would be familiar  with the  intent. He                                                              
has   received    enthusiastic   support   from    educators   and                                                              
administrators.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN asked  for  the general  response  to using  the                                                              
tobacco settlement money.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR  said there could  be better ways to  finance this,                                                              
he's not necessarily tied to that method.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD reported he asked for  a printout from the settlement                                                              
and the  tax and learned  there is a  little over $75  million. Of                                                              
that,  almost $2  million  has been  spent  on  campaigns to  stop                                                              
smoking  and $73  million on  government. Therefore,  this is  "in                                                              
stride with  that effort of those  people that wanted  children to                                                              
stop smoking."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN  asked  if  the   money  was  from  the  tobacco                                                              
litigation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TAYLOR said it was.                                                                                                     
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN  commented  that  the  money is  headed  to  the                                                              
general fund.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WARD  said, "We and the  Governor have certainly  spent it                                                              
like general fund money… We've spent  $73 of the $75 on government                                                              
and from  one that voted against  the cigarette tax for  this very                                                              
reason, I hope  we keep this in  mind when the next sin  tax rolls                                                              
around."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN  thanked Senator Taylor  then pointed out  that the                                                              
deferred  maintenance  list includes  about  98 projects  totaling                                                              
about $108.8  million, so the  money would address  about one-half                                                              
the list.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He  then   expressed  frustration   with  those  Rural   Education                                                              
Attendance Areas (REAA) that are  unwilling to help fund their own                                                              
educational  needs  but are  more  than  willing to  accept  "free                                                              
government". He  said he would continue  to vocalize his  views in                                                              
this area.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN  asked  for  other  testimony  and  received  no                                                              
response. She asked for the will of the committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN moved  SSSB 94 and fiscal note  from committee with                                                              
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, the bill moved from committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN adjourned the meeting at 6:40 p.m.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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