Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/19/2020 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
02:02:35 PM Start
02:03:32 PM Confirmation Hearing(s)
02:12:48 PM SB215
02:38:38 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Marijuana Control Board
- Christopher Jaime
- Bruce Schulte
- Casey Dschaak
Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives
- Bethel Belisle
*+ SB 215 AK ED SAVINGS PROGRAMS/ELIGIBILITY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                        
                         March 19, 2020                                                                                         
                           2:02 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Gary Stevens, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Mia Costello (via teleconference)                                                                                       
Senator Joshua Revak                                                                                                            
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Marijuana Control Board                                                                                                       
Christopher Jaime - Soldotna                                                                                                    
Bruce Schulte - Anchorage                                                                                                       
Casey Dschaak - Dillingham                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATIONS ADVANCED                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives                                                                                      
Bethel Beilisle - Anchorage                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 215                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to  the Alaska  savings  program for  eligible                                                               
individuals; relating to education  savings programs; relating to                                                               
the Education  Trust of  Alaska; relating  to the  Alaska advance                                                               
college tuition  savings fund; relating  to the  Alaska education                                                               
savings  program for  children;  and relating  to the  Governor's                                                               
Council on Disabilities and Special Education."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 215                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AK ED SAVINGS PROGRAMS/ELIGIBILITY                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) GIESSEL                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
02/21/20       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/21/20       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
03/19/20       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BETHEL BELISLE, Appointee                                                                                                       
Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives                                                                                        
Division of Corporations, Business & Professional Licenses                                                                      
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee to the Board of                                                                    
Certified Direct-Entry Midwives.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTOPHER JAIME, Appointee                                                                                                    
Marijuana Control Board                                                                                                         
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee to the Marijuana                                                                   
Control Board.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE SCHULTE, Appointee                                                                                                        
Marijuana Control Board                                                                                                         
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee to the Marijuana                                                                   
Control Board.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CASEY DSHAAK, Appointee                                                                                                         
Marijuana Control Board                                                                                                         
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Dillingham, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee to the Marijuana                                                                   
Control Board.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
EMMY JACKSON, Staff                                                                                                             
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented a sectional analysis of SB 215 on                                                               
behalf of the sponsor.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CLARE BALDWIN, Intern                                                                                                           
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Delivered a PowerPoint  on SB 215  on behalf                                                             
of the sponsor.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
STUART SPIELMAN, Senior Vice President                                                                                          
Autism Speaks Inc.                                                                                                              
Washington, DC                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 215.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SANA ELFIRD, Assistant Commissioner                                                                                             
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the  hearing on SB
215.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KRISTIN VANDAGRIFF, Executive Director                                                                                          
Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 215.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA LEARY, Director                                                                                                          
Treasury Division                                                                                                               
Alaska Department of Revenue (DOR)                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  During the  hearing  on  SB 215,  spoke  in                                                             
support of transferring  the ABLE program from  the Department of                                                               
Revenue to the Department of Health and Social Services.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TAMMI WEAVER, Chief Treasury Officer                                                                                            
University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information  during the  hearing on                                                             
SB 215.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:02:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLICK BISHOP called the  Senate Labor and Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at 2:02  p.m. Present at call to order                                                               
were  Senators   Stevens,  Gray-Jackson,  Revak,   Costello  (via                                                               
teleconference), and Chair Bishop.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                        
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                 
            Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives                                                                        
                    Marijuana Control Board                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:03:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BISHOP announced  the  first order  of  business would  be                                                               
consideration of  governor appointees to boards  and commissions.                                                               
He asked  each appointee to  place their name and  affiliation on                                                               
the record,  give a  brief introduction,  and discuss  the reason                                                               
they want  to serve on the  board or commission. He  advised that                                                               
public  testimony  would  be  taken  after  all  appointees  have                                                               
testified and the  names would be forwarded to the  full body for                                                               
consideration.  This  hearing was  not  a  recommendation on  any                                                               
subsequent vote.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:04:36 PM                                                                                                                    
BETHEL  BELISLE,  Appointee,   Board  of  Certified  Direct-Entry                                                               
Midwives,  Division  of  Corporations,  Business  &  Professional                                                               
Licenses,   Department  of   Commerce,  Community   and  Economic                                                               
Development (DCCED), Anchorage, Alaska,  said she was licensed as                                                               
a certified direct-entry midwife  and as a certified professional                                                               
midwife. She  owns and operates  a birth center in  Anchorage and                                                               
she also  has a  home birth  practice. She said  her 20  years of                                                               
experience  in midwifery  will help  her  serve on  the board  to                                                               
ensure that it  continues to meet the health and  safety needs of                                                               
pregnant women and to further excellence in midwifery in Alaska.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP thanked her for her willingness to serve.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He asked  Christopher Jaime to  come forward. He noted  that this                                                               
is  a  reappointment  to  the   public  safety  position  on  the                                                               
Marijuana Control Board.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:06:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTOPHER   JAIME,   Appointee,    Marijuana   Control   Board,                                                               
Department  of  Commerce,  Community  and  Economic  Development,                                                               
Soldotna, Alaska,  said he was  appointed to serve in  the public                                                               
safety position  of the Marijuana  Control Board. He said  he has                                                               
lived in  Alaska for 27 years  and has served as  an Alaska State                                                               
Trooper  for  19 years,  currently  as  a lieutenant  and  deputy                                                               
commander for  the Northern  Division. During  his career  he has                                                               
had  the opportunity  to work  in several  communities throughout                                                               
the state and he has  forged professional relationships in all of                                                               
them. He  has learned significantly  by serving on the  board. He                                                               
will work  to continue to  balance public safety with  the vision                                                               
the governor  has related about entrepreneurship  and cutting red                                                               
tape  for businesses.  He assured  the  members that  he has  not                                                               
received any direction or instruction  from the governor's office                                                               
or his staff. He thanked members for their consideration.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:06:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REVAK thanked him for his service in the U.S. Army.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:07:35 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE SCHULTE, Appointee, Marijuana  Control Board, Department of                                                               
Commerce, Community  and Economic Development  (DCCED) Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, said  his consideration would  be his  second appointment                                                               
to the board. He first served  on the board in 2015-2016 when the                                                               
Marijuana  Control Board  was created.  In 2014,  he served  as a                                                               
spokesperson  for  Ballot  Measure  2.  He  has  also  served  on                                                               
nonprofit organizations  and is familiar with  the development of                                                               
the initial regulations  for the board. He said that  he does not                                                               
have  any  financial   interest  in  the  industry,   but  he  is                                                               
interested in seeing the industry become successful.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP noted the letters of support in the packet.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:09:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CASEY DSHAAK,  Appointee, Marijuana Control Board,  Department of                                                               
Commerce,   Community    and   Economic    Development   (DCCED),                                                               
Dillingham, Alaska, said that he  was appointed to the rural seat                                                               
on the board. He came to Alaska  in the U.S. Army, then worked in                                                               
the oil  industry. He next  worked with rural communities  at the                                                               
DCCED for two years as  a local government specialist. He offered                                                               
his  view  that  this  experience   gave  him  insight  into  the                                                               
challenges that rural communities face.  He said he is engaged in                                                               
policy  and   interested  in   developing  regulations   for  the                                                               
marijuana industry.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BISHOP thanked  him  for his  military  service. He  asked                                                               
Senator  Costello  if she  had  any  questions  and she  did  not                                                               
respond.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:10:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP  stated that  in accordance  with AS  39.05.080, the                                                               
Senate  Labor  and  Commerce   Standing  Committee  reviewed  the                                                               
following  and  recommends the  appointments  be  forwarded to  a                                                               
joint session for consideration:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives                                                                                      
Bethel Beilisle - Anchorage                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Marijuana Control Board                                                                                                       
Christopher Jaime - Soldotna                                                                                                    
Bruce Schulte - Anchorage                                                                                                       
Casey Dschaak - Dillingham                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Signing  the   reports  regarding  appointments  to   boards  and                                                               
commissions in  no way reflects  individual members'  approval or                                                               
disapproval  of  the  appointees;   the  nominations  are  merely                                                               
forwarded to the full legislature for confirmation or rejection.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:11:29 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
           SB 215-AK ED SAVINGS PROGRAMS/ELIGIBILITY                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:12:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   BISHOP  reconvened   the   meeting   and  announced   the                                                               
consideration of  SENATE BILL  NO. 215, "An  Act relating  to the                                                               
Alaska  savings program  for  eligible  individuals; relating  to                                                               
education savings  programs; relating  to the Education  Trust of                                                               
Alaska; relating  to the Alaska  advance college  tuition savings                                                               
fund;  relating  to  the Alaska  education  savings  program  for                                                               
children; and relating to the  Governor's Council on Disabilities                                                               
and Special Education."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He noted that this was the first hearing for the bill.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:12:59 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:13:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP reconvened the meeting.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:13:52 PM                                                                                                                    
EMMY  JACKSON,   Staff,  Senator  Cathy  Giessel,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, introduced herself.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CLARE  BALDWIN,  Intern,  Senator  Cathy  Giessel,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,  introduced SB 215 on  behalf of the                                                               
sponsor with a PowerPoint: SB 215: ABLE Update Bill.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:14:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BALDWIN  turned to   slide  2, What is  an ABLE  Account. She                                                               
explained that  the acronym  stands for  achieving a  better life                                                               
experience. ABLE  Accounts provide  tax-free savings  account for                                                               
individuals with qualifying physical  and mental disabilities and                                                               
blindness. Up  to $2,000 can be  put into an ABLE  Account and be                                                               
used  to pay  for housing,  education, and  transportation. These                                                               
funds  do  not count  against  eligibility  for Medicaid,  FAFSA,                                                               
Social Security Income, or needs-based income.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:15:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BALDWIN  explained that the ABLE  Act was passed in  2013 and                                                               
in July 2016 the Alaska ABLE  Act was signed into law largely due                                                               
to  the efforts  of Senator  Giessel and  Representative Saddler.                                                               
The  University of  Alaska Fairbanks  (UAF)  helped the  sponsors                                                               
better  understand 529  accounts  and the  Department of  Revenue                                                               
provided information on how to  set up these accounts. The Alaska                                                               
Mental Health  Trust Authority provided  funding for FY  2017 and                                                               
FY 2018. The bill provided  start-up funding for outreach to help                                                               
inform individuals about the 529  accounts. In 2013, the National                                                               
ABLE Alliance  helped the program become  self-sustaining through                                                               
account owner  fees and gave  account owners in 17  states access                                                               
to  the alliance's  staff  and lawyers  for  help with  financial                                                               
planning,  college  savings  programs,   and  health  and  social                                                               
services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. BALDWIN said that in  Alaska, the ABLE programming, research,                                                               
and  outreach   is  conducted  by   the  Governor's   Council  on                                                               
Disabilities and Special Education.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:17:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BALDWIN reviewed  the updates  to the  ABLE Act  outlined on                                                               
slides 6-7. She advised that the  2017 ABLE to Work Act increased                                                               
the annual contribution levels  to encourage disabled individuals                                                               
to find employment. Contribution  levels currently are limited to                                                               
$15,000 annually,  and this bill  expands that amount  to $27,060                                                               
per year.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BALDWIN said  the next  update was  the 2017  ABLE Financial                                                               
Planning Act  that allowed individuals who  incurred disabilities                                                               
after they  established 529  college savings  plan to  roll those                                                               
savings  into an  ABLE account.  She  relayed that  the ABLE  Age                                                               
Adjustment  Act is  pending legislation  that would  increase the                                                               
threshold  age  of  eligibility  from  26 to  46  to  allow  more                                                               
participation in ABLE accounts.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:18:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BALDWIN  turned to  slide  10  that highlights  the  updates                                                               
proposed in  SB 215. It reassigns  department responsibility from                                                               
the  Department of    Revenue  to the  Department  of Health  and                                                               
Social Services.  It also expands  the age eligibility  limits to                                                               
match  the federal  guidelines. the  bill also  contains matching                                                               
federal  language so  Alaska law  will change  automatically with                                                               
federal changes.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:19:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked if age 46 is for eligibility but                                                                          
individuals can keep accounts after that.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. BALDWIN answered yes.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:20:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. JACKSON provided a sectional analysis for SB 215:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Section  1 Establishes  AS  06.65.020(b). Requires  the                                                                    
     Department  of Health  and Social  Services to  consult                                                                    
     with  the   Governor's  Council  on   Disabilities  and                                                                    
     Special  Education when  overseeing the  Alaska Savings                                                                    
     Program.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2  Expands the  age of  eligibility from  26 to                                                                    
     match proposed federal law age of 46.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section 7  Removes the distinction of  higher education                                                                    
     when referring to an education savings account.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section  8  Removes  the distinction  of  postsecondary                                                                    
     education  when  referring   to  an  education  savings                                                                    
     account. Renames  the "Alaska Higher  Education Savings                                                                    
     Trust" to the "Education Trust of Alaska".                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Section  10  Establishes  AS  14.40.802(f)(3).  Expands                                                                    
     options  for an  account participants  to change  their                                                                    
     beneficiary to any individual.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Allows account  participants to transfer  funds between                                                                    
     accounts  if the  amount  transferred  does not  exceed                                                                    
     federal  limits  and  the contribution  is  for  a  new                                                                    
     beneficiary who is a family  member who is eligible for                                                                    
     their own account.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section 12 Allows a program  participant to designate a                                                                    
     successor  participant  to  their  account  and  allows                                                                    
     changes to take effect immediately.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:23:01 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:23:20 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR STEVENS said he was chairing remainder of the meeting                                                                
to allow Chair Bishop to attend another meeting.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He asked if  the ABLE program has been successful  and the number                                                               
of accounts in Alaska.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. BALDWIN answered  that that currently, there  are 365 account                                                               
owners. The program is very successful with additions each year.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR STEVENS moved to invited testimony.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:24:39 PM                                                                                                                    
STUART  SPIELMAN,  Senior  Vice President,  Autism  Speaks  Inc.,                                                               
Washington,  DC, spoke  in  support  of SB  215.  He said  Autism                                                               
Speaks is  the largest autism  science and advocacy group  in the                                                               
country  and  it  has  been  a  longstanding  proponent  of  ABLE                                                               
accounts. These  accounts were  established in  2016 and  in 2019                                                               
the  number of  accounts had  grown to  56,332 with  total assets                                                               
under  management   of  $354.8  million.  These   very  important                                                               
accounts  establish  equity  for people  with  disabilities  that                                                               
didn't previously exist.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He  relayed that  he is  the parent  of a  child with  autism and                                                               
before  ABLE accounts  were  established,  he discouraged  people                                                               
from making  financial contributions  to his  son out  of concern                                                               
that it could  jeopardize other needed benefits.  Because of ABLE                                                               
accounts, individuals with disabilities  are allowed save for the                                                               
future without  fear of losing essential  benefits like Medicaid.                                                               
Autism Speaks  and the disability  community in  general embraces                                                               
this program.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR STEVENS asked him to  talk about limits on the way the                                                               
funds can be used and whether the account can go to a successor.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SPIELMAN replied  there  are provisions  in  law related  to                                                               
rollovers.  The money  can  be  used in  broad  ways  such as  to                                                               
purchase a  speech enhancement device  for an autistic  person or                                                               
it could be  used to provide support, such as  a job coach. These                                                               
accounts  are   available  to  people   with  autism   and  other                                                               
disabilities.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR STEVENS  asked what  happens  to the  funds when  the                                                               
account holder passes away.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SPIELMAN answered that the  statute allows rollovers to other                                                               
individuals  with disabilities  and there  is a  possibility that                                                               
the funds could go into the  deceased's estate. It depends on the                                                               
money that is available at the time of passing.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  STEVENS said he was  pleased that the funds  could go                                                               
to another person with a disability.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SPIELMAN agreed that could happen.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:29:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SANA  ELFIRD, Assistant  Commissioner, Department  of Health  and                                                               
Social Services  (DHSS), Juneau,  Alaska, said she  was available                                                               
to answer questions  related to the provision  that transfers the                                                               
ABLE  program to  the Department  of Health  and Social  Services                                                               
since  the   Governor's  Council  on  Disabilities   and  Special                                                               
Education already falls under the DHSS.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR STEVENS  asked  if the  ABLE  program previously  was                                                               
under the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED).                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. ELFIRD answered  no; it has always been  under the Department                                                               
of  Revenue  (DOR) because  DOR  took  the  lead to  perform  the                                                               
analysis and  establish the  financial side  of how  the accounts                                                               
would be managed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  STEVENS asked if DHSS  was ready to accept  or assume                                                               
the responsibility.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. ELFIRD answered yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:32:14 PM                                                                                                                    
KRISTIN  VANDAGRIFF, Executive  Director,  Governor's Council  on                                                               
Disabilities  and Special  Education,  Anchorage, Alaska,  stated                                                               
that the council  commends the sponsor for introducing  SB 215 to                                                               
align  the state's  statutes that  govern  ABLE account  programs                                                               
with the  federal program authorizing  the funds.  These accounts                                                               
provide a  valuable tool for  Alaskans with  disabilities because                                                               
ABLE accounts  allow a  higher cost of  living and  greater self-                                                               
sufficiency  and  savings   for  qualifying  disability  expenses                                                               
without  jeopardizing  vital  public   benefits  such  as  Social                                                               
Security  and Medicaid.  Many of  the amendments  in SB  215 will                                                               
improve the  flexibility of the savings  plans including allowing                                                               
rolling the  529 college savings  accounts into an  ABLE account.                                                               
The council is  ready and willing to provide  the lead department                                                               
with  disability-related consultation  and support  for the  ABLE                                                               
account program  objective through advocacy and  advice, outreach                                                               
and  training,  promotion  and  marketing,  and  reports  to  the                                                               
legislature on data  and stakeholder input. It  is the Governor's                                                               
Council  on Disabilities  and  Special Education's  understanding                                                               
that  the DHSS's  finance and  management services  division will                                                               
oversee all  the financial management  and investment  aspects of                                                               
administering the  Alaska ABLE  program. The  council's executive                                                               
committee  submitted  a  letter   to  the  sponsor,  in  members'                                                               
packets, that provides additional details.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  STEVENS asked if  she supports the transfer  from the                                                               
DOR to the DHSS.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. VANDAGRIFF replied the council views this as a positive.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:35:43 PM                                                                                                                    
PAMELA LEARY,  Director, Treasury Division, Alaska  Department of                                                               
Revenue (DOR),  Juneau, Alaska, stated that  she has participated                                                               
in the National Alliance of  States, now 17 strong, in developing                                                               
and  procuring a  vendor for  the  ABLE program.  It has  rapidly                                                               
grown  to 414  funded accounts  in  Alaska with  $2.4 million  in                                                               
those accounts  as of  March 14,  2020. She  spoke in  support of                                                               
transferring the ABLE  program from the Department  of Revenue to                                                               
the Department  of Health  and Social  Services (DHSS).  She said                                                               
that she has enjoyed being part  of the national alliance but the                                                               
program will  be better served  in the  DHSS since it  has direct                                                               
contact with  the Governor's Council on  Disabilities and Special                                                               
Education  and  the  constituents  who will  receive  the  direct                                                               
benefits of the ABLE program.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:37:08 PM                                                                                                                    
TAMMI  WEAVER,  Chief  Treasury  Officer,  University  of  Alaska                                                               
Fairbanks, Fairbanks,  Alaska, stated that the  university serves                                                               
as  the  trustee  for  the   Education  Trust  of  Alaska,  which                                                               
administers Alaska's  programs. The bill will  allow rollovers of                                                               
the current accounts to ABLE accounts.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:38:00 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR  STEVENS determined  no  one  wished to  comment  and                                                               
closed public testimony on SB 215.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:38:30 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR STEVENS held SB 215 in committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:38:38 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Vice  Chair  Stevens  adjourned the  Senate  Labor  and  Commerce                                                               
Standing Committee meeting at 2:38 p.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
L&C Marijuana Control Board Dschaak #1.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
Confirmations
L&C Marijuana Control Board Jaime #1.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
Confirmations
L&C Marijuana Control Board Schulte #1.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
Confirmations
L&C Direct entry Midwives Belisle #5.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
Confirmations
Schulte- Letters of Support- 3-18-20.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
Confirmations
Jaime- Letters of support 03-18-20.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
Confirmations
SB 215 Sponsor Statement 3.3.2020.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 Sectional Analysis v. S 3.3.2020.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 Draft Fiscal Note DHSS-ASS- 3-13-20.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 Presentation by Sponsor.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 10 Things You Should Know About ABLE 3.3.2020.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 IRS ABLE Accounts Info 3.3.2020.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
SB 215
SB 215 Alaska 529 New Brand 3.3.2020.pdf SL&C 3/19/2020 1:30:00 PM
SB 215