Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/06/2001 11:58 AM RLS

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                   
                      SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                                                  
                           April 6, 2001                                                                                        
                            11:58 a.m.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Drue Pearce, Chair                                                                                                      
Senator Randy Phillips                                                                                                          
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator John Cowdery, Vice Chair                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 103(FIN)(brf sup maj fld)                                                                                 
"An Act  making appropriations  for the operating  and loan  program                                                            
expenses  of  state   government,  for  certain  programs,   and  to                                                            
capitalize funds; and providing for an effective date."                                                                         
     APPROVED FOR CALENDARING                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 104(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An  Act  making  appropriations   for the  operating   and  capital                                                            
expenses  of the  state's  integrated  comprehensive  mental  health                                                            
program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
     APPROVED FOR CALENDARING                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 103 - See Finance Report dated 4/6/01.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 104 - See Finance Report dated 4/6/01.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-6, SIDE A                                                                                                             
Number 001                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN DRUE PEARCE  called the Senate Rules Committee meeting to                                                          
order  at  11:58  a.m.   Present   were Senators   Phillips,  Ellis,                                                            
Therriault and Pearce.   The first item to come before the committee                                                            
was HB 103.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN PEARCE announced  that a committee substitute was adopted                                                            
by the Senate Finance Committee  to HB 103-APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET.                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS moved to adopt Amendment 1 to CSHB 103(FIN).                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT objected.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS explained  that Amendment 1 would change the source of                                                            
funding for the Department  of Health of Social Services (DHSS) from                                                            
the constitutional  budget reserve  fund to the general fund,  which                                                            
is  the normal  funding  source.   Senator Ellis  said  the idea  of                                                            
making the DHSS  budget contingent on the actions  of the court puts                                                            
a large number  of people at risk;  the mentally ill, disabled,  and                                                            
other recipients  of DHSS  services.  Regarding  the argument  about                                                            
the appropriations  process, he believes  the legislature  is ceding                                                            
appropriations powers by  making contingent arrangements affected by                                                            
the  outcome  of a  court decision.    He  repeated that  using  the                                                            
constitutional  budget reserve fund sets a bad precedent  and puts a                                                            
lot of innocent people at risk.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The motion  to adopt Amendment  1 failed  with Senator Ellis  voting                                                            
"yea," and Senators  Phillips, Therriault, and Pearce  voting "nay."                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  moved  to calendar all  Senate versions  of CSHB                                                            
103(FIN).                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS objected.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The motion  carried with  Senators Phillips,  Therriault and  Pearce                                                            
voting "yea," and Senator Ellis voting "nay."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRWOMAN  PEARCE  announced that  HB  104-APPROP:   MENTAL  HEALTH                                                        
BUDGET was before the committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS moved to adopt Amendment 1.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT objected.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS  said his  previous  arguments  apply because  it  is                                                            
necessary  to  amend  both  bills  to  reverse  the  Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee  plan to  fund the  DHSS  budget from  the constitutional                                                             
budget  reserve, rather  than the  general fund.   He believes  this                                                            
funding  approach  carries  the ideological  debate  about  abortion                                                            
between the various  branches of government to an  extreme. He would                                                            
hope all legislators  could express their opinions  on that volatile                                                            
subject  without  getting into  this  battle with  the  courts.   He                                                            
believes a  judge should decide a  case on the Constitution  and the                                                            
facts of the  case, not because of  a threat that a department  will                                                            
be shut down.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote  was  taken.   Senator  Ellis  voted  "yea,"  and                                                            
Senators Therriault, Phillips  and Pearce voted "nay," therefore the                                                            
motion to adopt Amendment 1 to CSHB 104(FIN) failed.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  moved  to calendar all  Senate versions  of CSHB                                                            
104(FIN) with individual recommendations.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   ELLIS  objected.   The   motion  carried   with   Senators                                                            
Therriault,  Phillips and  Pearce  voting "yea,"  and Senator  Ellis                                                            
voting "nay."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  further  business  to come  before  the  committee,                                                            
CHAIRWOMAN PEARCE adjourned the meeting.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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