Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/29/2003 01:42 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 29, 2003                                                                                         
                           1:42 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator John Cowdery, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 14 am                                                                                                            
"An Act  relating to  an absence from  the state  while providing                                                               
care  for  a  terminally  ill   family  member  for  purposes  of                                                               
determining  eligibility  for  a  permanent  fund  dividend;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 45                                                                                                               
"An  Act adding  a  second  verse to  the  official Alaska  state                                                               
song."                                                                                                                          
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 7                                                                                               
Proposing an amendment  to the Uniform Rules of  the Alaska State                                                               
Legislature  relating   to  executive  sessions   of  legislative                                                               
bodies; and providing for an effective date for the amendment.                                                                  
     MOVED HCR 7 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 145                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to reemployment  of and  benefits for  retired                                                               
teachers  or  employees,  including  those  who  participated  in                                                               
retirement incentive programs, and  to the employment as teachers                                                               
of  members  of  the  public  employees'  retirement  system  who                                                               
participated  in a  retirement incentive  program; and  providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
     MOVED CSSB 145(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 63                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to municipal property taxation in annexed and                                                                  
detached areas; and providing for an effective date."                                                                           
     MOVED CSSB 63 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HB 14 - No previous action to record.                                                                                           
HCR 7 - No previous action to record.                                                                                           
SB 145 - No previous action to record.                                                                                          
SB 63 - See Community and Regional Affairs minutes dated 2/26/03                                                                
and State Affairs minutes dated 4/24/03.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Jim Pound                                                                                                                       
Staff to Representative Hugh Fate                                                                                               
Alaska State Capitol, Room 128                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 14                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol, Room 102                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor HCR 7                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Tamara Cook                                                                                                                     
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HCR 7                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Debbie Ossiander                                                                                                                
President, Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                  
316 W 11th St.                                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 145                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Fred Esposito                                                                                                                   
Director, Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC)                                                                            
Department of Education &                                                                                                       
 Early Development                                                                                                              
        th                                                                                                                      
801 W 10 St.                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK  99801-1894                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 145                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Kevin Sweeney                                                                                                                   
Legislative Liaison                                                                                                             
Department of Education &                                                                                                       
 Early Development                                                                                                              
        th                                                                                                                      
801 W 10 St.                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK  99801-1894                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 145                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Tim Steele                                                                                                                      
Vice President, Anchorage School Board                                                                                          
P.O. Box 196614                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, AK 99519-6614                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 145                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Guy Bell                                                                                                                        
Director, Division of Retirement and Benefits                                                                                   
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 145                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mary Jackson                                                                                                                    
Staff to Senator Thomas Wagoner                                                                                                 
Alaska State Capitol, Room 427                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 63                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Dan Bockhorst                                                                                                                   
Local Boundary Commission                                                                                                       
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
550 West Seventh Avenue, Suite                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3510                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 63                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-23, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS called the Senate State Affairs Standing                                                                   
Committee meeting to order at 1:42 p.m. Present were Senators                                                                   
Dyson, Cowdery, Guess, Hoffman and Chair Gary Stevens.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
The first order of business was HB 14.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
            HB  14-PERMANENT FUND ALLOWABLE ABSENCES                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
JIM POUND,  staff to Representative  Hugh Fate,  paraphrased from                                                               
the sponsor statement.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     HB  14 makes  changes to  existing statute  and defines                                                                    
     the legal  definition of family. Once  passed into law,                                                                    
     the  Permanent  Fund  Division  of  the  Department  of                                                                    
     Revenue  will be  able to  clearly consider  the family                                                                    
     through first cousins for the  purpose of granting this                                                                    
     exemption.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     By changing the language, a  family member will be able                                                                    
     to provide care  for a terminally ill  family member in                                                                    
     their final days without being  penalized by the state.                                                                    
     This  expansion of  existing language  defines a  legal                                                                    
     family member  as related through  blood to  the second                                                                    
     degree,  under  the  rules   of  canon  law,  marriage,                                                                    
     adoption, or guardianship.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     This addition  to existing language will  show Alaskans                                                                    
     that we do  believe the family is more than  one or two                                                                    
     generations. The  family is still the  strongest single                                                                    
     unit   that  makes   this  state   great,  and   we  as                                                                    
     legislators need to acknowledge that by passing HB 14.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
He noted there  were several proposed amendments.  When the House                                                               
amended the  bill on the  floor, the definition of  family became                                                               
too broad. The amendments address that oversight.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY  asked  if  the   definition  of  family  member                                                               
included those involved in same-sex  marriages and long-term non-                                                               
marriage relationships.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POUND  replied  same-sex   marriages  are  specifically  not                                                               
included.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY   asked  how   divorced  individuals   would  be                                                               
affected.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND  explained the  bill uses canon  law to  define family,                                                               
which would affect members of a divorced family.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  questioned the  number of  people that  might be                                                               
impacted.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND acknowledged he didn't know.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS informed members  the discussion  centered on                                                               
version \A.A and the proposed amendment was \AA.1.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRED DYSON expressed bewilderment.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS pointed  to  page  3,  lines 3-5  and  read,                                                               
"'family  member'   means  a  person   legally  related   to  the                                                               
individual  through  blood  to   the  second  degree  of  kindred                                                               
computed under  the rules  of canon  law, marriage,  adoption, or                                                               
guardianship."  The proposed  amendment  would delete  "marriage,                                                               
adoption, or  guardianship" and insert "through  blood, marriage,                                                               
or adoption" on  line 5. It would also delete  "blood" on page 3,                                                               
line 4 and insert "guardianship or,".                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND agreed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOFFMAN noted that the phrase  on page 2, line 7 "parent,                                                               
spouse, sibling, child, or stepchild;"  was replaced with "family                                                               
member;" but wasn't changed in paragraph (6).                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND acknowledged it was an oversight.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON  questioned  whether there  was  discussion  about                                                               
grandparents.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND  said the  original bill  was directed  strictly toward                                                               
grandparents and during the House  floor debate they expanded the                                                               
term to  "family" in  the event  the definition  of a  family was                                                               
changed in the future.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON asked  if it  was Mr.  Pound's understanding  that                                                               
grandparents  are  included  as   family  members  through  blood                                                               
relation to the second degree.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND  said second degree, without  the amendments, stretches                                                               
to second  cousin, which is part  of the reason for  the proposed                                                               
amendments.  That   expansion  is  greater  than   intended,  but                                                               
grandparents are certainly included as written.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON asked how the amendment included grandparents.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND  replied it  was based  on canon  law and  the marriage                                                               
process.  The canon  law definition  of marriage  deals primarily                                                               
with three generations of the existing family.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON  asked that  it be  part of the  record that  it is                                                               
clearly   understood  that   the  canon   law  concept   includes                                                               
grandparents  and  that  Representative  Fate and  the  House  of                                                               
Representatives is not against grandparents.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND assured him that was correct.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  agreed that the term "canon  law" didn't make                                                               
it clear that grandparents were included.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GRETCHEN  GUESS wasn't  sure why the  term canon  law was                                                               
used.  She then  asked whether  second cousins  were included  or                                                               
excluded.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND  advised second  cousins would not  be included  if the                                                               
amendments were adopted.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS requested an explanation for using canon law.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  said he was interested in  the explanation as                                                               
well.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND replied Representative Kerttula  wanted to use the term                                                               
to define family.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON  suggested holding the bill  so that Representative                                                               
Kerttula could offer an explanation for using canon law.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS agreed he  wasn't comfortable passing the bill                                                               
from committee at that time.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY had no objection.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HOFFMAN asked  that Mr.  Pound  also find  out how  many                                                               
people were  affected currently and  the projected number  if the                                                               
bill were  to pass. In addition,  he asked how many  members from                                                               
one family could qualify under the providing care provision.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND  pointed out page  2, line 11  makes it clear  just one                                                               
person would qualify.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS  said it wasn't  clear that just one  family member                                                               
could qualify.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  pointed out the bill didn't  limit the number                                                               
of family members who could qualify to travel.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS  added  she  would  be  interested  to  learn  why                                                               
paragraph (7) was changed while (6) and (8) were not.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POUND acknowledged  it was  an  oversight due  to the  House                                                               
floor amendments.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS recapped the  requested changes and held HB 14                                                               
in committee.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
            HCR  7-UNIFORM RULES: EXECUTIVE SESSIONS                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRUCE  WEYHRAUCH, bill sponsor, reported  the bill                                                               
was drafted on behalf of  the House State Affairs Committee after                                                               
they conducted  hearings on  homeland security  for the  State of                                                               
Alaska. The  commissioners of veterans  and military  affairs and                                                               
public safety  testified in  a public forum  on matters  that did                                                               
not interfere with any security  issues. After that, he asked the                                                               
committee  go into  executive session  excluding  the public  and                                                               
staff so  the commissioners  could more  fully disclose  areas of                                                               
homeland security  that may have  led to the need  for additional                                                               
policy discussions, legislation, or appropriations.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
As  a result  of September  11,  homeland security  has become  a                                                               
significant  part of  what legislators  do  as government  policy                                                               
makers.  However, difficulties  arose when  he asked  Legislative                                                               
Legal  and   Research  Services   to  invoke   certain  statutory                                                               
provisions so that the committee  could go into executive session                                                               
to discuss homeland  security. HCR 7 amends the  Uniform Rules to                                                               
allow  a  legislative body  to  call  an executive  session,  and                                                               
specifically exclude  the public,  to discuss matters  that might                                                               
affect the security  of the state or nation or  a government unit                                                               
or agency. The House Rules  Committee amended the bill to include                                                               
the adjective  "adversely" to make  it clear that  adverse affect                                                               
is  what would  be discussed  in those  executive sessions.  As a                                                               
policy matter, the Legislature wants  to discuss things as openly                                                               
as  possible with  the public,  but they  must also  balance that                                                               
with protecting the public on matters of security.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  asked  Ms. Cook  to  discuss paragraph  (3),                                                               
which  refers to  discussion of  a matter  that may,  by law,  be                                                               
required  to  be confidential  and  whether  the current  statute                                                               
already addresses the issue.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAMARA  COOK,   Director  of   Legislative  Legal   and  Research                                                               
Services,  advised   that  lends   itself  to   consideration  of                                                               
information such as tax records  that an agency may possess. That                                                               
type  of  material is  listed  in  statute as  confidential,  but                                                               
information  an agency  might possess  that  relates to  security                                                               
matters  wouldn't necessarily  be  outlined as  such in  statute.                                                               
That is partly because individual  offices may be struggling with                                                               
pragmatic and practical decisions about  how to keep their office                                                               
physically safe  and yet there  is no specific statute  that says                                                               
that type  of concern  is confidential  information. In  fact, it                                                               
would  be difficult  to  draft  a statute  that  would take  into                                                               
account all  the possibilities that could  arise when considering                                                               
a security matter.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY  asked if  there  were  parameters to  determine                                                               
allowable security for calling an executive session.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WEYHRAUCH   replied  it   would  depend   on  the                                                               
expertise and  concerns raised by those  providing information to                                                               
the  committee.  Information  from  an  executive  session  could                                                               
always  be  opened to  the  public  at a  later  time  if it  was                                                               
determined  that  was in  the  public's  best interest.  This  is                                                               
cutting new ground and there is no clear answer.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON said,  "You're right on the mark  and I'm surprised                                                               
that we  didn't have this provision  and I commend you  for doing                                                               
it." He asked if there had been any significant criticism.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH  said any  criticism was  philosophic in                                                               
nature. It's a  balancing act between the public's  right to know                                                               
and the public's  need to be protected  and is not to  be used to                                                               
evade the  natural and necessary  public watchfulness on  what is                                                               
happening in government.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Paragraph (3)  covers not  just tax  records, but  also personnel                                                               
matters that are required, by  law, to be confidential. Many Rule                                                               
22 issues  are the types  of thing Legislative  Council discovers                                                               
when  it discusses  personnel  evaluations  or litigation,  which                                                               
makes it  more likely that  they would invoke that  protection as                                                               
opposed to a legislative committee.  Paragraph (4) is an uncommon                                                               
type of  invocation, but there  was nothing in statute  that made                                                               
it easy to  enter executive session to  address homeland security                                                               
issues.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON  said he  agreed with  the bill  and would  like to                                                               
move it whenever the Chair was ready to entertain a motion.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS  agreed with Senator Dyson,  but wanted to                                                               
know who would decide on entering executive session.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   WEYHRAUCH  replied   the  House   State  Affairs                                                               
Committee went  into executive session twice  to discuss homeland                                                               
security after  talking with each  of the commissioners  and each                                                               
member  of  the  committee.  After  each  executive  session,  he                                                               
publicly reported what the committee was doing and why.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS appreciated that approach,  but asked Ms. Cook if a                                                               
specific process would be outlined if the bill were to pass.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. COOK  replied Representative  Weyhrauch pointed out  that the                                                               
three existing provisions for going  into executive session would                                                               
depend  on  the  good  faith  and  responsible  judgment  of  the                                                               
particular  legislative  body.  By   the  nature  of  going  into                                                               
executive  session, there  is no  way  for an  outside person  to                                                               
challenge the decision.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
She  reminded members  that  when a  legislative  body goes  into                                                               
executive session,  it does not  have the power to  exclude other                                                               
legislators. Additionally,  a group  of legislators'  peers could                                                               
make  a collective  judgment if  they determine  a committee  was                                                               
abusing the power to go into executive session.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY  asked  whether  a   caucus  was  exempt  as  an                                                               
executive session.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH  made it clear  the intent of HCR  7 was                                                               
not for going into caucus.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY asked  whether  there had  ever  been any  court                                                               
challenges to a provision of this type.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. COOK  explained The League  of Women Voters sued  to question                                                               
whether  AS  44.62.310  was  violated  when  the  Senate  Finance                                                               
Committee met  privately to  craft an  alternative budget  in the                                                               
last  days of  a legislative  session. Ultimately,  a budget  was                                                               
adopted, which  was the result  of that meeting. The  meeting was                                                               
not  a  caucus.  In  that  suit, the  lower  court  determined  a                                                               
violation had  occurred in  the open  meeting statute.  They held                                                               
the public  enjoyed the constitutional right  to access committee                                                               
meetings. On  appeal, the Alaska  State Supreme Court  said there                                                               
is no  constitutional requirement  that the Legislature  open any                                                               
of  its  proceedings to  the  public.  Furthermore, the  statute,                                                               
which  did  apply to  the  Legislature,  clearly applied  to  the                                                               
Finance Committee  and could not  be enforced by a  court against                                                               
the  Legislature  itself.  As  a   result  of  the  holding,  the                                                               
Legislature  has elected  to enact,  in its  ethics provision,  a                                                               
requirement that  meetings of the  Legislature be  held according                                                               
to open meetings principles.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
At this  time, it is  a violation  of the Legislative  Ethics Act                                                               
for  a legislative  committee  to be  held in  a  way that  would                                                               
obstruct public  access. She advised  the Uniform  Rules probably                                                               
have  no  application to  caucuses  at  all.  A caucus  has  been                                                               
determined to be a private  organization and is not a legislative                                                               
body  in the  same  sense a  committee would  be.  Up until  now,                                                               
caucuses have established  their own rules with  respect to their                                                               
meetings being public or private.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:10 p.m.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS said  amending Rule  22, as  described, would                                                               
say that  a legislative  body may call  an executive  session for                                                               
security issues  and that  a legislative  body would  include any                                                               
subdivision of the Alaska State Legislature.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. COOK agreed.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH stated that was the intent.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  expressed amazement  this wasn't  already in                                                               
place, but mused it wasn't an issue just a short time ago.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH replied  that although it's discouraging                                                               
to think about, there is a need.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON  made a motion  to move  HCR 7 from  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations  and zero fiscal note.  There being no                                                               
objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
            SB 145-REEMPLOYMENT OF RETIRED TEACHERS                                                                         
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  asked for  a  motion to  adopt the  proposed                                                               
committee substitute (CS) as the working document.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  made a motion  to adopt  CSSB 145 \H  version as                                                               
the working document.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS reported  it  was  two  years ago  that  the                                                               
Legislature allowed school districts  to rehire retired teachers.                                                               
SB 145  would provide school  districts with an  additional tool,                                                               
which  would allow  them  to reemploy  teachers  who had  retired                                                               
through the  Retirement Incentive Program (RIP).  This would also                                                               
allow the  Department of Education  and Early  Development (DEED)                                                               
and  the  Department of  Labor  (DOL)  to  hire regular  and  RIP                                                               
retired teachers  for their  schools and  programs such  as Mount                                                               
Edgecumbe  and   the  Alaska  Vocational  Technical   Center.  In                                                               
addition, DEED could hire a RIP retiree as a commissioner.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Those who RIPed and want to return  to work are required to pay a                                                               
penalty  of 110  percent of  the  benefit that  they received  on                                                               
retirement,  which has  been a  great disincentive  to return  to                                                               
teaching. Because the  full cost of RIP retirements  were paid at                                                               
the time  of retirement, there  is no actuarial impact  on either                                                               
PERS or TRS and therefore the bill has a zero fiscal note.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  asked if teachers were  unavailable or unwilling                                                               
to teach in certain areas of the state.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS explained there  is a real teacher shortage in                                                               
many areas  of the  state and, although  the bill  wouldn't force                                                               
districts to  rehire retired  teachers, it  would give  them that                                                               
option. He  reminded members that  RIPs were no  longer available                                                               
to  teachers and,  as a  school board  president during  the time                                                               
they   were  offered,   he  regretted   having   agreed  to   the                                                               
unsuccessful program.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DEBBIE OSSIANDER,  President of the Association  of Alaska School                                                               
Boards, spoke  on behalf of  the association, which  is comprised                                                               
of school  board members  across the  state. Because  salaries in                                                               
Alaska  are no  longer  as competitive  as they  used  to be  and                                                               
training in  state is inadequate  and bureaucratic  mandates have                                                               
caused special  education teachers  to drop  their certification,                                                               
it  has  become  increasingly  difficult  to  draw  teachers  and                                                               
administrators  to remote  areas  of the  state.  The ability  to                                                               
rehire  teachers that  have  left the  profession  would help  to                                                               
alleviate those difficulties.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The  association strongly  supports  the bill  and has  followed,                                                               
with  great  interest,   the  new  Administration's  difficulties                                                               
associated with finding a new  commissioner. This bill would help                                                               
school districts fill teaching and administrative positions.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked  how many teachers have  taken advantage of                                                               
a RIP.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. OSSIANDER  replied she was  from Anchorage and  that district                                                               
did not participate in state RIPs.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
FRED  ESPOSITO,  Director  of  the  Alaska  Vocational  Technical                                                               
Center  (AVTEC), reported  that  they  deliver quality  technical                                                               
training to over  1,800 Alaskans every year. To do  so, they rely                                                               
on the  ability to hire  highly competent  technical instructors,                                                               
which has become  increasingly difficult. SB 145  is important to                                                               
the center and they support it fully.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN  SWEENEY, legislative  liaison with  DEED, pointed  out the                                                               
bill  not only  allows RIP  participants to  return to  work, but                                                               
also  clarifies the  law  the Legislature  passed  in 2001.  This                                                               
allowed school districts  and REAAs to hire  retired teachers who                                                               
hadn't RIPed  and they could  continue to receive  their benefit.                                                               
Due to an  oversight when that bill was passed,  the DEED was not                                                               
given this  ability even  though they run  schools in  the state.                                                               
The  Teaching and  Learning Support  Division has  positions that                                                               
have  been unfilled  for more  than a  year and  this bill  would                                                               
allow them  to take advantage  of the  incentive to get  both RIP                                                               
and  non-RIP teachers  to return  to the  profession and  perhaps                                                               
fill some of those positions.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  thanked Mr. Sweeney for  clarifying that DEED                                                               
was left out of the 2001 legislation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-23, SIDE B                                                                                                            
4:30 p.m.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TIM  STEELE,  Vice-President  of   the  Anchorage  School  Board,                                                               
testified  in support  of SB  145. The  district has  experienced                                                               
difficulty in drawing teachers back  to work and he reported that                                                               
certain specialty  positions are particularly difficult  to fill.                                                               
He  noted   that  while  the   No  Child  Left  Behind   Act  has                                                               
requirements  for  highly  qualified teachers  in  every  subject                                                               
area,  it's   the  experienced  teachers  that   were  previously                                                               
encouraged to leave as a  cost saving measure. Although Anchorage                                                               
didn't  participate in  the  state RIP,  they  support the  bill,                                                               
which would encourage the return of experienced teachers.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
GUY  BELL,  Director of  Retirement  and  Benefits, reported  the                                                               
department submitted  a zero fiscal note  because the legislation                                                               
has no actuarial  impact on the retirement funds.  In response to                                                               
previous questions, he advised there  are 862 RIP retirees in the                                                               
state and  568 outside the  state, all of whom  could potentially                                                               
return to teaching.  They have received just 84  TRS waivers from                                                               
school districts since  its inception more than two  years ago so                                                               
it's used on a very limited basis.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS asked  him to  clarify that  retired teachers                                                               
could return to substitute teach as well.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL agreed that was  correct. A retired teacher could return                                                               
full time, part time, or as a substitute teacher.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS asked  what the  latitude would  be regarding                                                               
the  agreement the  district  would come  to  with the  returning                                                               
RIPed  teacher  and  also for  confirmation  that  the  returning                                                               
teacher would not be accruing additional retirement benefits.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BELL  replied  the  person would  return  under  the  waiver                                                               
provision, which means they continue  to receive their retirement                                                               
benefit and  would not accrue  another retirement  benefit during                                                               
the return to employment.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked about tenure and salary.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL  advised that would  be between the school  district and                                                               
the employee;  the retirement  system does  not enter  into those                                                               
discussions.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY made a motion to  move SB 145 from committee with                                                               
individual recommendations  and attached zero fiscal  note. There                                                               
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          SB  63-MUNICIPAL ANNEXATIONS AND DETACHMENTS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MARY  JACKSON,  staff to  Senator  Thomas  Wagoner, reported  the                                                               
committee  substitute  (CS) \H  version  was  adopted during  the                                                               
previous  hearing. At  that time,  the Local  Boundary Commission                                                               
(LBC)  expressed  concern   regarding  intent  language.  Because                                                               
intent language does  not have the force of  law, Senator Wagoner                                                               
directed  her to  have Legislative  Legal  and Research  Services                                                               
draft an  amendment that  would be placed  into statute.  The LBC                                                               
has since reviewed  and approved the amendment  and Mr. Bockhorst                                                               
would speak to the amendment.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DAN BOCKHORST,  staff to  the LBC,  said the  commission endorsed                                                               
the  CS  adopted  during  the previous  hearing,  but  they  were                                                               
concerned  it  might  be  construed  to  limit  the  commission's                                                               
discretion  to  define   reasonable  and  appropriate  transition                                                               
measures. Because of this concern,  they asked for clear language                                                               
indicating they would not be so limited.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
In addition  to annexations, detachments and  incorporations, the                                                               
LBC deals  with four other  issues. The  concern was that  if the                                                               
transition measures were addressed with  regard to just the three                                                               
issues listed  above, it might  be construed that there  was some                                                               
intent  to erode  the commission's  authority on  decision making                                                               
with regard  to the  other four  issues. The  amendment addresses                                                               
their concern and they endorse the measure.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:40 p.m.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. JACKSON pointed  out page 1, line 1 changed  the title making                                                               
it purposefully tight.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY made a motion  to adopt amendment 1 dated 4/29/03                                                               
Cook \H.3 version. There was no objection.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS made  a motion to move CSSB  63(STA) from committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and zero  fiscal  note.  There                                                               
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Gary Stevens adjourned the meeting at 4:45 pm.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                

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