Legislature(2011 - 2012)BUTROVICH 205

02/09/2012 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SJR 16 MILITARY PENSIONS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SJR 16 Out of Committee
*+ SB 179 MISSING VULNERABLE ADULT RESPONSE PLAN TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ SB 129 CHILD CARE CTRS: STATE EMPLOYEES & OTHERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ SCR 18 RAOUL WALLENBERG REMEMBRANCE DAY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCR 18 Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= SB 121 TEACHERS & PUB EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT PLANS
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                        February 9, 2012                                                                                        
                           9:02 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bill Wielechowski, Chair                                                                                                
Senator Joe Paskvan, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                             
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 121                                                                                                             
"An Act relating  to the public employees'  retirement system and                                                               
the teachers'  retirement system; and providing  for an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 16                                                                                                  
Urging  the   United  States  Congress  to   approve  legislation                                                               
allowing members  of the military to  receive promised retirement                                                               
benefits.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SJR 16 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 129                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to the  approval and  administration of  child                                                               
care services  by the Department of  Administration primarily for                                                               
the benefit  of state officers  and employees; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 179                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to missing  vulnerable adult prompt response and                                                               
notification plans."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 18                                                                                             
Establishing August 4, 2012, as Raoul Wallenberg Remembrance                                                                    
Day.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SCR 18 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 121                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: TEACHERS & PUB EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT PLANS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) EGAN                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
04/07/11       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/07/11       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
04/14/11       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/14/11       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/14/11       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
09/15/11       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM Anch LIO Rm 220                                                                         
09/15/11       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
09/15/11       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
10/13/11       (S)       STA AT 12:00 AM Fairbanks                                                                              
10/13/11       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
10/13/11       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
01/26/12       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
01/26/12       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/26/12       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/09/12       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SJR 16                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MILITARY PENSIONS                                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) WIELECHOWSKI                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
02/03/12       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/03/12       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
02/09/12       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 179                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MISSING VULNERABLE ADULT RESPONSE PLAN                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DAVIS                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/27/12       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/27/12       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/09/12       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 129                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CHILD CARE CTRS: STATE EMPLOYEES & OTHERS                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) MCGUIRE                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
04/15/11       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/15/11       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/09/12       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SCR 18                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: RAOUL WALLENBERG REMEMBRANCE DAY                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DYSON                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/18/12       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/12       (S)       STA                                                                                                    
02/09/12       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JESSE KIEHL, Staff                                                                                                              
Senator Dennis Egan                                                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions about SB 121 on behalf of                                                              
the sponsor.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE BARNHILL, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                              
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions related to SB 121.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KENDRA KLOSTER, Staff                                                                                                           
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SJR 16 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS NELSON, Testifying on his own behalf                                                                                      
Moose Pass, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in favor of SJR 16.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LESIL MCGUIRE                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 129.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
GENEVIEVE WOJTUSIK, Staff                                                                                                       
Senator Lesil McGuire                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions related to SB 129 on                                                                   
behalf of the sponsor.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BLUE SHIBLER, Owner                                                                                                             
Discovery Preschool                                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in favor of SB 129.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SARAH LEONARD, Director of Marketing & Fund Development                                                                         
Thread                                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 121.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JOY LYON, Executive Director                                                                                                    
Association for the Education of the Young Child                                                                                
Southeast Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: encouraged support of SB 121.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
LAUREN BROOKS, Family Services Coordinator                                                                                      
Association of Education of Young Children and                                                                                  
Thread                                                                                                                          
Southeast Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of SB 121.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BETTYE DAVIS                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 179.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CELESTE HODGE, Staff                                                                                                            
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on SB 179 on behalf of                                                               
the sponsor.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL O'HARE, Deputy Director                                                                                                 
Homeland Security and Emergency Management                                                                                      
Department of Military and Veterans Administration (DMVA),                                                                      
Fort Richardson, Alaska                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 179.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MARIE DARLIN                                                                                                                    
AARP                                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in support of SB 179.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
LESLIE THOMPSON, Planner I                                                                                                      
Alaska Commission on Aging                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 179.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
LT. RODNEY DIAL                                                                                                                 
Alaska State Troopers                                                                                                           
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 179.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK CUNNINGHAM, Professor                                                                                                   
University of Alaska, Anchorage                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 179.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
NANCY BURKE, Trust Program Officer                                                                                              
Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (AMHTA)                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 179.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
RANDI CHAPMAN, Director of State Affairs                                                                                        
National Alzheimer's Association                                                                                                
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 179.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DULCE NOBRE, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Alzheimer's Resource of Alaska                                                                                                  
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 179.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
KATHRYN MONFREDA, Chief                                                                                                         
Criminal Records & Identification Bureau                                                                                        
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT: Addressed the fiscal note for SB 179.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DAVID GOTTSTEIN, Testifying on his own behalf                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in support of SCR 18.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:02:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BILL WIELECHOWSKI called the  Senate State Affairs Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 9:02  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Giessel, Kookesh, Paskvan,  Meyer, and Chair                                                               
Wielechowski.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
        SB 121-TEACHERS & PUB EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT PLANS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:03:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI noted the first order of business would be SB                                                                
121.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN moved to adopt Amendment R.1 for CSSB 121 (STA):                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                               27-LS0281\R.1                                                                    
                                                       Wayne                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                         AMENDMENT 1                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     OFFERED IN THE SENATE                                                                                                      
     TO:  CSSB 121(STA), Draft Version "R"                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, line 21:                                                                                                           
          Delete "contribution"                                                                                                 
          Insert "benefit"                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, line 23:                                                                                                           
          Delete "board"                                                                                                        
          Insert "administrator"                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 13, line 17:                                                                                                          
          Delete "contribution"                                                                                                 
          Insert "benefit"                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 13, line 19:                                                                                                          
          Delete "board"                                                                                                        
          Insert "administrator"                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI objected.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JESSE KIEHL, staff, Senator Dennis Egan, explained that                                                                         
Amendment R.1 is a technical cleanup of a drafting error.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI requested the opinion of the Department of                                                                   
Administration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:05:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE    BARNHILL,    Deputy     Commissioner,    Department    of                                                               
Administration, agreed that the amendment was a technical                                                                       
correction.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI withdrew his objection. Seeing no further                                                                    
objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN moved to adopt Amendment 2:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                               27-LS0281\R.2                                                                    
                                                       Wayne                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                          AMENDMENT 2                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     OFFERED IN THE SENATE                                                                                                      
     TO:  CSSB 121(STA), Draft Version "R"                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 10:                                                                                                           
          Delete "a new subsection"                                                                                             
          Insert "new subsections"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 30, following "more":                                                                                         
          Insert ", but less than 30,"                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, following line 3:                                                                                                  
     Insert new subsections to read:                                                                                            
          "(h)  On or after July 1, 2018, and every five                                                                        
     years  thereafter, the  administrator shall  adjust the                                                                    
     percentages  under (g)(2)  and (3)  of this  section as                                                                    
     needed  to  maintain,  but  not  to  exceed,  over  the                                                                    
     succeeding  five years,  an employer  normal cost  rate                                                                    
     for the members and  survivors who first became members                                                                    
     after June 30, 2006, that does  not exceed the combined                                                                    
     total  of the  rates under  AS 14.25.350(a), (b),  (d),                                                                    
     and   (e)  minus   the   employer   normal  cost   rate                                                                    
     attributable to  the members  who first  became members                                                                    
     after June 30, 2006, for  benefits under AS 14.25.009 -                                                                    
     14.25.167.  An adjustment  made  under this  subsection                                                                    
     shall remain  in effect  for five  years. In  making an                                                                    
     adjustment  under  this subsection,  the  administrator                                                                    
     shall  maintain the  five  percent differences  between                                                                    
     (g)(2)(A), (B),  and (C) of  this section and  the five                                                                    
     percent differences  between (g)(3)(A) and (B)  of this                                                                    
     section.                                                                                                                   
          (i)  When a member is appointed to retirement,                                                                        
     the  member obtains  a vested  right to  the applicable                                                                    
     percentage  under (g)(2)  or (3)  of  this section,  as                                                                    
     adjusted under (h)  of this section, that  is in effect                                                                    
     when the  member is appointed  to retirement.  A member                                                                    
     does not  obtain a vested  right to a  percentage under                                                                    
     (g)(2) or  (3) of this  section, as adjusted  under (h)                                                                    
     of  this section,  before the  member  is appointed  to                                                                    
     retirement."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Page 11, line 10, following "retirement":                                                                              
     Insert ";                                                                                                              
               (6)  on or after July 1, 2018, and every                                                                     
     five years  thereafter, the administrator  shall adjust                                                                
     the percentages  under (3) and  (4) of  this subsection                                                                
     as  needed to  maintain, but  not to  exceed, over  the                                                                
     succeeding  five years,  an employer  normal cost  rate                                                                
     for the members and  survivors who first became members                                                                
     after June 30, 2006, that does  not exceed the combined                                                                
     total  of the  rates under  AS 39.35.750(a), (b),  (d),                                                                
     and   (e)  minus   the   employer   normal  cost   rate                                                                
     attributable to  the members  who first  became members                                                                
     after June 30, 2006, for  benefits under AS 39.35.095 -                                                                
     39.35.530;  an  adjustment  made under  this  paragraph                                                                
     shall remain  in effect  for five  years; in  making an                                                                
     adjustment  under  this  paragraph,  the  administrator                                                                
     shall  maintain the  five  percent differences  between                                                                
     (3)(A), (B),  (C), and (D)  of this subsection  and the                                                                
     five  percent differences  between  (4)(A)  and (B)  of                                                                
     this subsection;                                                                                                       
               (7)  when a member is appointed to                                                                           
     retirement, the member  obtains a vested right  to  the                                                                
     applicable  percentage   under  (3)  or  (4)   of  this                                                                
     subsection, as  adjusted under (6) of  this subsection,                                                                
     that  is in  effect  when the  member  is appointed  to                                                                
     retirement; a member does not  obtain a vested right to                                                                
     a percentage  under (3) or  (4) of this  subsection, as                                                                
     adjusted   under  (6)   of   this  subsection,   before                                                                
     appointment to retirement."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI objected.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KIEHL explained  Amendment 2 begins with a  cleanup item. The                                                               
substantive  portion of  the amendment  deals with  the sponsor's                                                               
commitment  to make  this retirement  choice bill  "cost neutral"                                                               
when  compared to  the defined  contribution systems.  He pointed                                                               
out  that the  R version  of  the bill  showed a  savings to  the                                                               
state, as compared  to the defined contribution  system, but only                                                               
for a period  of time. In the combined PERS  systems, the savings                                                               
was for  about 7 years; in  the TRS systems, the  savings was for                                                               
about  12 years.  Accelerating costs  of pre-funding  health care                                                               
benefits overtook the savings in both cases.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI noticed that money  is saved on pensions under                                                               
PERS, but health care costs  are higher. He asked for information                                                               
about health care costs if they increase by 10 percent a year.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. KIEHL replied that in  the combined PERS system, both numbers                                                               
are higher.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if the  assumption is that  health care                                                               
costs would increase by 10 percent a year.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. KIEHL  did not recall  if the increase  is 9.5 percent  or 10                                                               
percent.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI shared his  calculations regarding health care                                                               
costs increasing.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:10:12 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BARNHILL  discussed the  FY  10  PERS valuation  for  Alaska                                                               
health care costs.  In 1978 the monthly premium was  $57; in 2011                                                               
it is  $1,176. This  illustrates a  9 percent  trend for  over 30                                                               
years. Actuaries had  projected a 9 percent cost  growth up until                                                               
1990. If the gross domestic product  (GDP) in the U.S. is growing                                                               
at  3 to  4 percent  a  year, and  health  care is  growing at  9                                                               
percent a  year, eventually  health care costs  would use  up the                                                               
total economy.  The actuaries determined  that health  care costs                                                               
needed to be decreased and  projections needed to be stepped down                                                               
to  about 4.5  percent  per  year in  TRS.  There  was a  tension                                                               
between theory and actual experience.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BARNHILL stressed that the  U.S. economy and Alaska's economy                                                               
should not  be compared  because the U.S.  economy is  mature and                                                               
has little  room for growth.  Alaska economy, on the  other hand,                                                               
has room  for GDP growth, which  would allow health care  to grow                                                               
at  a sustained,  higher rate  for a  longer period  of time.  He                                                               
stated that  the health care growth  rate that the state  paid in                                                               
the last 10 years was 9.4 percent.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI understood that  the calculation going forward                                                               
through 2042 was at 10 percent.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BARNHILL  said the Alaska Retirement  Management Board (ARMB)                                                               
assumptions were  used, which start  at 9 percent and  grade down                                                               
at a very slow rate over the course of a century.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked if  by  2042,  it would  cost  roughly                                                               
$100,000 per employee in health care costs.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BARNHILL did  not know, but thought costs  would double every                                                               
ten years.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. KIEHL discussed how the  amendment "handles the question." He                                                               
recalled the history  of how decisions were made  for the Defined                                                               
Contribution  (DC)  system. He  talked  about  the safeguards  of                                                               
having a neutral ARM Board  and an annual actuarial review. Those                                                               
safeguards have  led to today's  projections. The  amendment asks                                                               
employees to  share the risk  through a premium  share percentage                                                               
that  matches the  premium share  percentage in  the DC  plan. It                                                               
takes  note of  the  cost growth  assumptions  and has  actuaries                                                               
evaluate every 5 years what it  would cost to prefund health care                                                               
benefits,  thereby   shifting  the   schedule  based   on  actual                                                               
experience. It would ensure that the  state does not pay more for                                                               
the new system than the old one.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI  simplified the  content of the  amendment: it                                                               
will keep the cost at or below the current system.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEIEHL agreed.  He added  that the  department expressed  an                                                               
interest  in clarifying  the five-year  adjustment  to make  sure                                                               
that it  is forward looking,  which is agreeable to  the sponsor.                                                               
He noted that the premium  share percentages may fluctuate during                                                               
an  employee's career,  but benefits  can be  adjusted until  the                                                               
employee retires. At retirement the premium is fixed.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:18:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI said it seems like a good solution.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BARNHILL related that the  numerical analysis is being worked                                                               
on. He voiced a concern about what happens at retirement.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI  withdrew his objection to  adopt Amendment 2.                                                               
Seeing no further objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI said that SB 121 would be held over.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                    SJR 16-MILITARY PENSIONS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:21:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI stated  that SJR 16 was  before the committee.                                                               
The resolution  urges Congress  to pass  legislation guaranteeing                                                               
members of the military promised retirement benefits.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
KENDRA KLOSTER, staff, Senator  Bill Wielechowski, introduced SJR                                                               
16 on behalf of the sponsor.  She said the Defense Business Board                                                               
recently  released  a  suggested  plan to  convert  the  military                                                               
retirement system  from the current  20-year vesting system  to a                                                               
401k due  to pending  budget cuts. The  Department of  Defense is                                                               
looking at $487  billion in budget cuts over the  next ten years.                                                               
The  resolution would  "grandfather  in" members  in the  current                                                               
pension system.  The resolution also  urges the U.S.  Congress to                                                               
support HR 3520: Keeping Our Promises Act of 2011.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WIELECHOWSKI said  this issue  is a  huge concern  for the                                                               
military.  It  is about  keeping  a  promise about  pensions  for                                                               
military personnel.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:23:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS NELSON, testifying  on his own behalf,  Moose Pass, Alaska,                                                               
spoke in favor of SJR 16.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN asked if military  veterans have access to health                                                               
benefits when they retire.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. NELSON  said they did.  Military service members  are covered                                                               
by TriCare and those benefits continue upon retirement.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI spoke highly of Mr. Nelson.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  PASKVAN moved  to report  SJR 16  out of  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WIELECHOWSKI  announced  that without  objection,  SJR  16                                                               
moved from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
        SB 129-CHILD CARE CTRS: STATE EMPLOYEES & OTHERS                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
9:26:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  WIELECHOWSKI   announced  that  SB  129   was  before  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LESIL  MCGUIRE, sponsor,  introduced SB 129,  which would                                                               
allow child care  centers to be located in  office buildings that                                                               
are owned or leased by the  State of Alaska. The bill is designed                                                               
to help  address the child care  shortage in Alaska. It  does not                                                               
address child care facilities in  private businesses. She related                                                               
the number of  children, 35,000 under the age of  six, in need of                                                               
child  care.  Of  those  children,   only  16,000  will  have  an                                                               
opportunity  to receive  child care.  She spoke  of a  task force                                                               
eight years ago by the women in  the House and Senate to create a                                                               
day care  center in the state  capital. That center has  become a                                                               
model for  other state governments  wishing to  support employees                                                               
that have families.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MCGUIRE explained  that the  bill does  not require  the                                                               
state to  pay for child care.  She reported on businesses  in the                                                               
private sector that pay for  child care; however, this bill would                                                               
simply  authorize the  Department  of Administration  to take  an                                                               
application  for  consideration  of putting  child  care  program                                                               
start-up operations together.  The state would not  be paying any                                                               
costs; instead,  families would pay  for day care  services. Many                                                               
agencies agree with the benefits of on-site child care.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI pointed  out that the child  care center would                                                               
be open to all state employees, as well as to the public.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MCGUIRE agreed. She addressed  the importance of Juneau's                                                               
facility to the  community. She recalled a time when  there was a                                                               
shortage of child care centers.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN asked if state  employees would be given priority                                                               
at  the child  care centers  in SB  129, similar  to how  federal                                                               
child care programs are run.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MCGUIRE said  the bill  does  not address  who would  be                                                               
given  priority. The  federal requirements  dictate that  federal                                                               
employees  are given  a priority.  In Juneau's  day care  center,                                                               
state  employees and  staff have  first priority.  In this  bill,                                                               
state  employees   are  not   necessarily  given   priority.  The                                                               
committee could amend the bill to change that.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MEYER  asked if  there  were  any legal  concerns  about                                                               
liability.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
GENEVIEVE  WOJTUSIK,  staff,   Senator  Lesil  McGuire,  sponsor,                                                               
answered Senator Meyer's question.  She said the current contract                                                               
states that  the business assumes all  liability and it has  a $1                                                               
million insurance policy.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:34:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCQUIRE stressed  that the state is not  getting into the                                                               
child  care  business.  The  current  contract  was  obtained  by                                                               
putting  out  a  request  for  proposal.  Blue  Shibler  won  the                                                               
contract and carries insurance.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BLUE SHIBLER,  owner, Discovery Preschool, Juneau,  Alaska, spoke                                                               
in favor  of SB  129. She  echoed the  sentiments of  the sponsor                                                               
statement. She spoke of the  advantage of having maintenance paid                                                               
for  by  the state;  child  care  workers  are paid  higher  than                                                               
average  wages. Discovery  Preschool  serves  about 40  families,                                                               
most of which  are legislative and state employees,  but some are                                                               
also  public employees  and private  sector  families. Hours  are                                                               
extended to evenings and weekends, as well as drop-in care.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL asked if janitorial services are paid for.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHIVELER  said  she  does   not  pay  for  rent,  janitorial                                                               
services,  or utilities;  therefore, she  can pay  workers higher                                                               
wages.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:38:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SARAH LEONARD, Director of Marketing  & Fund Development, thread,                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska, testified  in support of SB 121.   She related                                                               
that thread is Alaska's childcare  resource and referral network.                                                               
She shared what was contained  in thread's letter of support. One                                                               
of thread's  core missions is to  provide accessible, affordable,                                                               
and quality child care.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOY LYON,  Executive Director, Association  for the  Education of                                                               
the Young Child, Southeast Alaska,  encouraged support of SB 121.                                                               
She spoke  of the advantages  of investing  in employer-sponsored                                                               
child care. She  shared statistics related to the  need for child                                                               
care  in order  for parents  to work.  She argued  that care  for                                                               
children is a priority. The state  would benefit in two ways from                                                               
this legislation; employers would  see returns on investments and                                                               
the problem  of inadequate  availability of  child care  would be                                                               
addressed. Less  than half of  children with parents in  the work                                                               
force have access to a licensed child care facility.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:44:51 AM                                                                                                                    
LAUREN  BROOKS,  Family   Services  Coordinator,  Association  of                                                               
Education  of  Young  Children   and  thread,  Southeast  Alaska,                                                               
testified in  favor of  SB 121. She  shared statistics  about the                                                               
availability of child care centers.  She listed the problems when                                                               
quality child care is not  available. She encouraged the adoption                                                               
of SB 121.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN  said asked  about the range  of costs  for child                                                               
care in Juneau.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BROOKS said  she  did not  monitor  private facilities.  The                                                               
costs vary.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  PASKVAN asked  what the  minimum and  maximum costs  for                                                               
child care are.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. BROOKS  said the maximum cost  is about $1,000 per  month and                                                               
the minimum cost is about $600 per month.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MCGUIRE  offered  to provide  statistics  that  answered                                                               
Senator Paskvan's question.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL looked  at page 3, lines 9-11, and  asked if page                                                               
2, lines 22-24,  present a conflict. She said she  thought it was                                                               
saying   that   the   operator   was   not   assuming   financial                                                               
responsibility.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MCGUIRE responded  that  in the  case  of a  legislative                                                               
building, such as  in Juneau, the costs are not  passed on to the                                                               
provider. She said  she does not know what the  fiscal note would                                                               
be in other cases. She offered to  find out if it costs the state                                                               
more to cover janitorial services at the Juneau day care center.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MCGUIRE maintained  that page  3 of  the bill  was clear                                                               
that  the  operator  shall  comply   with  all  state  and  local                                                               
standards for  licensure of the  child care facility.  She stated                                                               
that  page 2  deals with  facilities.  If the  child care  center                                                               
occupies a state-owned building, there may be a cost.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:53:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL spoke of extended  liability and higher standards                                                               
when  dealing  with  children  in   regards  to  maintenance  and                                                               
janitorial services. She  opined that the state may  be taking on                                                               
liability if high standards are not maintained.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   MCGUIRE  thought   Senator   Giessel's  comments   were                                                               
appropriate  considerations.  She  said  the  partnership  merits                                                               
value and  she thought it  was worth it.  An attempt was  made to                                                               
make  the bill  broad enough  to allow  for negotiations  to take                                                               
place.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  PASKVAN  understood the  policy  choice  of the  state's                                                               
absorbing costs. He  took issue with the potential  for a sliding                                                               
fee schedule on  page 3. He maintained that charging  fees on the                                                               
basis  of  household income  goes  beyond  operational costs.  He                                                               
wondered how competitive that was with private enterprise.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MCGUIRE noted  that all sections are  subject to removal.                                                               
The cost  of care provisions are  "may's" not "shall's". It  is a                                                               
multi-tiered process  and is purposely  broad. The  sliding scale                                                               
is specifically for the public, not for state employees.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:59:56 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN said he only wondered  if there was a template or                                                               
standard to follow.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MEYER  asked  if  private  sector  providers  have  been                                                               
contacted about this legislation.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MCGUIRE   replied  that  the  private   sector  was  not                                                               
contacted, but  she said she sensed  that people in the  day care                                                               
community would be  in support of the bill because  there is such                                                               
a need  for child care  services. She thought the  questions were                                                               
fair. The  rates in  the bill are  competitive. She  stressed the                                                               
need for providing more day care services.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WIELECHOWSKI  stated   that  SB  129  would   be  held  in                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
         SB 179-MISSING VULNERABLE ADULT RESPONSE PLAN                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI announced the consideration of SB 179.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:04:18 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BETTYE DAVIS, sponsor of  SB 179, said the legislation is                                                               
similar to the Amber Alert,  but is for vulnerable missing adults                                                               
rather  than children.  About 20  states  currently have  similar                                                               
legislation. The bill has a zero fiscal note.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:06:17 AM                                                                                                                   
CELESTE HODGE, staff, Senator  Bettye Davis, provided information                                                               
on SB 179  on behalf of the sponsor. She  read from the following                                                               
sponsor statement:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     SB 179 creates a new statewide alert system to help                                                                        
     find vulnerable missing adults. The system, which is                                                                       
     similar to the nationwide Amber Alert program, would                                                                       
     help local law enforcement notify the public when                                                                          
     a mentally or physically impaired Alaskan goes                                                                             
     missing. According to the Alaska Commission on Aging,                                                                      
     there were approximately 7,785 Alaskans suffering from                                                                     
     Alzheimer's Disease and related dementia in 2010, and                                                                      
     that number is expected to grow to more than 17,000 by                                                                     
     2030. Alaska has the fastest growing senior population                                                                     
     in the nation.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Recently, in Fairbanks, a 63-year-old woman suffering                                                                      
     from Alzheimer's Disease froze to death after she                                                                          
     became disoriented while driving, ran out of gas, and                                                                      
     tried walking several miles to seek help. This                                                                             
     incident and several others like it demonstrate the                                                                        
     need for an alert system to assist in the search for                                                                       
     missing vulnerable adults. When a vulnerable adult                                                                         
     goes missing, his or her best chance of survival is if                                                                     
     someone finds them within 24 to 48 hours.                                                                                  
     The bill calls for the Department of Military Affairs                                                                      
     to coordinate with Department of Public Safety to                                                                          
     create and implement prompt response and notification                                                                      
     plans that would use a voluntary network of                                                                                
     statewide and local newspapers as well as radio and                                                                        
     television stations to rapidly alert the public that a                                                                     
     vulnerable adult is missing. The bill also calls for                                                                       
     both departments to establish standards on what                                                                            
     triggers an alert and when a vulnerable adult is                                                                           
     officially considered missing. This legislation would                                                                      
     ensure the search for Alaska's most vulnerable                                                                             
     citizens happens a lot faster. Currently, there are 28                                                                     
     states that have implemented or will implement Silver                                                                      
     Alert programs, an increase in 10 states since the                                                                         
     National Association of States for Aging and                                                                               
     Disabilities last report.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HODGES stated  that the  fiscal  note has  zero impact.  She                                                               
urged support of the bill.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI said there were  ten people waiting to testify                                                               
on the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL asked if the alert system currently exists.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. HODGE said it did not.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:10:00 AM                                                                                                                   
MICHAEL O'HARE, Deputy Director,  Homeland Security and Emergency                                                               
Management  Department of  Military  and Veterans  Administration                                                               
(DMVA) Fort Richardson, Alaska,  pointed out that there currently                                                               
is an  Amber Alert system in  place in Alaska. It  is a statewide                                                               
relay system activated by the Department of Public Safety (DPS).                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. O'HARE  related that DMVA has  no problem with the  bill. The                                                               
bill  requires that  DMVA cooperate  with DPS  to put  together a                                                               
Silver Alert  plan. Both departments  are on the  Emergency Alert                                                               
System (EAS)  committee. The EAS  is antiquated and may  not work                                                               
in  remote areas;  however,  a new  system  is forthcoming  which                                                               
would allow for a regional alert approach.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KOOKESH asked if DMVA supports the bill.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. O'HARE said absolutely.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:13:39 AM                                                                                                                   
MARIE DARLIN, AARP,  Juneau, Alaska, spoke in support  of SB 179.                                                               
She voiced  concern about educating  family caregivers  about how                                                               
to respond when an elderly person is missing.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:15:30 AM                                                                                                                   
LESLIE THOMPSON,  Planner I, Alaska Commission  on Aging, Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, testified in support of SB  179. She said that the number                                                               
one concern  of caregivers is  what to  do if a  vulnerable adult                                                               
goes  missing. She  noted  that people  with  Alzheimer's are  at                                                               
great risk because they do wander.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
LT. RODNEY DIAL, Alaska State  Troopers, Ketchikan, Alaska, spoke                                                               
in support of SB 179.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:18:22 AM                                                                                                                   
PATRICK CUNNINGHAM,  Professor, University of  Alaska, Anchorage,                                                               
testified  in  support  of  SB  179. He  spoke  of  the  benefits                                                               
provided in the bill for  adults with cognitive disorders, mental                                                               
disabilities, and brain injuries.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
NANCY BURKE,  Trust Program Officer,  Alaska Mental  Health Trust                                                               
Authority (AMHTA), Anchorage, Alaska,  testified in support of SB                                                               
179. She spoke  of her organization's efforts  to keep vulnerable                                                               
adults who wander, safe.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:20:34 AM                                                                                                                   
RANDI CHAPMAN,  Director of  State Affairs,  National Alzheimer's                                                               
Association, Washington,  D.C., testified  in support of  SB 179.                                                               
She emphasized the importance of local searching techniques.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DULCE NOBRE, Executive Director,  Alzheimer's Resource of Alaska,                                                               
Palmer, Alaska, testified in support of  SB 179. She spoke of the                                                               
dangers   of  wandering   behavior.  The   organization  provides                                                               
education  and  strategies  for family  care  givers,  but  needs                                                               
assistance with these situations.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:23:26 AM                                                                                                                   
KATHRYN  MONFREDA,  Chief,   Criminal  Records  &  Identification                                                               
Bureau, Department of Public Safety,  offered to answer questions                                                               
about the zero fiscal note for SB 179.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL noted  the broadness of the bill with  use of the                                                               
language "vulnerable adults."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI said a definition exists in statute.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. HODGE read the definition  of vulnerable adult: "A vulnerable                                                               
adult is classified  under state law as a person  who is at least                                                               
18 years  old, and, because  of a physical or  mental impairment,                                                               
is unable to meet the person's  own needs or to seek help without                                                               
assistance."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI stated he would hold SB 179 in committee.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
            SCR 18-RAOUL WALLENBERG REMEMBRANCE DAY                                                                         
                                                                                                                              
10:25:34 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  WIELECHOWSKI   announced  that  SCR  18   was  before  the                                                               
committee.  The resolution  designates August  4, 2012,  as Raoul                                                               
Wallenberg Remembrance Day.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRED  DYSON, sponsor, SCR  18, introduced  the resolution                                                               
by quoting  Solomon from 3,000 years  ago, "If a man  thinketh in                                                               
his  heart, so  is  he."  He said  that  Raoul  Wallenberg was  a                                                               
Swedish  diplomat who  was responsible  for  saving over  100,000                                                               
Jewish people during the holocaust.  The Guinness Book of Records                                                               
says  that  no  one  in  history saved  more  people  than  Raoul                                                               
Wallenberg. August  12, 2012,  will be  the 100th  Anniversary of                                                               
Raoul  Wallenberg's  birth.  Many   Alaskans  are  interested  in                                                               
honoring this hero and no one objects to this proposal.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI  noted that  Raoul Wallenberg  is one  of only                                                               
two persons to be made an honorary citizen of the United States.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:28:31 AM                                                                                                                   
DAVID  GOTTSTEIN,  Anchorage,  Alaska,   testifying  on  his  own                                                               
behalf, spoke  in support of SCR  18. He shared a  personal story                                                               
about Raoul Wallenberg.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  PASKVAN moved  to report  SCR 18  out of  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal note.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WIELECHOWSKI  announced  that without  objection,  SCR  18                                                               
moved from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:30:32 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee adjourned at 10:30                                                                  
a.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1 SCR 18 SPONSOR STATEMENT.pdf SSTA 2/9/2012 9:00:00 AM
SCR 18
SCR18A.pdf SSTA 2/9/2012 9:00:00 AM
SCR 18
3 SCR H.R. 3001 112th Congress - Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Act.pdf SSTA 2/9/2012 9:00:00 AM
SCR 18
4 SCR 18 Honorary Citizen USA.pdf SSTA 2/9/2012 9:00:00 AM
SCR 18
SJR 16.Modernizing the Military Retirement System.pdf SSTA 2/9/2012 9:00:00 AM
SJR 16
SJR016A.pdf SSTA 2/9/2012 9:00:00 AM
SJR 16
SJR16.Letter from VoteVets.Org.pdf SSTA 2/9/2012 9:00:00 AM
SJR 16
SJR 16 Military Pension Fact Sheet.pdf SSTA 2/9/2012 9:00:00 AM
SJR 16
SJR16.Articles on Military Pension Cuts.pdf SSTA 2/9/2012 9:00:00 AM
SJR 16
SJR 16. Text of HR3520.Keeping Our Promises Act of 2011.pdf SSTA 2/9/2012 9:00:00 AM
SJR 16