Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

03/02/2017 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
Download Video part 1. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SJR 2 CONST AM: APPROPRIATION LIMIT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+= SB 48 INS. FOR DEPENDS. OF DECEASED FIRE/POLICE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 26 PERM. FUND:DEPOSITS;DIVIDEND;EARNINGS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 26 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 2, 2017                                                                                          
                           3:32 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Mike Dunleavy, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator David Wilson                                                                                                            
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Dennis Egan                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 26                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to the  Alaska Permanent Fund  Corporation, the                                                               
earnings of the  Alaska permanent fund, and  the earnings reserve                                                               
account; relating  to the mental  health trust fund;  relating to                                                               
deposits into the  dividend fund; relating to  the calculation of                                                               
permanent fund dividends; relating  to unrestricted state revenue                                                               
available  for  appropriation;  and providing  for  an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 26 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 2                                                                                                   
Proposing  an  amendment to  the  Constitution  of the  State  of                                                               
Alaska relating to an appropriation limit.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 48                                                                                                              
"An  Act creating  a fund  in  the Department  of Public  Safety;                                                               
providing for  payment of certain medical  insurance premiums for                                                               
surviving dependents  of certain police officers  or firefighters                                                               
who  die in  the line  of duty;  and providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 26                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: PERM. FUND: DEPOSITS; DIVIDEND; EARNINGS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/18/17       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/17       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/07/17       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/07/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/07/17       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/16/17       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/16/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/16/17       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/21/17       (S)       STA AT 4:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/21/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/21/17       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/22/17       (S)       FIN AT 1:30 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                      
02/22/17       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
02/28/17       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/28/17       (S)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
03/02/17       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SJR 2                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: CONST AM: APPROPRIATION LIMIT                                                                                      
SPONSOR(s): STATE AFFAIRS                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
01/27/17       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/27/17       (S)       STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
02/14/17       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/14/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/14/17       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/02/17       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 48                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: INS. FOR DEPENDS. OF DECEASED FIRE/POLICE                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): COGHILL                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
02/03/17       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/03/17       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/14/17       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/14/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/14/17       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/02/17       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PENN R. PFIFFNER, Chairman                                                                                                      
Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) Committee                                                                                     
Lakewood, Colorado                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 2.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BARRY POULSON, Emeritus Professor of Economics                                                                                  
University of Colorado                                                                                                          
Boulder, Colorado                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 2 with added                                                                  
provisions.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MATTHEW MITCHELL, Senior Research Fellow                                                                                        
Mercatus Center at George Mason University                                                                                      
Arlington, Virginia                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SJR 2 and provided                                                                
suggestions on fiscal policies.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTA MCDONALD, Staff                                                                                                         
Senator Mike Dunleavy                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Reviewed the CS for SB 48.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PAT HOLMES, representing self                                                                                                   
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 48.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BRANDY JOHNSON, representing self and family                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support SB 48.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DAVID PRUHS, City Council Member                                                                                                
City of Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 48.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PAULA JOHNSON, representing self and family                                                                                     
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 48.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KATHIE WASSERMAN, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Municipal League                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 48.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN HECKS, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Southern Region Emergency Medical Services Unit (EMS) Council,                                                                  
Inc.                                                                                                                            
Division of Public Health                                                                                                       
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 48.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:32:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MIKE DUNLEAVY  called the  Senate  State Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 3:32  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were Senators  Giessel, Wilson,  Egan, Coghill,  and Chair                                                               
Dunleavy.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
         SB 26-PERM. FUND: DEPOSITS; DIVIDEND; EARNINGS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:33:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced the consideration of SB 26.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:33:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY closed public testimony for SB 26.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:33:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report  SB 26, version 30-GS1690\A, from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
note(s).                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY asked if there were objections.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:33:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON announced that he objected.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY asked if he wished to speak to his objection.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILSON  answered yes.  He noted that  "not wanting  to do                                                               
harm to the  local economy" was addressed by  economists in other                                                               
presentations. He asserted  that he could not  in good conscience                                                               
pass  SB 26  due to  the devastating  effect a  reduced permanent                                                               
fund dividend has on the local economy.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY  asked  Senator   Wilson  if  he  maintained  his                                                               
objection.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WILSON answered yes.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  asked Chair Dunleavy to  clearly articulate what                                                               
the committee was voting on.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR EGAN concurred with Senator Giessel.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY  clarified  that  the  committee  was  voting  on                                                               
whether to  move SB 26  out of  committee. He noted  that Senator                                                               
Wilson had objected and maintained his objection.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL asked if a "yes"  vote meant to move the bill and                                                               
a "no" vote meant not to move the bill.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY answered correct.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  EGAN  asked  if  he   could  still  sign  the  bill  "no                                                               
recommendation."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY answered yes.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He asked for a roll call vote.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
A roll call  vote was taken. Senators Giessel,  Egan, and Coghill                                                               
voted  in favor  of moving  SB 26  and Senator  Wilson and  Chair                                                               
Dunleavy voted  against it. Therefore,  the motion to move  SB 26                                                               
from committee passed by a 3:2 vote.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced  that SB 26 moved from  the Senate State                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:35:53 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
              SJR 2-CONST AM: APPROPRIATION LIMIT                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:37:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY called  the committee back to  order. He announced                                                               
the consideration of SJR 2.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
He  welcomed  invited  testimony  and  announced  that  Mr.  Penn                                                               
Pfiffner from the  TABOR Foundation will be the  first to address                                                               
the  committee.  He  detailed  that   Mr.  Pfiffner  is  a  state                                                               
representative  from Colorado's  legislature and  has served  for                                                               
eight years. He detailed that  Mr. Piffner's major bills included                                                               
the  enhanced sentences  for  dangerous  pedophiles, the  state's                                                               
full  restitution   policy,  repealed   the  capital   gains  tax                                                               
revision, created performance-based pay  for state employees, and                                                               
wrote major  deregulation bills. He  added that Mr.  Pfiffner has                                                               
taught  college  economics  part-time  for  13  years,  earned  a                                                               
master's degree in  finance from the University  of Colorado, and                                                               
currently serves as  the chairman of the TABOR  Committee and its                                                               
sister organization the TABOR Foundation.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:38:49 PM                                                                                                                    
PENN  R. PFIFFNER,  Chairman, Taxpayer's  Bill of  Rights (TABOR)                                                               
Committee, Lakewood, Colorado, testified in  support of SJR 2. He                                                               
opined that SJR  2 will receive pushback from people  who want to                                                               
see  bigger   and  bigger  government  without   restriction.  He                                                               
suggested  that SJR  2  be recognized  as  a spending  limitation                                                               
rather than  a repeat  of Colorado's TABOR.  He pointed  out that                                                               
Colorado's TABOR is more ambitious  with a larger reach. He noted                                                               
the differences between TABOR and SJR 2 as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   · SJR 2 is state-only where Colorado's TABOR has a                                                                           
     restriction on every level of government.                                                                                  
   · SJR 2 has no restriction of debt.                                                                                          
   · SJR 2 has 14 exceptions.                                                                                                   
   · SJR 2 is silent on the rebate of taxes that are collected                                                                  
     above the cap.                                                                                                             
   · SJR 2 does not have election provisions.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He remarked  that resetting  a spending  cap with  SJR 2  makes a                                                               
great deal of  sense because there is not much  point of having a                                                               
cap that is ineffective.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:41:13 PM                                                                                                                    
He  contended that  Alaska's  effective  appropriations cap  will                                                               
mirror  that  of Colorado's  positive  experiences.  He said  the                                                               
overarching  concept  is  to strike  a  healthy  balance  between                                                               
family budgets  and public  goods which  results in  citizens and                                                               
elected  officials asking  the right  questions.  He opined  that                                                               
having a good spending limitation  forces people to ask questions                                                               
that are  related to  prioritizing within  a given  budget rather                                                               
than trying to  fund wild dreams. He set forth  that the value of                                                               
everyone living within a budget  extends to government with smart                                                               
and fair measures that limits  taxes and expenditures limitations                                                               
such as SJR 2.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He said  Colorado has  seen a very  successful economy  and noted                                                               
that the state did not have  a successful economy before 1992. He                                                               
stressed  that  he  was  not  suggesting  causation  as  much  as                                                               
recognizing  that  some of  TABOR's  opposition  claimed that  it                                                               
would damage  the state's economy.  He pointed out  that Colorado                                                               
has a roaring economy.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PFIFFNER  noted  that  Colorado  has  program  stability  by                                                               
recognizing the  natural inclination  for government to  grow too                                                               
fast in good times  and to over promise and set  up the base that                                                               
is far  too high  when fiscal challenges  come. He  said Colorado                                                               
has seen its  fiscal crises limited, especially  when compared to                                                               
states such  as California and  Illinois, states that  have grown                                                               
their  budgets  immensely  and  then  had  to  adjust  to  fiscal                                                               
challenges.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:44:21 PM                                                                                                                    
He addressed  typical challenges  to government  limitation where                                                               
budgets  and K-12  spending will  be damaged.  He disclosed  that                                                               
Colorado's fiscal  and spending policies have  compared favorably                                                               
to  its neighboring  states. He  added that  naysayers have  said                                                               
Colorado does not  have enough money, but noted  that Colorado is                                                               
one of four  states that spends more  on a local basis  than on a                                                               
state basis.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:47:43 PM                                                                                                                    
He addressed  SJR 2 and  opined that  some things have  been done                                                               
that he  thought would  help gain support  and allow  citizens to                                                               
understand the measure better. He  opined that there really is no                                                               
issue  about  rebasing  to  a  lower  level.  He  disclosed  that                                                               
Colorado has dealt with a  troubling aspect through the courts to                                                               
its voter  approval requirement  for new  taxes where  "fees" are                                                               
used.  He said  SJR 2  avoids the  "fee" problem.  He added  that                                                               
states  with successful  expenditure  limitations  place them  in                                                               
their constitution and SJR 2 does  that. He summarized that SJR 2                                                               
takes the right step as a good and effective measure.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  stated that he  wanted to contrast  what Colorado                                                               
has  done  and what  SJR  2  tries  to  accomplish. He  asked  if                                                               
Colorado's TABOR exists on both state and local levels.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PFIFFNER answered  correct. He  pointed out  that Colorado's                                                               
TABOR pertains  beyond what Chair  Dunleavy queried.  He detailed                                                               
that Colorado has  more than 3,400 special  districts, mostly for                                                               
road,  water  and sewer,  in  addition  to library  and  cemetery                                                               
districts.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:51:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY  noted that  SJR  2  strictly pertains  to  state                                                               
spending. He  asked if in  Colorado, any type of  revenue measure                                                               
must be voted on by the people.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.   PFIFFNER   described   Chair   Dunleavy's   query   as   an                                                               
overstatement. He explained that  new taxes, sunsetting taxes and                                                               
an increase in  tax rates must be approved by  voters, but fiscal                                                               
policy  modifications  that  do  not result  in  an  increase  in                                                               
revenues  are exempt.  He  added that  pension  plan funding  and                                                               
items that deal with fees are also exempt.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  asked if the  same guidelines apply to  local and                                                               
district levels as well.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. PFIFFNER  answered correct. He detailed  that local districts                                                               
specify their  need for  more debt or  raising taxes  and pointed                                                               
out that local  measures have passed more than 80  percent of the                                                               
time.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:54:24 PM                                                                                                                    
BARRY  POULSON, Emeritus  Professor of  Economics, University  of                                                               
Colorado, Boulder, Colorado,  testified in support of  SJR 2 with                                                               
added provisions. He  detailed that he is also an  advisor to the                                                               
American Legislative  Exchange Council (ALEC). He  disclosed that                                                               
Chair Dunleavy asked him to  address Colorado's "Taxpayer Bill of                                                               
Rights" (TABOR) and experience with  "Tax and Expenditure Limits"                                                               
(TEL) in other states.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He explained the Colorado's history with TELs as follows:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   · Colorado was one of the first states to introduce a TEL in                                                                 
     the 1970s.                                                                                                                 
   · Colorado's TEL in the 1970s was not effective because state                                                                
     legislators chose to exempt major parts of the budget from                                                                 
     a limit.                                                                                                                   
   · Colorado's spending was not constrained in the 1980s and                                                                   
     the state was a lot like California where government                                                                       
     spending grew more rapidly than the private economy.                                                                       
   · Colorado's TABOR constitutional amendment initiative was                                                                   
     enacted in 1992.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He said  TABORs turned out  to be one  of the most  effective tax                                                               
and   spending  limits   in  the   country  through   substantive                                                               
constraints   and  procedural   constraints.  He   detailed  that                                                               
substantive  constraints  limit the  growth  of  spending by  any                                                               
jurisdiction to the  sum of inflation plus  population growth. He                                                               
added  that  any revenue  above  the  limit  must be  rebated  to                                                               
taxpayers.  He  specified  that  procedural  constraints  require                                                               
voter approval for  any increase in taxes,  tax-base, or increase                                                               
in debt.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He disclosed  that Colorado's TABOR  resulted in  surplus revenue                                                               
in  the  late  1990s  where   over  $3  billion  was  rebated  to                                                               
taxpayers. He added that the  TABOR set the stage for significant                                                               
tax reductions at  all levels of government  where Colorado ended                                                               
up with  one of the best  business tax climates that  resulted in                                                               
the  state  experiencing  the second  highest  rate  of  economic                                                               
growth of any state in the country.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:58:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. POULSON detailed  that Colorado ran into  problems with TABOR                                                               
in 2001 when  the state experienced a sharp recession  with an 18                                                               
percent fall  in revenue  that resulted  in the  "ratchet effect"                                                               
where  surplus revenue  was  rebated to  taxpayers  prior to  the                                                               
state fully  recovering from the  recession. He disclosed  that a                                                               
referendum  in 2005  resulted in  a timeout  for TABOR  from 2005                                                               
through 2009 and TABOR was applied  again in 2010. He pointed out                                                               
that  Colorado's economy  recovered well  from its  recession and                                                               
the state is now growing more  rapidly than most other states. He                                                               
opined  that   Colorado's  positive   tax  climate  has   been  a                                                               
significant  factor in  the state's  rapid recovery  and economic                                                               
growth.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He addressed procedural limits in  TABOR regarding voter approval                                                               
for  increased  taxes,  tax-base,  and   debt  at  all  level  of                                                               
government. He said for two  decades, Colorado citizens have been                                                               
voting  on hundreds  of measures  proposing  increased taxes  and                                                               
increased  debt.  Measures at  the  municipal  level have  passed                                                               
about 50  percent of the time,  but at the state  level taxpayers                                                               
have been  more stringent. He  disclosed that only  two minor-tax                                                               
increases and  a debt increase  have been approved over  the past                                                               
two  decades.  He set  forth  that  citizens  have been  able  to                                                               
constrain the  growth of government  significantly at  all levels                                                               
and especially at the state  level because of both the procedural                                                               
limits and the substantive limits in TABOR.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
He reiterated  that he  serves as advisor  to ALEC  and disclosed                                                               
that model  legislation for tax  and spending limits  was drafted                                                               
by  ALEC using  Colorado's TABOR  as  a model.  He detailed  that                                                               
refinements  were made  in ALEC's  model  legislation to  include                                                               
providing for  an emergency fund  and a capital fund  via surplus                                                               
revenue. He added  that additional surplus revenue  is rebated or                                                               
offset by tax cuts.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:02:39 PM                                                                                                                    
He opined  that Alaska's TEL is  poorly designed and as  a result                                                               
the limit  has increased more  rapidly than state revenue  so the                                                               
TEL never  constrains anything. He  said a TEL must  be carefully                                                               
designed  to achieve  a  desired result.  He  concurred with  Mr.                                                               
Pfiffner  that  SJR 2  appears  to  be  a well-designed  tax  and                                                               
spending  limit that  will be  much more  effective than  the TEL                                                               
that Alaska currently  has in place. He opined  that imposing the                                                               
limit on  appropriation based on population  growth and inflation                                                               
will constrain the  growth of state spending  very effectively in                                                               
addition to  providing a  much more  stable spending  growth over                                                               
the business cycle. He said  Alaska, like many energy states, has                                                               
revenue volatility  that results in spending  volatility. He said                                                               
SJR  2 is  an important  step in  the right  direction. He  added                                                               
Alaska's  emergency fund  and  capital  construction fund  should                                                               
also assist in what the state is attempting to achieve.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:04:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. POULSON addressed problems that  Alaska might expect with SJR                                                               
2 as follows:                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   · TELs often put pressure on the state to fund programs with                                                                 
     fees.                                                                                                                      
   · SJR 2 only constrains spending at the state level.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He  suggested that  the state  address  "fees" by  having a  very                                                               
strict definition  of user  fees and  distinguish user  fees from                                                               
taxes so  that the state  is sure  to only restrict  tax revenues                                                               
and  expenditures.  He added  that  unfunded  mandates should  be                                                               
limited by the state on  local governments and suggested that the                                                               
restriction be included in SJR 2.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He  recounted that  he  has  suggested in  the  past that  Alaska                                                               
legislators  consider requiring  a  procedural  limit that  would                                                               
require voter  approval for  increased taxes  and debt.  He noted                                                               
that he has been told that his  suggestion was a step too far. He                                                               
said legislators should  reconsider his voter-approval suggestion                                                               
as either part  of SJR 2 or as separate  legislation. He asserted                                                               
that  the  procedural  limits that  require  voter  approval  for                                                               
increased  taxes and  debt have  proven to  be very  important in                                                               
Colorado and other  states. He opined that  the procedural limits                                                               
really do  allow citizens to  determine how much  government they                                                               
want  and how  much  they  are willing  to  finance  in terms  of                                                               
government spending.  He pointed  out that  outside of  the U.S.,                                                               
citizens of Switzerland  have been voting on  increased taxes and                                                               
debt for  more than a  century and they  have created one  of the                                                               
strongest fiscal systems in the world.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:07:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY asked  that  Mr. Poulson  explain  how TABOR  has                                                               
either  negatively  or  positively  impacted  Colorado's  private                                                               
economy.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POULSON  replied  that he  often  answers  Chair  Dunleavy's                                                               
question  by contrasting  Colorado and  California. He  explained                                                               
that  Colorado   and  California  had  very   similar  government                                                               
spending  patterns in  the 1980s  where government  spending grew                                                               
much more  rapidly than the  state economy; in fact,  both states                                                               
introduced tax and spending limits.  He disclosed that California                                                               
gutted  their tax  and  spending limits  by  shifting many  state                                                               
programs and  expenditures off budget  to avoid tax  and spending                                                               
limits.  California  ultimately  experienced  a  continued  rapid                                                               
growth of government spending where  the state ended up with high                                                               
deficit and  debt levels where  their economy  has underperformed                                                               
over  the last  two decades  comparted to  Colorado. He  said his                                                               
experience is  that with an  effective tax and spending  limit in                                                               
place, Alaska can  create a better business-tax  climate with the                                                               
right incentives  created for business  investment and  growth, a                                                               
scenario  that Colorado  continues to  do due  to the  success of                                                               
constraining government growth.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:09:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  asked if Colorado's improved  business climate is                                                               
due  to businesses  not having  to  worry about  a predatory  tax                                                               
regime.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  POULSON  answered  yes. He  disclosed  that  Colorado's  tax                                                               
climate  rates among  the  top-ten states  in  terms of  business                                                               
climate. He opined that TABOR  allows citizens to decide how much                                                               
taxes  they  are willing  to  pay,  how  much spending  they  are                                                               
willing  to incur,  and how  much  government they  want and  are                                                               
willing to pay for.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY asked  Mr. Poulson to address  Colorado's debt and                                                               
how it relates to having TABOR in place.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:12:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. POULSON admitted that the state  has figured out a way around                                                               
debt limits.  He explained that Colorado's  original constitution                                                               
prohibited  any new  debt without  citizen approval.  He detailed                                                               
that   state  and   local  governments   have  used   non-general                                                               
obligation  debt;  for  example,  certificates  of  participation                                                               
designate  a specific  revenue stream  to  pay off  debt and  the                                                               
courts have ruled that the debt  is not a general obligation debt                                                               
and therefore not  subject to the TABOR limit or  to the original                                                               
constitutional  limit.  He  said  Colorado  has  not  necessarily                                                               
constrained debt in  the way that many might  anticipate, but the                                                               
state  has limited  debt  compared to  what  would have  occurred                                                               
without  TABOR.  He  revealed that  Colorado  has  proposed  five                                                               
different measures  over the  last two  decades to  increase debt                                                               
and only one measure has passed.  He remarked that TABOR has been                                                               
important,   but  has   not   been   100-percent  successful   in                                                               
constraining debt.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:14:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY  asked  Mr.  Poulson   if  TABOR's  restraint  on                                                               
Colorado's  growth  of  government   has  placed  more  money  in                                                               
citizen's pockets and encouraged new business development.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. POULSON answered yes.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  pointed out  that SJR  2 is  not based  on ALEC's                                                               
model  legislation, but  rather  a modification  of the  existing                                                               
constitutional amendment that  has been in place  in Alaska since                                                               
1982 and  reaffirmed in  1986. He  reiterated that  the amendment                                                               
was  a result  of increased  government spending  when the  state                                                               
started  to receive  large  sums  of oil  revenue  in the  1970s;                                                               
however, the  formula would require  $10 billion  in unrestricted                                                               
general funds  to hit the limit.  He said the idea  is to revisit                                                               
the constitutional amendment to  reflect today's new realities to                                                               
restrain government's growth and  encourage investment from other                                                               
industries.  He emphasized  that  the discussion  on  SJR 2  will                                                               
continue.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:16:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MATTHEW  MITCHELL, Senior  Research  Fellow,  Mercatus Center  at                                                               
George  Mason  University,   Arlington,  Virginia,  testified  in                                                               
support of SJR 2 and  provided suggestions on fiscal policies. He                                                               
disclosed  that  the Mercatus  Center  has  been studying  fiscal                                                               
policies and institutions that govern  them for several years. He                                                               
detailed that the Mercatus Center  has consulted decades of peer-                                                               
reviewed  academic research  in  addition to  their own  analysis                                                               
using comprehensive  data sets and the  best empirical techniques                                                               
that are available.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He set forth that there are three lessons to concentrate on:                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   1. Rules matter and rules are often a better alternative to                                                                  
     everyday politics:                                                                                                         
        · Sustainable solutions to budget problems require                                                                      
          institutional change versus short term remedies.                                                                      
        · Institutional change:                                                                                                 
             ¾Changes  to the  rules  that  shape the  political                                                               
               legislative and budgeting process.                                                                               
             ¾States with  good institutions  or good  rules are                                                               
               more likely to make good budgetary decisions.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   2. Rule details make a big difference and small changes can                                                                  
     set states on very different paths:                                                                                        
        · Characteristics that make for a good tax and                                                                          
          expenditure limit (TEL):                                                                                              
             ¾Effective  TELs have  a statistically  significant                                                               
               effect  on  state  spending  as  measured  by  per                                                               
               capita spending.                                                                                                 
             ¾Effective   TELs  target   spending  rather   than                                                               
               revenue. Alaska's TEL targets spending.                                                                          
             ¾Effective  TELs limit  budget  growth via  formula                                                               
               that looks at the  sum of inflation and population                                                               
               growth. Alaska's  TEL is focused on  inflation and                                                               
               population growth.                                                                                               
             ¾Effective    TELs    are   codified    into    the                                                               
               constitution, as is Alaska's.                                                                                    
             ¾Effective TELs require a  super majority or public                                                               
               vote to be  overwritten, as is Alaska's.  A lot of                                                               
               states have  tax and  expenditure limits  that can                                                               
               simply be overwritten with simple majority vote.                                                                 
             ¾Effective  TELs  prohibit   unfunded  mandates  to                                                               
               lower governments, Alaska's does not.                                                                            
             ¾Effective  TELs  immediately  refund  any  revenue                                                               
               collected  more than  taxpayers' limits,  Alaska's                                                               
               does  not. Returning  money does  not provide  the                                                               
               state with  a chance  to spend  as well  as giving                                                               
               people some  "skin in  the game"  in terms  of tax                                                               
               and expenditure limits.                                                                                          
        · Use an appropriate base by picking a year that is                                                                     
          neither     extraordinarily     high    in     revenue,                                                               
          extraordinarily tight,  or a  recession year.  The base                                                               
          should be founded  on a year where  spending was deemed                                                               
          prudent.  The base  should not  be  "just the  previous                                                               
          year"  in  order  to  avoid  the  "ratcheting  effect."                                                               
          Alaska's  TEL  is based  on  1981  and the  Legislature                                                               
          should make sure the year is appropriate.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   3. Alternative rules for fiscal budgeting other than tax and                                                                 
     expenditure limits:                                                                                                        
        · Item reduction vetoes are effective. States that have                                                                 
          item  reduction  vetoes  spend less.  Alaska  has  item                                                               
          reduction vetoes.                                                                                                     
        · Separate spending and taxing functions into two                                                                       
          separate  committees  in   each  chamber.  States  with                                                               
          separate taxing  and spending committees  spend between                                                               
          $300 and  $400 less per  person and tend to  spend more                                                               
          prudently.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:26:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MITCHELL noted  that there are some rules that  do not always                                                               
work the way  people think they will. He pointed  out that states                                                               
that have  biannual budgets spend significantly  more than states                                                               
that have annual  budget cycles. He detailed that  states with an                                                               
annual budget cycle spend $120 less person per year.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  asked Mr.  Mitchell to  identify a  "model state"                                                               
that have  separate taxing and expenditure  committees that seems                                                               
to work well.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MITCHELL replied  that Arizona,  Colorado, Utah,  and Nevada                                                               
have separate taxing and spending committees.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:29:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY held SJR 2 in committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:29:26 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
        SB 48-INS. FOR DEPENDS. OF DECEASED FIRE/POLICE                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:30:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY called  the committee back to  order. He announced                                                               
the  consideration of  SB  48,  and noted  that  the  bill has  a                                                               
committee substitute (CS).                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:30:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GIESSEL moved  to adopt  the work  draft CS  for SB  48,                                                               
version O.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DUNLEAVY objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:30:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTA  MCDONALD, Staff,  Senator  Mike  Dunleavy, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,  reviewed  the CS  for  SB 48.  She                                                               
summarized the changes from the CS as follows:                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   · Changed  the term  "police officer"  to  "peace officer"  in                                                               
     order to  extend the benefits to  probation and correctional                                                               
     officers.                                                                                                                  
   · Consistently uses  the term  "major medical"  throughout the                                                               
     bill's work draft.                                                                                                         
   · Changed  the   annual  deadline  for  the   commissioner  to                                                               
     determine the amount of money  sufficient to pay premiums to                                                               
     December 15.                                                                                                               
   · Eliminates the  gap of coverage by  removing the requirement                                                               
     for  the   surviving  dependent  having  to   apply  to  the                                                               
     commissioner. After the date of  death of a peace officer or                                                               
     firefighter,  the   commissioner  will   have  30   days  to                                                               
     determine continued eligibility.                                                                                           
   · Requires  annual determination  of continued  eligibility by                                                               
     the commissioner.  The commissioner may require  a surviving                                                               
     dependent  to  provide  relevant  information  to  determine                                                               
     continued eligibility.                                                                                                     
   · Clarified  the   term  year-round  by  replacing   it  with,                                                               
     "Fulltime position for which the  state or municipality paid                                                               
    or expected to pay the employee for 12 month each year."                                                                    
   · Established  that  a  surviving spouse  becomes  permanently                                                               
     ineligible for  premium payments upon receiving  10 years of                                                               
     premium  payments,   becoming  eligible  to   receive  major                                                               
     medical insurance, or  by reaching the age  of 65, whichever                                                               
     of those come first.                                                                                                       
   · Removed  the   word  "immediately"   to  clarify   that  the                                                               
     municipality may  elect to  participate in  the fund  at any                                                               
     time.                                                                                                                      
   · Expanded the  definition of  "firefighter" to,  "An employee                                                               
     of  the  state or  municipality  whose  primary duty  is  to                                                               
     perform fire suppression services."                                                                                        
   · Replaced  the  definition of  "police  officer"  with a  new                                                               
     definition for "peace officer."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:32:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY removed his objection and announced that the CS                                                                  
was adopted without objection.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL,  sponsor of SB  48, explained  that the CS  is a                                                               
result of  trying to find  ways to  bring the bill  in consistent                                                               
language;  for  example, the  use  of  the terms,  "medical"  and                                                               
"major  medical,"  the  two terms  have  different  meanings.  He                                                               
specified that "major medical" was  coverage without eye care and                                                               
dental care.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He  opined  that   the  care  should  be   continuous,  but  with                                                               
limitations. He  said he did  not know if 10-year  eligibility is                                                               
perfect, but determined that the  period is consistent across the                                                               
U.S. as well as  being used in a previous bill.  He added that he                                                               
did not want  the youngsters caught up in  the 10-year limitation                                                               
by  providing  eligibility  until  age  26  or  if  insurance  is                                                               
obtained from a job.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL asserted  that  the legislation  allows for  the                                                               
best  way to  provide immediate  care.  He remarked  that he  was                                                               
disturbed when he heard that the  month a trooper died his family                                                               
found out that they were without health insurance.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
He provided additional details on SB 48 as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   · The   presumption  is   coverage  is   provided  until   the                                                               
     commissioner  determines   that  there  is   an  eligibility                                                               
     problem,  an  easier  determination for  a  commissioner  to                                                               
     make.                                                                                                                      
   · Expands  to  correctional  officers because  they  transport                                                               
     dangerous criminals to and from jail.                                                                                      
   · Allows municipalities  to figure out a  way to retroactively                                                               
     pick   up  those   that  previously   had  the   unfortunate                                                               
     circumstances found in the bill.                                                                                           
   · Requires the  commissioner to annually tell  the Legislature                                                               
     what is in the fund.                                                                                                       
   · The fund rolls  over and grows rather than  being swept back                                                               
     into  the  Constitutional  Budget  Reserve  (CBR);  however,                                                               
     appropriation is up to the Legislature.                                                                                    
   · Annual  review  by  the  commissioner  determines  continued                                                               
     eligibility due to marriage, turning  65, or hitting the 10-                                                               
     year mark. The  review by the commissioner is a  way to make                                                               
     sure that there is communication.                                                                                          
   · Changed  eligibility from  year-round  employee to  fulltime                                                               
     employee.  Providing   coverage  for  a  person   that  does                                                               
     dangerous,  fulltime  work  for  5 months  or  8  months  is                                                               
     appropriate.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He summarized as follows:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     It's a  little different  approach then what  the other                                                                    
     body is doing,  but I'm trying to  stay independent and                                                                    
     just think through,  "Okay, if I was a mayor  and I had                                                                    
     to  hire  them, how  would  I  deal with  this  thing?"                                                                    
     because what we  are doing is we are  actually paying a                                                                    
     premium for somebody to get  an extended benefit, which                                                                    
     I  think is  entirely appropriate,  but it  should have                                                                    
     some  limitations and  I'm trying  to  decide the  best                                                                    
     limitations that  we can  do and  still make  sure that                                                                    
     people are  being taken care  of well, it's just  a way                                                                    
     to honor people the best way we can.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:38:44 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL noted  that in section 1, page 3,  lines 6-9, the                                                               
sentence says,  "On the  day employee's  death, the  employee was                                                               
employed  by the  state or  a  municipality that  was elected  to                                                               
participate in a permanent fulltime  position for which the state                                                               
or  municipality paid  or expected  to  pay the  employee for  12                                                               
months  each  year." She  asked  if  an  individual worked  in  a                                                               
seasonal position  for only four  months that had  an unfortunate                                                               
loss of life would be eligible.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL  clarified  that a  permanent-fulltime  employee                                                               
would be  covered. He noted that  he would verify if  a permanent                                                               
employee that worked seasonally would be covered.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WILSON commented  that  he appreciated  the change  from                                                               
"police" to  "peace officer" so  that correctional  and probation                                                               
officers are included.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL explained that the focus  is on people who are in                                                               
unpredictable and  dangerous circumstances to make  sure families                                                               
are not left  high and dry. He conceded  that fallen firefighters                                                               
or troopers have  other benefits, but health care  was a dramatic                                                               
empty spot. He explained that he  was made aware when the wife of                                                               
a fallen trooper,  constituents of his, was  left languishing. He                                                               
said he  made a commitment  to do whatever  he could to  find the                                                               
best  way to  move forward.  He  explained that  the coverage  is                                                               
outside of  the Public Employee Retirement  System (PERS) because                                                               
the coverage  cannot actuarily work  in Alaska. He said  the good                                                               
news is the state  has too few people, but the  bad news is there                                                               
are people that  need coverage and the state must  make sure they                                                               
are  taken  care of.  He  specified  that  the fund  allows  both                                                               
municipalities and  the state to  add into  the fund that  can be                                                               
drawn out immediately to pay the premiums for health care.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:42:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY opened public testimony for SB 48.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:43:23 PM                                                                                                                    
PAT  HOLMES,  representing  self, Kodiak,  Alaska,  testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 48.  He asked  that Fish  and Game  field-staff be                                                               
considered for coverage as well. He disclosed historical                                                                        
fatality records for Fish and Game field-staff.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:46:45 PM                                                                                                                    
BRANDY JOHNSON, representing self and family, Fairbanks, Alaska,                                                                
read the following statement in support of SB 48:                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     I  am testifying  in  support  of SB  48  on behalf  of                                                                    
     myself, my three daughters,  my deceased husband, Scott                                                                    
     Johnson, surviving  families of  past and  future line-                                                                    
     of-duty  state  troopers  as well  as  law  enforcement                                                                    
     officers in the State of Alaska.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     On  May 1,  2014, my  husband, Scott  Johnson and  Gabe                                                                    
     Rich were  murdered while in  the performance  of their                                                                    
     job  in  Tanana, Alaska.  Scott's  job  was that  of  a                                                                    
     sergeant with the Alaska State  Troopers, he had worked                                                                    
     as a  state trooper for over  21 years with a  total of                                                                    
     over  23   years  vested   in  the   public  employee's                                                                    
     retirement system. He could have  retired with 20 years                                                                    
     of  service;  however,  Scott and  I  decided  that  he                                                                    
     should  work  another  5  years  to  gain  the  medical                                                                    
     benefits for  our family  after the  25-year mark  as a                                                                    
     Tier II  employee, it was  while trying to  obtain this                                                                    
     promised  benefit  goal  that Scott  was  ambushed  and                                                                    
     killed.  Scott would  have  retired  this past  October                                                                    
     with  major  medical  benefits   for  himself  and  our                                                                    
     family.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I  had  asked the  state  troopers  assisting me  after                                                                    
     Scott  was  killed  if  my   family  still  had  health                                                                    
     insurance,  I initially  was told  that I  was set  for                                                                    
     life  by  one lieutenant;  however,  that  was not  the                                                                    
     case. I was later told  that my family's benefits would                                                                    
     expire at the end of  the month. I was disappointed and                                                                    
     angry, my choices were to  pay $1,150 per month for the                                                                    
     retirement,  major medical  health care  that he  would                                                                    
     have received  in a  year and  a half at  no cost  as a                                                                    
     retirement   benefit,  or   $1,700  for   full-coverage                                                                    
     [Consolidated   Omnibus   Budget  Reconciliation   Act]                                                                    
     (COBRA). What is frustrating is  the person who shot my                                                                    
     husband  to death  and his  father,  who desecrated  my                                                                    
     husband's  dead body,  while incarcerated  have medical                                                                    
     care available  at no  cost to  them as  their families                                                                    
     also have free  health care. I felt  Scott's last three                                                                    
     years of service were all for nothing.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Scott always  took his responsibilities  very seriously                                                                    
     to protect  the people of  Alaska. I believed  upon his                                                                    
     death the  state would also take  responsibility to now                                                                    
     take  care  of his  family;  graciously,  the State  of                                                                    
     Alaska has these two and a  half years until the gap in                                                                    
     law could  be resolved. Our  family has paid  the price                                                                    
     for  this   benefit.  We  have   paid  into   the  PERS                                                                    
     retirement system. We have paid  with the endless call-                                                                    
     outs  whether it  be K-9,  [Special Emergency  Reaction                                                                    
     Team]  (SERT), or  one of  the  many other  specialized                                                                    
     emergency responses  Scott was  involved with;  this is                                                                    
     called, "To give of yourself for the sake of others."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I am here today asking for  your support of SB 48; this                                                                    
     bill   is  more   than  what   I  have   advocated  the                                                                    
     Legislature  for as  a health  benefit. SB  48 provides                                                                    
     full-coverage  health  insurance  that  takes  care  of                                                                    
     young  surviving  families  that  need  the  well-child                                                                    
     check-ups. The  retirement health-care  plan was  not a                                                                    
     long-term solution; it was a  band-aide so to say and a                                                                    
     safety net in case of  a major-medical emergency. SB 48                                                                    
     will  ensure that  another  surviving  spouse does  not                                                                    
     have  to experience  what I  have; they  will have  the                                                                    
     assurance that their children will  be taken care of if                                                                    
     there was a health emergency.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     I would like  to state my concern over one  word in the                                                                    
     legislation, the word  is "may" on page 3,  line 27. As                                                                    
     a surviving spouse, I wouldn't  want to hear "may elect                                                                    
     to participate."  I have been  left wondering  about so                                                                    
     much  in  regard  to  life. By  changing  one  word  to                                                                    
     "shall"  would provide  a great  sense of  security and                                                                    
     comfort to past and future surviving spouses.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you for your time  and your consideration of this                                                                    
     important legislation.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:50:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL noted that Ms. Johnson had referenced the bill's                                                                
older version prior to the CS.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL pointed out that the language Ms. Johnson                                                                       
referenced was on page 4, line 6.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:51:47 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID PRUHS, City Council Member, City of Fairbanks, Alaska,                                                                    
testified in support of SB 48. He shared that the City of                                                                       
Fairbanks also had  a tragedy with the passing  of Officer Brandt                                                               
where  his insurance  terminated immediately.  He disclosed  that                                                               
the City  of Fairbanks took it  upon itself to fund  Mr. Brandt's                                                               
family's insurance  for 2016, 2017,  and most likely in  2018. He                                                               
noted that  he did not review  the CS for  SB 48. He said  he was                                                               
concerned about  unfunded mandates to  the City of  Fairbanks and                                                               
possibly for carrying the cost  of insurance to the Brandt family                                                               
through  2038. He  asked  that  he have  an  opportunity to  meet                                                               
privately with Senator Coghill to  find a solution. He added that                                                               
the  City  of  Fairbanks  is  talking  about  having  a  specific                                                               
insurance policy  in its contracts  with police officers  to have                                                               
their  insurance premiums  funded  throughout the  life of  their                                                               
spouses and for children up to the age of 26.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL  replied  that  SB  48  is  not  a  mandate.  He                                                               
explained that  the bill  has an  opt-in for  municipalities that                                                               
allows for a  retroactive "look back." He detailed  that the fund                                                               
is managed  by the  state, but the  municipalities would  have to                                                               
fund. He suggested that Mr. Pruhs review the bill's CS.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:54:14 PM                                                                                                                    
PAULA JOHNSON,  representing self and family,  Fairbanks, Alaska,                                                               
read the following statement in support of SB 48:                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Good afternoon, my name is  Paula Johnson. Scott was my                                                                    
     brother  in-law  for  almost  22  years  until  he  was                                                                    
     murdered in the  line of duty in Tanana,  Alaska on May                                                                    
     1, 2014. Upon  Scott's death, he was past  his 20 years                                                                    
     with the state  and could have retired prior  to May 1,                                                                    
     2014. Prior to  Scott's passing, he stood  in his house                                                                    
     in a personal  conversation and told me  he is choosing                                                                    
     to put the extra five years  in so he could retire with                                                                    
     full  medical benefits  for  his  family. Scott  prided                                                                    
     himself in  taking care  of his  family being  the sole                                                                    
     wage earner so  Brandy could stay home  and raise their                                                                    
     three  girls,  this  was  very  important  to  him  and                                                                    
     Brandy. If  Scott had not died  in the line of  duty on                                                                    
     May  1, 2014,  he would  have already  retired and  his                                                                    
     family would have full medical  benefits. To fund SB 48                                                                    
     is  the right  thing  to  do for  the  family of  slain                                                                    
     officers.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:55:45 PM                                                                                                                    
KATHIE  WASSERMAN, Executive  Director, Alaska  Municipal League,                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska, testified  in support  of  SB 48.  She said  AML                                                               
appreciates that the  bill is not an unfunded  mandate. She noted                                                               
that   many  municipalities   are   behind   in  their   worker's                                                               
compensation bills  and new  bills will simply  not be  paid. She                                                               
opined  that every  municipality seems  to have  had a  police or                                                               
firefighter tragedy,  but have "stepped  up to the plate"  and in                                                               
turn made communities stronger.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:57:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SUSAN  HECKS,  Executive   Director,  Southern  Region  Emergency                                                               
Medical  Services Unit  (EMS) Council,  Inc., Division  of Public                                                               
Health,  Alaska   Department  of  Health  and   Social  Services,                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska, testified  in support of SB  48. She explained                                                               
that the  State of Alaska  is divided into seven-EMS  regions and                                                               
the Southern Region  EMS Council is one of the  seven. She stated                                                               
that she was  representing the seven regions. She  added that the                                                               
EMS Regional Coordinators/Directors support SB  48 in addition to                                                               
her  testimony.  She stated  that  she  supported the  definition                                                               
change of "firefighter,"  but remarked that there  was one aspect                                                               
missing  from the  bill regarding  EMS  personnel. She  explained                                                               
that there are  many EMS personnel who are  not firefighters, but                                                               
they  are also  exposed  to the  same  dangerous situations.  She                                                               
asked that EMS personnel be included in SB 48.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:00:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY  stated that  he  would  hold  SB 48  for  future                                                               
consideration, and public testimony would remain open.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:01:34 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair  Dunleavy  adjourned  the  Senate  State  Affairs  Standing                                                               
Committee at 5:01 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 48 - DOA Fiscal Note.pdf SSTA 3/2/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 48
SB 48 - DPS Updated Fiscal Note.pdf SSTA 3/2/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 48
SB 48 - Letter of Support Teamsters Local 959.pdf SSTA 3/2/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 48
SB 48 - Brandy Johnson Testimony.pdf SSTA 3/2/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 48
SJR 2 -Mitchell, Mercatus Testimony.pdf SSTA 3/2/2017 3:30:00 PM
SJR 2
SB 48 - Mayor Matherly Letter of Support.pdf SSTA 3/2/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 48
CS SB 48, Version O.pdf SSTA 3/2/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 48
SB 48 - STA CS Summary of Changes.pdf SSTA 3/2/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 48