CSHR 8(CRA): Creating the House Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.
00 CS FOR HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 8(CRA) 01 Creating the House Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: 03 WHEREAS, according to the United States Bureau of the Census, in 2019, 10.1 04 percent of Alaskans, or 80,012 people, lived in poverty; and 05 WHEREAS, in 2019, 35,673 Alaskans lived in deep poverty, which is defined as a 06 total household income below 50 percent of the poverty threshold; and 07 WHEREAS communities of color in the state are disproportionately affected by 08 poverty; in 2019, 14.2 percent of African Americans, 10.8 percent of Latinx Americans, and 09 24 percent of American Indians or Alaska Natives lived in poverty, while the poverty rate 10 among non-Hispanic whites was 7 percent; and 11 WHEREAS Alaska Natives experience the highest rates of poverty in the state, 12 averaging approximately 31.8 percent statewide over the past 15 years; and 13 WHEREAS, in 2019, 26,771 children, 14.8 percent of children in the state, lived in 14 poverty; and 15 WHEREAS Alaska ranks 37th in the country in percentage of people in poverty; and 16 WHEREAS living in poverty is associated with lower life expectancy; high infant
01 mortality; poor reproductive health; higher rates of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis 02 and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); higher rates of substance use, including tobacco, 03 alcohol, and illegal substances; higher rates of noncommunicable diseases; higher rates of 04 depression and suicide; and increased exposure to environmental risks; and 05 WHEREAS poverty is not purely economic but brings with it dependency, 06 oppression, social exclusion, and exploitation; and 07 WHEREAS other states have recognized the effects of structural racism, inequality, 08 and historical trauma as root causes of poverty; and 09 WHEREAS poverty reduces opportunities, limits choices, undermines hope, and 10 threatens the health and well-being of low-income Alaskans; and 11 WHEREAS many Alaskans who are living with a low income are kept out of poverty 12 by vital social safety net programs, the Alaska permanent fund dividend, Alaska Native 13 corporation dividends, and subsistence fishing, hunting, and gathering of natural foods; and 14 WHEREAS many families in the state with income above the federal poverty level 15 still struggle to meet basic needs, such as housing, food, transportation, childcare, and health 16 care; and 17 WHEREAS asset-limited, income-constrained, employed ("ALICE") individuals and 18 families are underrepresented in current data and discussions of poverty in the state; and 19 WHEREAS the "Healthy Alaskans 2020" state health improvement plan recognized 20 the need to address poverty in the state and determined that the state's health care and 21 education goals, among others, will not be met if the state does not make significant progress 22 in reducing the number of Alaskans living in poverty; and 23 WHEREAS the "Healthy Alaskans 2030" state health improvement plan continues to 24 prioritize addressing health indicators related to poverty, including chronic disease, health 25 care, nutrition, and education; and 26 WHEREAS anti-poverty funding is currently designated for welfare programs that 27 support low-income Alaskans, including vital safety net programs such as Temporary 28 Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance 29 Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Alaska Temporary Assistance 30 Program (ATAP), and housing and childcare assistance, all programs that are critical to the 31 health and well-being of Alaskans living in poverty; and
01 WHEREAS opportunities exist to enhance current welfare programs so that available 02 resources will most effectively address the factors that keep Alaskans in poverty; and 03 WHEREAS the science surrounding the root causes of poverty has advanced in the 04 past 55 years, resulting in a need to generate new conversations about the reasons poverty 05 persists; and 06 WHEREAS, because poverty is complex and multidimensional, a multi-pronged, 07 systemic evaluation of each root cause and type of poverty, and interactions within this 08 dynamic system, needs to be conducted; 09 BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Representatives recognizes the immediate need 10 for community dialogue and organization to bring innovative approaches to reducing the 11 state's poverty rates and breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and prioritizing 12 physical and behavioral health, food security, social justice, education, economic 13 development, housing, the environment, and culture; and be it 14 FURTHER RESOLVED that the House of Representatives hereby creates the House 15 Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity; and be it 16 FURTHER RESOLVED that the duties of the task force include 17 (1) examining how current statutes and regulations affect poverty and the 18 intergenerational cycle of poverty; 19 (2) seeking input on best practices for poverty reduction from service 20 providers, community-based organizations, legislators, state agencies, stakeholders, the 21 business community, subject matter experts, and individuals with lived experience; 22 (3) recommending to the legislature means through which the legislature may 23 foster dialogue, within the legislature and between the legislature and the public, regarding 24 poverty and the intergenerational cycle of poverty; 25 (4) helping to create opportunities for public dialogue regarding issues 26 surrounding poverty, including healthy and adequate housing, nutritious and affordable food, 27 clean drinking water, proper sanitation, education, health care, and social services; 28 (5) preparing and making available to the public and the legislature 29 informational materials for use in public dialogue about poverty and the intergenerational 30 cycle of poverty and providing for translation of these materials into the languages spoken 31 across the state; and
01 (6) submitting draft legislation and other material and recommending policy 02 actions to the governor and the legislature to effectively reduce intergenerational poverty and 03 promote and encourage economic self-sufficiency; and be it 04 FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force consists of 23 members appointed by the 05 speaker of the house of representatives as follows: 06 (1) four members of the public with lived experience, such as receiving 07 welfare benefits; 08 (2) four members from nonprofit organizations conducting poverty alleviation 09 work or social services; 10 (3) two members who are researchers in the field of economics or public 11 health; 12 (4) three members from tribal governments or tribal nonprofits; 13 (5) one member from a corporation formed under the Alaska Native Claims 14 Settlement Act; 15 (6) two members from the house of representatives; 16 (7) one member from a faith community; 17 (8) one member from an organization that advocates for immigrants or 18 refugees; 19 (9) two members, not representing the same municipality, who work in 20 municipal government for a municipality with fewer than 15,000 residents; 21 (10) two members, not representing the same municipality, who work in 22 municipal government for a municipality with more than 15,000 residents; and 23 (11) one member representing senior citizens and elders; and be it 24 FURTHER RESOLVED that 25 (1) a majority of the members of the task force constitutes a quorum; 26 (2) the task force may meet as often as necessary on a schedule determined by 27 the members of the task force; 28 (3) the task force may meet during and between legislative sessions; 29 (4) members of the task force serve without compensation and are not entitled 30 to per diem or reimbursement of travel expenses; 31 (5) the task force may conduct meetings in person or virtually;
01 (6) the task force terminates December 31, 2022; and 02 (7) not later than December 31, 2022, the task force shall deliver to the 03 speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, the chief clerk of the 04 house of representatives, and the senate secretary a final report with legislative 05 recommendations and notify the legislature that the report is available.