Legislature(1997 - 1998)

1998-01-16 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

1998-01-16                     House Journal                      Page 2070
HB 330                                                                       
HOUSE BILL NO. 330 by the House Rules Committee by request of                  
the Governor, entitled:                                                        
"An Act repealing the termination date of the state training and              
employment program; and providing for an effective date."                      
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs, Labor &             
Commerce and Finance Committees.                                               
The following fiscal notes apply:                                              
Zero fiscal notes (2), Dept. of Community & Regional Affairs, 1/16/98          
Zero fiscal note, Office of the Governor, 1/16/98                              
Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Labor, 1/16/98                                      
The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 12, 1998, appears              
"Dear Speaker Phillips:                                                        
The state training and employment program (STEP) has demonstrated              
its value as one means to help Alaskans achieve worthwhile                     
employment.  I transmit this bill to continue this vital program, now          
due to sunset on June 30, and maintain it in permanent law to ensure           
it will be available to Alaskans in the future.                                

1998-01-16                     House Journal                      Page 2071
HB 330                                                                       
The STEP was enacted in 1989 as a temporary, two-year pilot                    
program.  Its success led to the Legislature extending its existence           
three more times in subsequent years.  With its last extension, in 1996,       
the STEP became a permanent program, but remains subject to a                  
sunset provision.  Since its last extension, the STEP has made great           
strides in addressing legislative concerns with the program.                   
This program is financed with a 0.1 percent contribution from                  
employees' share of unemployment insurance.  The STEP job training             
provided with this small contribution to the unemployment fund results         
in more working Alaskans and a decreased need to pay out                       
unemployment insurance benefits.  The program also assists Alaskans            
who need to upgrade their job skills in order to maintain their                
In fiscal year 1997, more than 1,500 individuals were enrolled in the          
STEP, an increase of 500 enrollees over the previous year.  In one             
year, STEP clients have reduced claims for unemployment insurance              
resulting in about a $1.5 million saving to the unemployment insurance         
trust fund.  Along with the increased use of the program, the STEP             
administrators were successful in reducing federal recapture of                
unemployment insurance trust funds by 60 percent while holding                 
administrative costs below 20 percent.                                         
It makes good sense to ensure the future existence of the STEP.  The           
program enjoys widespread support from both labor and industry                 
because it offers a vital component of a healthy economy -- preparing          
Alaskans for good jobs.                                                        
							Tony Knowles