Legislature(1997 - 1998)

1998-01-16 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1998-01-16                     Senate Journal                      Page 2217
SB 245                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 245 BY THE SENATE 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 Labor and Commerce and             
Finance Committees.                                                            

1998-01-16                     Senate Journal                      Page 2218
SB 245                                                                       
Zero fiscal notes published today from Office of the Governor,                 
Department of Labor, Department of Community and Regional                      
Affairs (2).                                                                   
Governors transmittal letter dated January 12:                                 
Dear President Miller:                                                         
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.                         
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.                                         

1998-01-16                     Senate Journal                      Page 2219
SB 245                                                                       
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