Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124


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Moved HB 192 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
            HR 8-POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY TASK FORCE                                                                         
9:35:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE RESOLUTION  NO. 8,  Creating  the House  Task Force  on                                                               
Poverty and Opportunity.                                                                                                        
9:36:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN TARR,  Alaska  State  Legislator, as  prime                                                               
sponsor, presented HR 8.  She shared  that she grew up poor, in a                                                               
single-parent household,  so she  knows personally  how difficult                                                               
it can be  for families to get  ahead.  She was the  first in her                                                               
family  to   get  a  college   degree  and  has   witnessed  what                                                               
opportunities  that  has brought  to  her  life.   She  said  she                                                               
represents one  of the  three poorest districts  in Alaska.   She                                                               
said there  continue to be  barriers to opportunity  and success.                                                               
The proposed resolution  states that 10 percent  of Alaskans live                                                               
in poverty.   Material from  the Center for  Economic Development                                                               
shows that  45 percent of  the children  in her district  live in                                                               
poverty, and  that is not the  only place in the  state that that                                                               
is the case.   She said the task force proposed  under HR 8 would                                                               
comprise  Alaskans "with  lived experience  to contribute  to the                                                               
conversation" and  identify what  can be  done to  understand the                                                               
root causes of poverty and  eliminate it from Alaska by providing                                                               
more economic opportunity to all Alaskans.                                                                                      
9:39:40 AM                                                                                                                    
PATRICK M. ANDERSON, CEO, Rural  Alaska Community Action Program,                                                               
Inc. ("RurAL  CAP"), testified in  support of HR  8.  He  said he                                                               
thinks the  proposed resolution, if  passed, will start  "a long-                                                               
overdue  and  necessary conversation  about  the  root causes  of                                                               
poverty in Alaska"  and "potential policy measures  that can help                                                               
us overcome  poverty."  He said  there is a high  rate of poverty                                                               
in Alaska  and those without resources  may end up living  on the                                                               
MR.   ANDERSON  shared   that  in   the  mid-'60s,   in  Seattle,                                                               
Washington, he  and his four  sisters were taken away  from their                                                               
mother, because  she did not  have enough money to  support them.                                                               
With inadequate foster homes, he  and his siblings were housed at                                                               
the Seattle Youth  Detention Center.  He said he  was about eight                                                               
at the time and  "fresh out of Alaska into a  huge city," and the                                                               
experience  was traumatic.   He  said  he and  his siblings  were                                                               
rescued by  the Aid  to Families  with Dependent  Children (AFDC)                                                               
program in West Seattle.                                                                                                        
MR. ANDERSON said  AFDC was replaced by  Temporary Assistance for                                                               
Needy  Families  (TANF),  "with   severely  reduced  funding  and                                                               
scope."  He said low-income  individuals in Alaska and nationwide                                                               
are  vilified  by  politicians, called  "Welfare  Queens,"  lazy,                                                               
shiftless, and  unwilling to work.   He said the  Social Security                                                               
Act, which was vilified in the  1940s, "lifts about 40 percent of                                                               
our senior  citizens out of  poverty," including his  mother, who                                                               
would have had no other means of independent support.                                                                           
MR. ANDERSON said  RurAL CAP hopes the task  force proposed under                                                               
HR  8  will  provide  the  opportunity to  hear  the  stories  of                                                               
individuals that  have lived with  poverty and "to see  a complex                                                               
analysis  of   poverty  completed."    He   explained  there  are                                                               
stratified pockets  of low-income  individuals:   "deep" poverty,                                                               
"regular"  poverty, and  those  who, without  the  aid of  social                                                               
programs, would be put into poverty.                                                                                            
9:44:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ANDERSON said  the  American Rescue  Act  contains a  policy                                                               
change  that has  the  potential  to lift  up  to  45 percent  of                                                               
children out  of poverty.   He said in  their book, $2.00  a Day;                                                             
Living on  Almost Nothing  in America, authors  Kathryn J.   Edin                                                             
and H.  Luke Schaefer  note that  as many  as 3  million children                                                               
live on  less than  $2 per  day.  Mr.  Anderson said  he believes                                                               
this conversation is  appropriate today.  He said  there are lots                                                               
of  benefits to  Alaska in  addressing poverty,  one of  which is                                                               
that the  American Rescue Act  would bring in  a lot of  funds to                                                               
rural and urban Alaska to help "address these issues."                                                                          
9:46:16 AM                                                                                                                    
KIRK  ROSE, CEO,  Anchorage Community  Land  Trust, testified  in                                                               
support of HR  8.  He said Anchorage Community  Land Trust (ACLT)                                                               
is a  503(c)(3) nonprofit organization  that works  in low-income                                                               
neighborhoods  in   Anchorage  in  the  areas   of  real  estate,                                                               
neighborhood    improvements,    programming,    and    community                                                               
organization.   He  said he  was raised  in a  low-income, single                                                               
parent  home and  is a  first-generation college  student in  his                                                               
family.   He stated  that his  mission and  passion is  that "low                                                               
income doesn't equate  to low opportunity."  He said  the cost of                                                               
poverty  is  lost  potential,  not only  to  individuals  but  to                                                               
communities,  and  it  also  equates with  lost  dollars  in  the                                                               
economy.  He said ACLT  works "to fight concentrated poverty with                                                               
concentrated investment."                                                                                                       
MR. ROSE said in the  Mountainview neighborhood in Anchorage, the                                                               
community  did not  have a  financial  institution, so  residents                                                               
"banked" at  the local  pawn shop,  paying exorbitant  amounts in                                                               
interest.  Then Credit Union  1 located a branch in Mountainview,                                                               
which benefitted the neighborhood.   He talked about initiating a                                                               
program  called, "Set  Up Shop,"  which  works with  neighborhood                                                               
entrepreneurs  that are  typically  low-income,  setting them  up                                                               
with micro loans  and assistance to make  their dreams realities.                                                               
He expressed appreciation  that HR 8 focuses not  only on poverty                                                               
but also  on opportunity.   He said he  thinks the duties  of the                                                               
task force  are sensible  and the  lived experience  of taskforce                                                               
members   would   be  valuable.      Further,   he  offered   his                                                               
understanding that  there would  be no  cost associated  with the                                                               
proposed resolution.                                                                                                            
9:51:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PATKOTAK  directed attention to page  4, lines 12-                                                               
13, of HR  8, which states that  4 of the 23 members  of the task                                                               
force  appointed by  the Speaker  of the  House would  be members                                                               
from  tribal  governments,  Native  corporations,  or  nonprofits                                                               
affiliated with  a recognized tribe.   He said he thinks  that is                                                               
an important aspect of the  roles played in economics, especially                                                               
in rural Alaska.   He suggested perhaps two of  the four could be                                                               
from tribes  and the  other two  of the  four from  Alaska Native                                                               
corporations (ANCs).   He explained that those  are two different                                                               
aspect of  what village economy looks  like.  He then  pointed to                                                               
language on lines 19-22, which read:                                                                                            
             (9) two members who work in municipal                                                                              
      government for a municipality with fewer than 15,000                                                                      
             (10) two members who work in municipal                                                                             
      government for a municipality with more than 15,000                                                                       
     residents; and                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  PATKOTAK requested  the  sponsor consider  making                                                               
that language  specify that the  each of  the two members  in the                                                               
municipality  with  fewer  than  15,000  be  from  two  different                                                               
communities, and  likewise with the two  members from communities                                                               
greater  than  15,000.   He  explained  that he  suggested  these                                                               
changes so that "we don't end up  in a vacuum of what ... some of                                                               
the solutions might be."                                                                                                        
9:53:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR responded  that she  was receptive  to those                                                               
suggestions  and happy  to work  with Representative  Patkotak on                                                               
9:54:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR   noted  that  Massachusetts   Institute  of                                                               
Technology (MIT)  produces a living wage  calculator, which shows                                                               
that a living wage in Alaska  for a single adult with no children                                                               
would  be  $15.48;  currently  the  minimum  wage  is  just  over                                                               
$10.00/hour.  This  means that "people are  earning about $10,000                                                               
too little  to just  have a  living wage."   She said  that means                                                               
there are  "the working  poor" - those  working fulltime  but not                                                               
able to support  themselves or their families.   That means there                                                               
are government programs,  which cost money to run.   She said she                                                               
thinks  there are  policy  solutions that  can  be considered  to                                                               
increase the  efficiency in "the  way we spend our  dollars" thus                                                               
resulting  in better  outcomes.   She praised  the "Set  Up Shop"                                                               
program.  In  terms of supporting families, she  talked about the                                                               
importance of flexibility.   She said she thinks there  is a good                                                               
opportunity for bringing people together  and asking them to help                                                               
figure out a solution.                                                                                                          
9:57:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN announced that HR 8 was held over.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HR 8 Version A.PDF HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 5/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR 8 Sponsor Statement.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 5/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR 8 Zero Fiscal Note.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 5/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR 8 Supporting Documents.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 5/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR 8 Letters of Support 5.6.21.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 5/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HR 8
HB 192 Version A.PDF HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB192 Sponsor Statement.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB 192 Zero Fiscal Note - DCCED 4.30.21.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB192 ARDOR Annual Report 2020.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB 192 Supporting Document - FNSB Support 04-29-2021.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB 192 Supporting Document - Legislative Audit 2016 ARDOR Final Report.pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192
HB 192 - ARDOR One-Pager - 4.28.2021 (1).pdf HCRA 5/4/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 192