Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/14/1993 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HJR 36:  REPEAL 100-HOUR RULE FOR AFDC                                       
  CHAIR BUNDE noted that Rep. Brice had a committee substitute                 
  (CS) for HJR 36 with amendments suggested by the Department                  
  of Education.  He invited Rep. Brice to present his CS,                      
  after which the committee would take public testimony.                       
  REP. BRICE MOVED the committee adopt CSHJR 36 (LSO911\k) as                  
  a working document.                                                          
  CHAIR BUNDE asked for objections, and heard none.  He                        
  invited Rep. Brice to speak to his CS.                                       
  Number 052                                                                   
  REP. BRICE said he had a position paper from the Department                  
  of Health and Social Services, and said the CS addressed the                 
  department's concerns.  He noted the sponsor statement                       
  outlining the need for the resolution and encouraging the                    
  administration to support it.  He offered to answer                          
  Number 067                                                                   
  THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES, testified in                   
  Juneau in support of HJR 36.  She said that the department                   
  had been considering seeking some kind of waiver of the 100-                 
  hour rule when it was considering welfare reform earlier in                  
  the year.  She said her division had given a position paper                  
  to Gov. Walter Hickel, who had transferred it to President                   
  Clinton, which outlined six or seven areas in which the                      
  state hoped to see changes in welfare, including repeal of                   
  the 100-hour rule.  She said that because Alaska had high                    
  pay standards, residents were discouraged from accepting                     
  full-time employment.  She said encouraging the federal                      
  government to change its regulations would cost the state                    
  much less than having to go through a waiver process.                        
  (Rep. B. Davis arrived at 3:13 p.m.)                                         
  REP. VEZEY asked for an explanation of the changes in the                    
  REP. BRICE said that the change came on page 2, lines 9-10,                  
  asking the federal government to adopt regulations to                        
  encourage AFDC recipients to accept employment regardless of                 
  the number of hours they work, remaining eligible for                        
  benefits as long as they earned no more than the state                       
  standard of need.                                                            
  MS. HENSEN said that the key change was that the original                    
  bill referred to part-time employment which was already                      
  allowed.  She said the most significant change permitted the                 
  state to allow AFDC recipients to accept full-time work of                   
  more than 100 hours.                                                         
  Number 125                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY said the only change seemed to be on lines 9-11,                  
  and that he did not see a big change.  He asked if there                     
  were other changes.                                                          
  MS. HENSEN said there were changes on lines 3 and 4 that                     
  would allow AFDC recipients to accept work of more than 100                  
  hours per month as an incentive.                                             
  REP. VEZEY said he did not see that the change was                           
  necessary, but thanked Ms. Hensen anyway.                                    
  Number 141                                                                   
  REP. G. DAVIS said the change sounded like a good idea.  He                  
  asked if other states had successfully gotten such waivers.                  
  MS. HENSEN said no state had succeeded in getting the                        
  federal government to change the regulation.  However, she                   
  said she believed there was a strong consensus among states                  
  for a repeal of the federal 100-hour rule.  She said it did                  
  not matter to some states that pay very little, and in some                  
  Southern states where pay is low, people working 100 hours a                 
  week (month) would not qualify for welfare.  It is more of                   
  an issue in states with more moderate payment standards.                     
  She said the pressure from a variety of forces and states                    
  seeking repeal of the rule could persuade the federal                        
  government to drop it, she said.                                             
  Number 161                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked what the resolution would actually                         
  MS. HENSEN said that if the resolution did not work, the                     
  state would next seek a waiver of the rule.  She said the                    
  state strategy was to influence the federal government, as                   
  the 100-hour rule was not in statute, but in regulation.                     
  She said Alaska, other states, and some advocacy think-tanks                 
  believed that the Clinton administration could make the                      
  change.  She said efforts to influence the rule were not a                   
  futile exercise.                                                             
  Number 174                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY asked the minimum wage a person could accept in a                 
  full-time job and justify getting off public assistance.                     
  MS. HENSEN asked if the question was how much income would                   
  put a person over the needs standard.                                        
  Number 182                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY said no, but no one would have the economic                       
  incentive to leave welfare rolls and work for the minimum                    
  wage, as it would be a cut in income.  He asked how much a                   
  full-time job would have to pay to induce a person to leave                  
  public assistance.                                                           
  MS. HENSEN said she did not have that figure, but could get                  
  it for him.  She said she could calculate the break-even                     
  point, and said a department study on welfare's impact on                    
  self-sufficiency showed what welfare recipients said they                    
  needed to get off public assistance.                                         
  Number 198                                                                   
  REP. BRICE noted that an article reporting the welfare and                   
  dependency study was present in the bill packets for HJR 36.                 
  MS. HENSEN said that, as reported on page 14 of the article,                 
  11 percent of clients said a monthly salary of up to $1,100                  
  would be enough to make them drop welfare; 14 percent said                   
  from $1,100 and $1,300; 21 percent said $1,300 to $1,500;                    
  and 21 percent said they required at least $2,000 per month                  
  before they would give up welfare benefits.                                  
  CHAIR BUNDE said that 21 percent of the clients responding                   
  could leave welfare to work for the legislature.                             
  Number 216                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY added that he would divide the monthly pay levels                 
  by 173 hours to arrive at an hourly wage.                                    
  REP. OLBERG said that $1,100 per month equalled about $6 per                 
  Number 226                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked for any other questions or testimony on                    
  the measure, then asked the pleasure of the committee.                       
  WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS.                                             
  CHAIR BUNDE called for objections and, hearing none,                         
  RECOMMENDATIONS.  He then brought HB 106 to the table.                       

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