Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/04/2020 03:45 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
03:48:03 PM Start
03:49:35 PM SB121
04:05:30 PM Overview: Census Update
05:09:04 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
*+ SB 121 NATIVE ORGANIZATIONS VPSO & TANF PROGRAMS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Presentation: TELECONFERENCED
Census 2020 Update by:
- Laurie Wolf, Foraker Group
- Berett Wilbur, Alaska Census Working
Group/Alaska Counts
- Korena Novy, Assistant Regional Census
Manager, US Census Bureau
        SB 121-NATIVE ORGANIZATIONS VPSO & TANF PROGRAMS                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:49:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP  announced the  consideration of  SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE                                                               
FOR  SENATE BILL  NO.  121,  "An Act  relating  to Alaska  Native                                                               
organizations' family assistance programs."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:50:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR JESSE  KIEHL, Alaska  State Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
sponsor of  SB 121,  introduced the  legislation speaking  to the                                                               
following sponsor statement:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Sponsor   Substitute   Senate    Bill   121   fixes   a                                                                    
     contradiction in  Alaska law so the  Central Council of                                                                    
     Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes  of Alaska (T&H) can keep                                                                    
     administering the tribal  Temporary Assistance to Needy                                                                    
     Families (TANF) program in Southeast.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     AS  47.27.070(a) lists  the organizations  qualified to                                                                    
     run  TANF, including  T&H. But  subsection  (c) of  the                                                                    
     same  law says  only "nonprofits"  may run  TANF. As  a                                                                    
     tribal  government,  T&H  is  not  a  non-profit.  This                                                                    
     contradiction endangers  T&H's ability to  keep running                                                                    
     the program.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     T&H has  successfully run TANF for  almost two decades.                                                                    
     Taking the  contradiction out of  the law will  let the                                                                    
     tribe continue its good work for Alaskans in need.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL  stated that  the bill is  a simple  technical fix.                                                               
For  many years,  the  State  of Alaska  has  partnered with  the                                                               
Central  Council of  Tlingit and  Haida Indian  Tribes of  Alaska                                                               
(T&H) to  provide a couple  of programs, one  of which is  a TANF                                                               
Program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL said  the partnership with T&H  has been effective.                                                               
They  do an  excellent job  helping families  to self-sufficiency                                                               
and have  been very successful  in partnering with any  number of                                                               
groups and  agencies around the  region and around the  state. In                                                               
addition to an  effective job, T&H does a  fiscally efficient job                                                               
for the State  of Alaska because their  participation helps lower                                                               
the  general   fund  requirement   for  the  State   of  Alaska's                                                               
maintenance of effort to participate in the TANF program.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KIEHL explained  that when  the partnership  between the                                                               
State of  Alaska and T&H  began, a  section was put  into statute                                                               
that required the  partners to be nonprofits. He said  he was not                                                               
sure how  that section  got into  statute, but a  tribe is  not a                                                               
state  chartered   nonprofit  corporation.  It  is   an  entirely                                                               
different entity.  The bill will  take care of  the inconsistency                                                               
by  deleting  the  nonprofit requirement,  thereby  allowing  the                                                               
partnership to continue as it has for a number of years.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He noted  that SB 121 does  not open the partnership  for TANF to                                                               
any and all  organizations that might someday  be interested. T&H                                                               
is  on a  list in  the statute  via federal  law. The  bill is  a                                                               
simple and specific fix.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP asked Ms. Schlingheyde if she had anything to add.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:52:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CATHY  SCHLINGHEYDE, Staff,  Senator  Jesse  Kiehl, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,  replied Senator Kiehl's explanation                                                               
covered the intent of the bill.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BISHOP summarized  that the  bill  is a  technical fix  to                                                               
match federal law to state law.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  said the statute  seems to say that  the tribal                                                               
entity has to  have a nonprofit entity, not  necessarily that the                                                               
entire tribe has to be nonprofit.  He asked if T&H previously had                                                               
a nonprofit entity that qualified it.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL  answered that  there are people  from T&H  who can                                                               
answer that with 100 percent accuracy  but he did not believe so.                                                               
Rather, this  has been a  disconnect between the statute  and the                                                               
reality of the tribe's good work in this area for many years.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:54:31 PM                                                                                                                    
KENDRI CESAR, Outside Counsel, Central  Council Tlingit and Haida                                                               
Indian Tribes of  Alaska, Juneau, Alaska, explained  that T&H had                                                               
discussions  with the  Alaska Department  of Law  and the  Alaska                                                               
Department  of  Health  and  Social Services  on  options  for  a                                                               
solution when  the statutory problem  was first  identified three                                                               
years ago.  Forming a nonprofit  or incorporating the  tribe were                                                               
considered but it is not a  workable option for the tribe and the                                                               
tribe had been successfully carrying  out the TANF Program for 20                                                               
years without  incorporation. Pursuing a statutory  fix seemed to                                                               
be the most straightforward solution.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE asked if Tlingit  and Haida Central Council that                                                               
is named in the existing statute  is the same entity discussed in                                                               
the  bill  as Council  of  Tlingit  and  Haida Indian  Tribes  of                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. CESAR answered yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE asked  if the  "Notwithstanding" in  the repeal                                                               
language covered those listed within [AS 47.27.070(a)].                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CESAR  explained  that  subsection  (a),  like  the  federal                                                               
provision,  specifies  the  appropriate  entities  that  Congress                                                               
authorized  to carry  out the  program for  Alaska. However,  the                                                               
requirement   in   subsection    (c)   requires   Alaska   Native                                                               
organizations  to  incorporate.  She  noted  that  the  statutory                                                               
requirement lists incorporated entities, like Metlakatla.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:56:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  questioned the necessity  for the bill  when it                                                               
looks like subsection (a) covered T&H.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP stated that the bill  will be set aside to allow the                                                               
committee more time to ponder.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE emphasized  that his  previous question  should                                                               
not in  any way mean that  he is not supportive  of repairing the                                                               
issue. He said it sometimes  seems like the legislature is fixing                                                               
things that  are common  sense issues  that are  adequately dealt                                                               
with in existing code.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP said  he would like to ask the  Alaska Department of                                                               
Law if they support the bill.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  reiterated that his  question is if  the change                                                               
is  necessary  as a  technicality  or  if  T&H is  covered  under                                                               
section (a) in the statute.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:58:18 PM                                                                                                                    
STACIE KRALY,  Chief Assistant Attorney General,  Civil Division,                                                               
Human  Services  Section,  Alaska   Department  of  Law,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, answered  that the  fix is necessary  because of  the way                                                               
the federal tribal TANF Program is set up.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE asked if the fix is for everyone on the list.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. KRALY answered that the vast  majority of those listed in the                                                               
statute  are nonprofit  organizations.  The  other difference  is                                                               
Metlakatla  is a  tribal reservation  in  Alaska. She  reiterated                                                               
that this fix would solve the problem.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP asked if DOL supports the changes in the bill.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. KRALY  answered that  the Alaska Department  of Law  takes no                                                               
position  on the  proposed fix.  The  department recognizes  that                                                               
there were  three different  ways to fix  the problem.  Ms. Cesar                                                               
discussed  one fix  that T&H  declined,  which was  to become  an                                                               
organized nonprofit  or file  as a nonprofit.  She said  a second                                                               
way to fix  the problem would be to amend  subparagraph 13 of the                                                               
statute.  The third  way is  the fix  proposed by  the bill.  She                                                               
summarized  that  any of  the  three  fixes  would work  for  the                                                               
department.  She said  it is  not  that the  department does  not                                                               
support the bill, the department supports the fix.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:00:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON thanked Senator  Kiehl for bringing the bill                                                               
forward. She said she does not  blame T&H for not wanting to deal                                                               
with becoming  a nonprofit  if they  really do  not have  to. She                                                               
stated that she is glad  the housekeeping issue is coming forward                                                               
and she is looking forward to moving forward.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked why [AS  47.27.070(c)] was  originally in                                                               
statute.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CESAR explained  that T&H  looked at  the state  legislative                                                               
history  and unfortunately  the analysis  did not  shed light  on                                                               
that  question. T&H  is not  sure  why the  section was  inserted                                                               
other  than perhaps  as  a  regional tribe,  which  is unique  in                                                               
Alaska, was  confused with the  other nonprofits. She  said there                                                               
does  seem to  be  some general  misunderstanding about  regional                                                               
tribes, which are unlike any  other tribes. She added that Alaska                                                               
does tend to  have a regional delivery of services  like the TANF                                                               
Program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP asked if she had  anything else to put on the record                                                               
before the bill is set aside.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. CESAR  noted that  Jesse Parr,  TANF Manager  for T&H,  is in                                                               
attendance  to discuss  the savings  to the  state which  Senator                                                               
Kiehl previously noted.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BISHOP asked  Mr. Parr  to highlight  some of  the savings                                                               
from the TANF Program.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:02:14 PM                                                                                                                    
JESSE  PARR, TANF  Program Manager,  Central Council  Tlingit and                                                               
Haida  Indian Tribes  of Alaska,  Juneau, Alaska,  explained that                                                               
the  tribe  receives  TANF  funding  directly  from  the  federal                                                               
government. The tribal  TANF Program is throughout  the state and                                                               
is comprised  of about  30 percent of  the federal  TANF funding.                                                               
The state realizes  a 30 percent reduction in  its maintenance of                                                               
effort requirement  that results in  a $15 million  savings, from                                                               
$52 million to $36 million.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
He  summarized that  the TANF  Program  is good  for all  parties                                                               
involved.  He affirmed  that T&H  genuinely  desires to  continue                                                               
providing services to help people.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP  commented that the  more the legislature can  do to                                                               
create jobs, less people will have to use the TANF Program.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARR concurred.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BISHOP noted  that he  worked very  closely with  the TANF                                                               
Program with the Tana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:03:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP held SB 121 in committee.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SSSB 121 ver. M.pdf SCRA 2/4/2020 3:45:00 PM
SB 121
SB121 Sponsor Statement ver. M.pdf SCRA 2/4/2020 3:45:00 PM
SB 121
SB121 Langauge Repealed 1-31-2020.pdf SCRA 2/4/2020 3:45:00 PM
SB 121
SB121 Resolutions and Letters- Member Orgainzations- 2-4-2020.pdf SCRA 2/4/2020 3:45:00 PM
SB 121
US Census Bureau Presentation.pdf SCRA 2/4/2020 3:45:00 PM
Census 2020
Alaska Counts - Senate CRA Hearing 2-4-20.pdf SCRA 2/4/2020 3:45:00 PM
Census 2020