Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

02/06/2020 09:00 AM EDUCATION

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
09:00:12 AM Start
09:00:31 AM SB169
09:43:59 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
*+ SB 169 LICENSE PLATES: COUNCIL ON ARTS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
             SB 169-LICENSE PLATES: COUNCIL ON ARTS                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:00:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS announced  the consideration  of  SENATE BILL  NO.                                                               
169,  "An Act  relating  to special  request registration  plates                                                               
celebrating the  arts; and relating  to the Alaska  State Council                                                               
on the Arts."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He stated his intention to hear  from the Alaska State Council on                                                               
the Arts and hold the bill in committee.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:00:58 AM                                                                                                                    
TIM   LAMKIN,  Staff,   Senator   Gary   Stevens,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, noted that  SB 169 was introduced at                                                               
the request  of the Alaska State  Council on the Arts  (ASCA) and                                                               
described SB  169 as a  housekeeping bill.  It is not  just about                                                               
license plates because  it also allows the council  to have legal                                                               
representation from the Department of  Law and the flexibility to                                                               
retain   temporary   counsel,    as   necessary.   Perhaps   most                                                               
substantively,  the  bill, as  a  result  of last  year's  budget                                                               
cycle, would  exempt a portion  of the council's budget  from the                                                               
Alaska Executive  Budget Act.  The private  funds raised  for the                                                               
foundation  from  nonprofit entities  would  be  exempt from  the                                                               
budget  act. It  would  hold  those funds  harmless  from a  veto                                                               
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAMKIN presented the sectional.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1:                                                                                                                 
     AS 28.10.421(a),  relating to fees  paid to the  Division of                                                               
     Motor Vehicles (DMV) for vehicle  license plates, allows for                                                               
     an additional fee,  set by Alaska State Council  on the Arts                                                               
     (ASCA)  regulation, and  not to  exceed $50,  when a  person                                                               
     chooses a new or replacement ASCA artistic plate.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  subsection also  provides  that  these additional  fees                                                               
     will be accounted  for separately and that  the total amount                                                               
     that  exceeds  the  costs  of  the  Artistic  License  Plate                                                               
     Program may be appropriated to fund the ASCA.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LAMKIN  explained that  the  bill  would not  establish  new                                                               
plates.  It  addresses  existing  plates for  the  Arts  Council.                                                               
Currently  those plates  are  $30. This  bill  would provide  the                                                               
means  for  the  council  to  set  in  regulation  an  additional                                                               
surcharge that  would go  to the  council. The  text says  not to                                                               
exceed  $50, but  his understanding  is  that a  $3 surcharge  is                                                               
being considered. He  noted members of the  council could clarify                                                               
that later.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2:                                                                                                                 
     AS 44.27,  relating to the  ASCA generally, adds  a new                                                                    
     section  (AS  44.27.053)  providing that  the  Attorney                                                                    
     General  is legal  counsel for  ASCA, similar  to other                                                                    
     state  agencies, and  also allows  the  ASCA to  retain                                                                    
     additional legal counsel as needed.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3:                                                                                                                 
     AS  44.27.055(d), relating  to  the  ASCA managing  its                                                                    
     affairs,  exempts from  the  purview  of the  Executive                                                                    
     Budget Act  those funds received  by ASCA  from private                                                                    
     non-profit foundation partners.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section 4:                                                                                                                 
     AS   44.27.080(a),   relating  to   an   ASCA-sponsored                                                                    
     competition  for  artistic  plates design,  from  being                                                                    
     mandatory to  being optional, every four  years, at the                                                                    
     discretion of ASCA.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5:                                                                                                                 
     AS 44.27.080(c), relating to  the artistic plate design                                                                    
     competition, restores  authority for the ASCA  to award                                                                    
     the artist of the winning  design a monetary amount set                                                                    
     in  regulation,   from  the  funds  generated   by  the                                                                    
     artistic plates. This provision was repealed in 2018.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:04:58 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES referred  to  Section  2 and  asked  if the  arts                                                               
council had been using private counsel.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAMKIN deferred  the question to the  representative from the                                                               
Alaska State Council on the Arts.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS called Ben Brown to the table.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:05:38 AM                                                                                                                    
BEN  BROWN, Chair,  Alaska  State Council  on  the Arts,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska,  said he  was first  appointed by  Governor Murkowski  as                                                               
vice-chair  in 2004  and Governor  Palin appointed  him chair  in                                                               
2007 and  he has  been reappointed several  times since  then. In                                                               
response to  Senator Hughes, he  said the  council has been  in a                                                               
grey area. The council on  numerous occasions has needed to speak                                                               
to an  assistant attorney  general at the  Department of  Law. In                                                               
the  interest  of  full  disclosure,  he shared  that  he  is  an                                                               
attorney  and a  member  of the  Alaska  Bar Association.  Things                                                               
arise in  the course of normal  business for a state  agency that                                                               
require  legal  advice. The  council  has  always relied  on  the                                                               
Department of  Law for that.  Last summer, after the  vetoes were                                                               
issued  on  June  28,  the  Department  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development    (DEED),    where    the    council    is    housed                                                               
administratively, had  an order from the  administration to close                                                               
things down in an orderly  manner. "Obviously, my interest was in                                                               
keeping things open  for as long as possible in  hopes that there                                                               
would be  a different outcome.  I'm happy  to say we're  all here                                                               
today because there was a different outcome," he said.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BROWN   said  meanwhile,  the  assistant   attorney  general                                                               
representing DEED  and the council  was in a  conflicted position                                                               
because  of  the different  questions  being  asked by  DEED  and                                                               
himself.  The bill  language is  from the  Limited Entry  Act. He                                                               
shared  that he  served almost  eight years  as a  member of  the                                                               
Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission,  and this provision exists                                                               
in the Limited  Entry Act. The commission can  use the Department                                                               
of  Law for  legal  counsel  but also  has  the  ability to  hire                                                               
outside counsel. Since  this bill was drafted,  he consulted with                                                               
the  governor's   legislative  office,  and   the  administration                                                               
supports  the concept  but  does not  find this  to  be the  most                                                               
appropriate language. He thinks he  and the governor have come to                                                               
an agreement on compromise language.  The basic intent and effect                                                               
of  Section 2  of the  bill  will remain  the same,  even if  the                                                               
language is changed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS asked if there has  been occasion in the past where                                                               
the council  has needed  to go  outside for  legal counsel  or is                                                               
that the only example in recent history.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BROWN  replied  that  last   summer  the  Arts  and  Culture                                                               
Foundation,  a  nonprofit that  supports  the  Arts Council,  did                                                               
engage  counsel  to  help  ASCA  get  through  this  process.  He                                                               
speculated  that in  the future  there could  be an  intellectual                                                               
property  situation involving  the Visual  Artists Rights  Act, a                                                               
federal statute.  The Department of  Law does  not have a  lot of                                                               
expertise  in  that  area.  Perhaps   something  specific  to  an                                                               
artistic  program  might  require   ASCA  to  hire  someone  with                                                               
expertise. ASCA has not  had to do it in the  past except for the                                                               
odd  situation  last  summer,  which he  hopes  will  not  repeat                                                               
itself. It just  seems wise to have that in  statute as an option                                                               
for the board of trustees.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGHES relayed  a story of how a lawsuit  was avoided. An                                                               
Alaskan submitted the design for  the license plate with the bear                                                               
standing up for a contest a long  time ago. It turns out that was                                                               
from a  sketch by another  artist. The artist, an  elderly fellow                                                               
on the  East Coast, was  contacted and  he was flattered  that it                                                               
was being  used. He was sent  an honorary license plate  with the                                                               
bear. In that  case a lawsuit was avoided but  it could have been                                                               
the basis for one.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:10:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BROWN  said  that  for  Section  1,  the  sponsor  statement                                                               
describes the  history of  the license  plate program,  which was                                                               
proposed  in   a  bill  by  Representative   Kreiss-Tomkins  that                                                               
ultimately  did  not  pass. Former  Representative  Bill  Stoltze                                                               
incorporated the  language in 2016  in a bill that  created blood                                                               
bank license plates.  At that time, a fee was  envisioned for the                                                               
artistic  license plates  to generate  revenue, similar  to other                                                               
specialty  plates.  The ACSA  conducted  a  contest and  a  panel                                                               
vetted the finalists. Fifteen thousand  Alaskans voted online for                                                               
the winner.  The plates  are very popular  since people  like the                                                               
design  depicting  the aurora  borealis  and  the moon  over  the                                                               
mountains. Before the plates  were issued, Representative Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkin's staff and  the ASCA reviewed the figures  and found that                                                               
not  many $50  plates were  issued, so  these plates  were issued                                                               
without  any additional  surcharge. This  has been  well received                                                               
and thus far, 30,768 plates have been issued.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROWN  said that  for a  period last  year, more  ACSA plates                                                               
were issued  than the bear or  yellow standard. There is  a great                                                               
deal of demand for them. The bill  allows for an amount to be set                                                               
in  regulation  not   to  exceed  $50.  Keeping   in  mind  price                                                               
elasticity, a $50 surcharge will lead  to a sharp decrease in the                                                               
cars registered  with this plate. The  goal is to the  find sweet                                                               
spot  to enable  issuing as  many artistic  licenses as  possible                                                               
while also  generating a meaningful  amount of earned  income and                                                               
revenue for the ASCA. It would  not be a dedicated fund, which is                                                               
unconstitutional,  but  the bill  says  the  commissioner of  the                                                               
Department of  Administration (DOA)  will separately  account for                                                               
the  surcharge and  the legislature  could appropriate  that. The                                                               
end  result is  that ASCA  would have  a designated  general fund                                                               
component in  its budget  that allows ASCA  to meet  its matching                                                               
requirement for the  National Endowment for the  Arts (NEA). ASCA                                                               
cannot use its private foundation  dollars to make that match. It                                                               
has to be state money. ASCA  cannot make its $700,000 budget with                                                               
this, but it could perhaps make  5-10 percent of its budget. That                                                               
is the goal,  to continue a program that  celebrates Alaskan art,                                                               
makes beautiful license plates, and also generates funds.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BROWN shared  that ASCA  foundation partners  were disturbed                                                               
when all  the foundation money  was vetoed, in addition  to state                                                               
and federal  funds, last year.  The foundations are  investing in                                                               
the people  of Alaska through the  State Council on the  Arts. He                                                               
conferred with  the administration  about this provision  and has                                                               
had  no  opposition  about  exempting  those  private  foundation                                                               
dollars  from the  Executive Budget  Act.  The legislature  would                                                               
still need  to appropriate state  money and the  federal receipts                                                               
authority. Without  the state  match, after  a certain  amount of                                                               
time ASCA would  be out of compliance with the  provisions of the                                                               
National Endowment  for the Arts  and ASCA  would not be  able to                                                               
receive  the foundation  money. This  would delay  a catastrophic                                                               
event and  not have it  happen as quickly as  it did in  June and                                                               
July last year.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:16:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  observed that it  is unusual for agencies  to have                                                               
outside monies  like that. He  asked if there are  other agencies                                                               
that do. He asked Mr. Brown  to help the committee understand the                                                               
funds he wants to protect.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROWN replied that he could  not speak to other agencies. The                                                               
Rasmuson  Foundation is  the largest  ASCA foundation  partner in                                                               
the  state.  The  Rasmuson  Foundation's  commitment  to  healthy                                                               
Alaskan lives and lives that  are full of meaningful experiences,                                                               
including arts and culture, led  to that partnership. Most of the                                                               
Rasmuson  funds invested  in  the council  go  to arts  education                                                               
programs and enables  the council to do the  New Visions program.                                                               
The Kodiak  Island Borough School  District, in  Senator Stevens'                                                               
district, has  the Munartet Project.  The investment  of Rasmuson                                                               
funds in  arts and  culture through  the state  council attracted                                                               
the  attention  of  Margaret  Cargill  Philanthropies,  based  in                                                               
Minneapolis.  Margaret  Cargill  Philanthropies is  investing  as                                                               
much,  and  potentially  more  in  the  future,  as  Rasmuson  in                                                               
educational programs.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROWN said  he believes that now that  ASCA is reconstituting                                                               
itself and  recovering from  the shutdown  last year,  more grant                                                               
opportunities  from national  foundations  are available.  People                                                               
are interested  in Alaska since  is an alluring, exotic  place in                                                               
the minds  of most other Americans.  The ASCA has done  good work                                                               
with  the money  that  has  been invested  in  the council.  This                                                               
exemption  will  help  the council  forge  new  relationships  by                                                               
reassuring potential foundation partners  that their money is not                                                               
going to  be vetoed in a  way that could be  considered arbitrary                                                               
or  capricious. Last  summer the  ASCA asked  Rasmuson Foundation                                                               
and Cargill  Philanthropies for more  time to allow the  ASCA the                                                               
chance to arrive  at a different outcome. He said  he is grateful                                                               
for their  patience and forbearance  because the ACSA  managed to                                                               
survive and retain these important partners.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BROWN noted  that  other agencies  that  might have  similar                                                               
financial structures  are social  services agencies.  The Council                                                               
on  Domestic   Violence  and  Sexual  Assault   (CDVSA)  receives                                                               
meaningful grant  dollars from the federal  Department of Justice                                                               
(DOJ). He  acknowledged that he does  not have a lot  of concrete                                                               
examples. However,  he offered his  view that if ACSA  is leading                                                               
by example,  other state agencies might  also participate because                                                               
it is  a great  way to  bring money into  Alaska and  relieve the                                                               
pressure on scarce undesignated general funds (UGF).                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:19:14 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH   added  that  one   example  might  be   the  UA                                                               
[University of Alaska] Foundation. Money  donated to that fund is                                                               
private  money not  subject to  the governor's  veto. The  Alaska                                                               
Mental Health  Trust Authority (AMHTA)  has a  substantial amount                                                               
of money based on its settlement,  which are funds not subject to                                                               
the whim  of the legislature  or governor. While the  AMHTA funds                                                               
are not donated funds, the  authority's funds are external funds.                                                               
Those  are  two  substantive  examples  of  nonstate  funds  held                                                               
outside the purview of the governor or legislature, he said.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGHES noted that a few  years ago she carried a bill for                                                               
the ASCA to  try to avoid what happened last  summer and to allow                                                               
more flexibility in bringing private  dollars. She asked what the                                                               
result was of that legislation.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROWN responded that that was  the Senate companion to HB 137                                                               
in  2017. That  bill significantly  restructured the  council and                                                               
made it a  semindependent corporation. Before ASCA  was an agency                                                               
of  the  state. The  bill  made  the  staff  part of  the  exempt                                                               
service, not  the classified service.  It exempted ASCA  from the                                                               
procurement  code  and gave  ASCA  the  ability  to set  its  own                                                               
personnel  policies.  ASCA  has   an  interim  personnel  policy.                                                               
Procurement  for  ASCA  requires   fewer  hoops  than  the  state                                                               
requires. He  can get  a graph  to the  committee that  shows the                                                               
increase  in foundation  dollars over  the years.  From the  time                                                               
that HB  137 was enacted,  foundation dollars have  gone steadily                                                               
up.  Now  that ASCA  is  reconstituting  itself, the  ability  to                                                               
reclassify positions  and change  duties of  the staff  is vastly                                                               
easier than  it would have  been if those positions  had remained                                                               
classified.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:22:44 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  clarified that  the  NEA  match requires  public                                                               
funds, not private funds.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROWN answered that is  absolutely correct. The National Arts                                                               
and Humanities  Act created the  National Endowment for  the Arts                                                               
and  mandates  that   whatever  amount  is  set   for  the  state                                                               
partnership  agreement, which  is a  three-year contract,  has to                                                               
matched  by state  funds.  It  could be  earned  revenue or  from                                                               
general funds,  but it  must be state  money appropriated  by the                                                               
legislature. Mary  Ann Carter,  the NEA  chairman, was  in Juneau                                                               
last summer  and made  that point  when she  spoke to  the Juneau                                                               
Chamber  of  Commerce  before  the second  round  of  vetoes  was                                                               
announced  on  August  19.  That  was a  policy  choice  made  by                                                               
Congress,  that there  must  be a  meaningful  investment by  the                                                               
state to  get the  federal match.  Alaska is  unique in  how that                                                               
state  and  federal  investment  is  leveraging  a  significantly                                                               
larger private  foundation investment.  Ms. Carter  thinks Alaska                                                               
is a shining example.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH stated  that the public money that  the bill would                                                               
generate would supplement ACSA's ability  to make that match. The                                                               
risk of losing the federal match  still remains if the state does                                                               
not fund  the arts  council. He clarified  that if  Alaska became                                                               
the only  state in the  union not to  fund the arts  council, the                                                               
council would not be able to give out these arts grants.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROWN  replied that the  ultimate failure of not  funding the                                                               
state council with  state funds would mean that the  state is out                                                               
of  compliance and  would eventually  lose  the endowment  funds.                                                               
Ultimately, those  funds would be redistributed  to other states,                                                               
territories,  and jurisdictions.  Nearly  ten  years ago,  Kansas                                                               
became  the  only  state  without an  arts  council,  and  Alaska                                                               
benefitted by  receiving funds previously designated  for Kansas.                                                               
Similarly,  if  last year's  vetoes  had  not been  revised,  the                                                               
$700,000 Alaska  receives would have been  redistributed to other                                                               
states,  the District  of Colombia,  Puerto Rico,  America Samoa,                                                               
and  Guam.  It would  be  impossible  for  the ASCA  to  continue                                                               
because   the   Rasmuson    Foundation   and   Margaret   Cargill                                                               
Philanthropies  are  not  interested   in  funding  an  education                                                               
program and the  staff costs to administer  it. These foundations                                                               
are willing  to donate funds to  offset some of those  costs, but                                                               
these  foundations do  not wish  to  pay rent,  staff salary,  or                                                               
other similar  costs. The state  and federal investments  make it                                                               
possible  for the  agency  to  exist. The  ASCA  can then  obtain                                                               
foundation  dollars  for  specific   programs  that  augment  the                                                               
council's ability to  enrich Alaska lives with  arts and culture.                                                               
However, the basic infrastructure must in place, he said.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS asked  for an  explanation  of Section  5. At  one                                                               
point, the council  was able to award money  for artistic design.                                                               
That was repealed and the council wants that reinstated.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:27:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BROWN  said the original vision  was to have a  $50 surcharge                                                               
on plates. After  the plate was designed and before  it went into                                                               
production,  the council  decided to  see how  the program  would                                                               
work without a surcharge. That  change was made with an amendment                                                               
to a 2018 bill from Senator  Egan bill about license plates. When                                                               
the  council  got  rid  of  the surcharge,  it  did  not  want  a                                                               
provision to  pay an artist  when there was no  revenue generated                                                               
by  the   license  plate  program.   Now  that  the   council  is                                                               
envisioning revenue  being generated by the  program, the council                                                               
thinks it is reasonable to be  able to pay an artist. The council                                                               
believes in  paying artists  so that  people who  want to  make a                                                               
living as artists can.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS called Ms. Noble to testify.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:29:53 AM                                                                                                                    
ANDREA  NOBLE, Executive  Director, Alaska  State Council  on the                                                               
Arts, Anchorage, Alaska, in response  to Senator Steven's comment                                                               
about the unusual  makeup of the agency as  a public corporation,                                                               
said that  ASCA is the  only arts  agency structured as  a public                                                               
corporation. She  thanked Senator Hughes for  carrying that bill.                                                               
ASCA  is  on the  leading  edge  of  arts  agencies in  terms  of                                                               
organizational structure. It has put  ASCA in the unique position                                                               
of  being able  to generate  more  private funding,  which was  a                                                               
direct result of the change to a public corporation.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. NOBLE  said to expand  on Senator Hughes' question  about the                                                               
effect  of  that legislation,  last  year  there was  a  dramatic                                                               
increase  of  $1.5 million  in  private  and foundation  funding.                                                               
Unfortunately, the  disruption to services last  year interrupted                                                               
ACSA's  ability to  receive funds  and execute  programs in  arts                                                               
education.  ACSA  was  on  track to  show  the  programmatic  and                                                               
foundation  funding increase.  The  council is  still working  on                                                               
that this  year. The success of  the license plate without  a fee                                                               
has shown  the great support  of Alaskans. ACSA is  excited about                                                               
the expansion of  the license plate program into  revenue. It may                                                               
lead  to  programs  serving  Alaskans. ACSA  is  looking  at  the                                                               
disruption  of services  as an  opportunity to  connect to  other                                                               
sectors in the  state. For example, the  Alaska Marijuana Control                                                               
Board has asked  ASCA to partner around  education and prevention                                                               
for addiction.  It is an  interesting opportunity to  think about                                                               
how  the arts  can  relate to  healing and  the  wellness of  the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:34:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BROWN  shared that  ASCA is  very proud  of a  program called                                                               
Creative Forces,  an arts therapy  program started by the  NEA in                                                               
conjunction with  the Department of  Defense at Walter  Reed Army                                                               
Hospital. It  was expanded  to 10  military hospitals  around the                                                               
country,  including JBER  [Joint Base  Elmendorf-Richardson]. The                                                               
council worked carefully with Senator  Murkowski's office to make                                                               
sure JBER was chosen. The music  therapist for ASCA has a room at                                                               
JBER to meet with clients who  are returnees from theaters of war                                                               
around the world. These soldiers  have severe injuries, and music                                                               
therapy is helpful  for their road to  recovery and reintegration                                                               
into society. Also,  Americans for the Arts and  NEA have created                                                               
a community engagement program for  veterans who become musicians                                                               
through the music therapy to engage  in jam sessions. He hoped to                                                               
work with Senator Revak and  Representative Tarr, the cochairs of                                                               
the Joint Armed Services Committee,  to showcase that work during                                                               
the  session. The  Creative Force  program will  make legislators                                                               
feel that  the agency should  exist and  it is doing  good things                                                               
and making Alaska a better place.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROWN summarized  that the bill is important for  the path to                                                               
sustainability and success.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGHES said  since Mr.  Brown mentioned  Creative Force,                                                               
she wanted to say something outside  of the box. She attended the                                                               
Lullaby  Project  at  Hiland Mountain  Correctional  Center.  The                                                               
female inmates compose  music and perform with  musicians. It was                                                               
incredible and  life changing for  inmates. She would  be curious                                                               
to know if  that kind of therapy can help  reduce recidivism. The                                                               
recidivism rate at  three years hovers around 60  percent, but at                                                               
nine years it  is 83 percent. Anything to help  reduce the number                                                               
of crime  victims in  the state and  turn people's  lives around.                                                               
She  asked if  the arts  council has  ever delved  into something                                                               
like that  and was  there any  research that  showed it  help get                                                               
people's lives  back on  track. Arts could  also become  a career                                                               
for some.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  said he  appreciated the  wide-ranging discussion.                                                               
"Everyone  loves the  arts council  here, and  we'll give  you an                                                               
opportunity to answer Senator Hughes' question," he said.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:38:55 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BROWN  replied   the  ACSA  has  done  some   work  in  some                                                               
correctional  facilities,  most  notably with  Sealaska  Heritage                                                               
Institute  at   Lemon  Creek  Correctional  Center.   The  former                                                               
community and Native  arts program director helped  to comanage a                                                               
teaching  program that  was aimed  at Alaska  Native inmates.  He                                                               
pointed to  Senator Coghill  as someone who  has devoted  so much                                                               
time and effort  to help the criminal justice  system work right.                                                               
The  arts have  a tremendous  role to  play, he  said. With  last                                                               
year's events, ACSA could not expand  its work in the Lemon Creek                                                               
Correctional  Center (LCCC).  He  explained  that once  prisoners                                                               
became  sober and  received substance  abuse  help, art  programs                                                               
helped them access their creativity.  The inmates at LCCC created                                                               
artwork,  which was  sold with  the proceeds  deposited to  their                                                               
prison  accounts, giving  these  inmates some  resources to  fall                                                               
back on  once the offenders  are released from prison.  Alaska is                                                               
just  beginning to  use  arts in  corrections.  California has  a                                                               
robust, correctional  creative program. He expressed  an interest                                                               
in   discussing  arts   programs  with   Commissioner  Dahlstrom,                                                               
Department  of   Corrections  (DOC)   because  of   the  positive                                                               
potential  these programs  offer. National  foundations are  very                                                               
interested  in  correction  and criminal  justice  reform.  These                                                               
foundations have  resources that could  be invested in  Alaska as                                                               
state funding  diminishes. If  the ACSA  could develop  a working                                                               
relationship with  the Department of Corrections,  it could allow                                                               
the ACSA  to resume  its work  in correctional  facilities. These                                                               
programs  are not  offered  at maximum  security  places, but  at                                                               
medium  security places  where people  are not  serving time  for                                                               
committing the most  heinous crimes. The ACSA has  done some work                                                               
in that area and it would like to do more.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS called  Mr. Lamkin  to  the table  to speak  about                                                               
license plate data.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAMKIN  said he wanted  to clarify Mr. Brown's  comment about                                                               
the number  of license plates  issued "to  date." He said  he was                                                               
waiting for  a response  about the  artistic license  plates, but                                                               
he did  get data that  from March  2018 through August  2019 that                                                               
showed that 30,700 artistic plates were issued.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS opened  public  testimony  and after  ascertaining                                                               
there was none, he kept  public testimony open and mentioned that                                                               
written       testimony      could       be      emailed       to                                                               
senate.education@akleg.gov.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:43:30 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS held SB 169 in committee.