Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/21/1994 09:11 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  CSSB 250(STA): An  Act   relating  to  the   Older  Alaskans                 
                 Commission  and  staff  of   the  commission;                 
                 changing  the  name  of  the  Older  Alaskans                 
                 Commission to the Alaska Commission on  Aging                 
                 and  extending the  termination  date of  the                 
                 commission; relating to the  Alaska Pioneers'                 
                 Homes  Advisory  Board; relating  to services                 
                 and   programs   for   older  Alaskans;   and                 
                 providing for an effective date.                              
                                                                               
                 Nancy Bear Usera, Commissioner, Department of                 
                 Administration, spoke in  support of SB  250.                 
                 Connie   Sipe,   Executive   Director,  Older                 
                 Alaskans     Commission,    Department     of                 
                 Administration, spoke to  questions regarding                 
                 grants   and   matching   monies  for   pilot                 
                 projects.   Senator Kelly MOVED  amendment 1,                 
                 page 7, line  1, removing the  words "program                 
                 or"  and  adding   the  word  "pilot."     No                 
                 objections  being  heard,  amendment   1  was                 
                 ADOPTED  for  incorporation  into   a  Senate                 
                 Finance  Substitute  for  the  bill.     CSSB
                 250(FIN) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a                 
                 "do pass,"  and a  zero fiscal  note for  the                 
                 Department of Administration.                                 
                                                                               
  CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 250(STA):                                             
                                                                               
       An Act relating  to the  Older Alaskans Commission  and                 
       staff of the commission; changing the name of the Older                 
       Alaskans Commission  to the Alaska Commission  on Aging                 
       and extending the  termination date of  the commission;                 
       relating to the Alaska Pioneers'  Homes Advisory Board;                 
       relating to services and  programs for older  Alaskans;                 
       and providing for an effective date.                                    
                                                                               
  Co-chair Pearce announced  that SB 250  would be heard  next                 
  and asked Commissioner Usera to remain at the table.                         
                                                                               
  Commissioner Usera said  that SB 250 was  the administrative                 
  piece that went along with  the senior's initiative that had                 
  been put forward this session.  In order to have  a division                 
  that effectively and efficiently housed the programs, it was                 
  felt that  some realignment of  the old divisions  should be                 
  done which  were served  by two  advisory boards,  the Older                 
  Alaskans Commission and  Pioneer Home Advisory Board.   This                 
  bill  maintained  both of  those commissions  separately but                 
  housed them in the same division aligning them more closely.                 
  The chairperson of one board  was now a member of  the other                 
  board.  Secondly, it changed the  name of the Older Alaskans                 
  Commission to the Alaska Commission on Aging  which was more                 
  consistent  with  the national  model.   This  was important                 
  since a large number of matching federal funds were received                 
  for the administration of these programs.                                    
                                                                               
  She went on to say that one change made in the State Affairs                 
  Committee  was  that  instead  of  the  Governor  appointing                 
  chairpersons of the  Board, seniors would appoint them.  She                 
  said that the administration had no problem with that.                       
                                                                               
  Senator Kelly asked for an explanation of Section 16 on page                 
  6, line 19.   Ms. Usera said it was a technical amendment to                 
  do with the grant process and whether the match could be in-                 
  kind  versus  cash.   Senator  Kelly  asked for  more  of an                 
  explanation.                                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Ms.  Usera  went on  to say  that  this section  allowed the                 
  Commission  the  flexibility to  reduce  or waive  the local                 
  match  requirements  for  grantees when  waiver  was  in the                 
  public interest.   Currently, the  non-profits that received                 
  some grants  had to have  match requirements and  because of                 
  the nature  of some  of the  local senior  service programs,                 
  they do not necessarily  have a cash match but  labor match.                 
  It  provided flexibility to the non-profit  group.  She said                 
  this  section  provided  regulator  authority  to  establish                 
  regulations which would  define when a  waiver of the  match                 
  could happen and under what circumstances.                                   
                                                                               
  Co-chair Pearce pointed out  that this was a portion  of the                 
  orignial Governor's bill.  Ms. Usera said the genesis of the                 
  bill was  a review by a  task force on  senior services that                 
  was established with both the  Older Alaskans Commission and                 
  the administrative  representatives of a number  of senior's                 
  programs.  This was their recommendation.                                    
                                                                               
  At   that  time,  Connie  Sipe,  Executive  Director,  Older                 
  Alaskans Commission, Department  of Administration,  arrived                 
  and Co-chair Pearce posed the question to her regarding  the                 
  waiver for grants.                                                           
                                                                               
  CONNIE  SIPE  explained  that  in  some  circumstances where                 
  start-up grants for certain organizations, such as the World                 
  Delivery of In-Home Respite Care, did not reside in the same                 
  location  where  they  were  setting  up and  arranging  for                 
  respite care, were not able to raise a total match the first                 
  year.  Many of the organizations receiving the grant may ask                 
  the client  for contributions, much of which  may be in-kind                 
  such as rent, but found it hard in the start-up year to come                 
  up with the 10 percent match even with client contributions.                 
  She noted, in  contrast, the grants  for home care  services                 
  for  people  with developmental  disabilities  had  no match                 
  requirement.  The 10  percent match had become a  barrier in                 
  starting up  some home  care providers  especially in  rural                 
  areas.  The Department of  Law had recommended handling this                 
  in regulations rather than in statute.                                       
                                                                               
  Senator  Kelly  maintained  that  it  should be  defined  in                 
  statute.  Ms. Sipe said the statutes already define a "pilot                 
  project" and she would  support an amendment to  that effect                 
  for SB 250.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Senator Kelly MOVED amendment 1  changing the words "program                 
  or" to  the word "pilot"  on page 7,  line 1.   No objection                 
  being  heard,  it was  ADOPTED  for incorporation  into CSSB
  250(FIN).                                                                    
                                                                               
  In answer  to Senator  Sharp regarding  the length  of pilot                 
  projects, Ms. Sipe  explained that  the pilot project  grant                 
  section had been used  rarely in the past.   The regulations                 
  said  that  the  Commission made  the  determination  of the                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  length  of  time but,  at present,  were  on a  2-year grant                 
  cycle.   The pilot  project language  talked about  the fact                 
  that to  get approved as a pilot project  there had to be an                 
  estimated  projected  cost  of  operations  for the  next  3                 
  succeeding years but did not say that it would be in a pilot                 
  project status that long.  That was part of the planning for                 
  approval.    Senator Sharp  felt,  with this  incentive, the                 
  pilot  project might  become  more popular.   He  wanted the                 
  record to read that a pilot project should have a maximum of                 
  three years.                                                                 
                                                                               
  In answer to Senator Rieger regarding AS  47.65.040 (a), Ms.                 
  Sipe agreed that  (a) contradicted (b).   She said that  (b)                 
  set a percentage and then (a) capped it at 10 percent.  Most                 
  cities  and   towns  larger   than  Petersburg  would   have                 
  percentages larger than 10 percent if the percentage formula                 
  was  used in  Section  (b) but  then (a)  capped  it.   This                 
  statute was first  adopted in  1980.  She  pointed out  that                 
  grant matches of  20 or  30 percent would  be difficult  for                 
  groups to meet.   She  said the 10  percent was  significant                 
  enough.    Community mental  health  centers had  25 percent                 
  match  requirements but  were allowed to  charge fees.   The                 
  federal programs only  allowed the organizations to  ask for                 
  suggested  donations  for  nutrition,   transportation,  and                 
  support  services  which  limited  how  much cash  could  be                 
  generated  from  client  fees.   The  more  intensive client                 
  services like adult day  care could ask for fees  since they                 
  were supported with  state funds rather  than federal.   She                 
  felt the 10 percent match  was reasonable but it was an  old                 
  statute.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger asked if Section (b) should be repealed.  Ms.                 
  Sipe said that Section (b) could be repealed but not Section                 
  (c).    Senator Rieger  left  it  up to  Co-chair  Pearce on                 
  whether to take any  action on this issue.   Co-chair Pearce                 
  said she would let it go.                                                    
                                                                               
  Senator Kerttula  MOVED for  passage of  CSSB 250(FIN)  from                 
  committee  with individual  recommendations.   No  objection                 
  being  heard, it was  REPORTED OUT with  a "do  pass," and a                 
  zero fiscal  note for the Department of Administration.  Co-                 
  chair  Pearce,  Senators Rieger,  Kelly, Kerttula  and Sharp                 
  signed "do pass."                                                            
                                                                               

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