Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532
05/02/2018 01:30 PM Senate FINANCE
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CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 135(EDC) am "An Act relating to school district participation in the school construction grant program." 2:05:11 PM Vice-Chair Bishop reviewed the meeting agenda. He detailed that HB 135 had been heard on April 26, 2018 when a committee substitute (CS) had been adopted, public testimony (all in support of the bill) had been heard, and the fiscal note had been reviewed. He noted the committee had received additional information. Senator Micciche MOVED to ADOPT the committee substitute for CSHB 135(EDC)am, Work Draft 30-LS0549\R (Laffen, 5/2/18). Vice-Chair Bishop OBJECTED for discussion. 2:05:33 PM JULI LUCKY, STAFF, SENATOR ANNA MACKINNON, explained the changes in the CS. She noted that there had been committee concerns about an undefined time of extension. Additionally, there had been concern that no definition for the term "good cause" had been included in the bill. She addressed the Explanation of Changes (copy on file): The Senate Finance CS makes two changes: • Limits the extension to seven years on page 1, line 12. • Describes what constitutes "good cause" on page 2, lines 2-10. New SCS version R makes clarifying changes to this language as requested by the Department of Education and Early Development. Specifically: Page 2, line 5 added "as described in a grant agreement under AS 14.11.017" Page 2, line 6 replaced "the state's share" with "state funding" Ms. Lucky announced that there was no sectional analysis. The bill had two technical changes and the only substantive section was Section 2, which she had previously explained. She noted that the department had communicated there was no change to the fiscal note with the adoption of the CS. Senator Stevens was happy to see a definition for "good cause" and an end date included in the bill. Vice-Chair Bishop WITHDREW his OBJECTION. There being NO further OBJECTION, Work Draft 30-LS0549\R was ADOPTED. 2:07:59 PM AT EASE 2:08:54 PM RECONVENED REPRESENTATIVE JOHN LINCOLN, SPONSOR, appreciated the changes made in the CS. He spoke to the importance of the legislation for his district. He detailed the legislation would extend the funding opportunity for a school in the district that had run into some complications with the construction of a road and other funding sources. He was confident the passage of the bill would allow the community of Kivalina to construct a new school. He thanked the committee for its time and attention to the legislation. Senator Olson asked if Representative Lincoln was in favor of the changes made in the CS. Representative Lincoln replied in the affirmative. Senator Olson asked how the Northwest Arctic Borough School District viewed the changes. Representative Lincoln answered that the school district strongly supported the legislation, which was critical for the construction of the school. He added the legislation was a major priority for the entire district. Senator Stevens referenced the third cause: (3) the extension will not result in an increase of state funding of the project cost [page 2, lines 6 and 7 of the legislation]. He asked how a cost increase would impact the borough. Representative Lincoln was uncertain what the approach would be to meet increased costs. The entire regional leadership for the Northwest Arctic Borough and the NANA region were behind the project. The borough was bonding a local match exceeding $12 million. He elaborated that everyone was committed in their support for Kivalina, the school, and its families. He communicated that he and others would find a way to address any cost increase. 2:11:33 PM Senator Stevens remarked that the longer it took to complete a project the higher the cost. He appreciated Representative Lincoln's comments. Senator Olson remarked that he had spoken with borough representatives and they were very comfortable with the money that had been sought and appropriated. There had been no problem with that part of the extension. Vice-Chair Bishop noted that the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) was available for questions. He added that the state was coming out of a recession. He observed that construction projects were down, based on bid costs over the past three years. He elaborated that there was substantial competition [for projects] at present. Senator Stevens noted that previously there had been no parameters on what the commissioner could determine to be good cause. He expounded that the bill would implement four criteria for the commissioner to find good cause. He asked if DEED was comfortable with the parameters. TIM MEARIG, FACILITIES MANAGER, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT, replied in the affirmative. Vice-Chair Bishop relayed that he had worked in the [Northwest Arctic Borough] region in the distant past. He stated that Kivalina sorely needed a new school and he believed the school would go a long way towards complementing the other schools in the Kobuk region. Senator Micciche MOVED to REPORT SCS CSHB 135(FIN) out of committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. SCS CSHB 135(FIN) was REPORTED out of committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with one new fiscal note from the Department of Education and Early Development. 2:14:28 PM AT EASE 2:16:13 PM RECONVENED