Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532

06/09/2017 11:30 AM CONFERENCE COMMITTEES ON HB 57 AND HB 59

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Audio Topic
11:34:07 AM Start
12:01:12 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 57 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 59 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET TELECONFERENCED
Department of Military & Veterans Affairs
Department of Public Safety
Department of Revenue
Executive Branch-wide Appropriations
Judiciary
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 57(FIN) am(brf sup maj fld)(efd fld)                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;   capitalizing   funds;   repealing                                                                    
     appropriations; and  making supplemental appropriations                                                                    
     and reappropriations."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 57(FIN) am S                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;   capitalizing   funds;   repealing                                                                    
     appropriations; making  supplemental appropriations and                                                                    
     reappropriations; making appropriations  under art. IX,                                                                    
     sec. 17(c),  Constitution of the State  of Alaska, from                                                                    
     the constitutional  budget reserve fund;  and providing                                                                    
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
and                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 59(FIN)                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive mental health  program; and providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 59(FIN)                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive mental health  program; and providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
11:34:42 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton   invited  David  Teal,  Director   of  the                                                                    
Legislative  Finance Division  to  join  legislators at  the                                                                    
table. He  reported that the  conference committee  would be                                                                    
addressing  open items  in  HB 57  and HB  59  based on  the                                                                    
motion  sheets distributed  to members  earlier in  the day,                                                                    
dated June 9th,  on the Department of  Military and Veterans                                                                    
Affairs, the Department of Public  Safety, the Department of                                                                    
Revenue,  the  Executive   Branch-wide  Appropriations,  and                                                                    
Judiciary.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  MOVED  to  ADOPT   the  following  in  the                                                                    
Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs budget:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    House                                                                                                            
     Item 2    House                                                                                                            
     Item 3    House                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  indicated  that   the  action  closed  the                                                                    
conference-able  items in  the  Department  of Military  and                                                                    
Veterans Affairs budget.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  MOVED  to  ADOPT   the  following  in  the                                                                    
Department of Public Safety's budget:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 2    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 3    Line 1 House plus $6,000 for a revised total                                                                     
               of $1,525,100                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Item 3    Line 2 House minus $6,000 for a revised                                                                          
               total of minus $1,525,100                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Item 4    House                                                                                                            
     Item 5    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 6    Senate minus $31,100 for a revised total of                                                                      
               $93,300. This funds the position at 75% in                                                                       
               recognition that the position would not be                                                                       
               filled on July 1.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Item 7    Senate                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson OBJECTED to Item 7.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Item 8    OPEN                                                                                                             
     Item 9    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 10   House                                                                                                            
     Item 11   House                                                                                                            
     Item 12   House                                                                                                            
     Item 13   Senate                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson OBJECTED to Item 13.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Item 14   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 15   OPEN                                                                                                             
     Item 16   OPEN                                                                                                             
     Item 17   OPEN                                                                                                             
     Item 18   Senate                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt OBJECTED to Item 18.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Item 19   Senate and modify the first line of the                                                                          
               language by adding "and the Legislative                                                                          
               Finance Division" after the words "Finance                                                                       
               Committees"                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt OBJECTED to Item 19.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Item 20   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 21   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 22   Senate                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Seaton   indicated   that   the   action   closed                                                                    
conference-able items  1,2,3,4,5,6,9,10,11,12,14,20,21,22 in                                                                    
the Department of Public Safety.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman MOVED to ADOPT Item 7.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson spoke  to his objection. He  relayed that Item                                                                    
7 transferred  $200 thousand from the  Village Public Safety                                                                    
Officer  (VPSO) Program  to the  Alaska  State Troopers.  He                                                                    
realized there  were vacancies within  the VPSO  program and                                                                    
within the Alaska State Troopers.  In looking at the funding                                                                    
for both  over the  previous 10  years, it  had been  a hard                                                                    
fought process to get adequate  funding for the troopers. He                                                                    
opined  that  with  the amount  of  domestic  violence,  the                                                                    
increased rate  of crime, and  the opioid epidemic  in rural                                                                    
Alaska  the  state was  going  in  the wrong  direction.  He                                                                    
mentioned  a series  on Quinagak  in the  Bethel area  about                                                                    
people on  the front lines  of the epidemic. He  thought the                                                                    
rural communities needed as much support as possible.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson MAINTAINED his OBJECTION.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:40:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Foster asked  if the position funded  in the Alaska                                                                    
State Troopers would be supporting the VPSO program.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
11:41:18 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:42:41 AM                                                                                                                   
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: MacKinnon, Foster, Pruitt, Hoffmann, Seaton                                                                           
OPPOSED: Olson                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The  MOTION to  ADOPT Item  7 PASSED  (House: 3/0  - Senate:                                                                    
2/1).                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman MOVED to ADOPT Item 13.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  OBJECTED. He explained that  his argument was                                                                    
the  same  for the  current  amendment  as  it was  for  the                                                                    
previous  amendment. He  thought it  essentially took  money                                                                    
away  from   the  VPSO  program   to  support   the  trooper                                                                    
detachment. He  thought the legislature  was doing  the same                                                                    
thing  by undercutting  the  people on  the  front lines  in                                                                    
order to have the troopers present.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Foster clarified  that it was a  difficult item for                                                                    
him because  it impacted  his areas.  He wondered  about the                                                                    
number  of  positions that  were  unfilled  within the  VPSO                                                                    
program. The  amendment would move funding  for 4 positions.                                                                    
He asked how many there were in unfilled VPSO positions.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DAVID TEAL, DIRECTOR,  LEGISLATIVE FINANCE DIVISION, thought                                                                    
the number  was close  to 20  for the  previous 2  years. He                                                                    
thought the department would have the figure.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson asked  how many  vacancies there  were within                                                                    
the Alaska State Troopers.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Teal did not know the answer.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Pruitt, Foster, MacKinnon, Seaton, Hoffman                                                                            
OPPOSED: Olson                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION  to ADOPT  Item 13 PASSED  (House: 3/0  - Senate:                                                                    
2/1).                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:46:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman MOVED to ADOPT Item 18.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt OBJECTED.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt  spoke to his objection.  He indicated                                                                    
that the  appropriation being discussed was  an inter-agency                                                                    
receipt,  which  could  be  done  without  the  approval  or                                                                    
authority of the legislature. He  explained that it had been                                                                    
agreed by the House that it  did not like the idea of arming                                                                    
tax division personnel  who would be able  to fulfill duties                                                                    
similar to  personnel from the Department  of Public Safety.                                                                    
While  he  understood  the  inter-agency  receipt  could  be                                                                    
carried  out without  the appropriation,  he thought  it was                                                                    
better  to send  the  signal that  the  legislature did  not                                                                    
intend  to   arm  tax  personnel.   He  favored   the  House                                                                    
recommendation of disallowing  the inter-agency receipt from                                                                    
taking place.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt MAINTAINED his OBJECTION.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
11:47:48 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:50:59 AM                                                                                                                   
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon indicated  that  after discussions  with                                                                    
the   department   she   had    been   notified   that   the                                                                    
administration would  not be deploying armed  tax collectors                                                                    
in the state. She asked that  the Item be set aside to allow                                                                    
some time to confirm the information.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman WITHDREW his MOTION to ADOPT Item 18.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton indicated Item 18 would remain open.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman  MOVED  to ADOPT  Item  19  with  modified                                                                    
language (See language above).                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Pruitt spoke  to his  objection. His  caucus                                                                    
was concerned with allowing the  Department of Public Safety                                                                    
to  come  up  with  a  plan  for  staffing  levels.  It  was                                                                    
suggested  that the  Legislative Budget  and Audit  Division                                                                    
make  the  determination. He  also  suggested  there was  an                                                                    
entity  that had  recently given  an executive  look at  the                                                                    
Anchorage Police  Department. He  had been  given a  copy by                                                                    
Representative  Kopp  who thought  the  entity  had done  an                                                                    
effective job  in recommending what  they should  and should                                                                    
not do.  He thought some  solutions could be  suggested that                                                                    
most  people  could  agree  on.   He  suggested  that  if  a                                                                    
department  audited itself,  there would  be an  expectation                                                                    
for  a  request for  increased  funding  in the  future.  He                                                                    
thought having a more neutral party would be solid.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:53:56 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:54:47 AM                                                                                                                   
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  relayed that the  objection to Item  19 had                                                                    
been removed.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman  commented that  crime was  on the  rise in                                                                    
urban  and  rural Alaska.  The  House  did not  have  intent                                                                    
language  to  try to  address  the  issue. He  believed  the                                                                    
intent language being discussed  was adequate. He commented,                                                                    
"If  additional studies  need to  be  taken, so  be it."  He                                                                    
thought the Senate's intent  language recognized the problem                                                                    
in Alaska  and the need  to address adequate  funding levels                                                                    
for Alaska State Troopers and VPSO's.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  indicated  that   the  action  closed  the                                                                    
conference-able items  7, 13,  and 19  in the  Department of                                                                    
Public Safety, leaving items 8, 15, 16, 17, and 18 OPEN.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
11:56:30 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  MOVED  to  ADOPT   the  following  in  the                                                                    
Department of Revenue's budget:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    House minus $61,500 for a revised total of                                                                       
               $184,500. This funds the positions at 75% in                                                                     
               recognition that the positions would not be                                                                      
               filled on July 1.                                                                                                
     Item 2    House                                                                                                            
     Item 3    House for all lines                                                                                              
     Item 4    Senate                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  indicated  that   the  action  closed  the                                                                    
conference-able  items   in  the  Department   of  Revenue's                                                                    
budget.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:57:17 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  MOVED to ADOPT  the following  in Executive                                                                    
Branch-wide Appropriations:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    House for all lines                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt OBJECTED.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Pruitt  explained  that there  would  be  an                                                                    
increase to  the budget of  $1.8 million. He  understood the                                                                    
discussion that the legislature would  not be passing a bill                                                                    
that lowered the appropriation.  He thought there were other                                                                    
areas the legislature had chosen  not to fully fund what was                                                                    
indicated in statute. He  highlighted that the appropriation                                                                    
clearly  articulated that  there  was not  a  pay freeze  in                                                                    
place in Alaska  while the state was in  desperate times. He                                                                    
argued  that  by  accepting  the item,  the  state  was  not                                                                    
freezing pay.  It might be  that the legislature  and/or the                                                                    
administration  had   recognized  they  had  to   do  things                                                                    
differently. However,  the adoption of the  item essentially                                                                    
sent a message that everything was "A-Okay."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt REMOVED his OBJECTION.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman relayed  that the  item had  been under  a                                                                    
significant amount  of debate.  He opined that  the adoption                                                                    
of the item was not  an acknowledgement that the legislature                                                                    
was avoiding  addressing the state's fiscal  problems having                                                                    
not taking up  the legislation [SB 31/HB 71 -  Title: NO ST.                                                                    
EMPLOYEE PAY  INCREASE FOR 2  YRS Legislation  introduced by                                                                    
the governor  in January 2017].  He surmised there  were two                                                                    
questions  to be  answered. First,  did the  state have  two                                                                    
classes of  employees? If  so, should  the state  treat them                                                                    
differently? The  legislature was faced with  the dilemma of                                                                    
whether  to freeze  the pay  of unclassified  employees, who                                                                    
were  under the  preview of  the legislature,  without being                                                                    
able to  freeze the pay  of union employees. He  argued that                                                                    
even  though  the  state  had  a  major  financial  problem,                                                                    
treating  unclassified  employees differently  because  they                                                                    
were not  in a union did  not bode well at  the current time                                                                    
in Alaska's history.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There  being NO  OBJECTION, it  was so  ordered. Item  1 was                                                                    
ADOPTED.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  indicated  that   the  action  closed  the                                                                    
conference-able     items    in     Executive    Branch-wide                                                                    
Appropriations.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
12:00:09 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  MOVED  to  ADOPT   the  following  in  the                                                                    
Judiciary's budget:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    House                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  indicated  that   the  action  closed  the                                                                    
conference-able items in Judiciary's budget.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  conveyed that once  the next  meeting date,                                                                    
time, and subject matter were  determined, the meeting would                                                                    
be noticed on BASIS.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HB  57  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HB  59  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                

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