Legislature(2021 - 2022)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/23/2022 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 160 FLOOD INSURANCE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
*+ SB 234 BROADBAND: OFFICE, GRANTS, PARITY TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ HB 133 AK ED SAVINGS PROGRAMS/ELIGIBILITY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
*+ SB 233 PFD ALLOWABLE ABSENCE/MERCHANT MARINE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 174 ALLOW NATURAL HAIRSTYLES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 174(EDC) Out of Committee
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
           SB 233-PFD ALLOWABLE ABSENCE/MERCHANT MARINE                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:28:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO   reconvened  the   meeting  and   announced  the                                                               
consideration  of  SENATE  BILL  NO.  233  "An  Act  relating  to                                                               
allowable  absences for  permanent  fund dividend  qualification;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:28:39 PM                                                                                                                    
KATIE  MCCALL,   Staff,  Senator   Mia  Costello,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,  introduced SB 233 on  behalf of the                                                               
Senate Labor  and Commerce  Standing Committee,  paraphrasing the                                                               
following sponsor statement:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     In 1999,  House Bill 157 was  offered by Representative                                                                    
     Jerry  Sanders.  The  bill added  those  serving  under                                                                    
     articles  of employment  aboard  oceangoing vessels  of                                                                    
     the US Merchant Marine to  an allowable absence for the                                                                    
     purposes   of  qualifying   for   the  permanent   fund                                                                    
     dividend. At the time,  the apprenticeship program that                                                                    
     qualified them for these  careers as commercial sailors                                                                    
     was an  allowable absence. This program  was created in                                                                    
     part  with  the  help  of Congressman  Don  Young,  and                                                                    
     decades ago  when touring a  ship, the  Congressman had                                                                    
     asked  "where   are  all  of  the   Alaskans?"  To  his                                                                    
     disappointment, there  were no Alaskans working  on the                                                                    
     ship. This interaction helped begin  an effort to train                                                                    
     more Alaskans for careers in the US Merchant Marine.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The  intent  of  the  1999  legislation  was  to  allow                                                                    
     merchant  mariners  and  trainees  to  qualify  for  an                                                                    
     allowable absence,  with that intent  clearly expressed                                                                    
     through the testimony and  supporting documents for the                                                                    
     original  bill.  Since  1999, over  750  Alaskans  have                                                                    
     graduated   from   the   Harry  Lundeberg   School   of                                                                    
     Seamanship and  the Paul Hall  Center. However,  due to                                                                    
     statutes and  regulations that have been  amended since                                                                    
     then,  Alaskans   who  participate  in   this  training                                                                    
     program  remain  ineligible   for  the  permanent  fund                                                                    
     dividend  while they  are out  of  state receiving  the                                                                    
     training.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Senate Bill  233 would amend  state statute  to include                                                                    
     an allowable absence for  Alaskans attending a merchant                                                                    
     marine    training   program,    so   they    are   not                                                                    
     disincentivized from attending.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:30:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MCCALL presented the sectional  analysis for SB 233 that read                                                               
as follows:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 1  AS 43.23.008(a)(4) Page 2, Lines 6-7                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Is amended  by adding a new  subsection specifying that                                                                    
     an  Alaska  resident  who   is  otherwise  eligible  to                                                                    
     receive  the permanent  fund dividend  remains eligible                                                                    
     if  they   are  absent   from  the  state   during  the                                                                    
     qualifying  year  for  the   purposes  of  attending  a                                                                    
     program  that  prepares  students for  careers  in  the                                                                    
     United States merchant marine.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 2  Page 3, Line 14                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Provides for an effective date of January 1, 2023.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COSTELLO turned to invited testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:31:45 PM                                                                                                                    
RICH  BERKOWITZ,   Consultant,  Transportation   Institute  (TI),                                                               
Seattle,  Washington, testified  by invitation  in support  of SB
233.  He advised  that until  recently he  worked as  the Pacific                                                               
Coast  Vice President  of Transportation  Institute, which  is an                                                               
educational and  research organization  that supports  US flagged                                                               
vessel operators. He  listed the companies in Alaska  that are TI                                                               
members.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BERKOWITZ  recapped the genesis  of promoting  maritime local                                                               
hire of  Alaskans on ocean  going vessels plying trade  in Alaska                                                               
as outlined  in the sponsor  statement above. Despite  the intent                                                               
of Representative Jerry  Sanders' House Bill 157  that passed the                                                               
Alaska Legislature  in 1999, Alaskans  who participate in  an out                                                               
of state  federally registered maritime training  program are not                                                               
eligible for  the permanent fund  dividend. SB 233  resolves this                                                               
issue by amending  state statute to include  an allowable absence                                                               
for Alaskans attending a merchant marine training program.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:36:24 PM                                                                                                                    
TIFFANY   ALBERT,  Director   of  Communications,   Alaska  State                                                               
Chamber, Anchorage,  Alaska, testified  by invitation  in support                                                               
of SB 233. She stated that  the Chamber's mission is to promote a                                                               
healthy  business environment  in  Alaska. As  such, the  Chamber                                                               
supports amending  the PFD  statute to  assure that  Alaskans who                                                               
attend training  out of state at  federally registered apprentice                                                               
programs are  eligible to  receive a PFD  provided they  have met                                                               
all  other eligibility  criteria. Since  1997, over  700 Alaskans                                                               
have  been  trained  and  placed  in  maritime  employment  after                                                               
graduating  from  the  Paul Hall  Center  for  maritime  training                                                               
education.  This  included a  broad  range  of Alaskans  and  the                                                               
training was paid  for through a labor  management training trust                                                               
fund.  This   assures  management  that  these   individuals  are                                                               
thoroughly  trained to  US Coast  Guard  standards and  uniformly                                                               
meet security,  safety, and  competency standards.  By recruiting                                                               
Alaskans  for maritime  work in  Alaska, maritime  companies that                                                               
ply trade in  Alaska waters continue to meet  their commitment to                                                               
hire  local. Denying  PFD  benefits to  Alaskans  while they  are                                                               
engaged  in  training for  this  work  is  an impediment  to  the                                                               
pursuit of this career path.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. ALBERT reiterated support for SB  233 on behalf of the Alaska                                                               
State  Chamber and  urged  passage of  this  "good for  business"                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:38:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO opened public testimony on SB 233.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:39:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MYKEL  POTTER, representing  self,  Sitka,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of SB  233. He relayed his story of  joining the Merchant                                                               
Marine in 2017 through a  local recruitment program and attending                                                               
training at Piney  Point, Maryland. He filed for the  PFD and his                                                               
application was denied  because of the time he  spent in training                                                               
at Piney  Point. He  said the  denial was  particularly confusing                                                               
because he had a contract with  the Department of Labor to attend                                                               
the training.  He urged  the committee to  resolve this  issue so                                                               
Alaskans like  himself are  not denied  a dividend  for attending                                                               
federally authorized maritime training outside the state.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:41:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO discerned  no others  wished to  comment and  she                                                               
closed public testimony on SB 233.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
She asked Anna McKinnon if SB  233 would create a problem for the                                                               
Permanent Fund Dividend Division.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:42:25 PM                                                                                                                    
ANNA  MCKINNON,  Director,   Permanent  Fund  Dividend  Division,                                                               
Department  of  Administration  (DOA), Juneau,  Alaska,  directed                                                               
attention to the  new text in SB 233, "or  attending a vocational                                                               
program that" on page 2,  lines 6-7. She described the provisions                                                               
attached to  that phrase  as overly  broad and  potentially would                                                               
allow  programs  beyond what  is  intended.  She noted  that  the                                                               
programs have  been described as  a certified federal  program or                                                               
one that is  held at the US Coast Guard  National Maritime Center                                                               
but that language  is not in the bill so  the division would have                                                               
to look  at each  application and  determine whether  the program                                                               
qualified  to  prepare the  applicant  for  a  career in  the  US                                                               
Merchant Marine.  She noted  that the  PFD division  had received                                                               
some  interesting   requests  for  out  of   state  training  and                                                               
suggested that  may have been  what caused the  Alaska Commission                                                               
on Postsecondary  Education to change  its regulations.  She said                                                               
the PFD division  recognizes the issue and  appreciates that this                                                               
registered merchant mariner training  program benefits the Alaska                                                               
workforce.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:45:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO offered  her belief  that the  drafters were  not                                                               
comfortable  naming  certain programs  in  statute  and the  bill                                                               
attempts to provide that specificity.  She committed to work with                                                               
the  PFD division  and other  interested parties  to tighten  the                                                               
language so it is clear which programs qualify.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COSTELLO held SB 233 in committee for further work.                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 160 v. A.PDF SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
SB 160 Sponsor Statement.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
SB 160 Sectional Analysis v. A.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
SB 160 Fiscal Note 3122 - DCCED.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
SB 160 Fiscal Note 2879 - DCCED.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
SB 160 Fiscal Note 354 - DCCED.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
CSHB 133 V. I.PDF SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 133
CSHB 133 V. I Sponsor Statement.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 133
CSHB 133 Sectional Analysis V. I.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 133
CSHB 133 Summary of Changes V. B to V. I.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 133
CSHB 133 Fiscal Note 3198 - UA.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 133
CSHB 133 Presentation Updated 3.22.2022.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 133
CSHB 133 Supporting Document - UA Press Release 3.18.21.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 133
CSHB 133 Supporting Document - IRS ABLE Accounts Info 3.18.21.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 133
CSHB 133 Supporting Document - 10 Things You Should Know About ABLE 3.18.21.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 133
CSHB 133 Dept. of Revenue-ABLE FY22 Annual Report.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 133
SB 233 v. A.PDF SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 233
SB 233 Fiscal Note 981 - DOR.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 233
SB 233 Sponsor Statement .pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 233
SB 233 Sectional Anlysis V. A.pdf SL&C 3/23/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 233