Legislature(2005 - 2006)

03/22/2005 08:34 AM 098

Audio Topic
08:34:20 AM Start
12:16:39 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                              MINUTES                                                                                         
                       CONFERENCE COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                 SB 98 - FY 05 SUPPLEMENTAL APPROP                                                                            
                          March 22, 2005                                                                                      
                             8:34 a.m.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Chair Wilken convened the meeting at approximately 8:34:20 AM.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Wilken, Chair                                                                                                      
Representative Mike Chenault, Vice-Chair                                                                                        
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Representative Kevin Meyer                                                                                                      
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Also Attending:  DAVID TEAL, Director, Division of Legislative                                                                
Finance                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Attending via Teleconference:  There were no teleconference                                                                   
participants                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 98(FIN) am                                                                                          
     "An   Act   making    supplemental   appropriations,    capital                                                            
     appropriations,     and   other    appropriations;     amending                                                            
     appropriations;  making  appropriations  to  capitalize  funds;                                                            
     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."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     HOUSE CS FOR CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 98(FIN) am H                                                                           
     "An   Act   making    supplemental   appropriations,    capital                                                            
     appropriations,     and   other    appropriations;     amending                                                            
     appropriations;  making  appropriations  to  capitalize  funds;                                                            
     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."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The Conference Committee  utilized a spreadsheet titled, "Conference                                                            
Committee Worksheet  for SB 98" which  outlines each section  of the                                                            
House  of Representatives  and Senate  versions  of the legislation                                                             
[copy on file].                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Chair Wilken noted  a letter requesting the Conference  Committee be                                                            
granted  limited powers  from the  president of  the Senate and  the                                                            
speaker of the  House of Representatives. He requested  members sign                                                            
this letter for transmittal to the appropriate bodies.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Chenault  moved  for  adoption   of  the  House  of                                                            
Representatives  version  of  all  sections  of the  bill  with  the                                                            
exception of Items 2, 3 and 6.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Chair Wilken objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman requested  an explanation  why  the specific  items                                                            
were excluded.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Wilken replied  that Section  2 (a)  of the  bills relate  to                                                            
rural energy fuel grants.  He informed that the Conference Committee                                                            
would propose adoption  of the House of Representative language with                                                            
an amendment  providing that  the grants could  not be expended  for                                                            
utilities or insurance.  The Conference Committee  would then retain                                                            
the House of Representatives  language of Item 3, which also relates                                                            
to Section 2(a) of the bills.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman asked for an explanation of Item 6.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Chair Wilken  explained that  the House  of Representatives  reduced                                                            
the appropriation to the  Probation and Parole Results Delivery Unit                                                            
(BRU), Director's  Office Probation  Region I component by  $450,000                                                            
general fund.  It was determined that the Senate proposed  reduction                                                            
of $65,000 was appropriate.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green  clarified that  the proposed  action on Item  6 would                                                            
not require limited powers of the Conference Committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Chair Wilken affirmed.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman,  referencing Item  2, asked the reason to  prohibit                                                            
the use  of these funds  for utilities and  insurance expenses.   He                                                            
understood  the majority of the funding  would be utilized  for fuel                                                            
and the portion for utilities and insurance would be minimal.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Chair Wilken  relayed the "predominant  opinion" that the  inclusion                                                            
of utility and  insurance as an authorized use of  these funds would                                                            
change the appropriation  from a grant for fuel costs to a municipal                                                            
revenue sharing program.  Payment for fuel expenses has support, but                                                            
additional authorized expenditures is not supported.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  asked  the reason  the  House  of Representatives                                                             
passed  language   that  provided  authorization   for  utility  and                                                            
insurance expenses.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Chenault replied  that the  matter was "argued  both                                                            
ways",  although he  supported limiting  the  authorization to  fuel                                                            
costs. This was the intent of the appropriation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft countered that  the Representatives  concluded                                                            
that the increased fuel  costs affected a variety of expenses. Funds                                                            
were diverted  from other obligations  to purchase the needed  fuel.                                                            
He gave an analogy  of a parent paying unexpected  tuition increases                                                            
to allow their child to  attend school, and addressing the resulting                                                            
shortfall to  the family grocery budget  afterwards. If funds  later                                                            
became  available  but  were  restricted  to  tuition  payment,  the                                                            
problem  of providing  food  would not  be addressed.  He  requested                                                            
additional  discussion on the matter  of the Conference Committee's                                                             
request for limited  free powers, suggesting another  solution could                                                            
be agreed upon.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Wilken  understood   the  appropriation   could  be  used  to                                                            
reimburse payments  already remitted. Therefore fuel  purchases made                                                            
between July  1, 2004 and through  the remainder of the fiscal  year                                                            
are eligible.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  suggested  the  simpler  method would  be  to                                                            
appropriate the funding without the limitations.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Wilken   removed  his   objection   and   the  House   of                                                            
Representatives  version of Items  1, 4 through 5, and 7  through 20                                                            
were ADOPTED.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Chenault moved to  adopt the Senate version  of Item                                                            
6.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Chair Wilken  objected  to point out  that an  explanation for  this                                                            
action  had  been given  earlier  in  the meeting.  He  removed  his                                                            
objection.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Without further objection  the Senate version of Item 6 was ADOPTED.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Chenault   offered  a  motion  that  the  Conference                                                            
Committee request  free powers to address Section  2(a) of the bill,                                                            
listed as Items 2 and 3 on the spreadsheet.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Chair Wilken  objected to explain  that the proposed changes  to the                                                            
language of Section  2(a) is different than that included  in either                                                            
the House  of Representatives  or  Senate versions  of the bill  and                                                            
would thus  require the authorization  of free powers. He  noted the                                                            
letter making this request  has been signed by all members and would                                                            
be transmitted  to the president  of the Senate  and the speaker  of                                                            
the House of Representatives.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There was  no objection and  the motion to  request free powers  was                                                            
ADOPTED.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Meyer clarified that Item 3 would  be addressed once                                                            
the Conference Committee receives free powers.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 8:45:29 AM/12:13:25 PM                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
The request for  limited free powers was submitted  to the president                                                            
of the Senate  and the speaker of  the House of Representatives  and                                                            
these  powers  were granted  during  sessions  of each  body.  These                                                            
sessions were held during the recess of this meeting.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken explained  a  proposed amendment  to  the House  of                                                            
Representatives   language  of  Section  2(a)  of  the  bills.  This                                                            
amendment  would  delete  "utilities   or insurance"   as  allowable                                                            
expenditures  of  the  grants  to  the  small  municipality   energy                                                            
assistance  program and  limit expenditure  to  fuel purchases.  The                                                            
amended  language on  page  2 lines  5 through  17 of  the House  of                                                            
Representatives version, 24-GS1133\S.A, would read as follows.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Sec.  2.  DEPARTMENT   OF  COMMERCE,  COMMUNITY   AND  ECONOMIC                                                            
     DEVELOPMENT.  (a) The  sum of $6,450,000  is appropriated  from                                                            
     the general fund to  the Department of Commerce, Community, and                                                            
     Economic  Development,  division  of  community  advocacy,  for                                                            
     grants from  the small municipality energy assistance  program,                                                            
     for  the fiscal  year ending  June 30, 2005,  to the  following                                                            
     cities and  boroughs in the amounts stated.   The grant awarded                                                            
     to  each  city or  borough  must be  first  used  to repay  any                                                            
     indebtedness of the  city or borough to the bulk fuel revolving                                                            
     loan  fund (AS  42.45.250).   The amount of  a grant  remaining                                                            
     after repayment  of any indebtedness of the city  or borough to                                                            
     the bulk  fuel revolving loan  fund may be used by the  city or                                                            
     borough only for the  purchase of fuel. The amount of the grant                                                            
     awarded  to a city or  borough is based  upon 2003 population,                                                             
     with  cities and  boroughs with  up to  99 residents  receiving                                                            
     $22,395.83,  cities  and  boroughs  with  100 -  600  residents                                                            
     receiving $44,791.67,  and cities and boroughs with 601 - 2,499                                                            
     residents receiving approximately $67,187.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Chenault  offered  a  motion  to insert  "only"  and                                                            
delete "utilities  and insurance"  from the sentence beginning  "The                                                            
amount of a grant remaining…" on lines 11 through 14.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman objected.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 12:14:48 PM / 12:16:39 PM                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  clarified that the motion is to amend  the House of                                                            
Representatives  language of Section  2(a) and adopt this  language.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft questioned  the need  for limited free  powers                                                            
authority for the conference  committee. He stated that the language                                                            
of the amendment  is identical to that of the Senate  version of the                                                            
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DAVID TEAL, Director,  Division of Legislative Finance,  provided an                                                            
explanation.  [Note: witness spoke  out of range of audio  recording                                                            
equipment and testimony was not received.]                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Meyer  asked if  the changes  made to  Item 2  would                                                            
result in  opposition to  the House of  Representative language  for                                                            
Item 3.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken expressed intent to address Item 2.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Meyer informed  that  the provisions  of Item  3 are                                                            
more important  to the House of Representatives than  the provisions                                                            
of Item 2.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  did not anticipate  that either item would  fail to                                                            
be adopted.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
IN  FAVOR:  Representative  Meyer,  Senator  Green,  Representative                                                             
Chenault, Chair Wilken                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Representative Croft, Senator Hoffman                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The motion PASSED (4-2)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The House  of Representatives  language for  Item 2 was amended  and                                                            
ADOPTED.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Chenault  offered  a motion  to adopt  the House  of                                                            
Representatives  language for Item 3. This language  of Section 2(a)                                                            
of  the  bills,  relates  to  the  distribution  of  funds  for  the                                                            
appropriation to communities for increased fuel costs.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken   noted  the  House  of  Representatives   language                                                            
provides  for  the  same appropriation   amount as  adopted  by  the                                                            
Senate, but with a different allocation of the funding.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Without objection  the House of Representatives language  for Item 3                                                            
was ADOPTED.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  stated for the record  that the grants provided  in                                                            
Items 2 and 3  could be utilized for past and future  fuel purchases                                                            
made during FY 05.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  clarified action taken by the Conference  Committee                                                            
in  adopting  the  House of  Representatives  version  of  Items  18                                                            
through 22: "These  lapse and effective date clauses  conform to the                                                            
House  versions   of  other  sections  adopted  by  the   committee,                                                            
including funding for labor agreements and education."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Chenault offered  a motion to  report CC SB  98, 24-                                                            
GS1133\X, from Committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  clarified   that the  committee  substitute,                                                             
Version  "X" reflects  only  those changes  made  in the  Conference                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Chair Wilken affirmed.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There  was no  objection  and CC  SB 98  MOVED from  the  Conference                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Chair Wilken adjourned the meeting at 12:24 PM                                                                                  

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