Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/03/2004 05:32 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                       March 03, 2004                                                                                           
                           5:32 PM                                                                                              
TAPE HFC 04 - 42, Side A                                                                                                        
TAPE HFC 04 - 42, Side B                                                                                                        
TAPE HFC 04 - 43, Side A                                                                                                        
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Harris  called the House  Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 5:32 PM.                                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative John Harris, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                    
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative Hugh Fate                                                                                                        
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Bill Stoltze                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Representative    Sharon   Cissna;    Representative   Ethan                                                                    
Berkowitz;  Joseph   Pichler,  Council   Member,  Governor's                                                                    
Council  on  Disabilities  & Special  Education,  Anchorage;                                                                    
Gwendolyn Lee, Mary Dyer, AWRC, Anchorage; Carl Evertshusch,                                                                    
Margaret Lowe, Former Commissioner, Department of Health and                                                                    
Social Services, Anchorage;  Cyd Bartee, Anchorage; Kathleen                                                                    
Fitzgerald,  Anchorage, Donna  Jordan,  Matsu;  Jason Smart,                                                                    
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Mary  Dyer,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Resource  Center,                                                                    
Anchorage; Francine Harbour; Chelsea McDonald, Anchorage; H.                                                                    
Lee, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Anchorage; Mary                                                                    
Bell, Anchorage; Tim  Steele, Anchorage School Board Member,                                                                    
Anchorage; Bob  Satin, Board Member,  Alaska Communications,                                                                    
Public Radio KSKA; Lisa  Rieger, Vice President Alaska Legal                                                                    
Services,  Anchorage; Janet  McCabe, Partners  for Progress;                                                                    
Mike  Couturier,  representing   self,  Sergeant,  Anchorage                                                                    
Police  Department;  Brian   Saylor,  Alaska  Public  Health                                                                    
Association,  Anchorage;  Lorne  Smette,  Alaska Chapter  of                                                                    
 National  Association  of  the  Mentally  Ill;  Patti  Hong,                                                                   
 Anchorage; Greg  Wilson, Alaska  Geological Society;  Trevor                                                                   
 Fulton,  Student, University  of  Alaska  Anchorage;  Justin                                                                   
 Durling, Student, University of Alaska Anchorage.                                                                              
 GENERAL SUBJECT (S):                                                                                                         
The following overview was taken in log note format.  Tapes                                                                     
and handouts will be on file with the House Finance                                                                             
Committee through the 23rd Legislative Session, contact 465-                                                                    
2156. After the 23rd Legislative Session they will be                                                                           
available through the Legislative Library at 465-3808.                                                                          
 PUBLIC TESTIMONY RELATING TO HB 375 and HB 377                                                                               
 ANCHORAGE TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                     
 LOG SPEAKER                DISCUSSION                                                                                      
      TAPE HFC 04 - 42                                                                                                        
      SIDE A                                                                                                                  
 000 Co-Chair Williams      Convened the House Finance Committee at                                                           
 0222 MARY DYER, EXECUTIVE  Expressed  concern  over  cuts  in  sexual                                                          
     DIRECTOR, ALASKA      assault, alcohol treatment programs                                                                
      RESOURCE CENTER,                                                                                                          
 0346 FRANCINE HARBOUR,     Voiced  opposition   to  further  cuts  to                                                          
      ANCHORAGE             disabilities and Governor's Mental Health                                                           
 0635 Co-Chair Harris       Responded to Ms. Harbour that there is no                                                           
                            need to be afraid to talk to the                                                                    
                            legislators on the committee.                                                                     
 0756 CHELSEA MCDONALD,     Spoke in support of Denali Kid Care                                                               
 1006 H. LEE, NATIONAL      Voiced opposition to further cuts to                                                                
      ALLIANCE FOR THE      disabilities and Governor's Mental Health                                                           
      MENTALLY ILL,         budget, and to Medicaid cuts.                                                                     
 1305 MARY BELL, ANCHORAGE  Voiced  opposition   to  further  cuts  to                                                          
 1441 TIM STEELE,           Spoke in support of additional funding                                                              
      ANCHORAGE SCHOOL      for     education.    Urged     long-term,                                                          
      BOARD MEMBER,         sustainable funding and discussion of                                                               
      ANCHORAGE             adequate funding.  Increase formula to                                                              
                           PERS and TRS.                                                                                      
 1743 Co-Chair Harris       Asked if Municipality is maxed out, could                                                           
                            city contribute more                                                                              
 1806 Mr. Steele            As funding from state has been reduced,                                                             
                            local  share has risen.  Will be over  the                                                          
                            maximum  cap within federal guidelines  in                                                          
                            FY   05-FY  06-budget  cycle.     Co-Chair                                                          
                            Harris  asked could  city contribute  more                                                        
                            if assembly  chooses.    Mr. Steele  said                                                           
                            would take longer to  change process than                                                           
                            FY 06.  In response to  a question by Co-                                                           
                            Chair Harris, Mr. Steele  said the reason                                                           
                            is state contribution is declining; still                                                           
                            not at the 23% level.                                                                             
2049 Co-Chair Harris        During his six years in legislature,                                                                
                            state has  not  lowered  its funding  for                                                           
                            education.   Mr.  Steele,  replied  level                                                           
                            funding  for   education  is   no  longer                                                           
2209 BOB SATIN, BOARD       Testified in support of full funding for                                                            
      MEMBER, ALASKA        public broadcasting.                                                                              
      PUBLIC RADIO KSKA                                                                                                         
2436  Representative Joule  Asked how much is raised  locally to fund                                                           
                            the station.   Mr. Satin replied  rely on                                                           
                            small percentage state  funding in larger                                                           
                            cities, but  smaller  stations rely  more                                                           
                            heavily on listeners.                                                                             
2552  LISA RIEGER, VICE     Spoke  in support  restored  funding  for                                                           
      PRSIDENT ALASKA       Alaska Legal Services.                                                                            
      LEGAL SERVICES,                                                                                                           
2713 Janet McCabe,          Spoke in support of Office of Public                                                                
      Partners for          Advocacy new position on Wellness Court,                                                            
      Progress              and adding $66 thousand to OPA.                                                                   
3025 Representative         Expressed that he is thinking about the                                                             
      Hawker                issue.                                                                                            
3054 Representative         Asked clarification of the position                                                                 
      Chenault              request.  Ms. Mccabe explained that in                                                              
                            arrests  outside Anchorage  city  limits,                                                           
                            the  court  has arranged  for  change  of                                                           
                            venue so  DUI  offenders  are treated  in                                                           
                            therapeutic court.                                                                                
3239 Mike Couturier,        Voiced opposition to further cuts to                                                                
      representing self,    mental health  budget.   Provide services                                                           
      Sergeant at           to mentally ill before decline into                                                                 
      Anchorage Police      crisis   situation.    Community    based                                                           
      Dept.                 services need funding.                                                                            
3557 Representative         Explained that have cut $6 million off                                                              
      Hawker                original   budget    cuts,   and    added                                                           
                            discretionary    funding    for    crisis                                                           
                            situations  at local  level.    Requested                                                           
                            that the speaker let him know if it's not                                                           
3728 Mr. Couturier          Rural areas are raising funds, and need                                                             
                            time to set up infrastructure                                                                     
3759  Brian Saylor, Alaska  Expressed  support  for   restoration  of                                                           
      Public Health         funding for social workers.  Urged                                                                  
      Association,          amendment to increase the state revenues                                                            
      Anchorage             with income tax.                                                                                  
 4146 Co-Chair Harris       Replied members of the committee and                                                                
                            House  Ways and  Means have addressed  the                                                          
                            revenue   issue,  which  is  foremost   in                                                          
 4347 Lorne Smette, Alaska  Voiced  opposition   to  further  cuts  to                                                          
      Chapter of National   mental health budget.   Described need for                                                          
      Association of the    critical medical care.                                                                            
      Mentally Ill                                                                                                              
                            TAPE HFC 04 - 42, Side B                                                                       
 4519 Patti Hong,           Voiced support for the public health                                                                
      Anchorage             nursing program.                                                                                  
 4253 Greg Wilson, Alaska   Testified  in support  of the Division  of                                                          
      Geological Society    Geological    Development    and    Survey                                                          
                            component  and   stressed  the  importance                                                          
                            toward long-term resource development.                                                            
 3919 Representative        9 percent increase over last year.                                                                
 3906 Mr. Wilson            Clarified that geological development is                                                            
                            being reduced.                                                                                    
 3733 Co-Chair Harris       Responded to a questioned regarding the                                                             
                            possibility   of  an  informal  forum   to                                                          
                            discuss  issues  regarding  mental  health                                                          
                            services.  He noted  that  there would  be                                                          
                            little  time  to   develop  a  forum,  but                                                          
                            recommended  that  individual  members  be                                                          
 3436 Representative        Noted    that   Medicaid   spending    was                                                          
      Hawker                increased by $20 million.                                                                         
 3326 Representative        Observed that funding for the Department                                                            
      Foster                of Health and Social Services has                                                                   
                            increased over the years.                                                                         
 3247 Representative        Observed that Department of Health and                                                              
      Hawker                Social Services spending was over $100                                                              
                            million more than in FY03.                                                                        
 3208 JOSEPH PICHLER,       Voiced opposition to further cuts to                                                                
      COUNCIL MEMBER,       mental health budget. He observed that                                                              
      GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL    there   were  300  people  in  Juneau   to                                                          
      ON DISABILITIES  &    testify  regarding  the  Key  Campaign  in                                                          
      SPECIAL EDUCATION,    support of mental health services.                                                                
 2811 GWENDOLYN LEE,        Voiced opposition to further cuts to                                                                
      ANCHORAGE             mental health budget and support for                                                                
                            persons with disabilities.  She emphasized                                                          
                            that  community based  services saves  the                                                          
                            state  money in  the  long run.  Expressed                                                          
                            concern   with    reductions   to   senior                                                          
                            services.  Voiced opposition  to the  cuts                                                          
                            in   Medicaid  Services.  Called  for   an                                                          
                            action plan to solve the fiscal crisis.                                                           
 2442 Representative        Acknowledged     the    Key     Campaign's                                                          
      Hawker                commitment to solving the state's fiscal                                                            
2302 Ms. Lee                Pointed out that institutionalization                                                               
                            costs far more.                                                                                   
2252 Representative         Stressed that the intent is not to return                                                           
      Stoltze               to institutionalization.                                                                          
2236  Representative Croft  Pointed out that the Department of Health                                                           
                            and  Social  Services'  budget  has  been                                                           
                            reduced by  $30 million in  general fund,                                                           
                            10 in  federal  funds, and  $20 in  other                                                           
                            funds. 7.8 actual reductions.                                                                     
2032 Representative         Argued that Department of Health and                                                                
      Hawker                Social   Services   spending   has   been                                                           
                            increasing in the state.                                                                          
2029  CARL EVERTSHUSCH,     Voiced opposition to further  cuts to the                                                           
      KEY COALITION,        mental health budget and cuts in Medicaid                                                           
      ANCHORAGE             services. Noted support for additional                                                              
                            revenue measures.                                                                                 
1741 Co-Chair Harris        Observed that the revenue issue is                                                                  
                            strongly debated  and expressed  his hope                                                           
                            for a solution.                                                                                   
1648 MARGARET LOWE,         Pointed out that there have been                                                                    
      ANCHORAGE             improvements    in   special    education                                                           
                            services in  schools  and stressed  their                                                           
                            success.  Noted  support  for  additional                                                           
                            revenue measures  and stated that  she is                                                           
                            willing to  give  up  her permanent  fund                                                           
                            dividend. Stressed that  services need to                                                           
                            be organized and supported by the state.                                                          
1240 CYD BARTEE,            Voiced opposition to further cuts to the                                                            
      ANCHORAGE             mental health budget. She observed that                                                             
                            her    son     would    have     to    be                                                           
                            institutionalized      without      state                                                           
                            assistance.  Observed   that  her   child                                                           
                            receives wrap  around services  and noted                                                           
                            support for  additional revenue  measures                                                           
                            and  her  willingness  to   give  up  her                                                           
                            permanent fund dividend.                                                                          
821 Ms. Bartee              In response to comments by Vice-Chair                                                               
                            Meyer, noted  that autistic  children can                                                           
                            greatly improved. She explained that wrap                                                           
                            around  services  coordinate   her  son's                                                           
559   KATHLEEN FITZGERALD,  Noted that her daughter, who is autistic,                                                           
      ANCHORAGE             has improved through state supported                                                                
                            waivers.  Noted  support  for  additional                                                           
                            revenue   measures   and    a   long-term                                                           
                            TAPE HFC 04 - 43, Side A                                                                        
132 BARBARA JORDON,         Voiced opposition to further cuts to the                                                            
      MATSU                 mental health budget. She stressed that                                                             
                            her special needs children benefited from                                                           
                            involvement   in  the   Infant   Learning                                                           
                            Program and  waivers.  Noted support  for                                                         
                            additional   revenue  measures.   Stressed                                                          
                            that  early  intervention works  and  that                                                          
                            for  every  one  dollar  spent,  four  are                                                          
 1246 JASON SMART,          Voiced opposition to further cuts to the                                                            
      ANCHORAGE             mental health budget and support for                                                                
                            waiver   services.   Noted   support   for                                                          
                            additional revenue measures.                                                                      
 1932 TREVOR FULTON,        Spoke in support of additional funding                                                              
      ANCHORAGE             for the University. He noted recent                                                                 
                            improvements   to   the   University.   He                                                          
                            stressed  the need to put funding for  the                                                          
                            University  in  the  operating  budget  as                                                          
                            opposed to the capital budget.                                                                    
 2613 Co-Chair Harris       Stressed support for the University, but                                                            
                            emphasized  that  all  the  needs  of  the                                                          
                            state need to be balanced.                                                                        
 2756 JUSTIN DURLING,       Voiced support for funding for the                                                                  
      ANCHORAGE             University and observed that tuition                                                                
                            rates have increased.                                                                             
      ADJOURNMENT           The meeting was adjourned at 8:16 PM                                                              

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