Legislature(2015 - 2016)ANCH LIO BUILDING

05/07/2015 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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Audio Topic
01:35:51 PM Start
01:36:00 PM HB1001
03:38:00 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Time Change from 1:00 p.m. --
Location: 1st Floor Auditorium
Heard & Held
Discussion by Pat Pitney, Director, Office of
Management & Budget
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
**Due to construction, streaming available in
Juneau in Capitol Rm 120**
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                   FIRST SPECIAL SESSION                                                                                        
                        May 7, 2015                                                                                             
                         1:35 p.m.                                                                                              
[NOTE:  Meeting  took  place in  Anchorage,  Alaska  at  the                                                                    
Legislative Information Office]                                                                                                 
1:35:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Neuman  called the House Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 1:35 p.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Mark Neuman, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Dan Saddler, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Lynn Gattis                                                                                                      
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Steve Thompson, Co-Chair                                                                                         
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Pat  Pitney,  Director,  Office of  Management  and  Budget,                                                                    
Office   of  the   Governor;   Gary  Folger,   Commissioner,                                                                    
Department  of  Public   Safety;  Lauree  Morton,  Executive                                                                    
Director, Council  on Domestic Violence and  Sexual Assault,                                                                    
Department of Public Safety; Representative Matt Claman.                                                                        
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Representative    Bryce    Edgmon;   Representative    David                                                                    
Guttenberg;  Representative  Cathy  Munoz;  Michael  Hanley,                                                                    
Commissioner,    Department   of    Education   and    Early                                                                    
Development; Sana Efird,  Assistant Commissioner, Department                                                                    
of  Health   and  Social  Services;  Jon   Sherwood,  Deputy                                                                    
Commissioner,  Medicaid and  Health Care  Policy, Department                                                                    
of  Health and  Social Services;  Christy Lawton,  Director,                                                                    
Office  of Children's  Services,  Department  of Health  and                                                                    
Social Services; Bernard  Chastain, Captain, Alaska Wildlife                                                                    
Troopers, Department of Public Safety.                                                                                          
HB 1001   APPROP: OPER. BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS/AM APPRO                                                                             
          HB 1001 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                           
          further consideration.                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 1001                                                                                                           
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain    programs,    capitalizing   funds,    making                                                                    
     reappropriations,  making  capital appropriations,  and                                                                    
     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."                                                                                                        
1:36:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Neuman  addressed the  day's agenda  and recognized                                                                    
Senator   Cathy   Giessel,    Senator   Donny   Olson,   and                                                                    
Representative Andy Josephson in  the audience. He discussed                                                                    
the  activities of  the previous  day's meeting,  explaining                                                                    
that  the work  had  led  to this  day's  discussion of  the                                                                    
public education  funding formula.  He offered  a historical                                                                    
review of the FY 15  fiscal legislative action involving the                                                                    
fund. He relayed  that Pat Pitney had been  asked to discuss                                                                    
the amount  of money  necessary in order  to bring  the base                                                                    
student allocation (BSA)  back to FY 15  levels. He reviewed                                                                    
that the  legislature had passed legislation  that froze the                                                                    
state's  debt  reimbursement  for  new  schools:  a  5  year                                                                    
moratorium.  He added  that school  districts had  also been                                                                    
affected by  the freezing of  union salaries.  He recognized                                                                    
Representative Kito in the audience.                                                                                            
1:40:22 PM                                                                                                                    
PAT  PITNEY,  DIRECTOR,  OFFICE OF  MANAGEMENT  AND  BUDGET,                                                                    
OFFICE  OF   THE  GOVERNOR,   noted  that   Michael  Hanley,                                                                    
Commissioner,    Department   of    Education   and    Early                                                                    
Development,  was  available  via teleconference.  She  said                                                                    
that,  not   counting  the  one-time  funds   given  in  the                                                                    
previously passed  HB 278,  just the BSA  level would  be an                                                                    
addition of $4.5 million.                                                                                                       
Co-Chair  Neuman relayed  that  the  funding mechanism  used                                                                    
approximately $123  million from the public  education fund,                                                                    
and   $118   million   from   Alaska   Gasline   Development                                                                    
Corporation (AGDC),  neither of which would  be available in                                                                    
in FY 17. He asked whether  the governor planned to submit a                                                                    
budget that reflected a downward trend in spending.                                                                             
Ms. Pitney replied  that the governor had  worked to realize                                                                    
spending  savings.  She  presented   the  analogy  of  state                                                                    
funding as, "right  pocket money and left  pocket money", in                                                                    
which  the  $123  and  $118  million  were  not  counted  as                                                                    
unrestricted general  fund. She clarified that  the basis of                                                                    
those  funds  had  been   unrestricted  general  funds,  and                                                                    
continued to look to the  school districts as such. She said                                                                    
that the  governor would submit an  education budget similar                                                                    
to  the  current  education budget  in  terms  of  spending,                                                                    
regardless of  which pocket of  money the funds  were pulled                                                                    
from.   She  furthered   that   there   would  unlikely   be                                                                    
significant  education reductions  in the  governor's budget                                                                    
for  FY 17,  nor would  there be  reductions to  other state                                                                    
agencies  that  equaled FY  16  cuts.  She noted  that  many                                                                    
agencies had  already been  cut between  10 and  30 percent;                                                                    
additional  reductions   would  be  made  in   state  agency                                                                    
operations, but education would be  prioritized in the FY 17                                                                    
Representative Gattis  understood that the governor  did not                                                                    
expect  to  reduce education  spending  in  the future.  She                                                                    
wondered  why the  $32  million had  been  removed from  the                                                                    
governor's originally proposed budget.                                                                                          
1:44:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Pitney replied  that the  governor's original  proposal                                                                    
had  reflected  a  2.5  percent   reduction  in  funds.  She                                                                    
furthered   that  the   governor's  original   state  agency                                                                    
reductions had  totaled just under  6 percent, the  least of                                                                    
which  had  been  taken  from the  area  of  education.  She                                                                    
reiterated that the Walker  Administration would protect the                                                                    
education budget as much as  was possible, while taking into                                                                    
consideration the current fiscal climate.                                                                                       
Representative Gara believed that  the Public Education Fund                                                                    
would need  to be used  in small  amounts over the  next few                                                                    
years  in order  to stabilize  education funding  during the                                                                    
fiscal downturn.  He asked where  the forward  funding could                                                                    
be found in the governor's latest proposal.                                                                                     
Ms.  Pitney replied  that the  governor's bill  restored the                                                                    
$16.5  million,  but  did  not address  the  loss  that  had                                                                    
occurred in the recent conference committee.                                                                                    
Representative Gara surmised that  the Public Education Fund                                                                    
was no longer in existence under the current bill version.                                                                      
Ms. Pitney replied in the affirmative.                                                                                          
Representative Gara  asked whether  there was a  location to                                                                    
"park" the  $1.2 billion to  use over the upcoming  years to                                                                    
avoid cuts in education spending.                                                                                               
1:47:27 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Pitney replied that it was possible.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Neuman  noted that Ms. Pitney  had provided answers                                                                    
to questions from the prior day (copy on file).                                                                                 
Representative  Gara  observed  that the  problem  with  the                                                                    
Public   Education  Fund,   should  the   $1.2  billion   be                                                                    
reinstated, was  that the money  could only be used  to fund                                                                    
the BSA,  and without  enough money the  BSA would  be short                                                                    
funded. He  asked whether it  would be possible to  create a                                                                    
sub-education  account through  the  Alaska Housing  Finance                                                                    
Corporation (AHFC) capital account.                                                                                             
Ms. Pitney thought that the  concept was an interesting one.                                                                    
She spoke to  a way in which capital funds  had been handled                                                                    
in a similar manner. She  thought that restricting funds for                                                                    
public education use would need to be written into statute.                                                                     
Representative Gara wondered whether  a sub-account could be                                                                    
created without creating a statute.                                                                                             
1:51:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Pitney  understood legislative approval would  be needed                                                                    
to name a fund.                                                                                                                 
Vice-Chair  Saddler asked  whether  the $32  million cut  to                                                                    
education had been in  acknowledgement by the administration                                                                    
that education should share in budget reductions.                                                                               
Ms. Pitney  answered that the administration  had focused on                                                                    
the   one-time  nature   of  the   education  funds,   while                                                                    
maintaining the integrity of the  BSA. She said that reports                                                                    
had been  commissioned addressing the BSA  question in order                                                                    
to  facilitate  an  open  and  transparent  discussion.  She                                                                    
stressed that  there were  additional reductions  that could                                                                    
be  made to  education, but  that they  would be  minimal as                                                                    
education was a key priority to the Walker Administration.                                                                      
Vice-Chair Saddler understood  that further reductions could                                                                    
be  made to  education,  but that  the administration  would                                                                    
like  the  department to  take  less  reductions than  other                                                                    
Ms. Pitney replied in the affirmative.                                                                                          
Vice-Chair  Saddler queried  the  circumstances under  which                                                                    
education would take reductions.                                                                                                
Ms. Pitney  replied that education  funds should  be reduced                                                                    
as a last resort.                                                                                                               
Vice-Chair  Saddler  surmised  that   education  was  a  top                                                                    
priority  for Governor  Walker and  reductions in  education                                                                    
spending would be made as a last resort.                                                                                        
Ms. Pitney pondered  the intent of the  line of questioning.                                                                    
She reiterated that education was  one of the top priorities                                                                    
for the administration.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair  Neuman recognized  Representative  Millett in  the                                                                    
Representative  Wilson   requested  a   representative  from                                                                    
Legislative  Budget  and  Audit  speak to  the  studies  Ms.                                                                    
Pitney mentioned.  She felt that Ms.  Pitney was misinformed                                                                    
as  to  the  information   contained  in  the  studies.  She                                                                    
described    the   administrative    philosophy   concerning                                                                    
education  as, "all  about the  funding and  not necessarily                                                                    
about the accountability of where  our children are on being                                                                    
compared to the rest of the children in the U.S."                                                                               
1:55:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Pitney retorted  that  many  variable impacted  student                                                                    
performance.  She  furthered  that administration  held  the                                                                    
desire to  see the highest student  performance possible and                                                                    
was  open  to  programs  that  would  provide  the  greatest                                                                    
learning outcomes.  She deferred further explanation  to the                                                                    
[Anchorage  could  not  hear commissioner  online  for  some                                                                    
Representative Wilson asserted  that Alaska funded education                                                                    
at a higher  level than most other states but  did not get a                                                                    
high  return  on  the investment.  She  contended  that  the                                                                    
department  was failing  to assess  underperforming schools,                                                                    
and make improvements, which was required under statute.                                                                        
Ms. Pitney deferred the question to the commissioner.                                                                           
Co-Chair  Neuman recognized  Representative  Vasquez in  the                                                                    
1:57:34 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
2:00:21 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson restated her question.                                                                                    
MICHAEL  HANLEY, COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT OF  EDUCATION AND                                                                    
EARLY  DEVELOPMENT (via  teleconference),  replied that  the                                                                    
department  took  their  responsibility  to  underperforming                                                                    
schools seriously.  He said that  the model of how  that was                                                                    
done had been alter over the  past few years. He shared that                                                                    
the new  model was more collaborative,  employing 12 coaches                                                                    
that    worked    directly    with   schools    that    were                                                                    
Co-Chair Neuman recognized  Representative Mike Chennault in                                                                    
the gallery.                                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson  queried the anticipated  average rate                                                                    
of spending per  student when the current  range of spending                                                                    
per student, per year, was $7,000 to $48,000.                                                                                   
Commissioner Hanley  answered that funding was  based on the                                                                    
many  variables;  including  the   BSA,  size  factors,  and                                                                    
geographic differences. He  believed that the aforementioned                                                                    
study would have some insight.                                                                                                  
Representative  Wilson  expressed dissatisfaction  with  the                                                                    
response.  She reiterated  her  question  pertaining to  the                                                                    
anticipated cost per student, per year.                                                                                         
Commissioner Hanley replied  that he did not  have a number.                                                                    
He said  that the  court had found  that the  department was                                                                    
meeting  its  constitutional  responsibility  in  regard  to                                                                    
adequately funding schools.                                                                                                     
Representative  Wilson believed  that  the  issue was  about                                                                    
accountability.  She asserted  that there  were students  in                                                                    
districts in the  state that were not  receiving an adequate                                                                    
education.  She felt  that  further accountability  measures                                                                    
should be taken so that children  did not end up lost in the                                                                    
system. She  wondered what was  "so magical" about  the $1.2                                                                    
billion figure.                                                                                                                 
Ms. Pitney rebutted  that the amount of  money requested was                                                                    
the full BSA, established by  the legislature. She said that                                                                    
reports  from the  aforementioned  studies,  which would  be                                                                    
available  in summer  2015, would  spur further  discussion.                                                                    
She  stressed  that  the administration  was  supportive  in                                                                    
addressing  accountability  and  learning outcomes;  it  was                                                                    
important to  the state  that student's  learned as  much as                                                                    
2:04:48 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Pitney  relayed that  the administration  looked forward                                                                    
to conversations  about achieving the best  student outcomes                                                                    
in the state.                                                                                                                   
Representative Gattis  referred to many emails  she received                                                                    
about "fully funding" education.  She wondered what a "fully                                                                    
funded" education system meant.  She wondered if an increase                                                                    
to the BSA  would "fully fund" education. She  said that the                                                                    
legislature  had  increased   education  spending  over  the                                                                    
years, surpassing inflation. She felt  that at that rate the                                                                    
state  would only  be able  to fund  the one  administrative                                                                    
department   in  the   future.   She   contended  that   the                                                                    
legislature had not  cut the BSA, it just had  not added the                                                                    
funding agreed upon in HB 278.                                                                                                  
Ms.   Pitney   replied   that    the   request   level   the                                                                    
administration  had   put  forward  was  to   meet  the  BSA                                                                    
established in HB 278. She  lamented that the administration                                                                    
had eliminated  from their budget the  one-time funding that                                                                    
was  over and  above  the  BSA. She  furthered  that in  the                                                                    
opinion  of  educators,  even HB  278  had  not  established                                                                    
sufficient   funding  for   education.  She   asserted  that                                                                    
education would always benefit from additional funding.                                                                         
Representative Gattis  asked what  the BSA  would be  if the                                                                    
funds were added back into the budget.                                                                                          
Ms. Pitney replied that the BSA would be $5,580.                                                                                
Commissioner Hanley offered verification of the BSA number.                                                                     
Representative Gattis  stated that $5,880 was  where the BSA                                                                    
began   before  it   went  through   "all  these   different                                                                    
machinations"  resulting  in  a  per  student  payment  that                                                                    
ranged from  $7,000 to $50,000  per student. She  echoed her                                                                    
previous  concern with  the term  "fully  funded" and  what,                                                                    
exactly, that meant.                                                                                                            
2:10:19 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman  corrected   that  correspondence  students                                                                    
received less than $5,880 per year.                                                                                             
Representative  Pruitt  asked   where  the  information  the                                                                    
administration would base their budget  for FY 17 would come                                                                    
from, and  whether the administration would  perform further                                                                    
analysis on the funding formula.                                                                                                
Ms. Pitney  responded that the administration  expected that                                                                    
the current  fiscal climate would  allow for savings  in the                                                                    
first  year. She  said  that  administration would  continue                                                                    
discussions  with school  districts concerning  the need  to                                                                    
limit  spending. She  hoped that  discussions pertaining  to                                                                    
learning  outcomes would  be  fruitful  in determining  best                                                                    
practices. She  relayed that spending  constraints in  FY 17                                                                    
were  anticipated, but  that education  should be  funded at                                                                    
the highest possible level, and  reductions minimized to the                                                                    
greatest possible degree.                                                                                                       
2:14:33 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara asked whether  Alaska ranked last in the                                                                    
nation for third grade reading scores.                                                                                          
Commissioner  Hanley replied  that  the  exam that  compared                                                                    
that data  was given  to fourth  grade students;  Alaska was                                                                    
near  the bottom  in  the nation  for  fourth grade  reading                                                                    
Representative Gara  asked whether it was  an evidence-based                                                                    
practice  to teach  to individual  children  and keep  class                                                                    
sizes small.                                                                                                                    
Commissioner Hanley replied in the affirmative.                                                                                 
Representative  Gara   expressed  great  concern   with  the                                                                    
proposed $48 million education budget cut.                                                                                      
Representative  Wilson  argued  that money  had  been  added                                                                    
repeatedly  to the  education  budget.  She queried  whether                                                                    
test scores reflected funding levels.                                                                                           
Commissioner  Hanley replied  that  scores  had not  greatly                                                                    
improved, but the graduation rate continued to increase.                                                                        
Representative Wilson asked whether  the department had done                                                                    
studies on the correlation between  class size and impact on                                                                    
Commissioner Hanley replied that a  study had not been done.                                                                    
He furthered  that the differences  between urban  and rural                                                                    
class demographics  would make  a class  size study  for the                                                                    
entire state a difficult task.                                                                                                  
Co-Chair   Neuman   recognized   that,  given   the   unique                                                                    
geographic  and  cultural  make-up  of  the  state,  it  was                                                                    
impractical  to compare  Alaska's  education  system to  any                                                                    
other state in the nation.                                                                                                      
2:17:37 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman  spoke  to the  governor's  request  of  $1                                                                    
million in  unrestricted federal  receipts for  7 permanent,                                                                    
full-time,  front  line  social  workers in  the  Office  of                                                                    
Children's Services (OCS). He  stated that the funding could                                                                    
be  considered  partial  implementation  of  recommendations                                                                    
from  2012  work  load  study.  He said  that  in  2016  the                                                                    
Conference Committee  on the budget had  added $1,746,600 in                                                                    
unrestricted general  funds, which  had been  enough funding                                                                    
for  18  positions,  and  to  begin  implementation  of  the                                                                    
study's  recommendations.  He  added   that  in  FY  15  the                                                                    
legislature had  enough funding for 15  full-time positions.                                                                    
He relayed further funding history of the line item.                                                                            
Vice-Chair Saddler queried  the department's proposed source                                                                    
for funding the $1 million for front line social workers.                                                                       
Ms. Pitney  answered that the increment  was federal funding                                                                    
that had  come as part  of another program, the  delivery of                                                                    
which had provided additional federal funds.                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Saddler asked which  program the funds would come                                                                    
Ms. Pitney  replied that the  funding was  Children's Health                                                                    
Insurance Program (CHIP) funding.                                                                                               
Co-Chair Neuman  asked about the plan  for long-time funding                                                                    
of the positions.                                                                                                               
2:21:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SANA  EFIRD, ASSISTANT  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT OF  HEALTH                                                                    
AND SOCIAL  SERVICES (via teleconference), replied  that the                                                                    
money was  CHIP performance bonus money  that the department                                                                    
earned by meeting  certain criteria. She said  that the one-                                                                    
time  funding   could  be  used  unrestricted   for  various                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Saddler asked  how much  of the  CHIP money  was                                                                    
available and how long would those funds last.                                                                                  
Ms.  Efird shared  that  the balance  was  slightly over  $4                                                                    
million. She stated that the  department had been working to                                                                    
find ways to  maximize other federal funding.  It had looked                                                                    
at ways  to free up  general funds in  FY 16, to  fund child                                                                    
advocacy centers,  and to offset funding  for additional OCS                                                                    
positions. She  explained that the  he proposal was  a stop-                                                                    
gap  to gain  the additional  positions needed  to meet  the                                                                    
needs of the division.                                                                                                          
Vice-Chair  Saddler asked  about the  specific funding  plan                                                                    
for the future.                                                                                                                 
Ms.   Efird  answered   that  at   the  discretion   of  the                                                                    
commissioner  the money  could be  used again  for the  same                                                                    
purpose.  She related  that the  department was  continually                                                                    
looking  for ways  to  free up  general  funds and  maximize                                                                    
federal funds and programs.                                                                                                     
Ms. Pitney relayed that OCS  had demonstrated need. She said                                                                    
that  the  administration would  look  to  find funds  going                                                                    
forward from  the general  fund or  other fund  sources. She                                                                    
admitted that  the funding was  one-time, but that  goal was                                                                    
the safety of children in the system.                                                                                           
Vice-Chair  Saddler  understood  that future  general  funds                                                                    
would be sought to backfill the program.                                                                                        
Ms. Pitney replied in the affirmative.                                                                                          
Co-Chair  Neuman lamented  that  finding consistent  funding                                                                    
for social programs was a problem for the committee.                                                                            
2:27:37 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gattis  wondered how  much it cost  the state                                                                    
to find people that fit the criteria for the program.                                                                           
Ms. Pitney  deferred the  question to  Ms. Efird.  She noted                                                                    
that  there  had been  general  funds  freed up  during  the                                                                    
course  of the  legislative process  because a  way to  have                                                                    
federal funds  cover a  larger share  of a  specific program                                                                    
had  been  discovered.  She  said that  at  that  time,  the                                                                    
request  was to  use  the saved  general  funds towards  the                                                                    
program; however,  in the  conference committee  budget, the                                                                    
Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services  general  fund                                                                    
reduction had been $92 million.                                                                                                 
JON SHERWOOD, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER,  MEDICAID AND HEALTH CARE                                                                    
POLICY,  DEPARTMENT  OF  HEALTH  AND  SOCIAL  SERVICES  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  relayed that  the  CHIP performance  bonus                                                                    
awards   were  based   on  states   experiencing  enrollment                                                                    
increases in  their Medicaid program that  had taken certain                                                                    
steps  to streamline  Medicaid  eligibility.  He noted  that                                                                    
Alaska's CHIP  program was a Medicaid  expansion program. He                                                                    
relayed that the program  had experienced enrollment growth,                                                                    
but that the  department had not spent  any additional money                                                                    
to  support enrollment  activities and  qualify for  federal                                                                    
2:31:34 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman  recognized  Representative Claman  in  the                                                                    
Representative Gattis described  the categorized the federal                                                                    
funding for the foster programs as federal overreach.                                                                           
Representative  Gara  asked  whether the  number  of  foster                                                                    
youth  had risen  from 1,700  to 2,500  in the  past several                                                                    
Ms. Efird replied in the affirmative.                                                                                           
Representative Gara noted that  as caseloads rose, it became                                                                    
more difficult to find permanent homes for the children.                                                                        
Ms. Efird replied in the affirmative.                                                                                           
Representative  Gara understood  that  Anchorage and  Mat-Su                                                                    
had caseloads that were 70  percent higher than the national                                                                    
caseload recommendation.                                                                                                        
CHRISTY  LAWTON, DIRECTOR,  OFFICE  OF CHILDREN'S  SERVICES,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT    OF   HEALTH    AND   SOCIAL    SERVICES   (via                                                                    
teleconference), could  not speak to a  specific figure, but                                                                    
purported  that the  number was  higher than  it should  be,                                                                    
nearing twice the national average.                                                                                             
Representative Gara  relayed that OCS had  qualified for the                                                                    
replacement of $2.9 million in  general funds with Temporary                                                                    
Cash  Assistance  for  Needy Families  (TANF)  bonus  money,                                                                    
freeing up the $2.9 million of general funds.                                                                                   
Ms.   Efird  explained   that   through  performance   based                                                                    
budgeting  and  accountability  efforts the  department  was                                                                    
currently looking across divisions  to find ways to maximize                                                                    
various  funding   sources.  She  relayed  that   through  a                                                                    
collaboration  between  OCS,  and  the  Division  of  Public                                                                    
Assistance,  it  had  been   determined  that  current  TANF                                                                    
funding could be  used to support the  Child Advocacy Center                                                                    
funding,  currently general  funds of  $2.9 million,  in the                                                                    
OCS budget.                                                                                                                     
Representative  Gara asked  whether the  department proposed                                                                    
earlier in 2015 to use the  $2.9 million in freed up general                                                                    
funds to address that shortage of case workers at OCS.                                                                          
Ms. Efird replied  that the replacement of  the $2.9 million                                                                    
happened  after  the  governor's proposed  budget  had  been                                                                    
before the  legislature. She  shared conversations  with OCS                                                                    
had  resulted in  the  idea  of freeing  up  the funds.  She                                                                    
relayed  that the  entire House  Finance  Committee had  not                                                                    
been directly contacted concerning the issue.                                                                                   
2:36:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Neuman noted that the  committee had decided to use                                                                    
the funds to reduce the overall budget.                                                                                         
Representative Gara  asked whether the $2.9  million of TANF                                                                    
money  would remain  available to  fund  the Child  Advocacy                                                                    
Ms. Efird replied in the affirmative.                                                                                           
Representative Gara asked whether  the number of children in                                                                    
unstable  homes would  increase  if OCS  caseloads were  not                                                                    
Ms. Lawton  answered in the  affirmative. She said  that the                                                                    
state would  experience an  increase in  repeat maltreatment                                                                    
and  the rate  of children  entering into  foster care.  She                                                                    
stressed  that  increased  numbers would  likely  contribute                                                                    
failing a  federal audit, and  that children would die  as a                                                                    
result of unmet needs.                                                                                                          
Representative   Gara  understood   that  underfunding   and                                                                    
increasing case numbers would lead to casualties.                                                                               
Ms.  Lawton  replied that  children  died  regularly in  the                                                                    
state as  a result of  child abuse and neglect;  more cases,                                                                    
with insufficient  resources, would contribute to  a rise in                                                                    
child fatalities.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair  Neuman believed  that it  was the  job of  the OMB                                                                    
director  to  look  at  the  overall  state  budget  and  to                                                                    
determine what funds went to  the different departments, and                                                                    
then  it was  the department's  commissioners decided  where                                                                    
the  money  was spent.  He  said  that the  legislature  was                                                                    
tasked  with working  from the  governor's proposed  funding                                                                    
Ms. Pitney  responded that he  was correct. She  shared that                                                                    
the   budget  had   been   due  15   days   after  the   new                                                                    
administration  had started,  and that  the best  budget had                                                                    
been  put forward  as was  possible in  that timeframe.  She                                                                    
relayed that  DHSS was looking  at ways to maximize  the use                                                                    
of  other   funds  and  that  this   opportunity  that  came                                                                    
available prior to the governor's  amendments. She said that                                                                    
the  $2.9 million  in savings,  plus $89  million additional                                                                    
dollars, had been reduced from  the DHSS budget in one year.                                                                    
She  stressed  that  there  was  $92  million  less  in  the                                                                    
conference committee budget for DHSS  than there had been in                                                                    
the FY15 management plan, a 7.4 percent decrease.                                                                               
Co-Chair Neuman  countered that all  of those funds  had not                                                                    
been reduced by the legislature.                                                                                                
Ms. Pitney  acquiesced that the governor's  initial proposal                                                                    
had  included  a  $50  million   reduction.  She  felt  that                                                                    
reducing the  DHSS programs by  $100 million  would increase                                                                    
the   workload   for   the  department's   already   limited                                                                    
workforce.  She lamented  that the  hope had  been that  the                                                                    
legislature  would support  the use  of the  funds; however,                                                                    
that had not been the case  so the department was asking the                                                                    
legislature to reconsider the previous decision.                                                                                
2:42:51 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman remarked  that the  legislature had  a hard                                                                    
job. He said  that the administration needed  to decide what                                                                    
merited  funding and  then the  legislature  needed to  work                                                                    
through the  budget and set  appropriate funding  levels. He                                                                    
said that  the bonus  $2.9 million had  been intended  to be                                                                    
used for advocacy  centers, the department was  not going to                                                                    
use those  funds specifically for  advocacy centers,  so the                                                                    
House Finance  Committee decided that those  funds should be                                                                    
used across the overall state budget.                                                                                           
Representative Wilson  asked how  many vacancies  there were                                                                    
currently at OCS.                                                                                                               
Ms.  Lawton  replied  that OCS  typically  carried  a  20-25                                                                    
percent vacancy level for front-line staff.                                                                                     
Representative  Wilson  asked  how  long  it  took  to  fill                                                                    
vacancies at OCS.                                                                                                               
Ms. Lawton  answered that  it took  an average  of 45  to 60                                                                    
days in larger  urban area offices; in rural  areas it could                                                                    
take up to 12 months.                                                                                                           
Representative Wilson  wondered whether  the funds  could be                                                                    
used for anything other than frontline social workers.                                                                          
Ms. Lawton deferred the question to Ms. Efird.                                                                                  
Representative Wilson  surmised that the vacancies  could be                                                                    
difficult to fill.                                                                                                              
2:46:19 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Lawton  answered that in  most cases in urban  areas the                                                                    
positions  were not  difficult  to fill.    She stated  that                                                                    
smaller, remote  areas were more challenging.  She furthered                                                                    
that turnover was  equally great in both areas.  She did not                                                                    
harbor concerns that the bulk  of the positions would not be                                                                    
filled.  She reiterated  that filling  positions would  take                                                                    
longer in rural areas.                                                                                                          
Representative Wilson  understood that OCS had  been working                                                                    
with  tribal  organizations,  be  believed  that  ultimately                                                                    
collaboration  between  the two  groups  was  how the  state                                                                    
would move forward in protecting Alaska's children.                                                                             
Co-Chair  Neuman  spoke  to  the  difficulty  of  front-line                                                                    
social worker jobs.                                                                                                             
Vice-Chair Saddler  asked whether the state  was a signatory                                                                    
to any state  contract binding the state  to the recommended                                                                    
standards set out for OCS caseworkers and foster children.                                                                      
Ms. Lawton answered no.                                                                                                         
Vice-Chair  Saddler asked  whether the  state had  any legal                                                                    
obligation to foster children that  bound the legislature to                                                                    
the standard.                                                                                                                   
Ms. Lawton  replied that the  state had no  legal obligation                                                                    
to follow the recommendations.                                                                                                  
Vice-Chair Saddler observed that  the state had many demands                                                                    
and needs, but limited finances.                                                                                                
2:49:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Munoz   asked  how  many   frontline  social                                                                    
workers were currently employed by the department.                                                                              
Ms. Lawton replied 288.                                                                                                         
Representative Munoz  understood that 25 percent  of the 288                                                                    
positions  were vacant,  but  had been  planned  for in  the                                                                    
Ms. Lawton replied yes.                                                                                                         
Representative Munoz  asked why the department  was not more                                                                    
aggressively trying to fill the positions.                                                                                      
Ms.  Lawton rebutted  that the  department was  aggressively                                                                    
working to  fill the positions  and that some  budgeting had                                                                    
been based on anticipated vacancies.                                                                                            
Representative Munoz  asked whether the turnover  rate would                                                                    
improve  if   the  positions   were  filled,   reducing  the                                                                    
Ms. Lawton answered in the affirmative.                                                                                         
Co-Chair  Neuman asked  how  many  qualified applicants  the                                                                    
department currently had on file.                                                                                               
Ms. Lawton  replied that she  could not speak to  the number                                                                    
of pending applicants for current  vacancies. She offered to                                                                    
provide the information to the committee at a later date.                                                                       
Co-Chair Neuman  queried the level of  difficulty in finding                                                                    
applicants for the positions.                                                                                                   
Ms. Lawton  reiterated that in  the most rural areas  it was                                                                    
difficult to fill positions.                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman assumed  that  the hard  to fill  positions                                                                    
were accountable for the 25 percent vacancy rate.                                                                               
Ms. Lawton  agreed that those  positions contributed  to the                                                                    
vacancy rate.                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Neuman  reiterated that the positions  were hard to                                                                    
fill because the job was difficult.                                                                                             
2:52:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Kawasaki spoke to  the minimum vacancy factor                                                                    
listed in  by OMB  of no  less than  4 percent  for fulltime                                                                    
positions of 51 or more, and no higher than 7 percent.                                                                          
Ms.  Pitney replied  in the  affirmative,  from a  budgeting                                                                    
perspective. She  deferred the  question for  further detail                                                                    
to the department.                                                                                                              
Ms. Efird clarified that in  order to meet personal services                                                                    
cost there was a vacancy  rate considered. She said that the                                                                    
25 percent  vacancy that  Ms. Lawton spoke  of did  not have                                                                    
full  funding  for  every  position.  She  said  that  merit                                                                    
increases  needed   to  be  taken  into   consideration  for                                                                    
personal services budgeting.                                                                                                    
Representative  Kawasaki understood  that smaller  caseloads                                                                    
would equate to reduced turnover in the agency.                                                                                 
Ms. Lawton agreed.                                                                                                              
Representative Gara  asserted that turnover and  the vacancy                                                                    
rates  were  affected by  the  excessive  caseloads; if  the                                                                    
number  of  caseloads was  brought  down,  the vacancy  rate                                                                    
would decrease.                                                                                                                 
Ms. Lawton agreed.                                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Neuman  lamented  that there  were  not  unlimited                                                                    
funds to go around.                                                                                                             
2:56:41 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman shared  that  there was  a  request by  the                                                                    
Alaska State Troopers,  Alaska Wildlife Troopers maintenance                                                                    
contracts  for  Alaska  Wildlife  Trooper  helicopters.  The                                                                    
request was  to fund third-party maintenance  contracts with                                                                    
the  agency's two  primary  search  and rescue  helicopters,                                                                    
included in the governor's FY  16 endorsed budget as part of                                                                    
a  larger  $2.4 million  increment  to  expand the  agency's                                                                    
aircraft section  in accordance with  audit recommendations.                                                                    
The original $2.4  million increment had been  denied by the                                                                    
legislature during  the regular session. He  understood that                                                                    
the  department  was  requesting  $500,000  in  undesignated                                                                    
general funds.                                                                                                                  
GARY  FOLGER,  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT OF  PUBLIC  SAFETY,                                                                    
indicated that Co-Chair Neuman was correct.                                                                                     
Co-Chair Neuman acknowledged  that Representative Johnson in                                                                    
the gallery.                                                                                                                    
2:57:08 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kawasaki asked  how  many additional  people                                                                    
had been suggested by the original audit.                                                                                       
Commissioner Folger  responded that  the original  audit had                                                                    
recommended 12 or 14 full-time positions.                                                                                       
Representative  Kawasaki  asked  what the  department  could                                                                    
expect to get with the additional $500,000.                                                                                     
Commissioner  Folger  replied  that  the  department  needed                                                                    
people  with the  skills necessary  to  maintain the  latest                                                                    
generation or aircraft.                                                                                                         
2:58:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Kawasaki spoke  to relocation of helicopters,                                                                    
which had  left a vacancy.  He wanted to know  whether there                                                                    
were other resources available for safety implementation.                                                                       
Commissioner Folger stated that  there were private entities                                                                    
and medivac  flights available. He  related that  there were                                                                    
missions, such  as active shooter  calls, which  were unique                                                                    
to public safety.                                                                                                               
2:59:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Pruitt asked  how  many  aircraft the  state                                                                    
currently owned.                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Folger  replied  that the  department  had  44                                                                    
aircraft,  the bulk  of which  were Super  Cubs; the  larger                                                                    
assets included two  King Airs, two A  Star Helicopters, and                                                                    
3 R-44 Helicopters.                                                                                                             
Representative Pruitt wondered whether  the $500,000 was for                                                                    
a specific  type of  aircraft, and  were all  other aircraft                                                                    
covered by already allocated funds.                                                                                             
Commissioner Folger  stated that the additional  funds would                                                                    
be used for  the maintenance contract, plus parts,  of the A                                                                    
Star Helicopters.                                                                                                               
Representative  Pruitt surmised  that the  legislature could                                                                    
expect the number to be embedded in the budget.                                                                                 
Commissioner Folger replied in the affirmative.                                                                                 
Representative Pruitt  asked what would happen  if the money                                                                    
was not allocated.                                                                                                              
Commissioner  Folger replied  that without  the funds  there                                                                    
would be a reduction of public safety services.                                                                                 
Representative  Pruitt asserted  that the  state had  worked                                                                    
with  one A  Star  Helicopter for  many  years. He  wondered                                                                    
whether the  second aircraft was necessary  given the fiscal                                                                    
climate and the cuts made to other departments.                                                                                 
Commissioner  Folger  believed  that  the  helicopters  were                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman asked  whether the  department charged  for                                                                    
search and rescue services.                                                                                                     
Commissioner Folger replied in the negative.                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman asked  whether the  department could  start                                                                    
charging for search and rescue services.                                                                                        
Commissioner  Folger answered  in the  affirmative. He  said                                                                    
that  other   states  had  fees  associated   with  resource                                                                    
Co-Chair Neuman asked for additional  information on how the                                                                    
department  could   charge  fees   for  search   and  rescue                                                                    
Vice-Chair Saddler  asked how the  department had  gotten by                                                                    
with one A Star Helicopters in the past.                                                                                        
Commissioner  Folger  answered  that the  original  aircraft                                                                    
were  military surplus.   He  said that  the department  had                                                                    
done the best it could with limited resources.                                                                                  
Vice-Chair  Saddler  understood   that  the  department  had                                                                    
gotten by with one helicopter in the past.                                                                                      
Commissioner Folger answered yes.                                                                                               
Representative  Gattis thought  that  the  state could  save                                                                    
money  by  farming  maintenance  jobs  out  to  the  private                                                                    
sector.  She  said  that   her  constituents  believed  that                                                                    
private companies  should be  doing much  of the  search and                                                                    
rescue work  and that  they "bitched  and moaned"  about the                                                                    
number of aircraft owned by the state.                                                                                          
BERNARD   CHASTAIN,  CAPTAIN,   ALASKA  WILDLIFE   TROOPERS,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC  SAFETY (via teleconference), responded                                                                    
that the  state was  already soliciting  third-party vendors                                                                    
for  work on  some of  the aircraft.  He relayed  that there                                                                    
were  no mechanics  in  Fairbanks to  work  on the  aircraft                                                                    
located there.  He explained that  the cost of  the mechanic                                                                    
for  Fairbanks and  Anchorage,  and  the third-party  vendor                                                                    
maintenance  for  both  the   Anchorage  and  the  Fairbanks                                                                    
helicopters would cost the requested $500,000.                                                                                  
3:07:45 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gattis  asked whether the aircraft  were sent                                                                    
to mechanics with specific knowledge of each aircraft.                                                                          
Mr.  Chastain elucidated  that  legislative  audits and  the                                                                    
NTSB  investigation  prior  to  the Helo-1  crash  in  2013,                                                                    
recommended that the staffing  level had been inadequate for                                                                    
the    number   of    aircraft,    and   the    department's                                                                    
responsibilities  to the  state. He  reminded the  committee                                                                    
that  the department  had  reorganized as  a  result of  the                                                                    
investigation and audit work, and  had brought a proposal to                                                                    
the  legislature for  the  reorganization;  the request  had                                                                    
been denied. He stated that in  order to comply with some of                                                                    
the  recommendations,  mechanic  work  for the  two  A  Star                                                                    
Helicopters had  been sent out  to a third-party  vendor. He                                                                    
added  that most  of the  maintenance  for the  department's                                                                    
existing aircraft  was contracted out throughout  the state.                                                                    
He relayed  that the department continually  chartered their                                                                    
aircraft throughout the state  from third-party vendors, for                                                                    
a variety of reasons.                                                                                                           
Representative  Gattis asked  whether  the helicopters  were                                                                    
stored  in Fairbanks,  rather than  Anchorage, because  that                                                                    
was where the mechanic was located.                                                                                             
Mr.  Chastain  clarified  that   the  two  helicopters  were                                                                    
located in  Anchorage and  Fairbanks, the  maintenance could                                                                    
occur anywhere in the state.                                                                                                    
Representative  Wilson  solicited  the  opinion  of  Senator                                                                    
Donald Olson.                                                                                                                   
Senator  Olson echoed  the words  of Mr.  Chastain from  the                                                                    
Representative Wilson  wondered whether all of  the aircraft                                                                    
for  the  department  could   be  privately  chartered.  She                                                                    
wondered  whether  a  study  had been  done  on  using  only                                                                    
private vendors.                                                                                                                
Mr.  Chastain replied  that the  department had  looked into                                                                    
chartering flights.  He said that  it had been  difficult to                                                                    
find  a charter  could accommodate  the sometimes  dangerous                                                                    
circumstances  in  certain  law enforcement  situations.  He                                                                    
stated that often charters were  busy with already scheduled                                                                    
full revenue trips, which made  them unavailable. He related                                                                    
that the department had considered  hiring a charter company                                                                    
to  have an  aircraft on  standby, but  the expense  was too                                                                    
Representative  Wilson  requested   numbers  comparing  life                                                                    
threatening emergency calls and  lesser emergency calls. She                                                                    
felt  that  Alaskan's  had  become  irresponsible  executing                                                                    
outdoor activities, expecting to be rescued for free.                                                                           
Co-Chair Neuman believed that  the subject warranted further                                                                    
discussion during budget subcommittee meetings for FY 17.                                                                       
Co-Chair  Neuman  continued  to   the  Council  on  Domestic                                                                    
Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA)  request of $1.5 million                                                                    
of incremental,  one-time funding. He said  that the funding                                                                    
had  been  previously  included  in  the  governor's  FY  16                                                                    
endorsed budget as a transfer  to the council's base budget,                                                                    
primarily  for  prevention  programs. He  relayed  that  the                                                                    
funding had  been converted to  a one-time increment  in the                                                                    
House, and had died in conference committee.                                                                                    
3:14:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Pitney   deferred  questions  to  Lauree   Morton.  She                                                                    
stressed the  area was one  of real  need in the  state. She                                                                    
explained that  in FY 15,  the funding amount for  CDVSA had                                                                    
been $3  million; the administration had  originally reduced                                                                    
that to $1.5  million, and sought to more  tightly align the                                                                    
council  and  prevention  activates.  She  shared  that  the                                                                    
administration  had  focused   on  prevention  programs  and                                                                    
awareness as state  DVSA statistics were "off  the charts on                                                                    
the  wrong  side".  She  asserted  that  the  administration                                                                    
wanted to keep the program a high priority.                                                                                     
Co-Chair  Neuman asked  what the  state had  done to  reduce                                                                    
incarceration rates. He asked  pointedly what the commission                                                                    
had done to make recommendations  to the legislature, and to                                                                    
assist the  Department of Law,  and to craft  legislation to                                                                    
improved  incarceration rates.  He  recited some  statistics                                                                    
concerning sexual assault and domestic violence.                                                                                
3:19:12 PM                                                                                                                    
LAUREE  MORTON,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  COUNCIL  ON  DOMESTIC                                                                    
VIOLENCE AND  SEXUAL ASSAULT,  DEPARTMENT OF  PUBLIC SAFETY,                                                                    
agreed that  the numbers were  too high. She  explained that                                                                    
the primary responsibility  of the council had  been to fund                                                                    
shelters  and rape  crisis centers  that acted  as emergency                                                                    
rooms, taking in victims of  sexual assault and battery. She                                                                    
believed  that  legislature   and  administration  had  been                                                                    
consistently   dedicated  assuring   that   help  would   be                                                                    
available when  necessary. She relayed  that the  make-up of                                                                    
the council included representatives  from the Department of                                                                    
Law (LAW), Department of Public  Safety (DPS), Department of                                                                    
Corrections  (DOC), Department  of  Education (DEED),  DHSS,                                                                    
and 4 public members. She stated  that the board met 4 times                                                                    
per year  to review the  actions the state should  be taking                                                                    
to work to  reduce DVSA crimes. She related  that the recent                                                                    
focus  of the  board  had been  on  primary prevention.  She                                                                    
relayed that  the legislature had  allocated money  in 2009,                                                                    
specifically  for  primary  prevention  statewide;  Governor                                                                    
Parnell's  Choose  Respect  Initiative began  in  2010,  and                                                                    
devoted  more  monetary   resources  to  primary  prevention                                                                    
efforts.  She  avouched  that  due  to  the  council's  work                                                                    
awareness  and  conversation   surrounding  the  issues  had                                                                    
increased  in communities,  and sub-communities,  throughout                                                                    
the state.  She believed  that LAW and  DOC should  speak to                                                                    
incarceration  rates. She  believed  that, statutorily,  the                                                                    
council  had  consistently  looked  to  ways  to  strengthen                                                                    
resources for victims  to aid them in  escaping DVSA crimes.                                                                    
She noted that the  council had recommended legislation that                                                                    
protected  victims from  being  charged  for sexual  assault                                                                    
forensic  exams,  as  well as  legislation  to  assure  that                                                                    
insurance companies  did not try  to categorize  the results                                                                    
of abuse  as a  pre-existing condition.  She added  that the                                                                    
council  had  brought  forward  recommendations  for  victim                                                                    
housing; there  was currently a  priority in  Alaska Housing                                                                    
Finance  Corporation  (AHFC)  to  assist  victims  who  have                                                                    
escaped their  abuser. She stated that  the council strongly                                                                    
believed that  devoting money to primary  prevention efforts                                                                    
was the state's  best hope in curbing  domestic violence and                                                                    
sexual  assault. She  contended  that the  council had  been                                                                    
recognized  nationally   as  being   on  the   forefront  in                                                                    
prevention   efforts  for   domestic  violence   and  sexual                                                                    
assault.    She   said    that   several    evidence   based                                                                    
social/emotional learning  programs were being  pilot tested                                                                    
in  the state,  and that  the $1.5  million would  allow the                                                                    
council to  implement the vetted programs  across the state.                                                                    
She  related  that 81  percent  of  the council's  remaining                                                                    
funding went  to shelters and  rape crisis  centers, federal                                                                    
dollars were used for first  responder training and provided                                                                    
legal advocacy  for victim services and,  statutorily, could                                                                    
not be  used for prevention  efforts. She stressed  that the                                                                    
$1.5  million would  further the  efforts  to stop  domestic                                                                    
violence and sexual assault.                                                                                                    
3:26:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman  countered  that  regardless  of  what  the                                                                    
council had accomplished, the state  still led the nation in                                                                    
levels of domestic violence and  sexual assault. He demanded                                                                    
further information  on past funding levels  for the program                                                                    
and  turn  around  on  investment.   He  queried  the  total                                                                    
operating  expenses  of  the council.  He  assumed  that  20                                                                    
percent of the $18 million  that the department received was                                                                    
used to fund administrative costs.                                                                                              
Ms. Morton answered that the  council had approximately $3.7                                                                    
million in  federal money  that was  used for  programs; for                                                                    
example,  first  responder  training.   She  said  that  the                                                                    
anticipated   budget  for   the   council  in   FY  15   was                                                                    
$18,243,000. She  admitted that she  would need to  get back                                                                    
to the committee with the actual numbers.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Neuman commented that the  chair of the council did                                                                    
not know what the council's  expenditures were. He felt that                                                                    
the funding that  the council received should  be taken away                                                                    
and spent in another area of the department.                                                                                    
Vice-Chair   Saddler   asked   whether   the   council   had                                                                    
recommendations  for  specific  legislation to  improve  the                                                                    
DVSA statistics  in the  state. He  wondered how  much money                                                                    
the council spent on prevention efforts.                                                                                        
Ms. Morton answered  that the funds that the  council had to                                                                    
spend on  prevention had been  allocated through  the Choose                                                                    
Respect Initiative;  $157,000 were  received in  2009, which                                                                    
went into  the base.  She furthered  that the  federal funds                                                                    
available for  prevention were  through the  Family Violence                                                                    
Prevention and Services  Act; 75 percent of  those funds had                                                                    
to go  to residential services,  and 25 percent could  go to                                                                    
prevention activities.                                                                                                          
Vice-Chair  Saddler probed  the  monetary amount  associated                                                                    
with the percentages.                                                                                                           
Ms. Morton replied approximately $650,000 per year.                                                                             
Co-Chair Neuman  asked Ms. Morton  to provide  the council's                                                                    
budget to the committee.                                                                                                        
Ms. Morton agreed to supply the information.                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Saddler  asked whether  the council  received any                                                                    
money through the Violence Against Women Act.                                                                                   
Ms. Morton answered yes; the  council received funds through                                                                    
the  Services  Training  Officers  and  Prosecutors  (STOP),                                                                    
which  was  a  formula  grant awarded  to  each  state.  She                                                                    
explained that the funding had  the base amount of $600,000,                                                                    
with   a  population   formula   distribution  if   Congress                                                                    
allocated  money above  the base.  She  relayed that  Alaska                                                                    
varied between  $750,000 and $825,000.  She shared  that the                                                                    
funds  were federally  regulated in  their distribution,  30                                                                    
percent was designated to  strengthening victim services, 25                                                                    
percent to  law enforcement, 25 percent  to prosecution, and                                                                    
5 percent to judiciary funding.                                                                                                 
Co-Chair  Neuman interjected,  reiterating  his request  for                                                                    
the council's  budget. Again, Ms.  Morton agreed  to provide                                                                    
the information at a later date.                                                                                                
Representative  Gara   asked  about  the  number   of  rural                                                                    
communities in the state that had no law enforcement.                                                                           
Commissioner Folger replied approximately 50 percent.                                                                           
Representative Gara asked whether  one of the most effective                                                                    
things to prevent  sexual assault would be to  have at least                                                                    
one law enforcement officer per community.                                                                                      
Commissioner  Folger replied  that  studies  had shown  that                                                                    
communities felt safer when there  was a representative from                                                                    
law enforcement in their vicinity.                                                                                              
Representative  Gara asked  for  the exact  number of  rural                                                                    
communities without a law enforcement presence.                                                                                 
Commissioner Folger agreed to provide the information.                                                                          
3:34:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wilson  thought  that services  for  victims                                                                    
were nice, but wondered about incarceration levels.                                                                             
Commissioner  Folger  replied  that additional  funding  was                                                                    
needed in order to  prosecute perpetrators. He lamented that                                                                    
prevention was hard to measure.                                                                                                 
Representative Wilson  questioned whether  more perpetrators                                                                    
were being caught as a result of current laws.                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Neuman opined  that  the issue  was difficult  and                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman discussed  the schedule  for the  following                                                                    
3:38:00 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 3:37 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 1001 House_Fin Response to Questions 5 6 15 docx.pdf HFIN 5/7/2015 1:30:00 PM