Legislature(2017 - 2018)ADAMS ROOM 519

03/03/2018 09:00 AM House FINANCE

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09:01:37 AM Start
09:02:45 AM HB285 || HB286
09:03:57 AM Public Testimony - off Net Sites
10:15:00 AM Public Testimony - Anchorage Lio
12:01:21 PM Public Testimony: off Net Sites
12:31:01 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
9:00 - 10:00 AM Off Net sites
10:15 - 11:45 AM Anchorage
12:00 - 1:00 PM Off Net sites
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+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       March 3, 2018                                                                                            
                         9:01 a.m.                                                                                              
9:01:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Seaton  called the House Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 9:01 a.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Les Gara, Vice-Chair (via teleconference)                                                                        
Representative Jason Grenn (via teleconference)                                                                                 
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Lance Pruitt (via teleconference)                                                                                
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Cathy Tilton                                                                                                     
Representative Tammie Wilson (via teleconference)                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Rebecca Bernard, Great  Alaska Schools Anchorage, Anchorage;                                                                    
Phil Shanahan, Self, Anchorage;  Brenda Moore, Chair, Alaska                                                                    
Mental   Health   Board,   Anchorage;  Merri   Otto,   Self,                                                                    
Minnesota; Jeffrey  Robinson, President,  Alaska Association                                                                    
of  Criminal  Defense  Lawyers,  Anchorage;  Bryan  Emerson,                                                                    
Civil Air Patrol, Matsu; Carl  Brown, Wing Commander, Alaska                                                                    
Civil  Air  Patrol,  Washington DC;  Kyle  Anderson,  Alaska                                                                    
Civil  Air Patrol,  Washington DC;  Jeff Defreest,  AK Civil                                                                    
Air  Patrol,  Ketchikan;  Francesca  Allegrezza,  Family  in                                                                    
Anchorage, Anchorage;  Claire Porter,  AK Civil  Air Patrol,                                                                    
Ketchikan;   Garrett   Anderson,   AK  Civil   Air   Patrol,                                                                    
Washington  DC; Abby  Hensley,  Best Beginnings,  Anchorage;                                                                    
Michael Jeffery,  Self, Barrow;  Tara Rich, ACLU  of Alaska,                                                                    
Anchorage;  Robert Bundy,  Self,  Anchorage; Marjorie  Mock,                                                                    
Self, Anchorage;  Skylar Quin, Self, Anchorage;  Doug White,                                                                    
Access Alaska, Anchorage;  Larry Ostrovsky, Self, Anchorage;                                                                    
Cheryl  Gorman,  Self,   Anchorage;  Charles  Gorman,  Self,                                                                    
Anchorage;  Cathy  Taylor,  Self,  Anchorage;  Meg  Samoran,                                                                    
Self, Anchorage;  Panu Lucier,  Thread and the  Alaska Early                                                                    
Childhood  Advocacy Group,  Anchorage;  Eric Sanders,  Self,                                                                    
Anchorage; Stephanie  Berglund, CEO, Thread,  Anchorage; Joe                                                                    
Schlanger, Self, Wasilla; Cynthia Strout, Self, Anchorage;                                                                      
HB 285    APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                          
          HB 285 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
HB 286    APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                  
          HB 286 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 285                                                                                                            
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive mental health  program; and providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
HOUSE BILL NO. 286                                                                                                            
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;    capitalizing   funds;   amending                                                                    
     appropriations;  making   supplemental  appropriations;                                                                    
     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."                                                                                                        
9:02:45 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Seaton reviewed  the  agenda for  the meeting  and                                                                    
provided directions on how to call in to testify.                                                                               
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY - OFF NET SITES                                                                                             
9:03:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA BERNARD,  GREAT ALASKA SCHOOLS  ANCHORAGE, ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via  teleconference), encouraged  the committee  to include                                                                    
additional funds for education  in the budget. She explained                                                                    
that at her  children's school the leading  teacher would be                                                                    
cut from full-time  to half -time in the  following year. It                                                                    
would be difficult  for her to serve all of  the students in                                                                    
grades  K-8  on a  half-time  basis.  She advocated  keeping                                                                    
Alaska's schools strong. She thanked the committee.                                                                             
Co-Chair Seaton indicated there  were no callers online. The                                                                    
committee would break until 9:20 a.m.                                                                                           
9:07:24 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:20:57 AM                                                                                                                    
PHIL  SHANAHAN, SELF,  ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference),  was                                                                    
concerned with  the funding for the  Public Defender Agency.                                                                    
As an  attorney he  saw how  agency workers  were overworked                                                                    
and how  the number  of cases  exceeded the  capabilities of                                                                    
the  office. He  argued  that the  Public Defender's  Office                                                                    
needed  an  increase. There  were  increases  to the  police                                                                    
force and  the Prosecutor's Office. He  provided examples of                                                                    
how the  system was being  affected. He thought  that Alaska                                                                    
did a  great job in  its justice  system, which had  a great                                                                    
reputation.  As the  volume of  cases increased,  the Public                                                                    
Defender staff needed  to increase as well. He  did not want                                                                    
to see the state fall back.                                                                                                     
9:26:11 AM                                                                                                                    
BRENDA MOORE,  CHAIR, ALASKA MENTAL HEALTH  BOARD, ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via teleconference),  spoke about  funds for  the hospital-                                                                    
based  treatment. The  funds would  alleviate the  burden of                                                                    
the Alaska Psychiatric Institute  (API) which often operated                                                                    
at  full  capacity.  She  talked  about  the  challenges  of                                                                    
patients  having  to wait  for  days  in hospital  emergency                                                                    
rooms.  She mentioned  attending  the  certificate of  needs                                                                    
hearings  for   Anchorage.  The  Alaska   Regional  Hospital                                                                    
requested to  be able  to have a  psychiatric unit.  She had                                                                    
heard  testimony   from  emergency  room  staff   about  the                                                                    
frustrations that  accompanied with caring for  people in an                                                                    
emergency  psychiatric  crisis  without  any  mental  health                                                                    
professionals   available.  As   a  result,   patients  were                                                                    
chemically restrained.  The board  was also  concerned about                                                                    
substance  use disorder  treatments  and community  support.                                                                    
The  board  recommended  that   the  committee  support  the                                                                    
governor's request  for $18 million  in state funds  for the                                                                    
expansion  of substance  abuse treatment  across the  state.                                                                    
She noted the  need for an expansion of services  was due to                                                                    
the opioid  crisis. Another board  priority was to  see that                                                                    
$1 million for public guardians  within the Office of Public                                                                    
Advocacy,  stayed  in  the  budget.   She  spoke  about  the                                                                    
responsibilities of a public guardian.  She relayed that the                                                                    
caseloads  had reached  over 100  per guardian,  over double                                                                    
the recommended national caseload.                                                                                              
9:33:04 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Seaton   asked  her   to  clarify   her  statement                                                                    
regarding a hospital  base and certificate of  need. He also                                                                    
noted  that  Representative  Pruitt  was  at  the  Anchorage                                                                    
Legislative Information Office (LIO).                                                                                           
Ms. Moore responded  that the decision made  by the governor                                                                    
to take general  funds to leverage more  federal funds which                                                                    
would increase  to amount of hospital  based psychiatric and                                                                    
substance  abuse care.  She made  the comment  that she  had                                                                    
attended the  certificate of need  hearing. At  that meeting                                                                    
she heard testimony from nursing  staff that were challenged                                                                    
because of the lack of psychiatric staff.                                                                                       
9:35:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MERRI  OTTO,  SELF,   MINNESOTA  (via  teleconference),  was                                                                    
representing  her daughter,  Stephanie  Otto,  who lived  in                                                                    
Alaska. She  told a  bit of  her daughter's  story regarding                                                                    
her struggle with  mental illness. She had not  been able to                                                                    
get  mental   health  services   until  she   qualified  for                                                                    
Medicaid. She  had some problems  with getting a  name brand                                                                    
medication. She  could only get  the generic version  of the                                                                    
prescription,  which  she  had   a  reaction  to.  Ms.  Otto                                                                    
indicated  that  there  was  no  one to  take  care  of  her                                                                    
daughter.   She  continued   to  tell   of  her   daughter's                                                                    
experience  around   getting  proper  medication.   She  was                                                                    
concerned with her daughter's well-being.                                                                                       
Co-Chair  Seaton indicated  that the  committee was  hearing                                                                    
testimony  on the  operating budget.  He requested  that she                                                                    
provide  some information  for the  representative from  her                                                                    
district to follow-up.                                                                                                          
9:42:22 AM                                                                                                                    
JEFFREY ROBINSON, PRESIDENT,  ALASKA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINAL                                                                    
DEFENSE  LAWYERS, ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
favor of  additional funding for the  Public Defender Agency                                                                    
that would pay  for 4 new attorneys and  an additional staff                                                                    
person. He had  been a public defender in  the Bethel office                                                                    
and the Anchorage office  previously. He provided additional                                                                    
information about his  professional background. He continued                                                                    
to practice  criminal law in  the private  sector currently.                                                                    
He  reported   some  of  his  observations   in  court.  The                                                                    
caseloads appeared  to be increasing,  falling short  of the                                                                    
standard. He  thought it was  problematic and would  be more                                                                    
expensive to  the state in  the long-run. In  his experience                                                                    
working  in  the  Public Defender  Agency,  the  office  was                                                                    
pushed  to the  max  caseload-wise. He  spoke  to the  great                                                                    
resources within  the agency. However, a  number of talented                                                                    
attorneys  have   left  because   they  were  not   able  to                                                                    
successfully represent  their clients  and their  stress. He                                                                    
urged members to support additional funding for the agency.                                                                     
9:45:48 AM                                                                                                                    
BRYAN    EMERSON,    CIVIL    AIR   PATROL,    MATSU    (via                                                                    
teleconference), was  the finance  manager of the  Civil Air                                                                    
Patrol. He  noted the responsibilities and  successes of the                                                                    
organization.  He indicated  that the  Civil Air  Patrol was                                                                    
operating with  less funding. He  urged members  to properly                                                                    
fund the Civil Air Patrol. He thanked the committee.                                                                            
9:47:49 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:56:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CARL  BROWN,  WING  COMMANDER,   ALASKA  CIVIL  AIR  PATROL,                                                                    
WASHINGTON  DC (via  teleconference),  spoke  to the  budget                                                                    
reduction  for  the  Civil  Air  Patrol.  Historically,  the                                                                    
Alaska Wing had  brought benefits to the  state. He reported                                                                    
that  3 or  4  years ago  the civil  air  patrol budget  was                                                                    
reduced  by 30  percent. He  addressed the  result of  those                                                                    
cuts. The Alaska Wing worked  closely with the Department of                                                                    
Public  Safety and  the other  entities.  Other units  would                                                                    
have to  be closed with the  30 percent proposed cut  in the                                                                    
operating budget. The  Civil Air Patrol had  3 main missions                                                                    
included:  emergency  services,   aerospace  education,  and                                                                    
cadet programs.  He mentioned some  of the successes  of the                                                                    
patrol  and its  contribution  to the  STEM  program at  the                                                                    
University  of  Alaska  Anchorage.  He  asked  that  funding                                                                    
remain  at $450,000.  The state  benefited financially  from                                                                    
the patrol as well. He thanked the committee.                                                                                   
10:02:28 AM                                                                                                                   
KYLE ANDERSON,  ALASKA CIVIL AIR PATROL,  WASHINGTON DC (via                                                                    
teleconference),  He   shared  a   story  about   a  youth's                                                                    
experience  with   joining  the  youth  cadet   program.  He                                                                    
indicated  the youth  joined the  program and  experienced a                                                                    
turn-around in  his life. He  spoke to many of  the benefits                                                                    
of the  Civil Air Patrol.  He urged funding support  for the                                                                    
Civil  Air Patrol  and thanked  committee members  for their                                                                    
10:05:48 AM                                                                                                                   
JEFF  DEFREEST,   AK  CIVIL   AIR  PATROL,   KETCHIKAN  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke to  the  benefits of  the Civil  Air                                                                    
Patrol. He relayed  that there were also  ground troops that                                                                    
existed  as part  of the  patrol. He  encouraged members  to                                                                    
support the program.                                                                                                            
10:07:11 AM                                                                                                                   
FRANCESCA  ALLEGREZZA, FAMILY  IN ANCHORAGE,  ANCHORAGE (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke to  the  reduction of  the PFD.  She                                                                    
thought  the  budget  was  out   of  control  and  reflected                                                                    
reckless spending.  She felt she  was being  taken advantage                                                                    
10:08:39 AM                                                                                                                   
CLAIRE  PORTER,   AK  CIVIL   AIR  PATROL,   KETCHIKAN  (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke to the reduction  of Civil Air Patrol                                                                    
funding. She  relayed her amazement  of the benefits  of the                                                                    
youth cadet  program within  the organization.  She provided                                                                    
some  background  about  her  involvement  in  the  critical                                                                    
emergency response portion of the program.                                                                                      
10:11:40 AM                                                                                                                   
GARRETT ANDERSON,  AK CIVIL AIR  PATROL, WASHINGTON  DC (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in support of funding  for the Civil                                                                    
Air  Patrol. He  mentioned his  role within  the patrol  and                                                                    
noted  several of  the  benefits of  the  cadet program.  He                                                                    
urged members  to consider increasing funding  for the Civil                                                                    
Air Patrol.                                                                                                                     
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY - ANCHORAGE LIO                                                                                             
10:15:00 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Seaton  recognized   that  Representative  Pruitt,                                                                    
Vice-Chair Gara, Representative Grenn  were at the Anchorage                                                                    
LIO.  Representative  Kawasaki was  online.  [Representative                                                                    
Kawasaki  was not  online]. Representative  Wilson was  also                                                                    
online in Fairbanks.                                                                                                            
ABBY    HENSLEY,    BEST    BEGINNINGS,    ANCHORAGE    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke  in  support  of  funding  for  Best                                                                    
Beginnings. She  indicated that Best Beginnings  had adopted                                                                    
a 3-year  plan with  an increased  focus on  improving early                                                                    
literacy and language development.  The entity supported the                                                                    
Imagination Library  Program and  resources for  parents and                                                                    
other  family members.  Currently,  there  were over  18,000                                                                    
children  receiving  high   quality,  age-appropriate  books                                                                    
every month  in the mail at  no cost to their  families. She                                                                    
spoke of  the donation  made by Dolly  Parton. She  spoke to                                                                    
the  costs  related   to  the  mailing  of   books  for  the                                                                    
Imagination  Library  program which  was  $30  per year  per                                                                    
child. Best Beginnings and partners  around the state raised                                                                    
the  money  to  ensure   the  fabulous  resource.  She  read                                                                    
comments  from  a  number of  parents  and  the  Imagination                                                                    
Library.  She   asked  for   continued  support   for  early                                                                    
childhood education, Pre-K grants,  Parents as Teachers, and                                                                    
Best Beginnings.                                                                                                                
10:18:53 AM                                                                                                                   
MICHAEL JEFFERY,  SELF, BARROW  (via teleconference),  was a                                                                    
Superior  Court  Judge  for  years.  He  urged  support  for                                                                    
substance  abuse   treatment.  There  were   several  people                                                                    
needing support.  He agreed with the  support for recidivism                                                                    
reduction efforts. He also supported  the effort for funding                                                                    
the Alaska Psychiatric Institute.  He also supported funding                                                                    
for hospitals with patients having  mental health issues. He                                                                    
also  advocated  keeping  the justice  system  balanced  and                                                                    
encouraged  additional  funding   for  the  Public  Defender                                                                    
Agency. He thanked members for their time.                                                                                      
10:22:31 AM                                                                                                                   
TARA RICH,  ACLU OF ALASKA, ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference),                                                                    
wanted  adequate funding  for the  Criminal Justice  System.                                                                    
She  had   learned  from  the  Public   Defender  that  with                                                                    
additional cases anticipated the  office would have to start                                                                    
turning away  cases. She  argued that  it was  a fundamental                                                                    
and essential need  for an individual to have  a fair trial.                                                                    
She thought Alaska  was perilously close to  having a broken                                                                    
system.  She urged  members to  adequately  fund the  Public                                                                    
Defender  Agency.  She  stressed   the  importance  of  this                                                                    
funding and thanked the committee for their time.                                                                               
10:26:43 AM                                                                                                                   
ROBERT  BUNDY, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in  support of  additional funding  for the  Public Defender                                                                    
Agency. He provided an example of  a case he was working on.                                                                    
He spoke  of the importance  of having a  well-funded office                                                                    
and proper  council. He spoke of  the possible repercussions                                                                    
of not funding the criminal justice system properly.                                                                            
10:30:14 AM                                                                                                                   
MARJORIE   MOCK,  SELF,   ANCHORAGE  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
supported  additional   funding  for  the   Public  Defender                                                                    
Agency. She had worked in  the office for several years. She                                                                    
provided examples of  her work experience. She  spoke to the                                                                    
time  challenges of  resolving  cases, particularly  without                                                                    
properly  funding  the  Public Defender  Agency.  She  urged                                                                    
members to adequately fund the office.                                                                                          
Co-Chair  Seaton acknowledged  that Representative  Gara was                                                                    
listening in from the Anchorage LIO.                                                                                            
10:33:16 AM                                                                                                                   
SKYLAR QUIN,  SELF, ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), thought                                                                    
the legislature  should be focusing on  the restructuring of                                                                    
the  Permanent Fund.  He  supported a  larger  draw of  5.75                                                                    
percent.  He  thought  an   additional  revenue  stream  was                                                                    
necessary.  He urged  the restructuring  of the  PFD in  the                                                                    
coming summer.                                                                                                                  
10:35:29 AM                                                                                                                   
DOUG WHITE,  ACCESS ALASKA, ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference),                                                                    
favored funding Senior Disability  Services. He spoke to the                                                                    
costs  associated  with  senior   care.  He  noted  a  large                                                                    
increase  in  people  receiving  senior  and  personal  care                                                                    
services and pointed out that  there were several reductions                                                                    
that had been  proposed to these related  programs. He urged                                                                    
members of the legislature to be careful with reductions.                                                                       
10:38:06 AM                                                                                                                   
LARRY  OSTROVSKY,  SELF,   ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
indicated  it was  critical to  properly  fund the  criminal                                                                    
justice system. He believed the  reduction in the budget was                                                                    
a  serious  issue.  He provided  information  regarding  the                                                                    
number of  cases that could be  handled in a week.  He urged                                                                    
members to properly fund the Public Defender Agency.                                                                            
10:41:59 AM                                                                                                                   
CHERYL GORMAN,  SELF, ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in  support of  funding for  recidivism reduction  services.                                                                    
She  also  urged  member  support  for  funding  the  Public                                                                    
Defender   Agency.  She   supported   the  substance   abuse                                                                    
treatment and  community support programs. She  spoke to the                                                                    
mental  health   issues  in  the  state.   She  thanked  the                                                                    
10:44:02 AM                                                                                                                   
CHARLES GORMAN, SELF, ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference), was a                                                                    
former homeless  person. He provided some  of his experience                                                                    
concerning getting residential services  that had helped him                                                                    
significantly. He urged support  for the governor's proposed                                                                    
funding  for  mental  health services  and  substance  abuse                                                                    
services.  He also  supported the  reentry  funding to  help                                                                    
with  recidivism.  He  also  supported  funding  for  mental                                                                    
health disorders and safe rooms at hospitals.                                                                                   
10:47:05 AM                                                                                                                   
CATHY   TAYLOR,   SELF,  ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
provided   some  of   her   background.   She  supported   4                                                                    
recommendations  from the  finance subcommittee.  First, she                                                                    
supported  funding for  hospital-based health  care. Second,                                                                    
she supported  funding for API.  She also  supported funding                                                                    
for the  public guardian  program, which she  thought needed                                                                    
expanding.  Lastly,  she  supported  the  public  assistance                                                                    
10:50:49 AM                                                                                                                   
MEG   SAMORAN,   SELF,   ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
practiced  law for  20 years.  She advocated  for additional                                                                    
funding for the Public Defender  Agency. She agreed that the                                                                    
criminal justice  system needed  balanced funding.  She used                                                                    
the Fairbanks Four conviction as  an example of an imbalance                                                                    
in the justice system. The  case cost the state a tremendous                                                                    
amount of  money. She provided additional  information about                                                                    
the  effects of  not  properly funding  the Public  Defender                                                                    
Agency.  She reemphasized  the  long-term  fiscal impact  of                                                                    
depriving someone of their rights at trial.                                                                                     
10:54:53 AM                                                                                                                   
PANU LUCIER, THREAD AND THE  ALASKA EARLY CHILDHOOD ADVOCACY                                                                    
GROUP,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), spoke  in favor  of                                                                    
funding  early   childhood  education.  She  spoke   to  the                                                                    
benefits of early  education and urged an  investment in the                                                                    
programs in the FY 19 budget.                                                                                                   
10:56:45 AM                                                                                                                   
ERIC  SANDERS, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), urged                                                                    
members  to properly  fund the  Public  Defender Agency  and                                                                    
spoke to  the importance of  its funding. He was  a previous                                                                    
Superior Court  Judge. He discussed the  repercussions of an                                                                    
unbalanced system.  He surmised that not  funding the agency                                                                    
properly  would result  in additional  financial burdens  to                                                                    
the state.                                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Seaton asked Representative  Pruitt if he wanted to                                                                    
make any comments.                                                                                                              
Representative  Pruitt  indicated  he would  speak  directly                                                                    
with the audience.                                                                                                              
Representative  Grenn responded  that he  would talk  to the                                                                    
audience directly as well.                                                                                                      
Vice-Chair Gara explained that people's testimony mattered.                                                                     
Co-Chair  Seaton indicated  that  there  were no  testifiers                                                                    
online  presently. The  committee  would  break until  11:15                                                                    
11:02:58 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
11:31:27 AM                                                                                                                   
STEPHANIE    BERGLUND,   CEO,    THREAD,   ANCHORAGE    (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in support  of early  education. The                                                                    
organization   worked  statewide   to  increase   access  to                                                                    
affordable and quality early care  and learning. She thanked                                                                    
the  committee  for  its support  of  early  education.  She                                                                    
shared  that  the  programs provided  critical  support  for                                                                    
families and  supported quality early  learning. Investments                                                                    
in  early childhood  supported  research  that Alaska  would                                                                    
have  long lasting  benefits for  young children,  families,                                                                    
communities,  and   the  state's  economy.  She   urged  the                                                                    
committee to continue funding support.                                                                                          
Co-Chair  Seaton relayed  the  committee  would break  until                                                                    
12:00 p.m.                                                                                                                      
11:34:01 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
12:01:16 PM                                                                                                                   
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY: OFF NET SITES                                                                                              
12:01:21 PM                                                                                                                   
JOE  SCHLANGER, SELF,  WASILLA  (via teleconference),  spoke                                                                    
about  public  safety.  He noted  that  spending  only  $570                                                                    
million on public safety was  a travesty. He spoke about the                                                                    
low number  of state troopers  in Mat-Su. He  detailed there                                                                    
was  one  murder every  seven  days,  one rape  every  eight                                                                    
hours, one  robbery every ten  hours, one assault  every two                                                                    
hours, one  arson every  two days,  one vehicle  theft every                                                                    
three  hours, and  others. He  believed the  legislature did                                                                    
not have the priorities  straight. He referenced money spent                                                                    
on education,  which he supported,  but he thought  too much                                                                    
funding  was  given.  He  could not  afford  to  attend  the                                                                    
university. He supported cutting  the budget and giving more                                                                    
money to  small businesses.  He believed  the state  did not                                                                    
have  a   revenue  problem,  but  a   spending  problem.  He                                                                    
supported reduced regulations.                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Seaton relayed there  were no additional testifiers                                                                    
online. He  shared that Representative Wilson  was listening                                                                    
from Fairbanks.                                                                                                                 
12:05:08 PM                                                                                                                   
CYNTHIA  STROUT,   SELF,  ANCHORAGE   (via  teleconference),                                                                    
shared  that she  is  an  attorney and  had  worked for  the                                                                    
Public Defender Agency in the  past. She urged the committee                                                                    
to fully fund the Public  Defender Agency. She detailed that                                                                    
an imbalance  in the number  of public attorneys  and public                                                                    
defenders meant  that things stacked  up; a  public defender                                                                    
could only  be in  one court  room at  one time.  The public                                                                    
defenders  carried the  large majority  of  cases that  went                                                                    
through  the  criminal  justice  system.  The  workers  were                                                                    
hardworking  and dedicated,  but high  caseloads meant  that                                                                    
individuals  were not  adequately represented.  She stressed                                                                    
that overloading  public defenders would not  work and would                                                                    
hurt the criminal justice system.                                                                                               
Representative  Wilson asked  how  many  criminal and  civil                                                                    
cases went to public defenders versus private attorneys.                                                                        
Ms. Strout  estimated that 85  percent of the cases  went to                                                                    
public defenders.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair Seaton  noted that the  other part of  the question                                                                    
pertained to how many cases  went to public defenders versus                                                                    
private  prosecutors. He  relayed  that they  could get  the                                                                    
Representative Guttenberg  believed there was  a legislative                                                                    
audit report pertaining to the issue.                                                                                           
Co-Chair Seaton  thought it  was from  1998. He  relayed the                                                                    
committee would break until 12:25 p.m.                                                                                          
12:11:04 PM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
12:29:33 PM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Seaton encouraged members of the public to submit                                                                      
written testimony if desired. He thanked the public for                                                                         
HB 285 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                              
HB 286 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                              
12:31:01 PM                                                                                                                   
The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 286 OpBudget Public Test 3.3.18 emails letters 3.3.18.pdf HFIN 3/3/2018 9:00:00 AM
HB 286