Legislature(2021 - 2022)ADAMS 519

05/10/2022 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       May 10, 2022                                                                                             
                         3:02 p.m.                                                                                              
3:02:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Merrick called the  House Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 3:02 p.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Kelly Merrick, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Dan Ortiz, Vice-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Ben Carpenter                                                                                                    
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Representative Bart LeBon                                                                                                       
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Emma  Torkelson,  Staff,  Senator Josh  Revak;  Andy  Mills,                                                                    
Legislative  Liaison,   Department  of   Transportation  and                                                                    
Public  Facilities;  David  Dunsmore,  Staff,  Senator  Bill                                                                    
Wielechowski; Representative Geran Tarr, Sponsor.                                                                               
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Robert Ervine,  Acting Division Director,  Finance Division,                                                                    
Department  of  Administration;   Robin  O'Donoghue,  Alaska                                                                    
Public  Interest  Research  Group, Anchorage;  Penny  Vadla,                                                                    
School  Board  Member,   Kenai  Peninsula  School  District,                                                                    
HB 5      SEXUAL ASSAULT; DEF. OF "CONSENT"                                                                                     
          HB 5 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                      
HB 350    SCHOOL BOND DEBT REIMBURSEMENT                                                                                        
          HB 350 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
CSSB 25(FIN)                                                                                                                    
          STATE GOV'T FINANCES: WEBSITE                                                                                         
          CSSB 25(FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                      
          further consideration.                                                                                                
CSSB 203(FIN)                                                                                                                   
          PURPLE HEART TRAIL                                                                                                    
          CSSB 203(FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                     
          further consideration.                                                                                                
Co-Chair Merrick reviewed the meeting agenda.                                                                                   
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 203(FIN)                                                                                               
     "An Act  designating the  Alaska marine  highway system                                                                    
     and portions of the  Parks, Glenn, Seward, and Sterling                                                                    
     Highways as  a part of  the State's Purple  Heart Trail                                                                    
     and relating to signage  and informational displays for                                                                    
     the trail."                                                                                                                
3:02:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick  discussed the agenda for  the meeting. She                                                                    
indicated that Vice-Chair Ortiz had joined the meeting.                                                                         
EMMA TORKELSON,  STAFF, SENATOR  JOSH REVAK,  introduced the                                                                    
legislation. She  explained that  the original  Purple Heart                                                                    
Trail  was established  in  1992 as  a  national project  to                                                                    
designate portions of the interstate  highway system as "The                                                                    
Purple  Heart  Trail  System," reminding  Americans  of  the                                                                    
sacrifices made by  men and women in service  to the nation.                                                                    
In  2008, the  Alaska  Military Order  of  the Purple  Heart                                                                    
worked with  Senator Johnny Ellis,  to adopt SB  216 [Purple                                                                    
Heart Trail, CHAPTER 23 SLA 08,  05/03/2008] that designated                                                                  
the Alaska  and Richardson  Highways from  the Alaska-Canada                                                                    
Border to Fairbanks  as the Purple Heart  Trail. Senate Bill                                                                    
203  extended the  Purple  Heart  Trail highway  designation                                                                    
from Fairbanks  to the End of  the Road in Homer  and on the                                                                    
Alaska Marine  Highway System (AMHS)  routes. Doing  so will                                                                    
complete a  continuous 4,500-mile land and  ocean stretch of                                                                    
Purple Heart  Trail from the  Alaska-Canada Border,  down to                                                                    
the End  of the Road,  and then on  the ferry routes  of the                                                                    
Alaska   Marine  Highway,   connecting   the  Purple   Heart                                                                    
Cities/Boroughs  of  Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough,  North                                                                    
Pole,  Fairbanks,  Wasilla,  Soldotna, Homer,  and  Skagway.                                                                    
Alaska's  has  a  strong  military  tradition;  we  have  an                                                                    
estimated  65,000  resident veterans,  approximately  21,000                                                                    
active-duty  military.  Signage  drawing  attention  to  the                                                                    
designation was  placed at  appropriate intervals  along the                                                                    
highways and on each active  AMHS ferry to stimulate thought                                                                    
and  discussion among  adults and  children alike  about the                                                                    
history of  our nation and  those who have  made significant                                                                    
sacrifices for it.                                                                                                              
3:04:48 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Merrick CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Merrick  asked the department to  review the fiscal                                                                    
ANDY    MILLS,    LEGISLATIVE   LIAISON,    DEPARTMENT    OF                                                                    
TRANSPORTATION   AND   PUBLIC   FACILITIES,   reviewed   the                                                                    
Department  of Transportation  and  Public Facilities  (DOT)                                                                    
published fiscal impact fiscal  note (FN2 (DOT) appropriated                                                                    
to  Administration   and  Support.  He  indicated   that  it                                                                    
reflected the  full cost  if no  donations were  received in                                                                    
the amount of $255.6 thousand  and would pay for signage and                                                                    
kiosks  along the  extended highway  trail system.  He noted                                                                    
that  language  in  this  bill   calls  for  the  option  of                                                                    
third-party donations to pay for signage  along the extended                                                                    
trail.   The  donations   would  be   used  to   offset  the                                                                    
Undesignated General Funds (UGF)  expended and the remaining                                                                    
unused UGF would lapse back to the state.                                                                                       
Representative  LeBon   asked  if  there  was   currently  a                                                                    
campaign  rolling  out  soon to  gather  contributions  from                                                                    
interested parties including citizens.                                                                                          
Ms. Torkelson  replied that the  sponsor was  discussing the                                                                    
matter with the military  organization to gauge its interest                                                                    
in collecting  donations. She relayed that  the organization                                                                    
was  ready  to  send  out information  to  its  members  and                                                                    
request donations.  Part of the  process had  been gathering                                                                    
legislative intent regarding passage  of the legislation and                                                                    
with   passage  of   the  bill   they  would   proceed  with                                                                    
3:08:34 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  LeBon asked  if  the effective  date of  the                                                                    
bill was upon  passage of the legislation.  He asked whether                                                                    
the bill required regulations.                                                                                                  
Mr. Mills answered that lacking  an effective date there was                                                                    
a 90 day  window. He indicated that the  window granted time                                                                    
for  the  organization to  collect  donations  and then  DOT                                                                    
would  begin its  work. Representative  LeBon  asked if  the                                                                    
idea  was to  implement  the signage  changes the  following                                                                    
year. Mr.  Mills responded  there was  no timeframe  for the                                                                    
type  of legislation.  He reported  that the  bill was  more                                                                    
extensive   than   typical   naming  legislation   and   the                                                                    
department would  discuss what  timeframe was  necessary for                                                                    
the  organization to  collect the  donations and  would work                                                                    
around those needs.                                                                                                             
3:10:50 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Foster was  interested  in  hearing the  amendment                                                                    
during  the  meeting.  He  wanted  to  move  the  bill  from                                                                    
Representative Carpenter was concerned  about the price tag.                                                                    
He was more comfortable using  donations as opposed to state                                                                    
Co-Chair  Merrick   set  and  amendment  deadline   for  the                                                                    
following day at noon.                                                                                                          
CSSB 203(FIN)  was HEARD and  HELD in committee  for further                                                                    
3:11:44 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
3:13:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 25(FIN)                                                                                                
     "An Act  relating to the establishment  and maintenance                                                                    
     of an  Internet website providing information  on state                                                                    
     government  financial transactions  and specifying  the                                                                    
     information to  be made available  on the  website; and                                                                    
     relating  to  the   Alaska  Checkbook  Online  Internet                                                                    
3:13:39 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID DUNSMORE,  STAFF, SENATOR BILL  WIELECHOWSKI, conveyed                                                                    
the senator's appreciation for the  bill hearing. He relayed                                                                    
the bill  had been first introduced  by Senator Wielechowski                                                                    
in 2008.  The administration  at the  time had  developed an                                                                    
online  checkbook  system  but  was  taken  offline  in  the                                                                    
previous year.  The Senator  felt that  it was  important to                                                                    
reintroduce the legislation. He  reported that the intent of                                                                    
the  Alaska  Online  Checkbook  Act is  to  create  a  free,                                                                    
searchable website  that provided Alaskans with  easy access                                                                    
to  detailed and  comprehensive financial  transactions. The                                                                    
bill  via  the  committee  process  made  the  website  more                                                                    
robust,  required  more  disclosure,  and  offered  ease  of                                                                    
accessibility. He provided  a PowerPoint presentation titled                                                                    
 Senate Bill 25  (copy on file).  He began on slide 2 titled                                                                    
 SB 25: The Alaska Online Checkbook Act:                                                                                        
     • Codifies and modernizes  Alaska's Online  Checkbook                                                                    
     • Requires the state to  provide  monthly and  annual                                                                    
        financial information to the public on a user-                                                                          
        friendly website.                                                                                                       
     • Creates a one-stop-shop for information  on revenue                                                                    
        and expenses.                                                                                                           
     • Provides detailed information on state expenditures                                                                    
        and revenue including date, vendor, agency, and                                                                         
        expense type.                                                                                                           
Mr.  Dunsmore turned  to Slide  3  titled  Alaskans  Deserve                                                                    
Better Transparency:                                                                                                            
     • In 2018 Alaska received a failing grade from the U.S                                                                   
        Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund                                                                    
        for providing online access to government spending                                                                      
     • Alaska has no statutory requirements to maintain an                                                                    
        online checkbook.                                                                                                       
Mr. Dunsmore moved to Slide 4 titled SB 25: A Win-Win-Win                                                                       
for Alaskans:                                                                                                                   
     • Will provide policy makers with user-friendly access                                                                   
        to actual unaudited revenue and expenditure data                                                                        
     • Makes state government more accountable by making                                                                      
        information readily available to the public.                                                                            
     • Allows vendors to submit more competitive bids by                                                                      
        reviewing previous payments.                                                                                            
Mr. Dunsmore highlighted Slide 5 titled SB 25 Improves                                                                          
Transparency and Usability:                                                                                                     
     Current Checkbook Online                                                                                                   
      Can be taken down at any time.                                                                                            
    Not searchable online, data must be downloaded as a                                                                         
      PDF or Excel file.                                                                                                        
          Does not include revenue reports.                                                                                     
      Does not allow year to year spending comparison.                                                                          
      Does not include spending for the University of                                                                           
      Alaska or public corporations.                                                                                            
     Alaska Online Checkbook Act                                                                                                
    Monthly & annual reporting requirements codified in                                                                         
      Alaska Statutes.                                                                                                          
    Data is searchable online by agency, vendor, year,                                                                          
      purpose, amount, and accounting code.                                                                                     
      Includes both revenue & expenditures.                                                                                     
      Allows year to year spending comparisons.                                                                                 
      Includes revenue & expenses of University of Alaska &                                                                     
      Public corporations.                                                                                                      
3:17:33 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Dunsmore  reviewed Slide  6  titled   SB 25:  Reporting                                                                    
      Receipts or deposits.                                                                                                     
      Proceeds from taxes.                                                                                                      
      Agency earnings (sales, services, licenses, permits,                                                                      
    Other revenues (Interest, Lease, Gifts, Donations,                                                                          
Mr.  Dunsmore discussed  revenue  reporting requirements  on                                                                    
slide  6 and  expounded that  the bill  contained provisions                                                                    
protecting  confidential information  for both  revenues and                                                                    
expenditures. He presented Slide  7 titled  SB 25: Reporting                                                                    
      The names and locations of any persons to whom                                                                            
      payment was made.                                                                                                         
      The amounts of the expenditures disbursed.                                                                                
    The type of transaction, by account code, including                                                                         
      the purpose of the expenditure.                                                                                           
Mr.  Dunsmore addressed  expenditure reporting  requirements                                                                    
on  slide  7 and  elucidated  that  along with  the  privacy                                                                    
protections   an  amendment   was  adopted   that  protected                                                                    
employer  wage payments  that would  not be  include in  the                                                                    
online   checkbook.  The   public   employee  wage   payment                                                                    
information  would  be  aggregated.  He moved  to  slides  8                                                                    
titled SB 25: Reporting Requirements:"                                                                                          
     Employees and Contractors                                                                                                  
     The number of full-time, part-time, and temporary                                                                          
      employees by agency.                                                                                                      
      The number of independent contractors by agency.                                                                          
      Total general fund payroll by agency.                                                                                     
Mr.  Dunsmore summarized  Slide 9  titled  SB  25: Reporting                                                                    
     Account Balances and Debt                                                                                                  
           Statutory Budget Reserve (SBR).                                                                                      
           Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR).                                                                                 
           Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve Account (ERA).                                                                       
           Total long-term debt by agency                                                                                       
Mr.  Dunsmore directed  attention  to Slide  10 titled   The                                                                    
Current Checkbook Website is Outdated:                                                                                          
         Download Information By Fiscal Year Only.                                                                              
           Must Download ALL Information.                                                                                       
           Difficult to search.                                                                                                 
Mr. Dunsmore noted that slide  10 and 11 depicted pages from                                                                    
the  current  online  checkbook   and  characterized  it  as                                                                    
challenging  for  users. He  continued  to  Slide 11  titled                                                                    
 Current Website Requires Downloading Spreadsheet:                                                                              
    In FY 2016 There Were 78,156 Individual Reports In                                                                          
      The "Online Checkbook".                                                                                                   
    You Must Use Search Functions Within Excel To Find                                                                          
      Cannot Easily Track Spending By Year.                                                                                     
Mr.  Dunsmore underlined  the  deficiencies  of the  current                                                                    
online  checkbook. He  reviewed  Slide 12  through Slide  17                                                                    
titled   Example:  Ohio   that depicted  pages  from  Ohios                                                                     
OHIOCHECKBOOK.com  online  checkbook  that  highlighted  its                                                                    
ease of  use and accessible information.  He elaborated that                                                                    
Ohios  checkbook  offered searches by Year,  agency, expense                                                                    
type,  total agency  spending and  included a  download data                                                                    
option.  In  addition, the  data  could  be portrayed  as  a                                                                    
He   concluded  the   presentation   on   Slide  18   titled                                                                    
 Additional Benefits:                                                                                                           
     Mississippi reported that every information request                                                                        
     fulfilled by its transparency website rather than by a                                                                     
     state employee saves the state between $750 and                                                                            
     $1,000 in staff time.                                                                                                      
      South Carolina  open records requests dropped  by two-                                                                    
     thirds after the creation  of its transparency website,                                                                    
     reducing  staff time  and saving  an estimated  tens of                                                                    
     thousands of dollars.                                                                                                      
      The  Texas Comptroller  used its  transparency website                                                                    
     to  evaluate  spending.  By monitoring  contracts  more                                                                    
     closely  and sourcing  services from  new vendors  when                                                                    
     the  potential  for  cost-cutting was  identified,  the                                                                    
     state saved more than $163 million.                                                                                        
3:21:21 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Rasmussen appreciated  the intention  of the                                                                    
bill  and  more  transparency  under  the  legislation.  She                                                                    
reported  that  the  obsolete   checkbook  had  listed  very                                                                    
inaccurate expenses  that led to  its removal.  She wondered                                                                    
what  provisions  were  in place  that  guaranteed  accurate                                                                    
data.  Mr. Dunsmore  answered  that  based on  conversations                                                                    
with the Department of Administration  (DOA) the upgrades to                                                                    
the  Integrated  Resource  Information System  (IRIS)  would                                                                    
alleviate  the accuracy  concerns.  The  sponsor included  a                                                                    
delay in launching the website  until October 2024, to allow                                                                    
the department time for  troubleshooting any website issues.                                                                    
Representative  Rasmussen  asked if  there  was  any way  to                                                                    
completely remove the human error  component related to data                                                                    
accuracy. She  wondered how the  data would be  verified for                                                                    
accuracy.  She  questioned  how   the  updated  IRIS  system                                                                    
correlated to more accurate data.  Mr. Dunsmore would follow                                                                    
up   with  detail   in  writing.   Representative  Rasmussen                                                                    
highlighted  one  instance  that  had been  brought  to  her                                                                    
attention  by   a  constituent.   She  elucidated   that  an                                                                    
incorrect  listing  showed   that  Representative  Rasmussen                                                                    
expended  $1  million in  travel  costs.  She was  concerned                                                                    
about inaccurate  or erroneous  information pertaining  to a                                                                    
private business  or contractor  where their  reputation was                                                                    
 on the line  due to a  major error by the state. She wanted                                                                    
to  ensure accuracy  was fully  vetted before  the bill  was                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick  indicated that Representative  Johnson had                                                                    
joined the meeting.                                                                                                             
3:24:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative LeBon asked if  the committee would hear from                                                                    
the department or  state treasury on the  bill pertaining to                                                                    
how  it  viewed  the  online checkbook  functioning  and  to                                                                    
report  on any  challenges it  anticipated implementing  the                                                                    
ROBERT ERVINE,  ACTING DIVISION DIRECTOR,  FINANCE DIVISION,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT  OF  ADMINISTRATION (via  teleconference),  asked                                                                    
Representative LeBon to  repeat the question. Representative                                                                    
LeBon complied.  Mr. Ervine replied that  the department had                                                                    
worked with  the sponsor to have  the bill crafted in  a way                                                                    
that was  possible to implement  within the timeline  of the                                                                    
bill. He elaborated that DOA  addressed how it would include                                                                    
data from  state corporations not using  the state's central                                                                    
accounting  system.  The   department  would  provide  Excel                                                                    
spreadsheet  templates  and  the corporation  would  include                                                                    
revenue and  expenditure data so their  information could be                                                                    
uploaded  into the  website. He  responded to  a comment  by                                                                    
Representative    Rasmussen.   He    indicated   that    the                                                                    
departments  goal was to ensure  the data was displayed in a                                                                    
way  that  was  clear  and  accurate  for  the  public.  The                                                                    
department  removed  the online  checkbook  in  2020 due  to                                                                    
errors and reposted it in  2021. The department believed the                                                                    
current posted  information was accurate. He  cautioned that                                                                    
the possibility of  an error existed and if  one was brought                                                                    
to the department's attention it would correct it.                                                                              
3:28:12 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Johnson wondered how  the state would keep up                                                                    
with all the data entry  the bill would require. She deduced                                                                    
the checkbook  would be  a  massive  undertaking  especially                                                                    
in ensuring accuracy.                                                                                                           
Mr.  Dunsmore replied  that  he believed  all  the data  was                                                                    
already  entered into  the statewide  accounting system  and                                                                    
added  that the  data  was currently  searchable within  the                                                                    
central accounting system.                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Merrick asked Mr. Ervine if he agreed.                                                                                 
Mr. Ervine  answered that  the goal would  be to  ensure all                                                                    
the  information was  entered  in a  logical  way that  made                                                                    
sense  to  the  public.   He  relayed  that  the  accounting                                                                    
technicians who  were entering  information into  the system                                                                    
would undergo  training regarding what information  would be                                                                    
3:30:39 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Johnson would look into the issue offline.                                                                       
Representative Wool cited the  handout titled  Following the                                                                    
Money  2018 -  How the  50 States  Rate in  Providing Online                                                                    
Access  to  Government  Spending  Data   by  the  U.S.  PIRG                                                                    
Education Fund  and Frontier Group  (copy on file).  He read                                                                    
the following from page 1 of the Executive Summary.                                                                             
      State-operated    transparency     websites    provide                                                                    
     checkbook-level   detail    on   government   spending,                                                                    
     allowing citizens and watchdog  groups to view payments                                                                    
     made  to  individual  companies, details  on  purchased                                                                    
     goods or  services, and  benefits obtained  in exchange                                                                    
     for public subsidies.                                                                                                      
Representative  Wool understood  the issue  of transparency.                                                                    
He questioned  the limits of transparency.  He worried about                                                                    
peoples    right  to   privacy.  He   wondered  if   it  was                                                                    
transparent  for a  student at  UAF  to know  the salary  of                                                                    
their professor  as an example  of how much  information was                                                                    
necessary and what the value  of the information was. He was                                                                    
not  sure of  the extent  of the  information that  would be                                                                    
available and  asked Mr. Dunsmore  to address the  issues in                                                                    
his  response.  Mr.   Dunsmore  answered  that  transparency                                                                    
issues were  addressed during the  committee process  in the                                                                    
Senate. He  clarified that employee  wage payments  were not                                                                    
included in the data. He added  that the bill only made what                                                                    
was currently  public data available  and only  provided the                                                                    
states     publicly   accessible    financial   information.                                                                    
Representative Wool  understood that the bill  established a                                                                    
website at  a cost of  $65 thousand  per year. He  wanted to                                                                    
ensure that the website  would not contain easily accessible                                                                    
wage information.  He considered  wage information  too much                                                                    
transparency.   He   understood   the  need   for   contract                                                                    
information  to avoid  preferential bidding,  etc. He  asked                                                                    
that other  than providing the  public an overview  of state                                                                    
expenditures was  there any other  area of concern  the bill                                                                    
was addressing.  Mr. Dunsmore replied that  the sponsor took                                                                    
an  umbrella  approach  and  included information  about all                                                                    
agencies  while   respecting  confidential   information  or                                                                    
aggregated information to protect confidentiality.                                                                              
Representative LeBon  pointed to  slide 6  showing different                                                                    
types of revenues and  associated reporting requirements. He                                                                    
inquired whether all  types of revenue would be  added up at                                                                    
months  end and  reported on. Mr. Dunsmore  responded in the                                                                    
affirmative.  He  delineated   that  the  monthly  reporting                                                                    
requirement was  added during the committee  process and the                                                                    
data could be unaudited.                                                                                                        
Representative LeBon asked if  the revenue was accounted for                                                                    
on  a cash  basis receipt  or whether  there was  an accrual                                                                    
basis  applied  to  the revenue.  Mr.  Ervine  deferred  the                                                                    
answer to  a written response. Representative  LeBon noticed                                                                    
that under  other revenues there  was an  interest category.                                                                    
He asked whether  the state was waiting for  the interest or                                                                    
lease payment before it was  accounted for or if the payment                                                                    
was anticipated.  He deduced it  was the  difference between                                                                    
cash basis and accrual basis.                                                                                                   
3:38:19 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Carpenter   asked  a   technical   question                                                                    
regarding  data entry.  He inquired  whether the  accounting                                                                    
software  used by  the state  was  a  relational  datatbase                                                                     
that   could  be   programmed  to   provide  the   necessary                                                                    
information   and  link   to  data   bases  to   obtain  the                                                                    
information  from agencies  not  on  the central  accounting                                                                    
system and then make the data available to the public.                                                                          
Mr.  Ervine replied  that not  every state  agency used  the                                                                    
central accounting  system known  as IRIS.  Therefore, those                                                                    
outside  of the  central system  would need  to provide  the                                                                    
information   to  the   system.   He   reiterated  how   the                                                                    
information  would be  collected  and added  to the  system.                                                                    
Representative  Carpenter asked  how many  agencies did  not                                                                    
use the centralized accounting  system. Mr. Ervine estimated                                                                    
that  it was  5  to 6  agencies and  offered  to verify  and                                                                    
follow  up.  Representative   Carpenter  wondered  what  the                                                                    
reason  was  that  not  all agencies  were  using  the  IRIS                                                                    
system.  Mr.   Ervine  answered  that  they   were  separate                                                                    
components for  the state including  things like  the Alaska                                                                    
Railroad  and  Alaska  Permanent  Fund  Corporation  (APFC).                                                                    
Representative Carpenter asked what  agencies outside of the                                                                    
IRIS system could communicate with  an online application to                                                                    
provide its financial information for the checkbook.                                                                            
Co-Chair  Merrick asked  Mr. Ervine  to follow  up with  the                                                                    
3:41:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wool asked  about the   granularity  of  the                                                                    
data regarding public  employees  pay and of  people who pay                                                                    
taxes  to   the  state.  He  assumed   the  information  was                                                                    
confidential. He  wondered about confidentiality  either for                                                                    
expenditures or  revenues when  warranted. He  mentioned tax                                                                    
revenue  for   oil  companies  and   guessed  that   it  was                                                                    
proprietary. Mr. Dunsmore  answered that Representative Wool                                                                    
was   generally  correct.   He   understood  that   taxpayer                                                                    
information was  confidential. However, there  were numerous                                                                    
exceptions in statute. He was  unaware of any exceptions for                                                                    
actual dollar  amounts of taxes  paid. He offered  to review                                                                    
the statutes.                                                                                                                   
Representative Carpenter  asked how  the bill  addressed the                                                                    
inevitable  questions  that  would  arise  from  the  public                                                                    
regarding  access  to the  information.  He  asked if  there                                                                    
would be  a central  clearinghouse for  questions on  how to                                                                    
find the  information or how  to interpret  the information.                                                                    
Mr.  Dunsmore deferred  to the  department. He  expected the                                                                    
department   would  include   itself   as   a  contact.   He                                                                    
ascertained  that  individuals  would need  to  contact  the                                                                    
specific  agency  with  detailed  questions.  Representative                                                                    
Carpenter  liked the  idea of  increased accountability  and                                                                    
saw value  in the  bill. He  restated his  concern regarding                                                                    
the  increased  workload  caused  by  public  inquiries.  He                                                                    
wondered  if  the bill  addressed  the  issue. Mr.  Dunsmore                                                                    
answered that he  did not believe there was  anything in the                                                                    
bill  that  would address  the  issue.  He relayed  that  he                                                                    
learned from doing  research for the bill  that other states                                                                    
experienced  a decreased  administrative  burden, since  the                                                                    
information was easily  accessible. Representative Carpenter                                                                    
cited Section 4 of the  bill that required the Department of                                                                    
Administration  (DOA) to  develop, operate,  and maintain  a                                                                    
searchable  internet website.  He  wanted to  hear from  the                                                                    
department what the website would look like.                                                                                    
3:47:31 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick asked Mr. Ervine to comment.                                                                                   
Mr.  Ervine   answered  that  DOA  currently   uploaded  and                                                                    
maintained  the  online  checkbook.   He  responded  to  the                                                                    
question by  Representative Carpenter.  He relayed  that the                                                                    
department had  thought through  implementation of  the bill                                                                    
and included  a $250 thousand capital  appropriation to hire                                                                    
a contractor to develop the  website. The department did not                                                                    
have  the  programmers to  develop  a  website to  meet  the                                                                    
requirements in the bill.                                                                                                       
3:48:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
ROBIN  O'DONOGHUE,  ALASKA  PUBLIC INTEREST  RESEARCH  GROUP                                                                    
(AKPIRG), ANCHORAGE (via teleconference),  spoke in favor of                                                                    
the bill. He read form a prepared statement                                                                                     
     AKPIRB was established in 1974  and advocated on behalf                                                                    
     of public and consumer  interests. To our knowledge, we                                                                    
     are the only  non-governmental, non-profit organization                                                                    
     focused   on    addressing   Alaska-specific   consumer                                                                    
     interest  issues. AKPIRG  supports SB  25    The Alaska                                                                    
     Online  Checkbook   Act.  The  implementation   of  the                                                                    
     Department of Administration's  Alaska Online Checkbook                                                                    
     is  critical because  it enables  the public  to better                                                                    
     understand what  their government  officials are  up to                                                                    
     and  how they  spend our  public dollars.  He furthered                                                                    
     that  AKPIRB appreciated  that  committee process  that                                                                    
     improved the  bill and provided more  transparency. The                                                                    
     group believed  the bill  was timely  in order  for the                                                                    
     public  to  track  the significant  amount  of  federal                                                                    
     dollars  scheduled  to pour  into  the  state from  the                                                                    
     Infrastructure Investment  and Jobs Act (IIJA)  as well                                                                    
     as other federal money expended.                                                                                           
3:50:24 PM                                                                                                                    
PENNY  VADLA,  SELF,   SOLDOTNA  (via  teleconference),  she                                                                    
favored the  legislation. She  believed more  disclosure was                                                                    
needed.  She thought  the transparency  for communities  the                                                                    
checkbook  offered  was   extremely  important.  She  looked                                                                    
forward to  a proprietary  and confidential  but informative                                                                    
Representative Carpenter thanked Ms. Vadla for calling in.                                                                      
Co-Chair Merrick CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
3:52:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SB  25  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 350                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to school bond debt reimbursement;                                                                        
     and providing for an effective date."                                                                                      
3:53:06 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Merrick  relayed  that  the  committee  previously                                                                    
heard the bill on April 27, 2022.                                                                                               
Co-Chair Merrick OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
PENNY  VADLA, SCHOOL  BOARD MEMBER,  KENAI PENINSULA  SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT,  SOLDOTNA (via  teleconference), spoke  in support                                                                    
of the  legislation. She related  that the Kenai was  a very                                                                    
large   district  that   encompassed  42   schools  and   17                                                                    
communities. She spoke to the  deferred maintenance needs in                                                                    
many  areas of  the district.  She indicated  that the  bill                                                                    
supported  all districts  in the  state, and  she hoped  the                                                                    
bill  offered a  60 percent  reimbursement rate  for repairs                                                                    
and 70  percent for  school construction. The  cost shifting                                                                    
due to  the moratorium  impacted communities and  schools by                                                                    
interrupting programs  and halting services provided  to all                                                                    
the districts   communities. She spoke of  the difficulty to                                                                    
obtain small  bonds for  schools in  one community  that did                                                                    
not  have   a  broad   base  of  constituents   like  larger                                                                    
municipalities.  The district  was spread  out over  a large                                                                    
area. She  commented that the district  attempted to address                                                                    
all  its maintenance  needs, but  it was  difficult to  stay                                                                    
ahead of  repairs lacking state  support. She  believed that                                                                    
keeping schools  well maintained  and safe helped  provide a                                                                    
quality  education for  the states   students. The  scenario                                                                    
she described  required the  support of  a school  bond debt                                                                    
reimbursement program.  She believed  that it  was important                                                                    
to spread awareness about the  level of deferred maintenance                                                                    
need. She  applauded Representative  Drummond for  the bill.                                                                    
She  requested that  the moratorium  was  removed on  school                                                                    
bond debt reimbursement.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair Merrick CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
3:58:37 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick relayed the amendment  deadline of noon the                                                                    
following day.                                                                                                                  
HB  350  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
3:59:07 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
4:00:49 PM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 5                                                                                                              
     "An Act relating  to sexual abuse of  a minor; relating                                                                    
     to  sexual assault;  relating to  the code  of military                                                                    
     justice; relating  to consent; relating to  the testing                                                                    
     of sexual  assault examination kits; and  providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
4:01:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN TARR,  SPONSOR, thanked  the committee                                                                    
for  the  opportunity  to  introduce  the  legislation.  She                                                                    
shared  that  the  bill  had  15  prior  hearings  in  prior                                                                    
committee. She reported that  the draft Committee Substitute                                                                    
(CS), version  U that she  wanted the committee  to consider                                                                    
accomplished  three  things.  She explained  that  the  bill                                                                    
changed the  timeframe for testing  rape kits from  one year                                                                    
to six  months. She indicated  that the second  item updated                                                                    
the  definition  of  consent.   The  current  definition  of                                                                    
consent  was established  in the  late 1970s  and no  longer                                                                    
reflected  what   was  presently  culturally   and  socially                                                                    
acceptable, which  had changed.  The modern  definition that                                                                    
was included  in the CS  was in  statute in many  states and                                                                    
was  included in  Section 5.  She stated  the definition  of                                                                    
consent  in the  CS  as follows    freely given,  reversible                                                                    
agreement  specific to  the conduct  at issue   freely given                                                                    
means  agreement  to cooperate  in  the  act was  positively                                                                    
expressed by word  or action.  She shared that  she had been                                                                    
working with the Department of  Law (DOL) to ensure that the                                                                    
definition  was   copesetic  and  clearly   understood.  The                                                                    
language  the  use or  threat of use  of force   was removed                                                                    
because  it  was  problematic   when  trying  to  criminally                                                                    
prosecute sexual  assault cases. She referred  to an article                                                                    
included  in  members  packets titled   Without  justice  in                                                                    
Nome,  Women Wrestle  with Trauma  and Healing  After Sexual                                                                    
Assault  (copy  on file) as  an example  of the need  for an                                                                    
updated definition  of consent. She noted  the broad support                                                                    
from  stakeholders and  citizens for  the bill.  The current                                                                    
statute  was  ineffective,  and   change  was  necessary  to                                                                    
rectify the problem. She highlighted  that the third item in                                                                    
the CS was  the crime of rape by fraud  reflected on page 1,                                                                    
line 13  through 14 in  the bill  and read the  language  by                                                                    
impersonating someone  known to  the person for  the purpose                                                                    
of  obtaining  consent.   She  offered  that  currently  the                                                                    
behavior was not criminalized.  She described a circumstance                                                                    
that characterized the behavior.                                                                                                
4:05:07 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Tarr  continued to speak about  the bill. She                                                                    
indicated that the  there were many cases in  the state that                                                                    
fit the description. If the  state adopted the provision, it                                                                    
would be the thirteenth state  to do so. The fraud provision                                                                    
was reflected  in the crime  of sexual assault in  the first                                                                    
degree  for penetration  and sexual  assault  in the  second                                                                    
degree for sexual  contact. She elaborated that  the rape by                                                                    
fraud for  sexual penetration was  a Class A felony  and for                                                                    
contact a Class  B felony. The use of force  was added as an                                                                    
element  of sexual  assault in  the first  degree and  was a                                                                    
gradient that  made the assault  rise to a certain  level or                                                                    
degree of crime. She concluded her summary of the CS.                                                                           
4:07:01 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
4:08:17 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Ortiz  MOVED  to ADOPT  the  proposed  committee                                                                    
substitute  for  HB  5,  Work  Draft  32-LS0065\U  (Radford,                                                                    
4:08:42 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
4:08:59 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Ortiz restated the motion for version U.                                                                             
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
HB  5   was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee   for  further                                                                    
Co-Chair Merrick reviewed the schedule for the following                                                                        
4:09:54 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 4:09 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 5 Article.pdf HFIN 5/10/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 CS WorkDraft v.U 051022.pdf HFIN 5/10/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Letters of Support 4.26.21.pdf HFIN 5/10/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Public Testimony Rec'd by 051022.pdf HFIN 5/10/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Public Testimony Rec'd by 051022_Redacted.pdf HFIN 5/10/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Sectional Analysis - U.pdf HFIN 5/10/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Sponsor Statement - U.pdf HFIN 5/10/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Supporting Document - Letters Received as of 4.9.2021.pdf HFIN 5/10/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 5
HB 5 Explanation of Changes v. F - U 051122.pdf HFIN 5/10/2022 1:30:00 PM
HB 5
SB 25 Response to House Finance Questions.pdf HFIN 5/10/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 25