Legislature(2021 - 2022)SENATE FINANCE 532

06/03/2021 02:00 PM CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON HB69 AND HB71

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Audio Topic
02:02:21 PM Start
02:17:01 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 69 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Supplemental Operating Budget:
- Dept. of Health & Social Services
- Debt Service
- Fund Capitalization
Operating Budget:
- Debt Service
- Fund Capitalization
- Language & Other Appropriations
+= HB 71 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
               32ND ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
                       FIRST SESSION                                                                                            
                      SPECIAL SESSION                                                                                           
           CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON HB 69 and HB 71                                                                              
                       June 3, 2021                                                                                             
                         2:02 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:02:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster called the Conference Committee meeting on HB
69 and HB 71 to order at 2:02 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
House:                                                                                                                          
Representative Neal Foster, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Kelly Merrick                                                                                                    
Representative Bart LeBon                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senate:                                                                                                                         
Senator Bert Stedman, Vice-Chair                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT:                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Alexei Painter, Director, Legislative Finance Division                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 69     APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          HB 69 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 71     APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          HB 71 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 69(FIN) am(brf sup maj fld)(efd fld)                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;    capitalizing   funds;   amending                                                                    
     appropriations;  and   making  capital  appropriations,                                                                    
    supplemental appropriations, and reappropriations."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SCS CSHB 69(FIN) AM S                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;    capitalizing   funds;   amending                                                                    
     appropriations;    making    capital    appropriations,                                                                    
     supplemental appropriations,  and reappropriations; and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
and                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 71(FIN) am                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive    mental    health    program;    making                                                                    
     supplemental  appropriations;  and   providing  for  an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 71(FIN)                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive  mental  health program;  making  capital                                                                    
     appropriations  and  supplemental  appropriations;  and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:02:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster invited Alexei Painter, Director of the                                                                            
Legislative Finance Division to join the committee at the                                                                       
table.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster  noted that the  committee would  be addressing                                                                    
open items  in HB 69  and HB 71  based on the  motion sheets                                                                    
distributed to  members and  dated June  3rd (copy  on file)                                                                    
on:                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
FY 21 SUPPLEMENTAL OPERATING BUDGET:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                                   
     DEBT SERVICE                                                                                                               
     FUND CAPITALIZATION                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
FY 22 OPERATING BUDGET:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     DEBT SERVICE                                                                                                               
     FUND CAPITALIZATION                                                                                                        
     LANGUAGE AND OTHER APPROPRIATIONS                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:03:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Foster relayed  that the  committee would  first hear                                                                    
items from the FY 21 supplemental operating budget.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
^FY 21  SUPPLEMENTAL OPERATING BUDGET: DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH                                                                  
AND SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:03:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stedman  MOVED  that  the  committee  ADOPT  the                                                                    
following in  the Department of  Health and  Social Services                                                                    
(DHSS) budget:                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Item 12   Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 13   Senate                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  LeBon  OBJECTED.  He  asked  for  additional                                                                    
information  on  the selection  of  the  Senate version  for                                                                    
items  12 and  13. Additionally,  he asked  for the  funding                                                                    
source for both House and Senate versions.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster  explained that the  House and Senate  had both                                                                    
fully funded  school bond debt and  the Regional Educational                                                                    
Attendance Area (REAA) Fund. He  detailed that the House had                                                                    
used  some  Medicaid  lapsing   funds,  whereas  the  Senate                                                                    
version  used  undesignated  general  funds  (UGF)  and  the                                                                    
Public  School  Trust Fund.  He  asked  Mr. Painter  if  the                                                                    
statements were accurate.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ALEXEI  PAINTER,  DIRECTOR,   LEGISLATIVE  FINANCE  DIVISION                                                                    
corrected that the fund source  was the School Fund, not the                                                                    
Public School Trust Fund.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Foster explained  that the  motion  would switch  the                                                                    
fund source to all UGF and the School Fund.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked what happened  to the  Medicaid funding                                                                    
that had not been used for DHSS.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr.   Painter   answered   that  the   House   version   had                                                                    
reappropriated   approximately   $87  million   of   lapsing                                                                    
Medicaid  funds. He  reported that  more recent  projections                                                                    
indicated the Medicaid  lapse may be less  than that amount.                                                                    
He detailed  that the  entire lapsing  amount may  not fully                                                                    
fund the  appropriation; some of  the funding would  be used                                                                    
for Medicaid. He  relayed that in the Senate  version of the                                                                    
budget,  lapsing  appropriations  were  transferred  to  the                                                                    
Statutory Budget Reserve  in a separate item  that would not                                                                    
be addressed during the current meeting.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative LeBon WITHDREW the OBJECTION.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
There being  NO further OBJECTION,  items 12 and 13  for the                                                                    
Department of Health and Social Services were ADOPTED.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
^FY 21 SUPPLEMENTAL OPERATING BUDGET: DEBT SERVICE                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:06:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster noted that the  item was also related to school                                                                    
bond debt reimbursement.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stedman  MOVED  that  the  committee  ADOPT  the                                                                    
following in the Debt Service budget:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    Senate                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There  being  NO OBJECTION,  item  1  for Debt  Service  was                                                                    
ADOPTED.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^FY 21 SUPPLEMENTAL OPERATING BUDGET: FUND CAPITILIZATION                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:06:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster relayed that the  item was related to switching                                                                    
from REAA  to UGF  in alignment with  the Senate  version of                                                                    
the budget.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stedman  MOVED  that  the  committee  ADOPT  the                                                                    
following in the Fund Capitalization budget:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    Senate                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There  being NO  OBJECTION, item  1 for  Fund Capitalization                                                                    
was ADOPTED.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked for verification  that the  REAA school                                                                    
bond debt reimbursement was fully funded.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Foster  answered that  the  item  was funded  at  100                                                                    
percent.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Painter replied that the  REAA school bond debt would be                                                                    
fully  funded after  the  adoption  of items  in  the FY  22                                                                    
budget. He  explained that the  Senate had fully  funded the                                                                    
item in FY 22.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Chair   Foster   explained    that   there   were   numerous                                                                    
transactions  with the  end result  of  funding school  bond                                                                    
debt and REAA at 100 percent using UGF and the School Fund.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster  stated that  the actions  concluded the  FY 21                                                                    
supplemental operating budget items  on the agenda. He moved                                                                    
to the FY 22 operating budget items.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
^FY 22 OPERATING BUDGET: DEBT SERVICE:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:08:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stedman  MOVED  that  the  committee  ADOPT  the                                                                    
following within the Debt Service budget:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1         Open                                                                                                        
     Item 16        Senate                                                                                                      
     Item 17        Senate                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There  being NO  OBJECTION, items  1,  16, and  17 for  Debt                                                                    
Service were ADOPTED.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Foster noted  that  the items  were  also related  to                                                                    
school  bond  debt. He  stated  that  item 16  was  backstop                                                                    
language related to school bond debt.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
^FY 21 SUPPLEMENTAL OPERATING BUDGET: FUND CAPITALIZATION:                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:09:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stedman  MOVED  that  the  committee  ADOPT  the                                                                    
following within the Fund Capitalization budget:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    Open                                                                                                             
     Item 6    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 7    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 8    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 9    Open                                                                                                             
     Item 10   Open                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, items 1  and 6 through 10 for Fund                                                                    
Capitalization were ADOPTED.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
^FY  21 SUPPLEMENTAL  OPERATING BUDGET:  LANGUAGE AND  OTHER                                                                  
APPROPRIATIONS                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:10:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stedman  MOVED  that  the  committee  ADOPT  the                                                                    
following  within  the  Language  and  Other  Appropriations                                                                    
budget:                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Item 1    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 2    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 3    House                                                                                                            
     Item 4    Senate                                                                                                           
     Item 5    Open                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative LeBon OBJECTED to item 1 for clarification.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster  asked Mr.  Painter if he  had any  comments on                                                                    
item 1.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Painter replied that he had no comments on the item.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Foster read  the [House]  intent language  related to                                                                    
item 1:                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     It  is the  intent  of the  legislature  that no  state                                                                    
     funds be used  to promote the creation  or expansion of                                                                    
     a borough where  one does not already  exist unless the                                                                    
     residents in  the affected jurisdiction  have expressed                                                                    
     the  desire to  reside in  a borough  through a  public                                                                    
     vote on the matter.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  LeBon   asked  for   historical  perspective                                                                    
regarding the need for the  intent language. He asked if the                                                                    
state had a  past practice of forcing  organized boroughs on                                                                    
unorganized areas.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stedman  noted that  the motion  on item  1 would                                                                    
adopt  the Senate  version  and did  not  accept the  intent                                                                    
language that had been adopted by the House.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster  agreed. He clarified that  the intent language                                                                    
had been  passed by the  House. The motion would  reject the                                                                    
intent language and adopt the Senate version of item 1.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson wondered  why the  intent  language had  been                                                                    
included in the House.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster  answered that had  not been in support  of the                                                                    
language  when it  had passed  in the  House; therefore,  he                                                                    
could not speak to the reason for the language.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stedman believed  the language  may violate  the                                                                    
confinement clause in the  state's constitution. He remarked                                                                    
that  the  intent  language  had  nothing  to  do  with  the                                                                    
appropriation bill under  consideration. He highlighted that                                                                    
all items  in the  bill had  a life of  one year.  He stated                                                                    
that in  the early part  of each  year the House  and Senate                                                                    
worked with  their members to ensure  a better understanding                                                                    
of what should  be included or not included  in an operating                                                                    
budget  bill. He  was concerned  that more  and more  intent                                                                    
language items were being added.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster added that a  majority of the House members who                                                                    
believed the issue [addressed by  the House intent language]                                                                    
existed regarding boroughs. He could  not speak to the issue                                                                    
as he had not supported the intent language.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:13:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  LeBon  believed  the process  the  following                                                                    
year should be to look at  a separate vehicle outside of the                                                                    
budget  to clarify  that  Alaska did  not  want to  organize                                                                    
boroughs without  allowing local  residents to weigh  in. He                                                                    
thought  it was  likely  all  members would  philosophically                                                                    
agree  on the  matter. He  stated  that he  had objected  in                                                                    
order to have  a short dialogue on the topic.  He noted that                                                                    
not including  the intent language  in the  operating budget                                                                    
did  not mean  the topic  did not  deserve conversation.  He                                                                    
WITHDREW the OBJECTION.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stedman  OBJECTED  for discussion.  He  believed                                                                    
that the  last borough  created was the  Petersburg Borough.                                                                    
He  explained that  the  Petersburg/Wrangell  area had  been                                                                    
targeted as  a combined  model borough. He  highlighted that                                                                    
the constitution  required all of  the area of the  state to                                                                    
be within boroughs. He noted it  had taken many years to get                                                                    
there and he  estimated it would still  take several decades                                                                    
to meet  the requirement. He  elaborated that the  state had                                                                    
allowed Petersburg  and Wrangell to have  their own separate                                                                    
boroughs to encourage the communities  to voluntarily form a                                                                    
borough.  He  did  not  believe  there  was  intent  in  the                                                                    
legislature   to  force   borough  creation.   However,  the                                                                    
legislature could encourage communities  by giving them more                                                                    
flexibility  to incentivize  citizens  to want  to  be in  a                                                                    
borough. He WITHDREW the OBJECTION.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  LeBon  appreciated  the remarks.  He  shared                                                                    
that  in  the Interior,  the  Denali  Borough had  voted  to                                                                    
organize.  He  believed  it  had   been  a  very  successful                                                                    
borough. He  wanted local residents  to have the  ability to                                                                    
lead in the effort and not  be forced to organize by a state                                                                    
mandate.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There  being NO  further OBJECTION,  items 1  through 5  for                                                                    
Language and Other Appropriations were ADOPTED.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Chair Foster stated that the  actions concluded the business                                                                    
for the hearing. He relayed  that when the next meeting date                                                                    
and  time  had been  determined,  the  information would  be                                                                    
noticed on BASIS on akleg.gov.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stedman MOVED to ADJOURN the meeting.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
There being NO further OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:17:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 2:16 p.m.                                                                                          

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