Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/16/1993 03:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE March 16, 1993 3:00 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair Rep. Al Vezey Rep. Pete Kott Rep. Harley Olberg Rep. Bettye Davis Rep. Tom Brice MEMBERS ABSENT Rep. Irene Nicholia COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HB 189: "An Act relating to the charging, prosecuting, and sentencing of certain minors concerning offenses of murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, and certain other offenses; and providing for an effective date." PASSED WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS HB 82: "An Act relating to school construction grants and major maintenance grants to school districts; providing for school district participation in the cost of school construction and major maintenance; creating a major maintenance grant fund; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD TO TIME UNCERTAIN HB 83: "An Act making appropriations for construction and major maintenance of schools; and providing for an effective date." NOT HEARD (* First public hearing.) WITNESS REGISTER CHARLES COLE Attorney General P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 Phone: (907) 465-3600 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 189 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 Phone: (907) 465-4049 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 189 SHERRIE GOLL, Lobbyist Alaska Women's Lobby; KIDPAC P.O. Box 22156 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Phone: (907) 463-6744 Testified in favor of HB 189 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 189 GARY BADER, Director Division of Administrative Services Department of Education 801 W. 10th St. Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894 Phone: (907) 465-2875 Position Statement: Answered questions on HB 82, HB 83 KATHI GILLESPIE, President Alaska Parent-Teacher Association 2741 Seafarer Loop Anchorage, Alaska, 99516 Phone: (907) 345-5335 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 82, HB 83 RICHARD M. SWARNER Executive Director, Business Management Kenai Peninsula Borough School District 44955 Ptarmigan Place Soldotna, Alaska 99699 Phone: (907) 262-4056 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 82, if amended PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 189 SHORT TITLE: SERIOUS CRIMES BY MINORS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR TITLE: "An Act relating to the charging, prosecuting, and sentencing of certain minors concerning offenses of murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, and certain other offenses; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/01/93 491 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/01/93 491 (H) HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/01/93 491 (H) -3 ZERO FNS (ADM, ADM, CORR) 3/1/93 03/01/93 491 (H) -3 ZERO FNS (DHSS, LAW, DPS) 3/1/93 03/01/93 491 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 03/16/93 (H) HES AT 03:30 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 82 SHORT TITLE: SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE GRANTS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR TITLE: "An Act relating to school construction grants and major maintenance grants to school districts; providing for school district participation in the cost of school construction and major maintenance; creating a major maintenance grant fund; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/22/93 131 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/22/93 132 (H) HES, FINANCE 01/22/93 132 (H) -FISCAL NOTE (DOE) 1/22/93 01/22/93 132 (H) -2 ZERO FNS (DOT, REV) 1/22/93 01/22/93 132 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 02/09/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 02/09/93 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/09/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/09/93 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/16/93 (H) HES AT 03:30 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 83 SHORT TITLE: APPROP:SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION GRANT FUND BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR TITLE: "An Act making appropriations for construction and major maintenance of schools; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/22/93 134 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/22/93 134 (H) HES, FINANCE 01/22/93 134 (H) -REVENUE FN (REV) 1/22/93 01/22/93 134 (H) -ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DOT) 01/22/93 134 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 02/09/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 02/09/93 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/09/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/09/93 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/16/93 (H) HES AT 03:30 PM CAPITOL 106 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-37, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting to order at 3:36 p.m., noted members present, announced the calendar, and announced the meeting was being teleconferenced to Anchorage, Soldotna, Tok, Valdez and Healy. HB 189 - SERIOUS CRIMES BY MINORS CHARLES COLE, ALASKA ATTORNEY GENERAL, testified in Juneau in support of HB 189. Number 062 CHAIR BUNDE noted that the committee had heard HB 100 and passed it, but it had been replaced by SB 54. Number 070 ATTORNEY GENERAL COLE said the administration supports HB 189 because it was simpler and more straightforward than other bills. He referred to a chart showing the many unclassified and class A felonies to which SB 54 applied. He said that while in some senses SB 54 was acceptable, he said it was harder to administer and was beyond what the Department of Law wanted to see at that time. He said it might be better to limit the automatic waiver of minors to charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and attempted first-degree murder. He said it would be a good idea to keep the current law in effect for some offenses, which was well suited for offenses other than murder, to allow time to see how the new waiver requirements worked in practice. (Rep. B. Davis arrived at 3:40 p.m.) Number 123 MARGOT KNUTH, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE DEPARTMENT OF LAW'S CRIMINAL DIVISION, testified in Juneau in support of HB 189. She said that juvenile waivers create problems in where to place waived juveniles before trial, where to place them after trial if convicted of only minor offenses, and what to do if the juvenile wants to try to demonstrate amenability to rehabilitation before age 20. These problems prompted the Department of Law to support automatic waiver for murder charges, as the fact that such charges have even been made is an indication that the juvenile's chances of rehabilitation before age 20 are minimum. Lesser charges carry no assurance that the juvenile involved was not amenable to rehabilitation. The current system requires prosecutors to prove a juvenile is not amenable to rehabilitation, a problem that will need to be addressed later, she said. Until then, the automatic waivers for some charges are a good start in the right direction. Number 170 REP. VEZEY asked if Ms. Knuth recalled whether the state had ever shown a person was not amenable to rehabilitation. Number 175 MS. KNUTH answered that the state prevails in more than half of the cases in which it seeks to waive juveniles into adult court, though it is careful of the cases for which it requests waivers. The state ultimately wins most waiver hearings for murder cases, she said. A juvenile's earlier involvement in court proceedings was a good indication that he was not amenable to rehabilitation. Number 200 SHERRIE GOLL, LOBBYIST for the ALASKA WOMEN'S LOBBY and KIDPAC, testified in Juneau in support of HB 189. She said that while the Women's Lobby generally opposed automatic waivers, she acknowledged that both the governor and administration supported the bill, which she said was a more reasonable approach to the issue than SB 54. She expressed support for the current system, but said HB 189 was a reasonable approach. (Rep. Brice arrived at 3:48 p.m.) Number 220 CHAIR BUNDE asked for more public testimony, and hearing none, closed public testimony on HB 189. He asked whether the committee wanted to discuss the bill further. Number 231 REP. VEZEY asked the status of HB 100, which the committee had passed earlier in the session. CHAIR BUNDE said the bill had been passed to the House Judiciary Committee, where it was replaced by SB 54. REP. VEZEY asked if there was a committee substitute for SB 54. CHAIR BUNDE said there was a CSSB 54, and HB 100 had not been passed out of the House Finance Committee. REP. VEZEY asked the source of the document on juvenile waivers which had earlier been handed out to the committee members. CHAIR BUNDE answered that it had come from the attorney general's office. Number 250 ATTORNEY GENERAL COLE said he was concerned with other bills dealing with waivers for youths aged 15 or under. He expressed reluctance to involve offenders that young into the criminal system too far and too fast, when there might be some hope of rehabilitation. He said the system works well for offenders that young. He said HB 189 allows the system to offer some help to juveniles who commit lesser crimes and who might benefit from rehabilitation. CHAIR BUNDE expressed a desire to see HB 189 pass to the House Judiciary Committee, which could then consider both HB 189 and SB 54. Number 285 REP. TOOHEY moved passage of HB 189 from the committee with individual recommendations. Number 290 CHAIR BUNDE asked for objections, and hearing none, declared HB 189 passed with individual recommendations. He noted that he believed the fiscal notes for HB 189 would be large, while the committee had been provided zero fiscal notes. He then brought HB 82 and HB 83 to the table. HB 82 - SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE GRANTS HB 83 - APPROP: SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION GRANT FUND Number 307 GARY BADER, DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, testified in Juneau answering questions on HB 82 and HB 83. He briefly described the provisions of HB 82 and HB 83, establishing major maintenance and construction grant funds, requiring a local contribution based on the district's tax base. (The Department of Education gave a detailed presentation on the bills to the committee on February 9, 1993, the minutes for which are on file in the committee room.) Number 338 KATHI GILLESPIE, PRESIDENT OF THE ALASKA PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION, testified via teleconference from Anchorage, saying that the state of school construction and foundation funding of public schools had become the PTA's top statewide concern in 1993. She said specific concerns included overcrowding and prioritization of life-safety-health issues, both addressed by HB 82. If HB 82 were adequately funded, the PTA would support it, she said, but not if the current foundation formula priority list was not revised to address inequities. Number 370 CHAIR BUNDE asked if the Anchorage School District (ASD) had any specific suggestions concerning the priority list. MS. GILLESPIE mentioned the use of portable classrooms as one concern, as the structures are purchased and maintained through operating budgets. She also noted the absence of fire sprinkler systems in all schools, though she acknowledged that not all schools had to be brought to the same standards. CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were ASD schools, other than O'Malley Elementary, which lacked fire sprinkler systems. MS. GILLESPIE answered that there were other schools that did not have fire sprinkler systems, and offered to send him the information. Number 379 RICHARD M. SWARNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR BUSINESS MANAGEMENT IN THE KENAI PENINSULA BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT, testified via teleconference from Kenai in support of HB 82, if it were modified. He suggested eliminating provisions for a five percent annual increase in a local district's local contribution for construction grants, but expressed support for the sliding scale for such contributions. He suggested eliminating or modifying the elements in Section 5 concerning criteria for grants, saying that the Kenai district's own prioritization of funding requests had not been followed by the Department of Education (DOE). CHAIR BUNDE asked a clarifying question about the Kenai school district's priorities for funding. Number 303 MR. SWARNER stated that the district had prioritized its requests one way, but had seen the DOE change the order after receiving them. Number 412 REP. G. DAVIS asked whether all of Mr. Swarner's recommended changes were in a March 9 flier sent to the committee. MR. SWARNER said he had not sent the flier, and it might have come from the offices of the Kenai Peninsula Borough. REP. G. DAVIS asked whether the flier recommended deletion of page 2, section 3, lines 27-31, to eliminate the increases in the percentages of the required local contribution for state construction grants over three years. MR. SWARNER said yes. REP. G. DAVIS asked whether the flier recommended rewriting or eliminating page 4, section 5, so the DOE could start over with the priority process. Number 428 MR. SWARNER said yes, and added that the local willingness to vote for bond issues for the local matching element of construction grants was an appropriate enough way to gauge local priorities. REP. G. DAVIS asked if he had recommended another change. MR. SWARNER said no, he had not. Number 440 REP. G. DAVIS asked Mr. Bader his impression of Mr. Swarner's recommended amendments. (Rep. Brice departed at 4:07 p.m.) MR. BADER said, regarding the elimination of the sliding scale, that there was a possibility of having a fixed schedule, though he said the DOE would probably let the committee take the lead in proposing such changes, as they would require the smallest amount of matching funds. He said the final match requirements should probably be larger than those set out in the first year of the sliding scale as set forth in HB 82. MR. BADER stated there had been much misunderstanding regarding the prioritization process. He said the DOE was directed to place projects in categories, not rank them for funding according to those categories. As a matter of policy, under the HB 37 process, the department has ranked the projects within the categories, then used the categories for ranking, too. He said HB 82 directs that construction grants would fund health-life-safety projects, while protections of structures and code upgrades would be funded by a separate major maintenance fund. He acknowledged that the DOE did not prioritize the same way as some local boards did, possibly because local boards considered some projects health-life-safety, while the DOE did not. Number 490 REP. TOOHEY asked whether the DOE physically inspected all schools for which funding requests had been made. MR. BADER answered that the DOE tries to see as many projects as it can, but not all. REP. TOOHEY asked whether the department ranked life-safety- health requests without physical inspections. Number 506 MR. BADER answered that the DOE could rank them without inspections. While the DOE would like to make its own inspections, the rankings are based in large part on reports from engineers, fire marshals and other professionals. REP. TOOHEY asked the ranking of the (Anchorage) Service High School roof, which collapsed under a load of snow. Number 506 REP. VEZEY asked if the state was constructing schools with built-in life-safety problems. He asked what was the source of such problems. MR. BADER said weathering and age cause most of such problems, and the state was not building flaws into schools. Aging, deterioration and lack of essential maintenance are the main causes of life-safety-health problems in schools, he said. He also pointed out that changing building standards, such as the discovery that asbestos and lead were dangerous, were at the root of many life-health-safety projects. Number 525 REP. VEZEY noted the tightening of building standards on lead plumbing in 1992. He commented that if, as he had been told, school buildings were experiencing structural deterioration due to inadequate maintenance, then that was evidence of criminal negligence on someone's part. MR. BADER said the reasons for the deterioration vary. Number 540 REP. VEZEY commented that the tightening standards on asbestos, lead and fiberglass were having the effect of threatening to legislate the usefulness out of 20-year-old school buildings. MR. BADER pointed out that much of HB 82 dealt with maintenance. He said $40 million was appropriated under the bill to maintenance grants, and $120 million to construction, but it was spent on almost as many maintenance projects as construction projects. He pointed out the requirements in HB 82 for school districts to prove compliance with maintenance plans in order to receive any new grants. Number 561 CHAIR BUNDE expressed sympathy with Rep. Vezey's expressions of frustration with poorly designed or built school structures. He questioned whether all local school boards possess the proper level of expertise necessary to ensure that they construct good school buildings. REP. OLBERG stated that the root of much of the problem with school construction in Alaska was the use of flat roofs. He said he had told DOE Commissioner Jerry Covey that the state would save millions of dollars by insisting on peaked roofs for public buildings. He said he would not support funding for state buildings unless they had peaked roofs. Number 576 REP. VEZEY stated he was not commenting about poor construction or design, but on the changing of building standards. He said Mr. Bader had implied that adequate structures had deteriorated due to lack of maintenance. He noted that many of the projects listed in HB 83 include roofs. He said he did not have enough information to see why they were classified as life-health-safety projects. REP. BRICE concurred with Rep. Olberg, and said that the bill did not include requirements to establish design criteria for the construction of new school buildings that could help prevent either over or under-building of such structures. TAPE 93-37, SIDE B Number 007 REP. OLBERG noted that nine of the projects outlined in HB 83 involved roofs, totalling $2.66 million, and said the state should have standard school designs. REP. TOOHEY said she had suggested standardized school design and peaked roofs at an earlier committee meeting at which HB 82 was discussed. CHAIR BUNDE expressed his desire that the committee could craft the bill and move it to the next committee. As such, he invited amendments to the bill. Number 030 REP. VEZEY said he had drafted a proposed amendment to HB 82. He said he had had problems with HB 82. One was the graduated scale for local contribution, as it would bring confusion to a voting public considering whether to approve bonds. He expressed problems with REAAs funding only 1.4 percent of their school projects. He moved deletion of HB 82, section 3, paragraph C, an action that would include REAAs into the provisions of paragraphs A and B. He expressed the need to define more carefully the term Average Daily Membership. He also proposed changing the percentage to 20 percent from 5 percent on line 23; to 30 percent from 15 percent on line 24; to 40 percent from 30 percent on line 25; and to 50 percent from 40 percent on line 26. He said the state needs to rely more on local input for school construction. He cautioned the committee against setting design standards, an area in which they had little experience, and which could bog the bill down for a long time with no guaranteed beneficial result. Number 097 MR. BADER said the DOE was establishing a committee to study the ranking process. He said a letter from the commissioner to those participating in the committee included three points, including standards of construction and standards for what type of structures the state should pay to build. He expressed a preference for peaked roofs, but pointed out that large snow loads in Valdez make peaked roofs less attractive. He said the DOE had invited three architects and engineers who had experience building schools, to the committee to study the process. CHAIR BUNDE asked if the House Health, Education and Social Services Committee (H/HESS) was premature in considering HB 82 before the DOE had finished its work. MR. BADER answered no, as the committee was concerning itself with issues that could be addressed by regulation. Number 140 REP. OLBERG suggested that inviting architects to join the committee was like enlisting foxes to gather the eggs. He said architects had, in the past, been part of the problem, and that laymen can have fresh perspectives. MR. BADER said the three architects would not be in the majority of the 15-member committee. Number 151 REP. G. DAVIS stated he was glad to hear concerns about design standards, and said it was important for the state to impose some standards to prevent local communities from scrimping on proper design and construction methods. REP. OLBERG said standard designs might theoretically save up to 10 percent of building costs by avoiding the need for individual designs. Number 170 REP. VEZEY said that the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District had gone to a prototype design for elementary schools a few years ago. While the district saved some on the building cost, and more for each succeeding building, he said the architectural fees per building remained the same. He stated architectural fees include substantial insurance packages for each structure. CHAIR BUNDE expressed frustration with an overly detailed discussion on the bill. He suggested forming a subcommittee to hold a work session to work out detailed amendments on HB 82 to put before the board. He asked Mr. Bader why passage of the bill would require an increase in administrative costs, as reflected in the DOE fiscal note. Number 219 MR. BADER said the local matching provision broke new ground, and it would take some administrative costs to make sure the school districts met the matching grant requirements. He said the department will need to ensure that the maintenance plans are followed. He called some of the fiscal note amounts modest relative to other matching grant bills. He said there would be a need for some additional personnel to administer the $150 million worth of construction and maintenance work, while the DOE currently administers from $15 million to $25 million in grants per year. Number 243 CHAIR BUNDE said HB 82 and its expenditures would go through a fine sieve. Seeing no one else wanting to testify on the bill, he closed public testimony. He asked the committee members if there were elements in the bill they wanted to retain. REP. VEZEY said he believed it was essential to retain the matching grant provision. CHAIR BUNDE expressed agreement with Rep. Vezey on that point. REP. G. DAVIS expressed agreement as well, but said he had empathy for Bush areas and REAAs, and hoped their concerns regarding the bill would be addressed. CHAIR BUNDE appointed Rep. G. Davis to the subcommittee on the bill to address those concerns. Number 267 REP. OLBERG noted that his district included two REAAs, and said that as Rep. Nicholia was not there to address Bush areas, he volunteered to serve on the subcommittee. CHAIR BUNDE named Reps. Brice, Olberg, G. Davis and Vezey to a subcommittee, with Rep. Vezey as chair, to develop amendments on HB 82 for the committee by the following week, in hopes of moving the bill from committee. He said the rest of the committee was welcome to be involved in the subcommittee as well. Number 286 REP. B. DAVIS stated that local school districts should not be required to provide matching funds of more than 30 percent. She expressed opposition to a 50 percent match. REP. TOOHEY expressed agreement with Rep. B. Davis on matching fund levels. Given unfunded federal mandates on education, she said, 50 percent matching fund requirements were unreasonable. Number 302 REP. VEZEY commented that he had proposed 50 percent matching for some of the state's school districts that had ratios of taxable property per student that were ten times those of Anchorage due to their base of wealth in fish or oil. CHAIR BUNDE recommended saving arguments until consideration of actual amendments. He also asked Rep. Vezey to share the amendments with Mr. Bader for his consideration. Number 317 REP. G. DAVIS asked that Mr. Bader be notified of the subcommittee's meeting. CHAIR BUNDE invited Mr. Bader to participate as a member of the subcommittee. He then asked if the committee wanted to continue the meeting to address HB 83. Number 325 Committee members said informally that, as HB 82 had been referred to a subcommittee, they would prefer to wait to consider HB 83. Number 330 CHAIR BUNDE indicated to committee staff a desire to have HB 82 considered again at the next available date the following week. He asked Rep. Vezey to pick a date for his subcommittee meeting so the HESS Committee could hear HB 82 once again in hopes of passing it to the next committee of referral. REP. VEZEY said the committee would have something ready for discussion, though not a committee substitute, by Tuesday, March 23, 1993. Number 337 CHAIR BUNDE announced that HB 82 and HB 83 would come before the committee on Tuesday, and with luck, the bills could be passed out on that day. Number 341 REP. TOOHEY recommended also setting aside Thursday, March 25 for further consideration, so that in any case the bills would not be held later than the end of the week. Seeing no further business before the committee, CHAIR BUNDE ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:44 p.m.