Legislature(2009 - 2010)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/06/2009 09:00 AM FINANCE

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09:03:08 AM Start
09:03:13 AM SB161
10:19:35 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Statewide Public Testimony TELECONFERENCED
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 6, 2009                                                                                            
                         9:03 a.m.                                                                                              
9:03:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Stedman called the Senate Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 9:03 a.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Lyman Hoffman, Co-Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice-Chair                                                                                             
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Joe Thomas                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Denise Doniello, Executive Director,  Alaska Commission on                                                                      
Aging; Nancy DeCherney, Executive Director, Juneau  Arts &                                                                      
Humanities Council; Peggy Brown, Executive Director, Alaska                                                                     
Network on  Domestic Violence &  Sexual; Joy  Lyon, Chair,                                                                      
Alaska Association for Education of Young Children.                                                                             
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Mike Huelsman, VSA Arts of Alaska, Anchorage; Kevin Gadsey,                                                                     
SILK,  Ketchikan; Jamie  Stacks,  Superintendant, Pribilof                                                                      
School District; Charlotte Fox, Executive Director, Alaska                                                                      
State Council  for the  Arts;  Nancy Nolan, Senior  Policy                                                                      
Director for  Acting Mayor  Matt Claman,  Anchorage; Karla                                                                      
Jutzi, Executive Director, Alaska Center for the Blind and                                                                      
Visually  Impaired;  Andi   Nations,  Executive  Director,                                                                      
Statewide  Independent Living  Council,  Anchorage;  Susan                                                                      
Sullivan,   Executive  Director,   Victims  for   Justice,                                                                      
Anchorage; Jim  Beck, Access Alaska &  Independent Living,                                                                      
Palmer; Sarah Scanlan, Rural Alaska Community Action Program                                                                    
(RurAL CAP), Anchorage; Mitzi Barker, RurAL CAP, Chugiak);                                                                      
Roger Purcell, Mayor, Houston; Dane Crowley, Superior Pellet                                                                    
Fuels,    Wasilla;  Melinda Myers,  Senior  Manager,  Best                                                                      
Beginnings Alaska, Anchorage; Judy Cordell, Abused Women's                                                                      
Aid in  Crisis (AWAIC), Anchorage; Luke  Hopkins, Assembly                                                                      
Member, Fairbanks North Star Borough; Cheryl Keepers, Early                                                                     
Childhood Commission,  Fairbanks; Candice  Winkler, Alaska                                                                      
Child Care Resource and Referral Network; Johanna Darrough,                                                                     
 Director, Alaska Primary Care; Carol Comeau, Superintendant,                                                                   
 Anchorage School  District; Karen  Parr, Chairman,  Senior                                                                     
 Project, Fairbanks; Sarah Finnell, Homeless Youth Advocate,                                                                    
 Fairbanks Counseling and Adoption, Fairbanks; Paul Sherry,                                                                     
 President, Alaska E-Health Network, Fairbanks; Tom Morgan,                                                                     
 Director, Community Schools of Alaska.                                                                                         
 GENERAL SUBJECT(S):                                                                                                          
The  following  overview was  taken  in  log  note  format.                                                                     
Handouts will be  on file with the House  Finance Committee                                                                     
through  the 26th  Legislative Session,  contact  465-6814.                                                                     
After the 26th  Legislative Session they will be  available                                                                     
through the Legislative Library at 465-3808.                                                                                    
 SENATE BILL NO. 161                                                                                                          
     "An Act making supplemental appropriations and capital                                                                     
     appropriations; amending appropriations; and providing                                                                     
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
 TIME        SPEAKER        DISCUSSION                                                                                      
 9:03:13 AM Co-Chair        Opened statewide public testimony.                                                                
 9:04:27 AM MIKE HUELSMAN, Encouraged acceptance of all federal                                                               
             VSA  ARTS   OF stimulus   funds  for   the  arts.   He                                                             
             ALASKA,        stressed that that there are over 1,168                                                             
             ANCHORAGE      jobs and $45 million worth of economic                                                              
                            activity created by  arts in Anchorage.                                                             
                            He  described the extent of the loss of                                                             
                            funding  for   arts.  He  referenced  a                                                             
                            petition   with  over   100  signatures                                                             
                            supporting acceptance of stimulus funds                                                             
                            for the arts.                                                                                     
 9:08:30 AM KEVIN GADSEY, Spoke in support for stimulus funds for                                                             
             STATE          one-time projects benefiting citizens                                                               
             INDEPENDENT    with disabilities.                                                                                
 9:10:54 AM JAMIE STACKS, Urged acceptance of federal stimulus                                                                
             SUPERINTENDENTfunding  for education. She stressed the                                                             
             ,     PRIBILOF importance of using the funds for                                                                   
             SCHOOL         students and to keep people employed.                                                             
 9:12:23 AM CHARLOTTE FOX, Encouraged acceptance of all federal                                                               
             EXECUTIVE      stimulus funds for the arts. She                                                                    
             DIRECTOR,      detailed how funding would be used.                                                                 
             ALASKA   STATE Many  arts  organizations have  already                                                             
             COUNCIL    FOR experienced extensive funding cuts. She                                                           
            THE ARTS        emphasized the importance of the bridge                                                             
9:14:27 AM  NANCY    NOLAN, Urged acceptance of all stimulus funds,                                                           
            SENIOR   POLICY especially for  education. She pointed                                                              
            DIRECTOR   FOR  out  that  Anchorage has  one  of  the                                                              
            ACTING    MAYOR largest school  systems in  the state.                                                              
            MATT    CLAMAN, She  asked  for   support  for  energy                                                              
            ANCHORAGE       development. She did not think the                                                                  
                            building code issues applied. She also                                                              
                            asked   for    support    for   COBRA,                                                              
                            unemployment, the arts, and public                                                                  
9:17:41 AM  KARLA    JUTZI, Described the functions of the center.                                                            
            EXECUTIVE       She urged acceptance of funds for                                                                   
            DIRECTOR,       people with disabilities, especially                                                                
            ALASKA   CENTER for   the   Division   of   Vocational                                                              
            FOR  THE  BLIND Rehabilitation and for the  council on                                                              
            AND    VISUALLY independent living.  The  majority  of                                                              
            IMPAIRED        people with visual disabilities are                                                                 
9:20:02 AM  ANDI   NATIONS, Asked  the  committee  to  accept  all                                                            
            EXECUTIVE       stimulus funds, especially funds for                                                                
            DIRECTOR,       independent living and citizens with                                                                
            STATEWIDE       disabilities.   She    described   the                                                              
            INDEPENDENT     services offered by the council of                                                                  
            LIVING          independent living, which often helps                                                               
            COUNCIL,        people live at home and keep their                                                                  
            ANCHORAGE       jobs.                                                                                             
9:22:16 AM AT EASE                                                                                                            
9:23:15 AM RECONVENED                                                                                                         
            SUSAN           Testified in support of accepting all                                                               
            SULLIVAN,       ARRA funds for public safety programs,                                                              
            EXECUTIVE       especially those connected with violent                                                             
            DIRECTOR,       crimes. She explained the increase in                                                               
            VICTIMS    FOR  crime in times of economic difficulty.                                                              
            JUSTICE,        Severe decline in corporate support has                                                             
            ANCHORAGE       impaired   the    ability    of    the                                                              
                            organization to do its job.                                                                       
9:25:44 AM JIM        BECK, Urged acceptance of all stimulus                                                                  
            ACCESS   ALASKA funding,    especially    funds    for                                                              
            &   INDEPENDENT vocational    education     and    for                                                              
            LIVING, PALMER  independent   living   programs.   The                                                              
                            community has worked nationally to get                                                              
                            the funding  in the  ARRA legislation,                                                              
                            and they are ready to  use it well. He                                                              
                            described plans for the funds.                                                                    
9:29:52 AM  SARAH  SCANLAN, Described the  services of  RurAL CAP.                                                            
            RURAL     CAP, She requested acceptance of the $3.9                                                                 
            ANCHORAGE       million community services block funds.                                                             
                            She stressed that the use of the funds                                                              
                            will enhance energy efficiency.                                                                   
9:31:59 AM  MITZI   BARKER, Discussed the phenomenon and effects of                                                           
            RURAL    ALASKA foreclosure in the state. She stressed                                                            
             COMMUNITY      that RurAL CAP proposes to inform and                                                               
             ACTION PROGRAM educate   the   public  regarding   the                                                             
             (RURAL   CAP), process leading towards losing  a home.                                                             
             CHUGIAK        She encouraged acceptance of funds for                                                              
                            community service block grant program.                                                            
 9:35:47 AM  ROGER PURCELL, Supported acceptance of  stimulus funds                                                           
             MAYOR, HOUSTON  for shovel-ready projects for the Mat-                                                             
                            Su,   especially   the  public   safety                                                             
                            building. He  pointed out how dangerous                                                             
                            the   highway  near   Houston  is.   He                                                             
                            described  needs for road  work near  a                                                             
                            new  housing  project and  need  for  a                                                             
                            public works building.                                                                            
 9:39:12 AM  DANE  CROWLEY, Asked  for acceptance of  funds related                                                           
             SUPERIOR       to renewable energy upgrades. He                                                                    
             PELLET  FUELS,  pointed   out    that    Power    Cost                                                             
             WASILLA        Equalization applies only to oil-fired                                                              
                            systems  and does  not  apply to  other                                                             
                            technologies.  He  stressed   that  the                                                             
                            costs  for energy in rural Alaska is  a                                                             
                            critical issue.                                                                                   
 9:41:12 AM  MELINDA MYERS, Testified  in  support of  funding  for                                                           
             SENIOR         early childhood programs, especially                                                                
             MANAGER,  BEST for  professional development for early                                                             
             BEGINNINGS     care programs.  She supported $113                                                                  
             ALASKA,        million for public schools and the                                                                  
             ANCHORAGE      university, funding for special needs                                                               
                            children, the Title 1  grant funds, and                                                             
                            funds for workforce training.                                                                     
 9:43:33 AM  JUDY  CORDELL, Requested  that federal stimulus  funds                                                           
             ABUSED WOMEN'S be accepted for the Council on Domestic                                                             
             AID IN  CRISIS Violence and  Sexual Assault and Public                                                             
             (AWAIC),       Safety. She described difficulties in                                                               
             ANCHORAGE      shelters resulting from funding cuts.                                                             
 9:45:32 AM  LUKE  HOPKINS, Requested  acceptance of  all  stimulus                                                           
             ASSEMBLY       funds, especially Department of Revenue                                                             
             MEMBER,        funds for weatherization and energy                                                                 
             FAIRBANKS      conservation, and block grants. He                                                                  
             NORTH     STAR described the importance of energy                                                                  
             BOROUGH        projects.   He    supported   accepting                                                             
                            education and social services funds.                                                              
 9:48:17 AM CHERYL          Supported acceptance of funds for early                                                           
             KEEPERS, EARLY care  and  education. She  stated  that                                                             
             CHILDHOOD      access to child care makes it possible                                                              
             COMMISSION,    for lower income families to work while                                                             
             FAIRBANKS      their children are supported. Children                                                              
                            with  good  early  care have  a  better                                                             
                            chance of succeeding in school.                                                                   
 9:51:00 AM DENISE          Supported acceptance of funds for older                                                           
             DONIELLO,      Alaskans for services, including meals                                                              
             EXECUTIVE      delivered at home or served at senior                                                               
             DIRECTOR,      centers. She described experience with                                                              
             ALASKA         food services for elder Alaskans.                                                                 
            COMMISSION ON                                                                                                       
9:53:50 AM NANCY            Encouraged acceptance of all federal                                                              
            DECHERNEY,      stimulus funds for the arts. She                                                                    
            EXECUTIVE       reported that funding will replace                                                                  
            DIRECTOR,       funding lost for projects that are                                                                  
            JUNEAU  ARTS &  already planned. She drew attention to                                                              
            HUMANITIES      the fact that individual donations are                                                              
            COUNCIL         up   significantly,   indicating   the                                                              
                            importance the  public  places on  the                                                              
                            arts. She listed projects that need the                                                             
9:55:35 AM  Senator Ellis   Asked if  the  council  understood the                                                            
                            nature of one-time stimulus funding.                                                              
            Ms. DeCherney   Replied that all funding for the arts                                                               
                            is  one-time  funding  and  that  they                                                              
                            understood fully how to use the funds.                                                            
9:56:36 AM  Senator Ellis   Stressed for the record  that the one-                                                            
                            time  nature   of   the   funding  was                                                              
                            understood and  urged other testifiers                                                              
                            to clarify their  understanding of the                                                              
9:56:52 AM  PEGGY    BROWN, Requested that  federal stimulus funds                                                            
            EXECUTIVE       be accepted for the Council on Domestic                                                             
            DIRECTOR,       Violence and Sexual Assault and Public                                                              
            ALASKA  NETWORK Safety. She pointed out the connection                                                              
            ON     DOMESTIC between  economic  downturns   and  an                                                              
            VIOLENCE     & increase in domestic violence. She                                                                   
            SEXUAL ASSAULT  stated that the network understood the                                                              
                            nature of the one-time funding.                                                                   
9:58:58 AM JOY        LYON, Urged acceptance of federal stimulus                                                              
            CHAIR,   ALASKA funding for education, particularly for                                                             
            ASSOCIATION     early childhood care and education. She                                                             
            FOR   EDUCATION described grants  that  have increased                                                              
            OF        YOUNG quality of early childhood programs.                                                              
10:02:01 AM CANDICE         Supported accepting stimulus funding of                                                           
            WINKLER,        early childhood education programs,                                                                 
            ALASKA    CHILD especially   the    early    childhood                                                              
            CARE   RESOURCE development  block  grant  funds.  She                                                              
            AND    REFERRAL stated that the network understood the                                                              
            NETWORK         one-time nature of the funding. She                                                                 
                            hoped to  enhance technical assistance                                                              
                            and  training  of  teachers  of  young                                                              
                            people with behavioral problems.                                                                  
10:04:58 AM AT EASE                                                                                                           
10:05:14 AM RECONVENED                                                                                                        
10:05:17 AM JOHANNA         Testified in support of accepting                                                                 
            DARROUGH,       stimulus funds for electronic health                                                                
            DIRECTOR,       records program. She described the                                                                  
            ALASKA  PRIMARY increase  in  healthcare quality  that                                                              
            CARE            would result from the program.                                                                    
 10:07:10 AM CAROL COMEAU, Urged acceptance of all stimulus money,                                                            
             SUPERINTENDENTespecially   for   K-12  education.  She                                                             
             ,    ANCHORAGE emphasized  her clear  understanding of                                                             
             SCHOOL         the one-time nature of the stimulus                                                                 
             DISTRICT       funding. She explained the funds would                                                              
                            be  used for  training and to  redirect                                                             
                            Title  I funds. The school  district is                                                             
                            completely  willing to  be  accountable                                                             
                            for the use of the funds.                                                                         
 10:08:54 AM KAREN    PARR, Urged acceptance of stimulus funds for                                                            
             CHAIRMAN,      housing and services for seniors. She                                                               
             SENIOR         understood the one-time nature of the                                                               
             PROJECT,       funds. She suggested appointing a                                                                   
             FAIRBANKS      watchdog to makes sure stimulus funds                                                               
                            are expended as intended by the                                                                     
 10:11:08 AM SARAH FINNELL, Asked for stimulus funding of any sort                                                            
             HOMELESS YOUTH that  would  help  homeless youth.  She                                                             
             ADVOCATE,      described the struggles and needs of                                                                
             FAIRBANKS      youth.                                                                                            
             COUNSELING AND                                                                                                     
 10:12:24 AM PAUL   SHERRY, Urged    acceptance   of   funds    for                                                           
             PRESIDENT,     competitive grant funding for high-tech                                                             
             ALASKA      E-health     information   exchange    and                                                             
             HEALTH         electronic health records. He asked for                                                             
             NETWORK,       clarification of the intent of Title 13                                                             
             FAIRBANKS      high-tech funds. He referred to SB 133.                                                           
 10:16:21 AM TOM    MORGAN, Urged acceptance of federal stimulus                                                              
             DIRECTOR,      funding for education. He discussed                                                                 
             COMMUNITY      results   from    other   funding   for                                                             
             SCHOOLS     OF libraries and reading. He stated that                                                               
             ALASKA         non-profit agencies understand the                                                                  
                            nature of one-time funding as a bridge                                                              
                            during a difficult economic time.                                                                 
 10:19:14 AM Co-Chair       Closed public testimony.                                                                          
                            SB 161 was HEARD and HELD in Committee                                                              
                            for further consideration.                                                                        
10:19:35 AM #              The meeting was adjourned at 10:19 AM.                                                             

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