Legislature(2013 - 2014)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/22/2013 01:30 PM FINANCE


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Audio Topic
01:33:30 PM Start
01:35:04 PM HB65 || HB66
04:32:05 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Continuation of Statewide Public Testimony
+= HB 65 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
= HB 66 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET
Heard & Held
+ Statewide Public Testimony TELECONFERENCED
(Public testimony may be limited to no more than
3 minutes)
1:30 pm Fairbanks, Mat-Su
2:30 pm Anchorage
4:00 pm Glennallen, Seward, Homer
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      March 22, 2013                                                                                            
                         1:33 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:33:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly  called the Senate Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 1:33 p.m.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Pete Kelly, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Anna Fairclough, Vice-Chair                                                                                             
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Mike Dunleavy                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Carl Rose, Executive Director,  Association of Alaska School                                                                    
Boards, Juneau; Senator Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Colin  Olner,  Senior   Accounting  Student,  University  of                                                                    
Alaska   Fairbanks,  Fairbanks;   Nick  Gasca,   Supervising                                                                    
Attorney,  Alaska  Legal  Services  Corporation,  Fairbanks;                                                                    
Chris  Piech,  Student,   University  of  Alaska  Fairbanks,                                                                    
Fairbanks;  Eddy  Hix,   Self,  Fairbanks;  Casey  Peterson,                                                                    
Student,  University of  Alaska Fairbanks,  Fairbanks; Taber                                                                    
Rehbaum,   Artic  Alliance   for  People,   Fairbanks;  Sara                                                                    
Malenfant,  Parent,  Fairbanks;   Heather  Lambert,  Parent,                                                                    
Fairbanks;  Duncan   Marriott,  Self,   Fairbanks;  Margaret                                                                    
Hernandez,  UAF Accounting,  Fairbanks; Roger  C. Berggraff,                                                                    
Self, Fairbanks; Melissa D.  Kelsey, Self, Fairbanks; Aldean                                                                    
Kilbourn, Self,  Fairbanks; Kaitlyn Morse, North  Star Youth                                                                    
Court, Fairbanks; Luke Hopkins,  Mayor, Fairbanks North Star                                                                    
Borough;  Brenda  Luthi,  Educator, Matsu;  Michelle  Tarin,                                                                    
Speech  Pathologist, Matsu  School  District, Matsu;  Nathan                                                                    
Dunn,  Alaska  Addiction   Rehabilitation  Services,  Matsu;                                                                    
Lydia   Lester,  Infant   Learning  Program,   Matsu;  Kelly                                                                    
McBride,  Early Childhood  Partnership, Matsu;  Polly Smith,                                                                    
Early  Childhood  Partnership,  Matsu; Kevin  Munson,  Chief                                                                    
Executive  Officer,  Matsu   Health  Services,  Matsu;  Adam                                                                    
Naranjo,  Support  Staff   Supervisor,  Matsu  Services  for                                                                    
Children   and  Adults,   Matsu;   Lynda  Gregory,   Parent,                                                                    
Fairbanks;  Astrid Larson,  Self, Fairbanks;  Jim Wanamaker,                                                                    
Retired   District  Court   Judge,  Anchorage;   Terri  Lynn                                                                    
Draeger,   Student,   University    of   Alaska   Anchorage,                                                                    
Anchorage; Betty  Walters, Self, Kodiak; Faith  Myers, Self,                                                                    
Anchorage;  Dorrance   Collins,  Mental   Health  Advocates,                                                                    
Anchorage;   Stephen  Trimble,   Chairman,  UAA   Geological                                                                    
Sciences  Advisory  Board,  Anchorage;  Donna  White,  Self,                                                                    
Anchorage; Julie  Rabeau, Self, Anchorage;  Kristin Ramstad,                                                                    
Advocate,  Parents  as  Teachers, Anchorage;  Jaad  McElroy,                                                                    
Education  Coordinator, Head  Start  and  Early Head  Start,                                                                    
Anchorage;   Melissa  Pickle,   Self,  Anchorage;   Jonathan                                                                    
Teeters,  Partnership Manager,  Best Beginnings,  Anchorage;                                                                    
Sam DuBois, Self, Anchorage;  Jerry Jenkins, Chief Executive                                                                    
Officer,   Anchorage  Community   Mental  Health   Services,                                                                    
Anchorage;   Jennifer   Smerud,    Director   of   Community                                                                    
Relations,  Anchorage  Community   Mental  Health  Services,                                                                    
Anchorage;   Ronald   Wilson,    Anchorage   Alumni   Group,                                                                    
Anchorage;   Craig   Johnnie,    Anchorage   Alumni   Group,                                                                    
Anchorage;   Kima   Hamilton,    Self,   Anchorage;   Doreen                                                                    
Schenkenberger, Anchorage  Alumni Group,  Anchorage; Rachael                                                                    
Gaedeke,  Lead  Advocate,  Victims for  Justice,  Anchorage;                                                                    
Tammy  Williamson,  Youth  Job  Center,  Anchorage;  Rosalie                                                                    
Nadeau, CEO,  Akeela House, Anchorage; Andree  McLeod, Self,                                                                    
Anchorage; John  Crews, Board Member, Alaska  Vocational and                                                                    
Technical  Center (AVTEC),  Anchorage; Louis  A. Bencardino,                                                                    
Self,  Seward;  Andree  McLeod, Self,  Anchorage;  Christina                                                                    
Pichotta, Self,  Seward; Willard Dunham, Self,  Seward; Scot                                                                    
Wheat, Self,  Homer; Ron Long, Self,  Seward; Lolita Brache,                                                                    
Self, Homer;  Rick Malley, Self,  Homer; Kim  Burrows, Self,                                                                    
Homer;  Hal Smith,  Self, Homer;  Liz Downing,  Self, Homer;                                                                    
Joyanna  Geisler,  Director,   Kenai  Peninsula  Independent                                                                    
Living Center, Centers for Independent Living, Homer                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CS HB  65 (FIN)                                                                                                                 
          APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          CS HB 65 (FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee                                                                        
          for further consideration.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS HB  66 (FIN)                                                                                                                 
          APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          CS HB 66 (FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee                                                                        
          for further consideration.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 65(FIN)                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain  programs,   capitalizing  funds,   and  making                                                                    
     reappropriations;  and   providing  for   an  effective                                                                    
     date."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 66(FIN)                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive  mental  health   program  and  making  a                                                                    
     reappropriation; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
FAIRBANKS, MATSU                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:35:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COLIN  OLNER,  SENIOR   ACCOUNTING  STUDENT,  UNIVERSITY  OF                                                                    
ALASKA FAIRBANKS, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference), testified                                                                    
in  support of  funding the  University of  Alaska Fairbanks                                                                    
(UAF) accounting  initiative. He stated that  the initiative                                                                    
would introduce an  e-learning controllership degree program                                                                    
at UAF.  He stressed that  the program would  allow students                                                                    
to   obtain   their    education   without   leaving   their                                                                    
communities.  He  stressed  that   Alaska  faced  a  crucial                                                                    
shortage  of trained  accountants. He  pointed out  that the                                                                    
demand for  accountants would continue  to grow  as Alaska's                                                                    
current accountants retire and  businesses expand. He shared                                                                    
that  a recent  national  study showed  that  75 percent  of                                                                    
accountants would  retire in the  following decade.  He felt                                                                    
that  local   businesses  had  difficulty   finding  trained                                                                    
accountants  within  Alaska, so  they  were  forced to  hire                                                                    
accountants outside of Alaska.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:37:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NICK  GASCA,  SUPERVISING  ATTORNEY, ALASKA  LEGAL  SERVICES                                                                    
CORPORATION,  FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference), testified  in                                                                    
support  of a  line item  in the  Health and  Human Services                                                                    
Community  Services Block  Grants be  increased by  $200,000                                                                    
for  eligible  essential  programs  in  Fairbanks  could  be                                                                    
funded,  specifically  Alaska   Legal  Services  Corporation                                                                    
(ALSC).   He  explained that  ALSC provided  essential human                                                                    
services to low  income Alaskans; and also  helped the local                                                                    
and state  economy. He  remarked that  for every  one dollar                                                                    
invested in ALSC, five dollars  of economic benefit occurred                                                                    
for the client, the community, and the state.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:37:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS  PIECH,  STUDENT,   UNIVERSITY  OF  ALASKA  FAIRBANKS,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS (via teleconference), spoke  in support of funding                                                                    
for   the  controllership   track   accounting  program   at                                                                    
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).  He explained that UAF                                                                    
was geared  toward preparing accounting to  become Certified                                                                    
Public Accountants,  but not every accounting  student would                                                                    
prefer that  training. He  stressed that  the controllership                                                                    
track  would  provide  students  other  options  while  they                                                                    
pursue their  accounting degrees. He pointed  to the current                                                                    
lack of  accountants in  the country  and state.  Within the                                                                    
following  decade,  more  than  half  all  accountants  were                                                                    
expected  to retire.  He explained  that the  controllership                                                                    
track  was   designed  to  be  inviting   and  flexible  for                                                                    
potential students.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:39:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
EDDY  HIX,  SELF,  FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),  voiced                                                                    
support of the accounting  controllership program at UAF. He                                                                    
shared that his  mother had recently sent him  a job posting                                                                    
from an  Alaskan company that  was seeking  accountants that                                                                    
were not  Certified Public  Accountants (CPAs).  He stressed                                                                    
that  the controllership  program  would  allow students  to                                                                    
obtain  their education  without leaving  their communities.                                                                    
He stressed that Alaska faced  a crucial shortage of trained                                                                    
accountants. He pointed out that  the demand for accountants                                                                    
would  continue  to  grow as  Alaska's  current  accountants                                                                    
retire and businesses expand.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:40:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CASEY  PETERSON, STUDENT,  UNIVERSITY  OF ALASKA  FAIRBANKS,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS (via teleconference), testified  in support of the                                                                    
accounting controllership  program at UAF. He  felt that the                                                                    
program would strengthen UAF and Alaska's future.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:40:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TABER  REHBAUM, ARTIC  ALLIANCE FOR  PEOPLE, FAIRBANKS  (via                                                                    
teleconference), urged  support of Best  Beginnings, Parents                                                                    
as   Teachers,  and   early  childhood   education  at   the                                                                    
governor's   recommended  funding   levels.  She   requested                                                                    
funding for  the Health and  Human Services  Community Block                                                                    
Grants.  She  also spoke  in  support  of behavioral  health                                                                    
services  funding. She  stressed  the  importance of  needed                                                                    
behavioral  health programs,  because of  the high  rates of                                                                    
suicide,  domestic   violence,  and  substance   abuse.  She                                                                    
stressed  that   a  robust  behavioral  health   system  was                                                                    
essential  to keeping  the citizens  of  Alaska healthy  and                                                                    
productive; and to reduce the  need for costly incarceration                                                                    
or institutionalization.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:43:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARA  MALENFANT,  PARENT,  FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke  in  support  of Department  of  Education  and  Early                                                                    
Development  (DEED)   funding.  She  remarked   that  former                                                                    
Governor Tony Knowles  had adopted the No  Child Left Behind                                                                    
Act;  which   affected  both  the   mental  health   of  the                                                                    
community, and  the education system. She  stressed that the                                                                    
children were the future of Alaska.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:44:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER  LAMBERT,  PARENT, FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
urged an increase in the  base student allocation (BSA). She                                                                    
explained that  it would be  easier for districts  to create                                                                    
plans   for  upcoming   year,  if   the  class   sizes  were                                                                    
significantly  smaller. She  pointed  out  that cutting  the                                                                    
number  of teachers  would decrease  the student  to teacher                                                                    
ratio. She explained  that her son was in a  classroom of 29                                                                    
children,  and  pointed  out that  teachers  of  such  large                                                                    
classes were  hurting and exhausted  by the end of  the day.                                                                    
She felt that teachers of  such large classes were more like                                                                    
managers  rather  than  teachers.  She  stressed  that  kids                                                                    
needed direct attention from teachers.  She felt that it was                                                                    
necessary to use  Alaska's funds to invest  in Alaska's most                                                                    
valuable asset: children.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:46:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DUNCAN  MARRIOTT,  SELF,   FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
urged support for  increased funding for DEED.  He felt that                                                                    
the funding needed to match  the rate of inflation utilities                                                                    
costs  in  education  funding, such  that  the  funding  for                                                                    
actual  education by  teachers did  not get  decreased every                                                                    
year. He  remarked that the  flat funding for  education had                                                                    
decreased  for  teachers.  He stressed  that  Alaska  valued                                                                    
education, because education itself  had value. He felt that                                                                    
each  dollar spent  on  students saved  money  as they  grow                                                                    
older. He shared  that he had observed both  small and large                                                                    
sized  classes, and  shared that  as the  class sizes  grow,                                                                    
teachers change how they teach.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:48:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARGARET   HERNANDEZ,   UAF   ACCOUNTING,   FAIRBANKS   (via                                                                    
teleconference),   voiced  support   of   funding  for   the                                                                    
Accounting Controllership  Program at  UAF. She  pointed out                                                                    
that  qualified  and  experience accountants  were  in  high                                                                    
demand in the state, but  the state was experiencing serious                                                                    
shortages  of qualified  accountants,  forcing employers  to                                                                    
seek  out  of  state  accounting  students.  She  felt  that                                                                    
encouraging funding  for this program would  encourage local                                                                    
employers  to recruit  local graduates.  She  felt that  the                                                                    
controllership track  would be beneficial for  students that                                                                    
were interested  in the accounting  field, but had  no plans                                                                    
of obtaining a CPA license.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:50:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROGER  C. BERGGRAFF,  SELF, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference),                                                                    
urged  support for  funding  for the  new  UAF programs.  He                                                                    
stressed  the  importance  of   education  that  results  in                                                                    
employment in the state. He  felt that mining industry, maps                                                                    
training,  engineering,  nursing,  and  accounting  programs                                                                    
were  important educational  programs.  He  felt that  young                                                                    
Alaskans had the  right to an education that  would put them                                                                    
on a  track towards  becoming gainfully employed  in Alaska,                                                                    
in industries that would enhance Alaska's economy.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  shared that  the Senate  had included                                                                    
funding for  the nursing  program in  Bristol Bay  and other                                                                    
University of Alaska funds.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:53:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MELISSA  D. KELSEY,  SELF,  FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified in support of therapeutic  courts. She shared that                                                                    
she was  a graduate of  the therapeutic courts  program, and                                                                    
felt that  the program  enabled her  to choose  to breakdown                                                                    
and begin to  restructure her life. She was  able to develop                                                                    
tools, gain effective coping  skills, and become accountable                                                                    
for  her choices  and collateral  consequences. The  program                                                                    
allowed  her  to co-labor  and  facilitate  a reality  check                                                                    
program  that  spoke to  second  time  offenders and  mental                                                                    
health providers in the community.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:55:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALDEAN  KILBOURN,  SELF,   FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke   in  support   of   funding   the  Digital   Learning                                                                    
Initiative,  specifically the  Online  will Libraries  (OWL)                                                                    
and  Homework  Help  programs.   She  stated  that  she  had                                                                    
provided a  detailed letter to the  committee, outlining her                                                                    
feelings about why those programs  were cost effective means                                                                    
for providing help for all Alaskans.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:56:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KAITLYN  MORSE,  NORTH  STAR  YOUTH  COURT,  FAIRBANKS  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  urged a  $200,000 increase  to the  Health                                                                    
and  Human Services  Community  Matching  Block Grants.  She                                                                    
shared  that North  Star Youth  Court  was one  of the  many                                                                    
programs  in  her community  that  had  benefitted from  the                                                                    
grant program.  She stated  that for  every case  that North                                                                    
Star  Youth Court  and  other youth  court  takes saved  the                                                                    
State $10,000 in administrative fees.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:57:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LUKE  HOPKINS,  MAYOR,  FAIRBANKS NORTH  STAR  BOROUGH  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified  in  support  of  University  of                                                                    
Alaska  Fairbanks  funding.  He specifically  spoke  to  the                                                                    
Salmon  Research  program  and the  Unmanned  Arial  Vehicle                                                                    
(UAV)  Test Program  application.  He  suggested a  moderate                                                                    
increase  to   the  Fairbanks   North  Star   school  system                                                                    
operating budget, in  order to sustain existing  jobs in the                                                                    
community. He also urged an  increase of funding for Centers                                                                    
for  Independent Living,  with a  specific focus  on transit                                                                    
improvements.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:00:10 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:00:17 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:00:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRENDA  LUTHI, EDUCATOR,  MATSU (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in  support of  the  Alaska Teacher  Placement program.  She                                                                    
stated that she  and her husband moved to  Fairbanks in 1978                                                                    
to  work at  the  Alaska Teacher  Placement  to begin  their                                                                    
teaching careers. She  had worked as a teacher  for 28 years                                                                    
in both rural and urban  communities in Alaska, and retired.                                                                    
She  currently  works  with   the  Alaska  Statewide  Mentor                                                                    
project  as a  teacher mentor.  She explained  that she  had                                                                    
volunteered at a job fair  that was hosted by Alaska Teacher                                                                    
Placement.  She stressed  the importance  of Alaska  Teacher                                                                    
Placement,   because  it   focused  on   recruiting  quality                                                                    
teachers for Alaska schools.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:02:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE TARIN,  SPEECH PATHOLOGIST, MATSU  SCHOOL DISTRICT,                                                                    
MATSU   (via  teleconference),   urged  support   for  early                                                                    
childhood  education funding.  She shared  that she  and her                                                                    
mother  had   experience  working  in  high   quality  early                                                                    
education  centers. She  felt like  some private  preschools                                                                    
encourage   children  to   be  submissive   when  expressing                                                                    
emotion.  She felt  that a  public  preschool with  teachers                                                                    
that  followed   outcome  driven  curriculum   would  better                                                                    
provide children  for success in  school and life.  She felt                                                                    
that the social and  emotional instruction that was provided                                                                    
by early  childhood educators was imperative  to the success                                                                    
of her daughter.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:05:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NATHAN  DUNN,  ALASKA   ADDICTION  REHABILITATION  SERVICES,                                                                    
MATSU  (via teleconference),  voiced  support of  behavioral                                                                    
health  services funding.  He specifically  pointed to  $8.3                                                                    
million reduction  in that funding, and  urged the committee                                                                    
to  reinstate  those funds.  He  felt  that the  communities                                                                    
would suffer without behavioral health services.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:06:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LYDIA   LESTER,   INFANT   LEARNING  PROGRAM,   MATSU   (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  in support of funding  the early                                                                    
intervention learning program  and early childhood education                                                                    
funding.  She  felt  that  a  focus  on  early  learning  in                                                                    
children would  prevent problems  later in life.  She shared                                                                    
that  she had  recently conversed  with a  parent of  a two-                                                                    
year-old, who  expressed confidence in her  son's ability to                                                                    
learn in part because of early intervention learning.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:08:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KELLY  MCBRIDE,  EARLY  CHILDHOOD  PARTNERSHIP,  MATSU  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified in  support of  Best Beginnings,                                                                    
Parents as  Teachers, and pre-K funding.  She explained that                                                                    
the State pre-K program was  established because of the Best                                                                    
Beginnings  partnership. She  stated that  the Matsu  School                                                                    
District  had worked  Head Start  to  provide preschool  for                                                                    
eighty  children  in  the  Matsu, who  were  either  on  the                                                                    
waiting  list or  above the  income  requirements to  attend                                                                    
Head Start. She shared  that there were currently preschools                                                                    
at Trapper  Creek Elementary,  Shaw Elementary,  and Wasilla                                                                    
High  Schools  taught  by  highly  qualified  teachers.  The                                                                    
students  in the  preschool  programs were  on  track to  be                                                                    
prepared  the following  fall socially  and academically  in                                                                    
kindergarten.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly handed the gavel to Vice-Chair Fairclough.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:10:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
POLLY  SMITH,   EARLY  CHILDHOOD  PARTNERSHIP,   MATSU  (via                                                                    
teleconference),   urged  support   for  funding   all  DEED                                                                    
programs.  She  testified  in  support  of  an  increase  in                                                                    
funding  for Best  Beginnings and  Parents as  Teachers. She                                                                    
stated  that she  was  a  trainer for  parents  in the  Best                                                                    
Beginnings  partnership.  She  shared  that  80  percent  of                                                                    
children that  enter kindergarten with less  than 4000 words                                                                    
never catch up  to their peers, and only 6  percent of those                                                                    
students go  to college. She  felt that Alaska  needed early                                                                    
childhood   education  programs   to  support   parents  and                                                                    
caregivers  in developing  opportunities  for all  children.                                                                    
She  also  spoke  against  using  state  money  for  private                                                                    
schools.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:12:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN   MUNSON,  CHIEF   EXECUTIVE  OFFICER,   MATSU  HEALTH                                                                    
SERVICES, MATSU (via  teleconference), thanked the committee                                                                    
for  maintaining  the   governor's  recommended  budget  for                                                                    
behavioral health  services funding.  He encouraged  a focus                                                                    
on  the valuable  services for  individuals and  families in                                                                    
Alaska  communities.  He  felt that  the  behavioral  health                                                                    
programs helped people educationally and vocationally.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:13:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADAM NARANJO,  SUPPORT STAFF SUPERVISOR, MATSU  SERVICES FOR                                                                    
CHILDREN  AND ADULTS,  MATSU  (via  teleconference), read  a                                                                    
letter from the Matsu resident, Allison Verbose:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     I'm  the mother  of a  25-year-old son  who experiences                                                                    
     autism, and who has  recently received support from the                                                                    
     Complex Behavior  Collaborative. The  supports provided                                                                    
     by the  Complex Behavior  Collaborative have  helped my                                                                    
     son  decrease aggressive  behaviors,  remain stable  in                                                                    
     his  placement,   and  function  successfully   in  his                                                                    
     community.  Most  importantly,   the  Complex  Behavior                                                                    
     Collaborative has  enabled my son to  remain in Alaska,                                                                    
     receiving services  in his  own community,  rather than                                                                    
     being  forced to  seek services  outside of  the state.                                                                    
     The ongoing  support has  proven immensely  helpful. We                                                                    
     have   seen  excellent   progress,  and   believe  that                                                                    
     continued support is necessary  in order to ensure that                                                                    
     my  son  continue  to  live  a  full  life  within  his                                                                    
     community.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:15:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LYNDA  GREGORY,  PARENT,   FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in  support  of  DEED  funding,  specifically  an                                                                    
increase  in  the  BSA.  She  stressed  that  children  were                                                                    
Alaska's  most valuable  resource. She  stressed that  a low                                                                    
teacher  to student  ratio was  imperative to  the classroom                                                                    
learning  environment.  She  felt  that  large  class  sizes                                                                    
resulted  in teachers  dealing  with  crowd control,  rather                                                                    
than actually teaching.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:17:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ASTRID   LARSON,  SELF,   FAIRBANKS  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
encouraged DEED  funding, specifically education  funding in                                                                    
Fairbanks.  She shared  that she  has  foster children,  and                                                                    
remarked  that the  impact of  good teachers  is remarkable.                                                                    
She urged  an increase of  $200,000 to the Health  and Human                                                                    
Services Community  Services Block  Grants. She  also voiced                                                                    
support for the Fairbanks Youth Court.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:22:22 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:22:37 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ANCHORAGE                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer   stated  that  he  was   in  the  Anchorage                                                                    
Legislative Information Office (LIO).                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:24:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIM WANAMAKER, RETIRED DISTRICT  COURT JUDGE, ANCHORAGE (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified   in  support  of   funding  the                                                                    
therapeutic  courts. He  felt that  the  program provided  a                                                                    
pathway for  saving the  State money.  He explained  that it                                                                    
cost  approximately  $10,000 to  put  a  person through  the                                                                    
therapeutic  court   program;  and  it   cost  approximately                                                                    
$70,000 to  incarcerate an individual that  was convicted of                                                                    
a  Driving  Under the  Influence  (DUI)  third time  offence                                                                    
conviction.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:25:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TERRI   LYNN   DRAEGER,   STUDENT,  UNIVERSITY   OF   ALASKA                                                                    
ANCHORAGE,  ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),  testified  in                                                                    
support  of funding  for the  engineering  buildings at  the                                                                    
University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA)  and UAF. She felt that                                                                    
the engineering  buildings were needed to  stay credited and                                                                    
increase needed  space. She  pointed out  that there  was an                                                                    
anticipation  of an  influx of  engineering  major from  the                                                                    
Anchorage  Engineering   Academy,  so  the  labs   would  be                                                                    
overflowing  with a  result in  a wait  list. She  explained                                                                    
that  the  funds  from  the  previous  session  allowed  for                                                                    
groundbreaking the  following session,  and she  didn't want                                                                    
the construction to be halted.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:26:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BETTY WALTERS, SELF,  KODIAK (via teleconference), testified                                                                    
in  support  of funding  for  the  Alaska Teacher  Placement                                                                    
program in the University of  Alaska budget. She shared that                                                                    
the   program  functions   without  a   director,  and   she                                                                    
volunteers  for   the  program.   She  echoed   Ms.  Luthi's                                                                    
testimony.   She  felt   that  the   director  should   have                                                                    
leadership skills; budget  and finance background; knowledge                                                                    
of recruitment; program  management interest; and commitment                                                                    
to Alaska.  She felt  the director could  build partnerships                                                                    
with  school  districts,  universities, and  state  agencies                                                                    
that  support children  in schools.  She  stressed that  the                                                                    
Alaska Teacher Placement program  was the information center                                                                    
for teacher applicants that were new to the profession.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough  explained  that the  Alaska  Teacher                                                                    
Placement  Director  request  was a  $100,000  increment  in                                                                    
Statewide Services.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:30:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
FAITH  MYERS, SELF,  ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference),  urged                                                                    
support for  funding for diversionary mental  health courts,                                                                    
and  funding to  improve the  psychiatric patient  grievance                                                                    
procedure law (AS 47.38.47).  She announced that recognition                                                                    
of disabled  psychiatric patients  should require  the state                                                                    
to  give   all  disabled  psychiatric  patients   a  special                                                                    
grievance procedure. She  stated that Alaska was  one of the                                                                    
very  few  states that  had  not  set up  statewide  uniform                                                                    
grievance procedure  rules outlining due process  and appeal                                                                    
processes  for   disabled  mentally  ill   individuals.  She                                                                    
remarked  that  most  hospitals   in  Alaska  were  treating                                                                    
disabled  psychiatric patients  using  the Joint  Commission                                                                    
for  the Accreditation  of Hospital  Organizations grievance                                                                    
rules as their foundation.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:32:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DORRANCE  COLLINS, MENTAL  HEALTH ADVOCATES,  ANCHORAGE (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified   in  support  of   funding  for                                                                    
diversionary mental  health courts,  and funding  to improve                                                                    
the   psychiatric  patient   grievance  procedure   law  (AS                                                                    
47.38.47). He  echoed Ms. Myers' comments.  He remarked that                                                                    
Alaska had  never set up  the ground rules for  an impartial                                                                    
body  to  respond  to psychiatric  patient  grievances,  nor                                                                    
provided the funding. He pointed  out that, if a psychiatric                                                                    
patient or guardian filed a  grievance, it was the employees                                                                    
of the  institutions that were conducting  the investigation                                                                    
and supplying the resolution.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:34:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEPHEN TRIMBLE, CHAIRMAN,  UAA GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES ADVISORY                                                                    
BOARD, ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), urged strong support                                                                    
for  the   inclusion  of  the  Consolidated   Alaska  Mining                                                                    
Initiative line  items in the  University of  Alaska budget.                                                                    
He stressed that mining was  a critical resource development                                                                    
industry  in  Alaska.  In  order  for  Alaska's  economy  to                                                                    
advance and investment  in the future must be  made soon. He                                                                    
felt that  there was no better  place to invest than  in the                                                                    
crucible  of home  grown higher  education at  University of                                                                    
Alaska.  He  felt  that  there  needed  to  be  a  focus  on                                                                    
empowering   University   of   Alaska  graduates   to   seek                                                                    
employment in state.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:37:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CARL ROSE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  ASSOCIATION OF ALASKA SCHOOL                                                                    
BOARDS, JUNEAU,  spoke in  support of  operations, programs,                                                                    
and instructions  funding in the  DEED. He pointed  out that                                                                    
the  Court had  determined  the  legislature was  ultimately                                                                    
responsible for children and learning.  He remarked that the                                                                    
funding  over   the  four  years  prior   had  affected  the                                                                    
operations,  program,  and instructional  responsibility  as                                                                    
school districts.  He pointed that  there were  strict state                                                                    
standards  for curriculum  development, but  if the  funding                                                                    
was  not available  to appropriately  meet those  standards,                                                                    
the  students   may  not  be  eligible   for  proper  higher                                                                    
education opportunities.  He specifically urged  funding for                                                                    
early  childhood education  funding in  Best Beginnings  and                                                                    
Parents as Teachers.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Fairclough   shared  that  the   Senate  Finance                                                                    
Committee  and the  current majority  caucus was  looking at                                                                    
education  funding  to examine  ways  to  meet some  of  the                                                                    
concerns addressed in Mr. Rose's testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:40:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DONNA   WHITE,   SELF,   ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  support of $100,000  for Victims  for Justice.                                                                    
She stressed that  violent crimes have a  terrible impact on                                                                    
the victims. She stressed that  Victims for Justice provided                                                                    
a wide  array of services.  She felt that the  Department of                                                                    
Corrections  (DOC)  may  empathize  with  victims,  but  was                                                                    
seldom  in a  position  to help  the  victims directly.  She                                                                    
values the work  of Victims for Justice.  She explained that                                                                    
Victims for Justice  was a 501 C3 nonprofit  agency that had                                                                    
been serving the  victims of violent crime in  Alaska for 27                                                                    
years.  Victims  for  Justice provided  a  wide  variety  of                                                                    
services to  assist primary and secondary  victims of crimes                                                                    
to stabilize their lives after victimization.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:43:46 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:52:41 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:52:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JULIE  RABEAU, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), urged                                                                    
support  of the  Trauma Care  Fund. She  shared that  trauma                                                                    
accounted  for  42  million   emergency  departments  and  2                                                                    
million hospital  admissions across  the United  States. She                                                                    
shared various statistics related to trauma.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:01:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KRISTIN  RAMSTAD, ADVOCATE,  PARENTS AS  TEACHERS, ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via teleconference),  testified in  support of  funding for                                                                    
Parents as Teachers. She explained  that Parents as Teachers                                                                    
was  highly   effective,  evidence  based   early  childhood                                                                    
education  and  family  support program  that  had  produced                                                                    
positive  outcomes  in  Alaska   in  both  rural  and  urban                                                                    
communities. She  stated that Parents as  Teachers currently                                                                    
provided 116  children and  families services  in Anchorage,                                                                    
Ketchikan,  Seward,  Tanacross,  and  Tok.  The  Parents  as                                                                    
Teachers  program had  a  rigorous  evaluation process  that                                                                    
consisted of  both an internal and  external evaluation. The                                                                    
external evaluation was conducted by  a third party, and the                                                                    
results   of  both   evaluations   annually  drive   ongoing                                                                    
continuous improvement.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:04:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAAD MCELROY,  EDUCATION COORDINATOR,  HEAD START  AND EARLY                                                                    
HEAD  START,  ANCHORAGE   (via  teleconference),  encouraged                                                                    
support for Best Beginnings, Parents  as Teachers, and other                                                                    
Head Start  programs. She stressed  the importance  of early                                                                    
childhood  education.  She  stated   that  she  had  several                                                                    
opportunities to observe the positive impact                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:06:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer made a joke.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:07:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MELISSA PICKLE, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via teleconference), urged                                                                    
support of Parents as Teachers  and Best Beginnings funding.                                                                    
She  shared that  in her  experience  working with  families                                                                    
through Parents  as Teachers, she  worked with  children who                                                                    
had experienced neglect  and/or abuse and had  to be removed                                                                    
from  their homes.  She announced  that  research had  shown                                                                    
that families and children who  were enrolled in the Parents                                                                    
as Teachers program experienced  many positive benefits. She                                                                    
focused  on some  of the  impacts  that the  program had  on                                                                    
parents:  Parents  in the  Parents  as  Teacher program  had                                                                    
increased knowledge of child  development and positive child                                                                    
rearing practices,  and had fewer documented  cases of child                                                                    
abuse and neglect.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:10:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JONATHAN  TEETERS,  PARTNERSHIP  MANAGER,  BEST  BEGINNINGS,                                                                    
ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),  testified in  support  of                                                                    
funding  for Best  Beginnings and  Parents  as Teachers.  He                                                                    
specifically  spoke about  the  Imagination Library  program                                                                    
within the Parents as Teachers  program. He pointed out that                                                                    
he  worked  with  the  Early  Childhood  Partnership,  which                                                                    
occurred between different communities in the state.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:12:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SAM DUBOIS, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via teleconference), testified                                                                    
in  support  of  funding  for  the  therapeutic  courts.  He                                                                    
thanked  the Senate  for reinstating  that funding.  He felt                                                                    
that adjusting  the funding per  participant. He  echoed Mr.                                                                    
Wanamaker's  statements. He  stressed  that the  therapeutic                                                                    
courts  were incredibly  effective  in  Alaska, because  the                                                                    
state had significant control over  the environment that the                                                                    
individuals  could  be  released  into.  He  reiterated  the                                                                    
substantial cost  of incarceration, and the  problem related                                                                    
to releasing  individuals into the community  without proper                                                                    
therapy.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:14:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JERRY JENKINS, CHIEF  EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ANCHORAGE COMMUNITY                                                                    
MENTAL  HEALTH  SERVICES,  ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified in support of  behavioral health services funding.                                                                    
He urged  continued support in the  conference committee. He                                                                    
reiterated  the points  of  previous  testifiers related  to                                                                    
strategically investing. He stressed  that the mental health                                                                    
care providers  used community tenure as  the gold standard.                                                                    
He shared  that the Bridge  Home had a 92  percent reduction                                                                    
in  jail  time.  He  remarked  that there  needed  to  be  a                                                                    
significant focus  on encouraging  adults to  participate in                                                                    
the workforce or engage in positive activities.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:18:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER SMERUD, DIRECTOR  OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS, ANCHORAGE                                                                    
COMMUNITY   MENTAL    HEALTH   SERVICES,    ANCHORAGE   (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  in support of  behavioral health                                                                    
services  funding.  She  felt  that  restoring  funding  for                                                                    
behavioral health services, the  state would ensure that its                                                                    
most vulnerable  citizens received wrap around  service that                                                                    
would  assist them  in achieving  recovery  and remove  them                                                                    
from needing  to rely on  other first responders  or service                                                                    
organizations that had a higher per incident cost.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:19:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RONALD  WILSON,  ANCHORAGE   ALUMNI  GROUP,  ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference),   testified  in   support  of   therapeutic                                                                    
courts.  He  stated  that,  in 2008,  he  was  charged  with                                                                    
misconduct involving  a controlled  substance. His  case was                                                                    
transferred to  the therapeutic  court, and  he was  able to                                                                    
receive treatment and identify  an anxiety disorder. Because                                                                    
he was able  to identify this issue  through the therapeutic                                                                    
court, he was able to rejoin  with his family because of his                                                                    
treatment through  the therapeutic  court. He  remarked that                                                                    
his  children  felt  the  "ripple  effect"  benefit  of  his                                                                    
treatment  and  therapy; and  also  allowed  for him  to  be                                                                    
gainfully employed,  tax payer,  and positive member  of the                                                                    
community.  He shared  that the  Anchorage Alumni  Group was                                                                    
formed  by  graduates of  the  therapeutic  courts, and  was                                                                    
recognized  nationally as  being  one of  the strongest  and                                                                    
most active  alumni groups  in the  country. He  stated that                                                                    
the  Anchorage   Alumni  Group  was  currently   engaged  in                                                                    
outreach  programs and  efforts  with the  Community of  the                                                                    
Victims  Impact   Panel  for  Adults  for   first  time  DUI                                                                    
offenders.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:22:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CRAIG  JOHNNIE,  ANCHORAGE   ALUMNI  GROUP,  ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  urged support  of funding  for therapeutic                                                                    
courts. He  shared that he  had his  first DUI in  1999, and                                                                    
graduated  to the  therapeutic court  in May  2011. He  felt                                                                    
that  it was  a  subconscious  act for  him  to receive  his                                                                    
fourth  DUI, to  enter into  the therapeutic  court at  that                                                                    
time. He remarked  that the therapeutic court  caused him to                                                                    
look at his  life, engage in the program,  and obtain proper                                                                    
accountability.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:25:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KIMA HAMILTON,  SELF, ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
support  of Best  Beginnings funding.  He stressed  that the                                                                    
education of  a very  young person  was imperative  to their                                                                    
success as  an adult.  He echoed  Mr. Peters'  testimony. He                                                                    
felt that investing in Best  Beginnings would save the State                                                                    
costs further along in a child's life.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:27:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOREEN  SCHENKENBERGER,  ANCHORAGE ALUMNI  GROUP,  ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via teleconference),  testified in  support of  funding for                                                                    
therapeutic courts.  She shared that she  graduated from the                                                                    
therapeutic  court  program in  2005.  She  stated that  she                                                                    
entered  the  therapeutic  court   in  2003  after  she  had                                                                    
received multiple  DUIs, and  she has  been sober  since she                                                                    
graduated  in 2005.  She  shared that  she  came from  three                                                                    
generations  of  alcohol  induced  and  devastation  to  her                                                                    
family.  She   shared  that   her  family   had  experienced                                                                    
innumerable suicides and early  death caused by alcohol. She                                                                    
stated that many of the  children in her family were failing                                                                    
in school;  dropping out  of school;  going on  welfare; and                                                                    
eventually  cycling into  the life  of addiction,  jail, and                                                                    
ultimately death. She announced  that after she became sober                                                                    
in the therapeutic court, two  of her siblings became sober.                                                                    
She and  her two siblings  were the  first in her  family to                                                                    
break the  cycle of alcoholism  in their family  after three                                                                    
or more generations.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer stated that it was snowing in Anchorage.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:33:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RACHAEL  GAEDEKE,   LEAD  ADVOCATE,  VICTIMS   FOR  JUSTICE,                                                                    
ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),  testified in  support  of                                                                    
Victims for  Justice. She stressed that  violent crimes have                                                                    
a terrible impact on the  victims. She stressed that Victims                                                                    
for  Justice provided  a wide  array of  services. She  felt                                                                    
that the Department of Corrections  (DOC) may empathize with                                                                    
victims, but  was seldom in  a position to help  the victims                                                                    
directly. She  values the work  of Victims for  Justice. She                                                                    
explained that  Victims for Justice  was a 501  C3 nonprofit                                                                    
agency that  had been serving  the victims of  violent crime                                                                    
in Alaska for 27 years.  Victims for Justice provided a wide                                                                    
variety of services to assist  primary and secondary victims                                                                    
of crimes to stabilize their lives after victimization.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:36:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAMMY   WILLIAMSON,  YOUTH   JOB   CENTER,  ANCHORAGE   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified in  support of  funding the  UAA                                                                    
Area  Health  Education Center.  She  felt  that the  recent                                                                    
budget reductions had made a  significant negative impact on                                                                    
the health  care. She stressed  that young people  had shown                                                                    
increased interest in health  care involvement. She stressed                                                                    
that  the Area  Health Education  Centers were  important to                                                                    
organize  the  clinical  rotations that  gave  students  the                                                                    
needed  experience  to  complete their  programs.  She  also                                                                    
testified  in support  of  the Tech  Prep  High Payoff  High                                                                    
School College  Bridging line item.  She stressed  that high                                                                    
school graduates  needed to obtain  training and  identify a                                                                    
career pathway in order to receive a living wage.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:39:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROSALIE   NADEAU,   CEO,   AKEELA  HOUSE,   ANCHORAGE   (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  in support of  behavioral health                                                                    
services funding. She expressed  concern regarding the focus                                                                    
on the extreme increase in  the budget for behavioral health                                                                    
services  funding.   She  remarked  that  there   were  some                                                                    
expensive allocations,  which made  it seem like  there were                                                                    
tremendous  increases, but  most  of  the behavioral  health                                                                    
programs  were  funded  in a  fairly  flat  trajectory.  She                                                                    
shared  that  the  specific  budget  for  Akeela  House  was                                                                    
$682,000 in FY 91, and in FY 13 it was $683,000.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:45:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANDREE   MCLEOD,  SELF,   ANCHORAGE  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
wondered if  she could provide  her testimony to  the entire                                                                    
Senate Finance Committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:46:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  encouraged Ms. McLeod to  provide her                                                                    
testimony. She  announced that  the testimony  was recorded,                                                                    
so all members would have access to her statement.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  McLeod  expressed   frustration  regarding  the  Senate                                                                    
Finance Committee attendance.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  asked Ms. McLeod if  she would rather                                                                    
testify the following day. Ms.  McLeod agreed to provide her                                                                    
statement the following day.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:48:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CREWS,  BOARD MEMBER,  ALASKA VOCATIONAL  AND TECHNICAL                                                                    
CENTER  (AVTEC), ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference),  testified                                                                    
in  support  of funding  for  AVTEC.  He stressed  that  the                                                                    
addition  of  $200,000 that  had  been  cut from  the  AVTEC                                                                    
budget was critical  to the function of  AVTEC. He explained                                                                    
that, over  time, AVTEC had  worked hard to control  and cut                                                                    
its  cost through  improvements  in  building, heating,  and                                                                    
cooling systems. He stressed that  there was a constant wall                                                                    
of  lack  of  adequate  funding  partnered  with  less  than                                                                    
adequate buildings. He stated  that $200,000 would help fund                                                                    
positions that were critical to preparations.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:51:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  stated that  Senator Hoffman  and Co-                                                                    
Chair Meyer  were away from  the Capitol on  State business.                                                                    
Senator   Dunleavy   and   Co-Chair  Kelly   had   committee                                                                    
responsibilities  outside of  the room;  and Senator  Bishop                                                                    
was  meeting with  his constituents.  She remarked  that all                                                                    
testimony  was  recorded,  and all  committee  members  were                                                                    
respectful to the public testimony.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:52:38 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:56:53 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  relayed that the  legislative session                                                                    
was  ongoing  and  that   other  committees  were  currently                                                                    
underway. She  reported that Senator  Olson had been  in the                                                                    
Senate Judiciary  Committee and was currently  speaking with                                                                    
constituents.  She relayed  that  Senator  Hoffman was  away                                                                    
from  the  committee on  state  business  and that  Co-Chair                                                                    
Meyer was  in the  Anchorage Legislative  Information Office                                                                    
(LIO) taking  testimony. She  furthered that  Senator Bishop                                                                    
was  attending the  Senate Resources  Committee meeting,  of                                                                    
which both she  and Senator Bishop were  members. She shared                                                                    
that  Senator  Dunleavy  had just  returned  from  a  Senate                                                                    
Judiciary Committee meeting.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:58:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LOUIS  A.  BENCARDINO,  SELF, SEWARD  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in support  of restoring  funding  to the  Alaska                                                                    
Vocational  Technical Center  (AVTEC). He  related that  the                                                                    
AVTEC facility had  been growing over the years  and was one                                                                    
of  the best  facilities of  its type  that he  knew of.  He                                                                    
stated that AVTEC was responsible  for its students and that                                                                    
the  funding  would help  it  meet  that responsibility.  He                                                                    
relayed  that  the loss  in  funding  would shorten  AVTEC's                                                                    
training season  by five days, leave  five positions vacant,                                                                    
and  would  result  in  a  five  percent  reduction  in  the                                                                    
training  program budget.  He  concluded  that AVTEC  served                                                                    
people  all over  the  state  and that  he  had never  heard                                                                    
anyone say  anything bad about  the facility. He  hoped that                                                                    
the committee would  listen to the testimony  because it was                                                                    
important.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  inquired if  there was anyone  in the                                                                    
Anchorage  Legislative Information  Office (LIO)  that still                                                                    
wanted  to testify.  Co-Chair  Meyer  responded that  Andree                                                                    
McLeod was present to testify  and that he would prefer that                                                                    
she testify today.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ANDREE MCLEOD, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via teleconference), stated                                                                    
that all of  her information was at home and  that she would                                                                    
rather  testify  the  following   day  with  all  the  exact                                                                    
information in front of her.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Fairclough  stated that if Ms.  McLeod called the                                                                    
offnet  number, the  committee would  welcome the  testimony                                                                    
the following day.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:03:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINA  PICHOTTA,  SELF,   SEWARD  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke  in support  of funding  for the  Parents as  Teachers                                                                    
program.  She related  that the  Seward Parents  as Teachers                                                                    
program  represented   16  families,  23  children,   and  1                                                                    
expectant  mother. She  discussed her  duties as  an in-home                                                                    
visitor for  Parents as Teachers.  She related  that Parents                                                                    
as  Teachers  helped  families  understand  early  childhood                                                                    
development and how the parents  could assist their child in                                                                    
cultivating  preschool  readiness  skills. She  pointed  out                                                                    
that the  Parents as Teachers  program focused  on language,                                                                    
communication,  intellectual abilities,  as well  as social,                                                                    
emotional, and  physical development.  She pointed  out that                                                                    
Seward  only   had  one  licensed  private   preschool.  She                                                                    
discussed  the types  of family  structures that  she worked                                                                    
with  through her  capacity with  Parents  as Teachers.  She                                                                    
concluded  that without  state  funding,  the families  that                                                                    
Parents as  Teachers served would not  get the encouragement                                                                    
to help the next generation  of Alaskans achieve their goals                                                                    
through a successful future.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:06:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILLARD DUNHAM, SELF, SEWARD  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
support  of  restoring  funding  to  the  Alaska  Vocational                                                                    
Technical  Center  (AVTEC).  He  stated  that  he  had  been                                                                    
involved  with  AVTEC  since  its   inception  in  1969.  He                                                                    
discussed  the  growth at  AVTEC  and  related that  had  it                                                                    
received a  $200,000 cut  that would  result in  a shortened                                                                    
training  year, the  loss of  5 positions,  and a  5 percent                                                                    
decrease in  the training programs' budgets.  He stated that                                                                    
the cuts would  not be helpful to the growth  that AVTEC was                                                                    
experiencing. He  offered that  the committee  should assist                                                                    
AVTEC  in growing  to provide  qualified  workers for  state                                                                    
projects. He  pointed out that  90 percent to 95  percent of                                                                    
AVTEC's graduates were  placed in jobs around  the state. He                                                                    
concluded that  this was  not the time  to reduce  a program                                                                    
that was as useful and needed as AVTEC.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:09:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCOT WHEAT,  SELF, HOMER (via teleconference),  testified in                                                                    
support   of  funding   the  Alaska   Mental  Health   Trust                                                                    
Authority's recommended  programs, particularly  the Centers                                                                    
for  Independent   Living  and  other   preventative  social                                                                    
supports. He  related that significant financial  and social                                                                    
savings  were  achieved  through preventative  programs.  He                                                                    
relayed that Alaska's rate  of suicide, violence, alcoholism                                                                    
were  too high  and had  serious financial  consequences. He                                                                    
urged for  the continued  support of  positive, preventative                                                                    
programs that resulted in savings in the long-term.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:10:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RON  LONG,  SELF,  SEWARD  (via  teleconference),  spoke  in                                                                    
support  of  restoring  funding  to  the  Alaska  Vocational                                                                    
Technical  Center (AVTEC).  He related  that he  had been  a                                                                    
tugboat captain and an AVTEC  student and that AVTEC meant a                                                                    
great deal to industry in  Alaska. He discussed the drilling                                                                    
rig  "Noble Discovery"  and its  trip on  a semi-submersible                                                                    
vessel  to Asia;  he related  that the  rig had  been welded                                                                    
down  by AVTEC  graduates.  He stated  that  the prior  day,                                                                    
there  had  been  a  meeting   at  AVTEC  between  students,                                                                    
industry representatives, the  Prince William Sound Regional                                                                    
Citizens' Advisory  Council, and others  regarding potential                                                                    
improvements  to   AVTEC's  programs  that  would   use  the                                                                    
existing  infrastructures to  incorporate  ice training  and                                                                    
other modules within the marine  programs to further AVTEC's                                                                    
goals  of pursuing  infrastructure  and  development in  the                                                                    
coastal areas  of the state.  He urged that the  $200,000 in                                                                    
funding needed to be restored.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:12:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LOLITA BRACHE,  SELF, HOMER  (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
support  of restoring  funding to  the  Parents as  Teachers                                                                    
program,  Best Beginnings,  the Alaska  Vocational Technical                                                                    
Center (AVTEC),  and adult education in  general. She stated                                                                    
that an  "ounce of  prevention was worth  a pound  of cure."                                                                    
She related  that when  parents had skills  to take  care of                                                                    
their children, it went a  long way towards preventing child                                                                    
neglect and  abuse. She offered that  some adverse childhood                                                                    
experiences  caused long-term  problems. She  reiterated the                                                                    
importance   of   prevention   and  offered   that   without                                                                    
prevention support  for Alaska's  families, the  state would                                                                    
end  up with  children who  had difficulties  in school  and                                                                    
parents  who  did  not  know   how  to  advocate  for  their                                                                    
children. She stated  that she helped people  get their GEDs                                                                    
and  that  the individuals  in  her  GED program  came  from                                                                    
dysfunctional     families,    had     unnoticed    learning                                                                    
disabilities, and  did not have  anyone advocating  for them                                                                    
to  stay in  school. She  urged the  importance of  building                                                                    
strong families in Alaska.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:15:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICK MALLEY, SELF, HOMER  (via teleconference), testified in                                                                    
support of  funding for the Centers  for Independent Living.                                                                    
He  related that  the Centers  for  Independent Living  were                                                                    
consumer directed,  which meant that elders  and people with                                                                    
disabilities chose  what assistance they needed  in order to                                                                    
stay  in their  homes and  communities. He  shared that  the                                                                    
state saved  hundreds of thousands  of dollars  in long-term                                                                    
care  services costs  when someone  was enabled  to stay  in                                                                    
their  own  home.  He  related   that  the  Kenai  Peninsula                                                                    
Independent Living Center had 11  staff that served over 657                                                                    
consumers in  a service area  that covered the  entire Kenai                                                                    
Peninsula,  including outreach  in Kodiak,  Cordova, Valdez,                                                                    
and Glennallen.  He concluded that the  funding would enable                                                                    
the Kenai  Peninsula Independent  Living Center  to continue                                                                    
serving the  populations that it currently  served. He hoped                                                                    
the  funding for  the Centers  for Independent  Living would                                                                    
remain intact through the Conference Committee Process.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:17:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KIM  BURROWS, SELF,  HOMER  (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
support of the increment  for Centers for Independent Living                                                                    
and advocated for  the restoration of funding  to the Alaska                                                                    
Vocational  Technical  Center   (AVTEC).  She  related  that                                                                    
keeping the disabled and elderly  in their communities saved                                                                    
the  state hundreds  of thousands  of dollars  annually. She                                                                    
believed  that  resources  should  not  be  cut  from  AVTEC                                                                    
because it  served the needs  of Alaskans from all  walks of                                                                    
life. She  thanked the Senate Finance  Committee members who                                                                    
stayed to hear the public testimony.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:18:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HAL  SMITH,  SELF,  HOMER  (via  teleconference),  expressed                                                                    
appreciation for  the restoration of funding  for the Trauma                                                                    
Care  Fund and  the Alaska  Mental Health  Trust Authority's                                                                    
recommended programs. He shared  that he had been practicing                                                                    
emergency medicine in  Alaska for over 35 years  and that he                                                                    
had  witnessed the  improvements  in trauma  care over  that                                                                    
time. He discussed the rigorous  process through which South                                                                    
Peninsula Hospital had  been designated as a  Level 4 trauma                                                                    
facility.  He  offered that  as  a  result  of the  new  the                                                                    
designation,  the  hospital  had   been  the  recipients  of                                                                    
funding that  allowed it to improve  its trauma preparedness                                                                    
and delivery of trauma care.  He stated that the trauma fund                                                                    
had been  instrumental in  standardizing trauma  care around                                                                    
the  state and  hoped that  the restoration  of the  funding                                                                    
would prevail  through the Conference Committee  process; he                                                                    
felt  that  it  would   be  shortsighted  to  eliminate  the                                                                    
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:20:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LIZ  DOWNING, SELF,  HOMER  (via teleconference),  expressed                                                                    
appreciation for  the restoration  of funding  for education                                                                    
related  items  and  particularly testified  in  support  of                                                                    
funding for  the University of Alaska,  the Digital Learning                                                                    
Initiative, the  Alaska Learning Network, and  the Tudor.com                                                                    
program. She  stated that she  served a role with  the Kenai                                                                    
Peninsula College  (KPC) in education technology  and shared                                                                    
that   KPC   had  done   a   tremendous   job  in   creating                                                                    
opportunities  through  distance education  and  technology.                                                                    
She  offered  that  the  Digital  Learning  Initiative,  the                                                                    
Alaska  Learning Network,  and  the  Tudor.com program  were                                                                    
critical  for  the  success of  the  state's  students.  She                                                                    
pointed  out that  Alaska had  the  ability, resources,  and                                                                    
talent to create  the best education system  in the country.                                                                    
She stated that the Association  of Alaska School Boards had                                                                    
brought  21st  Century  technology  to  Alaska  through  the                                                                    
Digital Learning  Initiative. She  relayed the  advantage of                                                                    
using  technology in  education  and particularly  discussed                                                                    
how the use of IPads  enhanced learning "far beyond" the use                                                                    
of  traditional text  books.  She  concluded that  investing                                                                    
heavily in education would pay  dividends to the economy and                                                                    
the social wellness  of the state in the  short-term and the                                                                    
long-term.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:23:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOYANNA  GEISLER,  DIRECTOR,   KENAI  PENINSULA  INDEPENDENT                                                                    
LIVING CENTER,  CENTERS FOR  INDEPENDENT LIVING,  HOMER (via                                                                    
teleconference), expressed appreciation  for the restoration                                                                    
of  funding  for the  Centers  for  Independent Living.  She                                                                    
related that there were four  Centers for Independent Living                                                                    
in Alaska  that provided  assistance to over  4,000 Alaskans                                                                    
with  disabilities. She  stated  that  the centers  provided                                                                    
services to people of all  ages and disabilities in order to                                                                    
help people remain in their  homes and stay independent. She                                                                    
shared that the Centers  for Independent Living had received                                                                    
an increment  for $200,000 the  prior year, but  pointed out                                                                    
that the  funding had  been for  a statewide  provision. She                                                                    
thanked the  committee for the  $100,000 increment  in FY14.                                                                    
She  offered that  the  Kenai  Peninsula Independent  Living                                                                    
Center  had  a  large  service area  and  provided  adequate                                                                    
services to 32 communities  on the Kenai Peninsula; however,                                                                    
the  18  communities  in  Valdez  and  Cordova  areas  would                                                                    
benefit from  the $100,000 increment  if it was left  in the                                                                    
budget.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:25:33 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:31:02 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:31:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly related that written testimony was archived                                                                      
and was accessible to the committee's members. He discussed                                                                     
the following meeting's agenda.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:32:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CS HB 65 (FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                      
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CS HB 66 (FIN) was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                      
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
4:32:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 4:32 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 65-66 Public Testimony 032213.pdf SFIN 3/22/2013 1:30:00 PM
HB 65