Legislature(2013 - 2014)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/23/2013 10:00 AM FINANCE

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10:05:08 AM Start
10:06:48 AM HB65 || HB66
01:54:57 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Continuation of Statewide Public Testimony
+ (Public testimony may be limited to no more than TELECONFERENCED
3 minutes)
10:00 am Juneau
11:30 am Kenai, Kodiak, Dillingham
12:30 pm Statewide Teleconference - Offnet Site
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      March 23, 2013                                                                                            
                        10:05 a.m.                                                                                              
10:05:08 AM                                                                                                                   
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Kelly  called the Senate Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 10:05 a.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                                                                                                           
Senator Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Sandy  Parnell,  First  Lady, Juneau;  Rhoda  Walker,  Self,                                                                    
Juneau;  Sharron  Lobaugh,  Self,  Juneau;  Marsha  Bennett,                                                                    
Member,  National Alliance  of Mental  Illness, Juneau;  Sam                                                                    
Trivette,  Self, Juneau;  Barbara  Thurston, Member,  Juneau                                                                    
School  Board,  Juneau;  Sue Hull,  Member,  Association  of                                                                    
Alaska School Boards, Fairbanks;  Andi Story, Member, Juneau                                                                    
School Board,  Juneau; Joy Lyon, Executive  Director, Juneau                                                                    
Best  Beginnings and  Juneau  Parents  as Teachers,  Juneau;                                                                    
Peggy Brown, Executive Director,  Alaska Network on Domestic                                                                    
Violence and Sexual Assault,  Juneau; Patrick Sidmore, Board                                                                    
Member,  Association for  the Education  of Young  Children,                                                                    
Juneau;  Kate Burkhart,  Executive  Director, Alaska  Mental                                                                    
Health  Board;  Lisa  Gardner,   Home  Visitor,  Parents  as                                                                    
Teachers, Juneau;  Marie Marx,  Self, Juneau;  Pamela Watts,                                                                    
Executive  Director,  Juneau  Alliance  for  Mental  Health,                                                                    
Juneau;   David   D'Amore,   Self,  Juneau;   Mary   Hakala,                                                                    
Coordinate,  Science,  Technology,   Engineering  and  Math,                                                                    
Juneau; Kathy  Hansen, Executive Director,  Southeast Alaska                                                                    
Fisherman's Alliance, Juneau;  Arnold Brower, Member, Barrow                                                                    
School  Board,  Barrow;  Aurah Landau,  Parent  Participant,                                                                    
Parents  as Teachers,  Juneau; Eva  Kneevat, Representative,                                                                    
North   Slope  Borough   School   District,  Juneau;   Glenn                                                                    
Gelbrich,  Superintendent, Juneau  School District,  Juneau;                                                                    
Stan  Lujan,  Chairman of  the  Board,  Association for  the                                                                    
Education  of   Young  Children,  Juneau;   Trina  Landlord,                                                                    
Executive   Director,   Alaska   Native   Arts   Foundation,                                                                    
Anchorage; Brenda Taylor, Board  Member, Association for the                                                                    
Education  of  Young   Children,  Juneau;  Denise  Doniello,                                                                    
Executive Director, Alaska Commission  on Aging, Juneau; Tom                                                                    
Chard,   Executive   Director,  Alaska   Behavioral   Health                                                                    
Association,  Juneau; Carole  Bookless,  Self, Juneau;  Joel                                                                    
Mundy,  Self, Juneau;  Elaine  Price, Southeast  Conference,                                                                    
Juneau;  Mike Bell,  Director,  UAS  Mine Training  Program,                                                                    
Juneau;  Penny  Vadla,   Teacher,  Kenai  Peninsula  Borough                                                                    
School   District,    Kenai;   Danny    Frazier,   Assistant                                                                    
Superintendent,    Dillingham    City    School    District,                                                                    
Dillingham;  Kimberly  Williams,  Dillingham  School  Board,                                                                    
Dillingham; Jack  Walsh, Superintendent, Bristol  Bay School                                                                    
District,  Bristol  Bay; Stewart  McDonald,  Superintendent,                                                                    
Kodiak  Island   Borough  School  District,   Kodiak;  Alice                                                                    
Rogoff, Alaska  Native Arts Foundation, Juneau;  Ken Guiner,                                                                    
Retired  Music Teacher,  Juneau; Brian  Holst, Juneau;  Cory                                                                    
Crossett, Juneau School  District Classroom Teacher, Juneau;                                                                    
Sheryl  Weinberg, Executive  Director, Alaska's  Educational                                                                    
Resource Center (SERRC); Bonne Woldstad, Self                                                                                   
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Dennis Steffy,  University of  Alaska, Mining  and Petroleum                                                                    
Training  Service, Kenai;  Bill  Bieber,  Self, Kenai;  Jody                                                                    
Seitz, City Planner, City of  Dillingham; Debra Kirk, Kodiak                                                                    
Island Borough School Board,  Kodiak; Tina Draper, Birchwood                                                                    
Center,   Soldotna;   Joe   Cannava,   Director,   Peninsula                                                                    
Community Health  Services (PCHS), Soldotna;  Twyla Bentley,                                                                    
PCHS   Birchwood  Center,   Soldotna;   Katie  Wales,   PCHS                                                                    
Birchwood  Center, Soldotna;  Fred Sturman,  Soldotna; Vikki                                                                    
Jo  Kennedy, Self  and Fish  Watch, Kodiak;  Eric Linscheid,                                                                    
Kodiak;  Aaron  Griffin,  Assembly  Member,  Kodiak;  Andrea                                                                    
McLeod,  Anchorage;  Randi  Shrider,  Yukon  Koyukuk  School                                                                    
District,  Fairbanks;  Alec   McMurren,  Petersburg;  Carrie                                                                    
Longpre, Kuspuk School Board, Aniak;  Dr. Koehler, Self, Dry                                                                    
Creek; Robert  Conway, Victims  for Justice,  Anchorage; Ron                                                                    
Johnson, Self,  Fairbanks; Glenda Hutton, Self,  Hoonah; Jan                                                                    
Wrentmore,   Municipality   of  Skagway,   Skagway;   Elaine                                                                    
Furbish,      Skagway     Marine      Access     Commission,                                                                    
Skagway; Bill Thomas, Self, Haines                                                                                              
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                                                                    
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."                                                                     
10:06:48 AM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Fairclough  remarked that  budget  conversations                                                                    
for  the following  years would  be focused  on expectations                                                                    
for Alaska. She stated  that the previous year's legislature                                                                    
had  expected   a  substantial  surplus,  but   the  reality                                                                    
reflected a budget deficit. She  pointed out that there were                                                                    
reserves,  but there  were some  budget  challenge's in  the                                                                    
current year.                                                                                                                   
10:08:29 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
10:09:11 AM                                                                                                                   
10:09:43 AM                                                                                                                   
SANDY PARNELL,  FIRST LADY, JUNEAU, testified  in support of                                                                    
$827,200 for the  Department of Public Safety  (DPS) for sex                                                                    
trafficking troopers. She stressed  that sex trafficking was                                                                    
a hidden crime. She pointed  out that the victims were under                                                                    
the  extreme control  of the  sex  traffickers, the  victims                                                                    
bond  with the  traffickers, so  the victims  did not  self-                                                                    
confess. She  stressed that sex trafficking  mostly occurred                                                                    
underground, but  pointed out that sex  trafficking officers                                                                    
could  identify the  signs of  sex  trafficking, that  other                                                                    
regular  DPS officers  may  not notice.  She  felt that  the                                                                    
State  should not  leave the  responsibility to  the Federal                                                                    
Bureau of  Investigation. She shared  that the  book, "Girls                                                                    
Like Us" by  Sheila Weller helped her  better understood the                                                                    
subject of sex trafficking.                                                                                                     
10:13:30 AM                                                                                                                   
RHODA WALKER,  SELF, JUNEAU, spoke in  support of behavioral                                                                    
health  services funding.  She explained  that her  grandson                                                                    
had  extreme  behavioral  health   issues.  She  showed  her                                                                    
bruises  that were  caused by  her grandson's  violence. She                                                                    
felt  that her  grandson  may need  to be  institutionalized                                                                    
without behavioral  health funding to support  the necessary                                                                    
programs that he needed to obtain treatment.                                                                                    
10:15:26 AM                                                                                                                   
SHARRON   LOBAUGH,  SELF,   JUNEAU,  poke   in  support   of                                                                    
behavioral health services funding.  She shared that her son                                                                    
had schizophrenia. She stated that  for the first five years                                                                    
of his life,  there was no psychiatrist in  Juneau. She felt                                                                    
that, in  that time,  consumers were able  to show  the need                                                                    
for a psychiatrist  in Juneau. She remarked  that because of                                                                    
treatment and  education, her  son was not  able to  stay in                                                                    
Juneau. She shared  that she had worked for  many years with                                                                    
the National  Alliance on Mental illness.  She remarked that                                                                    
Juneau had approximately 300  people with schizophrenia. She                                                                    
announced that  her favorite movie  of the year  was "Silver                                                                    
Linings  Playbook",  and  felt  that  the  movie  adequately                                                                    
reflected the  personalities of those people  that deal with                                                                    
mental illness.                                                                                                                 
10:18:17 AM                                                                                                                   
MARSHA   BENNETT,  MEMBER,   NATIONAL  ALLIANCE   OF  MENTAL                                                                    
ILLNESS,  JUNEAU,  voiced   support  for  behavioral  health                                                                    
services funding.  She explained that the  National Alliance                                                                    
on Mental Illness (NAMI) had  created the Juneau Alliance on                                                                    
Mental Illness  (JAMI) and the  Polaris House.  She remarked                                                                    
that JAMI only had one paid  employee, and was run by mostly                                                                    
10:19:53 AM                                                                                                                   
SAM  TRIVETTE, SELF,  JUNEAU, urged  support  of the  Alaska                                                                    
Medicare   Clinic   funding,  behavioral   health   services                                                                    
funding,  and funding  for the  Department of  Education and                                                                    
Early  Development (DEED).  He pointed  out that  behavioral                                                                    
health  had made  great  strides in  Alaska,  and felt  that                                                                    
behavioral  health services  funding was  critical. He  felt                                                                    
that behavioral health was  directly connected to education.                                                                    
He pointed  out that there  were some students that  were at                                                                    
risk,  so  cutting education  funding  would  result in  the                                                                    
mental  health  issue  in the  communities.  He  wanted  his                                                                    
grandchildren  to have  the same  opportunities that  he and                                                                    
his son had in school.                                                                                                          
10:23:03 AM                                                                                                                   
BARBARA  THURSTON,  MEMBER,  JUNEAU  SCHOOL  BOARD,  JUNEAU,                                                                    
testified in support of DEED  funding. She remarked that the                                                                    
Juneau School Board  faced recent cuts that  resulted in the                                                                    
loss  of  100  jobs.  She commended  the  governor  for  his                                                                    
efforts and  focus on  the educational  priorities including                                                                    
the  Alaska   Performance  Scholarship  and  the   focus  on                                                                    
increasing  the  graduation  rate.   She  pointed  out  that                                                                    
students  had  additional  pressure, so  proper  funding  to                                                                    
provide  students with  the focus  of teachers  in order  to                                                                    
succeed  was  imperative.  She remarked  that  there  was  a                                                                    
recent increase in  test scores, so reducing  the budget was                                                                    
not  necessary.  She  remarked  that  the  budget  cuts  and                                                                    
employee cuts were mostly focused  on non-educators, and she                                                                    
feared that  there would be  a reduction in teachers  if the                                                                    
funding was not available.                                                                                                      
10:26:57 AM                                                                                                                   
SUE  HULL,  MEMBER,  ASSOCIATION OF  ALASKA  SCHOOL  BOARDS,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS, voiced support for  DEED funding. She thanked the                                                                    
committee and the  State for the education  funding. She was                                                                    
grateful that the  reserves were available for  the State of                                                                    
Alaska.  She   remarked  that   there  were   challenges  in                                                                    
preparing  children for  the future.  She remarked  that the                                                                    
state   standards  for   the  new   common  core   gave  the                                                                    
educational  system  new  challenges  that  required  proper                                                                    
10:31:34 AM                                                                                                                   
ANDI STORY,  MEMBER, JUNEAU SCHOOL BOARD,  JUNEAU, testified                                                                    
in  support of  DEED  funding. She  remarked  that the  bill                                                                    
reflected  fourteen lost  educational  positions in  Juneau.                                                                    
She  pointed out  that parents  and  community members  were                                                                    
upset  about these  services being  cut. She  announced that                                                                    
student  achievement   was  high   across  the   state.  She                                                                    
encouraged the committee to support  and increase of funding                                                                    
for public schools.                                                                                                             
10:34:10 AM                                                                                                                   
JOY  LYON, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, JUNEAU  BEST BEGINNINGS  AND                                                                    
JUNEAU PARENTS AS TEACHERS,  JUNEAU, stressed the importance                                                                    
of funding for Best Beginnings  and Parents as Teachers. She                                                                    
felt that  the two programs  were the wisest  investments in                                                                    
the state. She remarked that  Best Beginnings and Parents as                                                                    
Teachers engaged parents in their  child's education for the                                                                    
first 1000 days of life.  She shared that the programs would                                                                    
set the  foundation for their social,  physical, mental, and                                                                    
educational health.  She felt  that 90  percent kindergarten                                                                    
readiness  was  essential  to  the   success  of  the  young                                                                    
children. She  pointed out that Best  Beginnings and Parents                                                                    
as  Teachers   showed  90  percent  literacy   rate  at  the                                                                    
kindergarten level.                                                                                                             
10:37:29 AM                                                                                                                   
PEGGY BROWN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  ALASKA NETWORK ON DOMESTIC                                                                    
VIOLENCE  AND SEXUAL  ASSAULT, JUNEAU,  spoke in  support of                                                                    
behavioral health  services funding.  She remarked  that the                                                                    
$250,000 covered  basic costs  related to  domestic violence                                                                    
victim  services. She  encouraged the  committee to  include                                                                    
that amount in the final bill.                                                                                                  
10:38:51 AM                                                                                                                   
PATRICK   SIDMORE,  BOARD   MEMBER,   ASSOCIATION  FOR   THE                                                                    
EDUCATION OF  YOUNG CHILDREN,  JUNEAU, testified  in support                                                                    
of early childhood education and  increased DEED funding. He                                                                    
stressed that  investing in the education  of young children                                                                    
was a  proper and  necessary investment. He  also encouraged                                                                    
funding for Parents as Teachers.                                                                                                
10:40:36 AM                                                                                                                   
KATE  BURKHART,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, ALASKA  MENTAL  HEALTH                                                                    
BOARD, testified  in support  of behavioral  health services                                                                    
funding,  the Complex  Behavior  Collaborative, and  Centers                                                                    
for Independent  Living. She thanked  the committee  for the                                                                    
work  related  to  those programs.  She  urged  support  for                                                                    
funding for the Alcoholic  Beverage Control (ABC) Board. She                                                                    
remarked that  the proposed amount in  the governor's budget                                                                    
for the  ABC Board  was necessary  to perform  its licensing                                                                    
10:43:13 AM                                                                                                                   
LISA  GARDNER, HOME  VISITOR, PARENTS  AS TEACHERS,  JUNEAU,                                                                    
testified in  support of Parents as  Teachers. She explained                                                                    
that  her job  was spent  teaching and  discussing with  the                                                                    
parents  about their  child's education.  She remarked  that                                                                    
she was  often the only person  that the parent had  to talk                                                                    
to about the stress that  parents face. She pointed out that                                                                    
she was committed to the  families for three years and asked                                                                    
the committee  to support the  three year commitment  to the                                                                    
parents and children.                                                                                                           
10:45:25 AM                                                                                                                   
MARIE  MARX,  SELF, JUNEAU,  testified  in  support of  DEED                                                                    
budget.  She  pointed  out  that   she  believed  in  fiscal                                                                    
responsibility, but  encouraged an increase in  the BSA. She                                                                    
pointed  out that  there  were any  great  successes in  the                                                                    
Juneau School  District. Se remarked that  Juneau was likely                                                                    
to face  major educational problems because  of budget cuts.                                                                    
She  reiterated that  the  current  funding level  undercuts                                                                    
programs  that were  necessary to  students' successes.  She                                                                    
shared that she would hold  the school board accountable for                                                                    
10:48:53 AM                                                                                                                   
PAMELA  WATTS,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  JUNEAU  ALLIANCE  FOR                                                                    
MENTAL HEALTH,  JUNEAU, testified  in support  of behavioral                                                                    
health services  funding. She remarked that  the funding was                                                                    
necessary   for   various   types   of   behavioral   health                                                                    
conditions.  She shared  that JAMI  provided many  different                                                                    
important services,  including living accommodations  for 60                                                                    
people  with severe  mental  health  conditions. She  shared                                                                    
that  JAMI   was  able  to  encourage   patients  to  become                                                                    
contributing  members  of  the   communities,  in  order  to                                                                    
prevent   individuals   from    becoming   incarcerated   or                                                                    
10:51:00 AM                                                                                                                   
DAVID D'AMORE,  SELF, JUNEAU, urged support  for an increase                                                                    
in funding  for education.  He shared that  there was  a new                                                                    
elementary  math program  that enhanced  problem solving  He                                                                    
felt that  problem solving was  essential to the  success of                                                                    
children and Alaskans.  He shared a story about  how his son                                                                    
was  able  to  use   fundamental  elements  of  calculus  to                                                                    
determine and estimate of jelly beans in a jar.                                                                                 
10:53:12 AM                                                                                                                   
MARY  HAKALA, COORDINATE,  SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY,  ENGINEERING                                                                    
AND  MATH, JUNEAU,  testified in  support  of DEED  funding,                                                                    
specifically  related to  science, technology,  engineering,                                                                    
and math education opportunities  in Alaska. She shared that                                                                    
the First  Robotics program was extremely  helpful for young                                                                    
children in order  to engage students in  team based problem                                                                    
solving.  She  explained that  Alaska  had  the highest  per                                                                    
capita  participation in  the program  in  the country.  She                                                                    
explained that 45  percent of the membership  in the program                                                                    
were   female,   compared   to   the   35   percent   female                                                                    
participation rate nationwide.                                                                                                  
10:57:40 AM                                                                                                                   
KATHY   HANSEN,   EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,   SOUTHEAST   ALASKA                                                                    
FISHERMAN'S  ALLIANCE,  JUNEAU,  spoke  in  support  of  the                                                                    
funding  for  Department  of Fish  and  Game  (DFG)  budget,                                                                    
specifically  related to  the management  of fisheries.  She                                                                    
remarked that Southeast Alaska was  facing issues related to                                                                    
territorial  jurisdiction  relationships  with  the  federal                                                                    
government. She felt that  funding for subsistence fisheries                                                                    
was essential to the economy of Alaska.                                                                                         
10:59:06 AM                                                                                                                   
ARNOLD BROWER,  MEMBER, BARROW  SCHOOL BOARD,  BARROW, urged                                                                    
support  of  sex  trafficking officer  funding  in  the  DPS                                                                    
budget.  He also  voiced support  of  increased funding  for                                                                    
DEED. He specifically supported  funding for early childhood                                                                    
education and  pre-K programs.  He encouraged  the committee                                                                    
to  fight  for  the  current  committee  substitute  funding                                                                    
level.  He  also  urged support  for  the  Digital  Learning                                                                    
Initiative.  The  initiative  provided his  constituents  to                                                                    
obtain  an  equal education  with  all  students across  the                                                                    
state. He stressed that only  8.3 percent of Native students                                                                    
qualified for the Alaska Performance Scholarships.                                                                              
11:02:59 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Olson requested that Mr.  Brower provide his written                                                                    
testimony to the committee.                                                                                                     
11:03:40 AM                                                                                                                   
AURAH  LANDAU,  PARENT  PARTICIPANT,  PARENTS  AS  TEACHERS,                                                                    
JUNEAU,  encouraged support  for  Parents  as Teachers.  She                                                                    
shared that her son did not  sleep as a young child, and she                                                                    
and  her husband  were  constantly  exhausted. She  remarked                                                                    
that  Parents as  Teachers  provided  healthy strategies  to                                                                    
deal  with her  son. She  pointed  out that  the Parents  as                                                                    
Teachers had  provided information  about and tools  to help                                                                    
her child sleep.                                                                                                                
11:08:42 AM                                                                                                                   
EVA  KNEEVAT,  REPRESENTATIVE,  NORTH SLOPE  BOROUGH  SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT,  JUNEAU, encouraged  funding  for early  childhood                                                                    
education and  pre-K education funding. She  shared that she                                                                    
had a six  year old grandson who could spell  his last name,                                                                    
and felt that the education  funding was directly related to                                                                    
his educational  success. She also  testified in  support of                                                                    
the Digital Learning Initiative.                                                                                                
11:09:13 AM                                                                                                                   
GLENN  GELBRICH,  SUPERINTENDENT,  JUNEAU  SCHOOL  DISTRICT,                                                                    
JUNEAU, spoke in support of  DEED funding. He explained that                                                                    
three years prior, there was  a local effort to increase the                                                                    
graduation  requirement. He  felt  that college  preparation                                                                    
and education  was necessary to  the success of  high school                                                                    
graduates. He  stressed that the Juneau  School District was                                                                    
not waiting  for requirements,  but rather  anticipating the                                                                    
needs of  the students.  He understood  the time  and energy                                                                    
that  was required  when drafting  a budget,  but felt  that                                                                    
education funding should be a  necessary focus. He explained                                                                    
that the prior  year had an elimination of 6  percent of the                                                                    
teaching positions  in Juneau, and administrative  cuts were                                                                    
over 17 percent.  He stated that the  Juneau School District                                                                    
was  trying to  prioritize the  investment at  the classroom                                                                    
level. He stressed that education  and graduation rates were                                                                    
high.  He felt  that these  were indicators  of student  and                                                                    
budgetary success.                                                                                                              
11:15:19 AM                                                                                                                   
STAN  LUJAN,  CHAIRMAN OF  THE  BOARD,  ASSOCIATION FOR  THE                                                                    
EDUCATION OF  YOUNG CHILDREN,  JUNEAU, testified  in support                                                                    
of  funding  for  DEED,  specifically  Best  Beginnings  and                                                                    
Parents  as Teachers.  He felt  that Best  Beginnings was  a                                                                    
good investment for young children  in order to decrease the                                                                    
incarceration  rate  later in  life.  He  remarked that  the                                                                    
literacy  rate in  prison was  70 percent  at a  third grade                                                                    
reading  level. He  pointed out  that in  order to  turn the                                                                    
tide on  dropout prevention, it  was important  to encourage                                                                    
early childhood education. He  stressed that healthy reading                                                                    
skills  and healthy  parenting skills  was essential  to the                                                                    
success  of individuals  later in  life. He  felt that  Best                                                                    
Beginnings was essential to the  early intervention of young                                                                    
11:19:02 AM                                                                                                                   
TRINA  LANDLORD,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  ALASKA  NATIVE  ARTS                                                                    
FOUNDATION,  ANCHORAGE, testified  in  support  of the  arts                                                                    
foundation.  She  explained  that  the  Alaska  Native  Arts                                                                    
Foundation  served  as  a platform  for  artists  to  obtain                                                                    
entrepreneurship training and other  forms of support of art                                                                    
and artists.                                                                                                                    
11:21:23 AM                                                                                                                   
BRENDA TAYLOR,  BOARD MEMBER, ASSOCIATION FOR  THE EDUCATION                                                                    
OF  YOUNG CHILDREN,  JUNEAU, testified  in  support of  DEED                                                                    
funding. She  stressed that it  was impossible  to determine                                                                    
the  results of  recent  DEED cuts.  She specifically  urged                                                                    
support of  Parents as Teachers  funding. She felt  that the                                                                    
budget reductions  were disheartening.  She shared  that the                                                                    
recent  personnel  cuts  were counselors  and  nursing.  She                                                                    
remarked that  there were only  two counselors  remaining in                                                                    
the  Juneau  Douglas  High School.  She  remarked  that  the                                                                    
Alaska  Performance  Scholarship   required  four  years  of                                                                    
Social Studies, but Juneau Douglas  High School only offered                                                                    
social  studies courses  for three  years. She  relayed that                                                                    
foreign  language  and  math   courses  had  similar  course                                                                    
offering issues.                                                                                                                
11:27:19 AM                                                                                                                   
DENISE  DONIELLO, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, ALASKA  COMMISSION ON                                                                    
AGING,  JUNEAU, testified  in support  of behavioral  health                                                                    
services  funding,  specifically  related to  programs  that                                                                    
directly affect  aging Alaskans.  She thanked  the committee                                                                    
for  their   support  of  the  Health   and  Human  Services                                                                    
Community Services Block Grants.                                                                                                
11:30:09 AM                                                                                                                   
TOM  CHARD,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, ALASKA  BEHAVIORAL  HEALTH                                                                    
ASSOCIATION,   JUNEAU,  urged   support   and  thanked   the                                                                    
committee  for   behavioral  health  services   funding.  He                                                                    
remarked  that  the  Alaska  Behavioral  Health  Association                                                                    
tried to  determine the proper  ways to utilize  funding. He                                                                    
shared  that the  governor's proposed  operating budget  did                                                                    
not  include  many services  for  Department  of Health  and                                                                    
Social  Services   (DHSS),  and   then  the   House  Finance                                                                    
Committee  proposed an  $8.4  million  budget reduction  for                                                                    
behavioral health  services funding.  He remarked  that many                                                                    
people were  shocked at  that proposed  cut. He  pointed out                                                                    
that many  people expressed outrage regarding  that proposed                                                                    
11:33:44 AM                                                                                                                   
CAROLE BOOKLESS, SELF, JUNEAU,  testified in support of DEED                                                                    
increased  funding.  She  remarked that  the  Department  of                                                                    
Corrections (DOC) budget and DEED  budget had the same level                                                                    
of  funding. She  shared that  she was  a special  education                                                                    
teacher, and  those students could succeed  given the proper                                                                    
resources. She did not understand  why legislators felt that                                                                    
schools   were   not   succeeding.   She   understood   that                                                                    
legislators  were  trying  to make  the  lives  of  students                                                                    
better.  She  remarked  that  students  were  given  greater                                                                    
pressure in  the present day,  than what they were  40 years                                                                    
prior.    She   stressed    that   educators    and   school                                                                    
administrators were  doing their best with  the funding they                                                                    
were given.                                                                                                                     
11:38:01 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Kelly explained that the  budget may have reflected                                                                    
the agency funding, and not direct school grants.                                                                               
11:38:32 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
11:51:02 AM                                                                                                                   
11:51:29 AM                                                                                                                   
JOEL MUNDY,  SELF, JUNEAU,  expressed support  for continued                                                                    
and  expanded funding  for  therapeutic  court programs.  He                                                                    
relayed his personal experience  participating in the Juneau                                                                    
therapeutic court program and shared  that he would still in                                                                    
in  jail  if were  not  for  the  program; the  program  had                                                                    
enabled  him to  keep  his  job, stay  in  school, and  work                                                                    
towards two  degrees. Additionally, the program  had allowed                                                                    
him to  be there for  his family  and son. He  stressed that                                                                    
the program  had saved his  life; he shared  details related                                                                    
to the death of his  ex-fiancé. He emphasized the importance                                                                    
of addiction  treatment programs.  He accentuated  that jail                                                                    
was not the  answer for non-violent drug  offenses. He urged                                                                    
the support and expansion of therapeutic programs.                                                                              
ELAINE  PRICE, SOUTHEAST  CONFERENCE,  JUNEAU, testified  in                                                                    
support of  funding for the  University of  Alaska Southeast                                                                    
(UAS) mine  training program that  was currently  offered to                                                                    
20  schools  throughout  the  state.  She  provided  details                                                                    
related  to the  program that  had put  Alaskan students  to                                                                    
work in  mining careers.  She stated  that the  students and                                                                    
the  mining  industry  were   both  engaged.  She  discussed                                                                    
various  donations   from  the  Greens   Creek,  Kensington,                                                                    
Niblack,  Bokan Mountain,  and other  mines. She  pointed to                                                                    
the  program's   success  and  thanked  the   committee  for                                                                    
maintaining  the increment  in the  budget. She  appreciated                                                                    
the  committee's  attention  throughout the  current  public                                                                    
testimony process.                                                                                                              
11:55:47 AM                                                                                                                   
MIKE  BELL, DIRECTOR,  UAS  MINE  TRAINING PROGRAM,  JUNEAU,                                                                    
spoke  in  favor  of  funding  for  the  UAS  mine  training                                                                    
program.  He encouraged  the  committee's continued  support                                                                    
for  the  program. He  expected  that  the mining  community                                                                    
would provide 3,000 to 4,000  jobs over the next five years.                                                                    
He discussed the  importance of hiring Alaskans  to fill the                                                                    
positions.  He  stressed that  the  training  program was  a                                                                    
great investment that would  provide a significant financial                                                                    
return.  He urged  support for  the Alaska  Learning Network                                                                    
that was critical to the distance learning programs.                                                                            
11:58:56 AM                                                                                                                   
DENNIS STEFFY,  UNIVERSITY OF  ALASKA, MINING  AND PETROLEUM                                                                    
TRAINING  SERVICE,  KENAI  (via  teleconference),  spoke  in                                                                    
support  of funding  the University  of Alaska's  budget and                                                                    
its Strategic  Direction process that returned  the emphasis                                                                    
of  the  university   to  the  student.  He   spoke  to  the                                                                    
importance of  the delivery  of quality  education services.                                                                    
He   supported  a   Department   of   Labor  and   Workforce                                                                    
Development  increment  for  the  purchase  of  mobile  mine                                                                    
machine simulators.  He referenced  a significant  number of                                                                    
jobs that opened in the  mining industry on an annual basis.                                                                    
He observed that  there was a lack in  training for Alaskans                                                                    
who  could  be   well  suited  for  the   mining  jobs.  The                                                                    
implementation of  the machine  simulators would  enable the                                                                    
state to  provide training. and  funding for  the University                                                                    
of  Alaska's  certification programs  for  the  oil and  gas                                                                    
mining  industry. He  stated  that  the university  provided                                                                    
certification training to approximately  3,000 oil, gas, and                                                                    
mining  employees. He  communicated that  budget cuts  would                                                                    
reduce the training opportunity  by approximately 900 people                                                                    
per  year; he  asked  for support  of  a university  funding                                                                    
request that  would allow the  program to  continue reaching                                                                    
the current number of trainees.                                                                                                 
12:02:53 PM                                                                                                                   
BILL  BIEBER, SELF,  KENAI  (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
support of  funding for the  University of Alaska  and adult                                                                    
education  programs. He  pointed out  that many  students in                                                                    
Southwest Alaska did not have  access to vocational programs                                                                    
in high school.  He believed the lack of  access would place                                                                    
a  burden  on secondary  education  programs.  He asked  the                                                                    
committee to  fund adult education.  He noted  that students                                                                    
were Alaska's future workforce.                                                                                                 
12:04:55 PM                                                                                                                   
PENNY  VADLA,   TEACHER,  KENAI  PENINSULA   BOROUGH  SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT,  KENAI,   spoke  in   favor  of  a   Base  Student                                                                    
Allocation increase  and forward funding for  education. She                                                                    
believed  children  were  the state's  first  priority.  She                                                                    
pointed to  the importance  of providing funding  to sustain                                                                    
and enhance  existing education programs. She  stressed that                                                                    
a  three-year funding  plan was  essential  for the  state's                                                                    
school districts and the retention  of quality teachers. She                                                                    
mentioned career programs  related to construction, medical,                                                                    
and  other.  She  discussed  different  educational  avenues                                                                    
based  on students'  learning styles.  She was  in favor  of                                                                    
early  education. She  pointed  to rising  costs related  to                                                                    
energy.  She asked  the committee  to consider  funding bond                                                                    
reimbursement.  She  emphasized   that  children  were  "our                                                                    
hope."  She   stated  that   funding  would   help  increase                                                                    
graduation rates and other.                                                                                                     
12:10:18 PM                                                                                                                   
JODY   SEITZ,  CITY   PLANNER,  CITY   OF  DILLINGHAM   (via                                                                    
teleconference), expressed support  of funding for families,                                                                    
education, public  safety, and transportation.  She stressed                                                                    
that the items  were essential to the  state's residents and                                                                    
municipalities.  She   asked  the  committee  to   fund  the                                                                    
behavioral health grants and  the tobacco prevention program                                                                    
at   the   governor's   requested   level.   She   expressed                                                                    
appreciation  for   an  Emergency  Medical   Services  grant                                                                    
12:12:37 PM                                                                                                                   
DANNY  FRAZIER,  ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT,  DILLINGHAM  CITY                                                                    
SCHOOL DISTRICT, DILLINGHAM,  testified in support education                                                                    
funding. He was proud of work  done by teachers and staff in                                                                    
the  district.  He  asked for  continued  funding  of  Pre-K                                                                    
programs; the  programs prepared children  for Kindergarten.                                                                    
He emphasized the importance of  keeping students engaged in                                                                    
education projects;  students who were not  engaged had less                                                                    
motivation  to attend  school.  He  encouraged funding  that                                                                    
would  provide students  with access  to courses  that would                                                                    
make them eligible for the Alaska Performance Scholarship.                                                                      
Co-Chair Kelly expressed appreciation for the testifiers.                                                                       
12:14:52 PM                                                                                                                   
KIMBERLY  WILLIAMS,  DILLINGHAM  SCHOOL  BOARD,  DILLINGHAM,                                                                    
testified  in  support  of funding  for  education  and  the                                                                    
Dillingham School  District's Orca  Project. She  noted that                                                                    
the school  district served Alaskan salmon  to students. The                                                                    
Orca  project   was  a  collaboration  between   the  school                                                                    
district,  the  university,   and  Nunamta  Aulukestai.  She                                                                    
shared that  several killer whales  had been stuck  and died                                                                    
on a local river; the goal  of the project was to articulate                                                                    
the whales.  She provided additional  detail related  to the                                                                    
project and  stated that the  project was a way  of engaging                                                                    
students early  on. She stressed the  importance of funding.                                                                    
She  discussed  the high  cost  of  fuel in  Dillingham  and                                                                    
shared that it had a huge effect on the district's budget.                                                                      
12:19:40 PM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Kelly noted that Senator  Olson had to leave for an                                                                    
Arctic Policy  Commission meeting. He noted  Senator Olson's                                                                    
intent to return to the meeting.                                                                                                
12:20:03 PM                                                                                                                   
JACK  WALSH, SUPERINTENDENT,  BRISTOL  BAY SCHOOL  DISTRICT,                                                                    
BRISTOL  BAY, expressed  support for  education funding  and                                                                    
the  University  of  Alaska.  He  stated  that  funding  for                                                                    
education   provided  vital   training   for  teachers   and                                                                    
students. He  mentioned the importance of  teacher mentoring                                                                    
and  coaching projects.  He spoke  in favor  of funding  for                                                                    
mental health  services and school safety.  He was concerned                                                                    
that there was  a disparity in the way  the school districts                                                                    
were  funded and  discussed an  unfunded school  maintenance                                                                    
project  in his  school district.  He pointed  out that  the                                                                    
rural schools  needed help.  He appreciated  the committee's                                                                    
12:23:51 PM                                                                                                                   
DEBRA KIRK, KODIAK ISLAND BOROUGH  SCHOOL BOARD, KODIAK (via                                                                    
teleconference), expressed support  for adequate funding for                                                                    
preschools and  education. She  detailed that  new standards                                                                    
would require more  from students; she stressed  that it was                                                                    
not  a  time  to  be decreasing  funding.  She  stated  that                                                                    
adequate  funding for  the  state's  students would  greatly                                                                    
increase  students' ability  to be  competitive in  college.                                                                    
She asked  for support for district's  outstanding music and                                                                    
distance  learning  program  for  its  rural  villages.  She                                                                    
shared the benefit of extracurricular  activities and that a                                                                    
good  education would  reduce  domestic  violence and  would                                                                    
keep children  out of  jail. She  stated that  children were                                                                    
taught morals in school and  that they learned from an early                                                                    
age how to treat each other.                                                                                                    
12:27:43 PM                                                                                                                   
STEWART  MCDONALD,  SUPERINTENDENT,  KODIAK  ISLAND  BOROUGH                                                                    
SCHOOL  DISTRICT, KODIAK,  testified in  support of  funding                                                                    
for education.  He appreciated  the public  service provided                                                                    
by  the  committee  members.  He   stated  that  the  school                                                                    
district and  the state  shared the  common goal  of raising                                                                    
and   preparing   globally   competitive   graduates   while                                                                    
developing  a  sustainable  instructional  model.  He  spoke                                                                    
about the  establishment of non-negotiable goals  in student                                                                    
performance  and instruction.  He  mentioned the  district's                                                                    
new staff-evaluation  system. He pointed out  the career and                                                                    
technology  focus  since  1963,  when  the  vocational  high                                                                    
school was  first designed. He  noted that  certificates for                                                                    
underwater robotics  and computer  design were  available at                                                                    
the vocational high school.                                                                                                     
12:35:03 PM                                                                                                                   
ALICE  ROGOFF,   ALASKA  NATIVE  ARTS   FOUNDATION,  JUNEAU,                                                                    
appreciated the time  of the committee. She  stated that the                                                                    
foundation served  as an incubator for  the state's smallest                                                                    
business  people. Her  foundation represented  and supported                                                                    
ivory  cutters  and  basket  weavers  and  oil  painters  in                                                                    
becoming  their own  micro economies.  She  stated that  the                                                                    
foundation  provided  tools  for  artists to  be  their  own                                                                    
business people.  She noted  that quantification  of returns                                                                    
on investment  was important to members  of the legislature.                                                                    
She stated  the impact of  higher priced utilities  on small                                                                    
12:39:42 PM                                                                                                                   
TINA    DRAPER,    BIRCHWOOD     CENTER,    SOLDOTNA    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  thanked  the   committee  for  reinstating                                                                    
funds  for  behavioral  health  services.  She  stated  that                                                                    
behavioral  health organizations  such  as Birchwood  Center                                                                    
helped support her decision to go back to school.                                                                               
12:40:38 PM                                                                                                                   
JOE CANNAVA,  DIRECTOR, PENINSULA COMMUNITY  HEALTH SERVICES                                                                    
(PCHS),  SOLDOTNA (via  teleconference), testified  that his                                                                    
organization employed approximately  220 different employees                                                                    
in the  central peninsula and  worked with over  700 clients                                                                    
in  the behavioral  health  department.  He appreciated  the                                                                    
reinstatement  of the  $8.3  million  for behavioral  health                                                                    
services. He  noted that 220 different  employees would keep                                                                    
their jobs on the Kenai Peninsula because of the decision.                                                                      
12:42:26 PM                                                                                                                   
TWYLA   BENTLEY,  PCHS   BIRCHWOOD  CENTER,   SOLDOTNA  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified  that  she  once  suffered  from                                                                    
Post-Traumatic Stress  Disorder, anxiety and  panic attacks.                                                                    
She  received help  from the  Birchwood Center  that enabled                                                                    
her to  attend the  Kenai Peninsula College.  She benefitted                                                                    
greatly from  the services offered at  PCHS Birchwood Center                                                                    
and   appreciated  the   subcommittee's  decision   to  fund                                                                    
behavioral health services in Alaska.                                                                                           
12:43:36 PM                                                                                                                   
KATIE   WALES,   PCHS   BIRCHWOOD  CENTER,   SOLDOTNA   (via                                                                    
teleconference), echoed  the testimonies of  her colleagues.                                                                    
She explained  that the center provided  medical, dental and                                                                    
behavioral  health  services  to families  regardless  of  a                                                                    
person's  ability to  pay for  services.  Her center  served                                                                    
many  different  communities  on the  Kenai  Peninsula.  She                                                                    
appreciated the Senate  Finance Subcommittee for reinstating                                                                    
the funding  for behavioral health services.  She added that                                                                    
the  funding  of  services  was  vital  to  the  health  and                                                                    
wellbeing of the community.                                                                                                     
12:45:53 PM                                                                                                                   
FRED  STURMAN, SOLDOTNA  (via teleconference),  testified in                                                                    
favor of cutting  the budget. He opined that a  delay in oil                                                                    
production  was  inevitable  and  without  decreased  budget                                                                    
spending,   the  state   might  face   large  deficits.   He                                                                    
recommended  reducing the  Division of  Motor Vehicle  (DMV)                                                                    
budget by 100  percent. He spoke in favor of  the changes in                                                                    
oil taxation proposed by the  committee, but stressed that a                                                                    
delay in revenue was expected.                                                                                                  
12:48:22 PM                                                                                                                   
VIKKI  JO   KENNEDY,  SELF  AND  FISH   WATCH,  KODIAK  (via                                                                    
teleconference),    expressed   disappointment    with   the                                                                    
Department   of  Military   and   Veterans  Affairs   (DMVA)                                                                    
subcommittee  recommendation  for  the reinstatement  of  $3                                                                    
million for the Alaska  Aerospace Corporation. She mentioned                                                                    
that the reason  that "field one" was closed  at Ft. Greeley                                                                    
was because  8 silos  flooded and froze  in 2009.  She added                                                                    
that  the Strategic  Defense Initiative  (SDI) was  30 years                                                                    
old. She believed that the spending was excessive.                                                                              
12:52:08 PM                                                                                                                   
ERIC  LINSCHEID,  KODIAK (via  teleconference),  recommended                                                                    
increases  in   the  operating   budget.  He   stated  three                                                                    
recommendations  related to  the control  of the  budget. He                                                                    
advocated for Best Beginnings funding.  He spoke in favor of                                                                    
funding for  extracurricular sports  and cited  the benefits                                                                    
to  students.  He  pointed  out   the  benefits  of  a  rich                                                                    
selection   of   courses.   He  discussed   the   need   for                                                                    
professional  training such  as health  occupations, medical                                                                    
terminology   and  advanced   anatomy  and   physiology  for                                                                    
university students.                                                                                                            
12:55:38 PM                                                                                                                   
AARON    GRIFFIN,     ASSEMBLY    MEMBER,     KODIAK    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified in  favor  of  funding for  K-12                                                                    
education.   He  mentioned   his  district's   $1.6  million                                                                    
deficit.  He  pointed  out  various  programs  that  led  to                                                                    
increased   graduation  rates   for  Alaskan   students.  He                                                                    
mentioned  inflation and  the BSA.  He stated  that the  BSA                                                                    
formula  was  skewed  by  the   lack  of  inflation  related                                                                    
increases.  He  added   that  various  supplemental  budgets                                                                    
further skewed  the cost estimate for  Alaskan education. He                                                                    
compared education funding in Maryland and Alaska.                                                                              
1:00:15 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDREA  MCLEOD,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference),  discussed                                                                    
the  $11   billion  unfunded  liability.  She   spoke  about                                                                    
negotiations   with  the   union.   She  recalled   Governor                                                                    
Parnell's  salary  and  those  of  his  Chief-of-Staff.  She                                                                    
mentioned  various staff  salary increases  and stated  that                                                                    
the  total  cost of  the  positions  was greater  than  $500                                                                    
thousand per  year. She added that  the supporting documents                                                                    
for  the salary  increase  decisions  were unavailable  when                                                                    
requested. She asked the legislature  to review the salaries                                                                    
and their lack of contractual agreement.                                                                                        
1:04:57 PM                                                                                                                    
RANDI  SHRIDER,  YUKON  KOYUKUK SCHOOL  DISTRICT,  FAIRBANKS                                                                    
(via  teleconference), testified  in favor  of increases  in                                                                    
education   funding   particularly   for   early   childhood                                                                    
1:06:08 PM                                                                                                                    
ALEC  MCMURREN, PETERSBURG  (via teleconference),  testified                                                                    
in favor of  restoration of $400 thousand  for the Southeast                                                                    
Salmon  Stock  Identification  Program. He  appreciated  the                                                                    
reinstatement of the $165 thousand  for the Southeast Salmon                                                                    
Stream Aerial Surveys.                                                                                                          
1:06:51 PM                                                                                                                    
KEN  GUINER, RETIRED  MUSIC  TEACHER,  JUNEAU, testified  in                                                                    
support  of education  and funding  for  music programs.  He                                                                    
advocated  for  increases  in  funding  for  Alaskan  school                                                                    
districts.  He  spoke  about the  increases  in  prices  for                                                                    
materials   required   for  education,   including   musical                                                                    
instruments. He  spoke about the  benefits of  activities in                                                                    
the school setting. He shared  a newspaper picture depicting                                                                    
the power of education.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair   Kelly   asked   about   his   preferred   musical                                                                    
Mr. Guiner replied that he  played the trumpet. He mentioned                                                                    
a  spring-time music  festival that  occurred in  Juneau and                                                                    
represented much of Alaska's talented musicians.                                                                                
1:10:29 PM                                                                                                                    
BRIAN HOLST, JUNEAU,  quoted "talent will be the  new oil of                                                                    
the  21st   century."  He   directed  the   Juneau  Economic                                                                    
Development Council.   He worked  as co-chair of  the Juneau                                                                    
School  District budget  committee.  He stated  that he  had                                                                    
four  children   attending  school  in  the   Juneau  School                                                                    
District and was  a Juneau Douglas High  School graduate. He                                                                    
stated that  the committee recommended budget  reductions of                                                                    
$1.7  million  for  2014.  He   advocated  for  solving  the                                                                    
education problem.  He stated  that business  peopled polled                                                                    
in the region pointed out  the quality of local high schools                                                                    
as a net barrier to doing  business in Alaska. He noted that                                                                    
the Alaska  Legislative Task Force  on Higher  Education and                                                                    
Career Readiness  stated that it  "firmly believes  that the                                                                    
education  level of  out citizenry  is inextricably  tied to                                                                    
Alaska's economic development."                                                                                                 
1:13:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Kelly stated  that  he  received information  from                                                                    
DMVA that  the claim  about missile  flooding in  Ft. Greely                                                                    
was false.                                                                                                                      
1:14:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CARRIE   LONGPRE,   KUSPUK    SCHOOL   BOARD,   ANIAK   (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  as a school board  member and as                                                                    
a  grandmother. She  discussed the  standardized test  score                                                                    
improvements.  She spoke  about  development  of the  school                                                                    
programs. She  discussed the strategic  plan to  help direct                                                                    
efforts  in  the community.  She  pointed  out the  learning                                                                    
opportunities  that  were  afforded with  the  funding.  She                                                                    
highlighted details  about her  community that did  not have                                                                    
the funding  to hire  a lobbyist. She  was informed  that in                                                                    
order to obtain  program funding and get on the  CIP list, a                                                                    
district required  a lobbyist. She stated  that her district                                                                    
required  additional support  and  she  added that  deficits                                                                    
were  debilitating to  the very  small school  district. She                                                                    
spoke  in favor  of  funding for  Best  Beginnings. She  was                                                                    
informed  that resources  were available  for  the needs  of                                                                    
educational funding.                                                                                                            
1:21:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CORY  CROSSETT, JUNEAU  SCHOOL  DISTRICT CLASSROOM  TEACHER,                                                                    
JUNEAU, informed the committee  that he taught fourth, fifth                                                                    
and sixth grades.  He stated that the  intangible quality of                                                                    
the  education  investment  might make  increased  operating                                                                    
budget expenditures. Every dollar  spent on education led to                                                                    
future savings  in social services. Teaching  allowed him to                                                                    
provide options that  could break the cycles  of poverty. He                                                                    
stated  that funding  for  the  Digital Learning  Initiative                                                                    
might lead to  the expectation that the  state would provide                                                                    
updated  computers for  students  at  regular intervals.  He                                                                    
spoke  to the  benefit of  tying  the BSA  to inflation.  He                                                                    
opined  that   the  school  district   administrators  would                                                                    
utilize state funding appropriately.                                                                                            
SHERYL  WEINBERG, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, ALASKA'S  EDUCATIONAL                                                                    
RESOURCE  CENTER (SERRC),  testified in  support of  funding                                                                    
for  the   Alaska  Transition   Outcome  Project   or  Rural                                                                    
Transitions.  She pointed  out  that 13  percent of  Alaskan                                                                    
students  experienced  disabilities.  She  spoke  about  the                                                                    
challenges  experienced by  the  students with  disabilities                                                                    
and the  benefits of the programs  for meaningful transition                                                                    
planning.  The programs  served students  ages 16  and older                                                                    
who were involved  in special education. She  noted that the                                                                    
Alaska  Transition  Outcome  Project  provided  professional                                                                    
development for teachers since 2002.                                                                                            
1:30:26 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.   KOEHLER,  SELF,   DRY   CREEK  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  support of $3.4 million  for emergency medical                                                                    
services  grants to  regions.  She  highlighted the  state's                                                                    
needs for  public safety. She  noted that 80 percent  of 911                                                                    
calls  that  were  not police  related  were  for  emergency                                                                    
medical  services.  She  pointed   out  that  the  emergency                                                                    
medical services  were subsidized by volunteers.  She stated                                                                    
that  both Medicaid  and Medicare  reimbursed far  below the                                                                    
actual cost  and did not  pay for rescue, extraction  from a                                                                    
vehicle or  24/7 readiness. She  noted that the  direct cost                                                                    
of emergency medical  services did not equal  the full cost.                                                                    
She  added that  the emergency  medical services  work force                                                                    
was free including the  field Emergency Medical Technicians,                                                                    
the paramedics  and the physicians.  Funding for  the grants                                                                    
would  support  the  Interior Region,  North  Slope,  Norton                                                                    
Sound, Anchorage and southeast Alaska.                                                                                          
1:35:25 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT   CONWAY,  VICTIMS   FOR   JUSTICE,  ANCHORAGE   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke  in  support of  the  increment  for                                                                    
Victims for  Justice. He shared  a personal story  about how                                                                    
Victims   for  Justice   had  helped   him  deal   with  his                                                                    
girlfriend's disappearance. He related  that the Victims for                                                                    
Justice had assisted him for  over three years and that they                                                                    
had never  missed a court  date or  failed to inform  him of                                                                    
any changes in  the schedule of events during  that time. He                                                                    
stated that  Victims for Justice  was the  only organization                                                                    
set up for the survivors of  a homicide of a loved one; they                                                                    
also  assisted   people  who  were  victims   of  aggravated                                                                    
assault, robbery,  arson, human trafficking,  drunk driving,                                                                    
and kidnapping.  He stated that  Victims for  Justice worked                                                                    
with about  200 to  300 people per  year. He  concluded that                                                                    
about $12  million went into  victim assistance  programs in                                                                    
the  state   each  year,  99   percent  of  which   went  to                                                                    
organizations  that  served  victims of  domestic  violence,                                                                    
sexual assault, and  child abuse; he stated  that these were                                                                    
all worthy  programs, but that  the victims of  other crimes                                                                    
needed assistance too.                                                                                                          
1:37:31 PM                                                                                                                    
BONNE  WOLDSTAD,  SELF,  spoke  in support  of  funding  for                                                                    
scholarship  opportunities for  GED  recipients. She  shared                                                                    
that she  was not  asking for "10  percent," but  was simply                                                                    
asking  for  "10  opportunities."  She  explained  that  the                                                                    
recipients of  the scholarships could  be selected  from the                                                                    
annual  top   scores  that  were  accumulated   through  the                                                                    
Department of  Labor and Workforce Development.  She offered                                                                    
that completing a high school  diploma or GED and pursuing a                                                                    
postsecondary degree  were keys  to economic  prosperity and                                                                    
expanded  socioeconomic  opportunities. She  concluded  that                                                                    
rather   than  encouraging   students  to   drop  out,   the                                                                    
educational opportunities would  give hope and encouragement                                                                    
for reentry into postsecondary education.                                                                                       
1:39:12 PM                                                                                                                    
RON JOHNSON, SELF, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
support of adopting a "level   dollar" pay down plan for the                                                                    
unfunded  liability in  the state's  retirement systems,  or                                                                    
for adopting the Alaska  Management Retirement (ARM) Board's                                                                    
resolution for a  three-year cash infusion in  order to deal                                                                    
with  the unfunded  liability. He  related that  the current                                                                    
plan  to  pay  down  the unfunded  liability  was  a  "level                                                                    
percent" pay  down method, which  caused the amount  to grow                                                                    
each  year; furthermore,  this method  would  result in  the                                                                    
amount being  paid by the  state to approximately  double in                                                                    
ten years. He  pointed out that the  "level percent" payment                                                                    
method was counterintuitive to the  plan to reduce the state                                                                    
operating budget  because of falling oil  revenues. He liked                                                                    
the  prior year's  recommendation of  the Alaska  Management                                                                    
Retirement  (ARM) Board  for adopting  a "level  dollar" pay                                                                    
down  method; this  method would  be like  a "regular  house                                                                    
mortgage" and would allow the  state to free up more funding                                                                    
in   subsequent  years.   He  discussed   Scott  Goldsmith's                                                                    
presentation  in  a prior  joint  Senate  and House  Finance                                                                    
Committee  meeting  and reiterated  that  he  wanted a  more                                                                    
level  pay down  plan instead  of the  "ballooning" mortgage                                                                    
the state was  currently under. He offered  that the assumed                                                                    
return on investment was critical  in determining the actual                                                                    
unfunded  liability and  stated  that an  8 percent  return,                                                                    
which was the current assumption, was not realistic.                                                                            
1:41:50 PM                                                                                                                    
GLENDA HUTTON,  SELF, HOONAH (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
support  of  funding for  the  Imagination  Library and  the                                                                    
Parents as Teachers program. She  discussed the high cost of                                                                    
heating oil  and food in  Rural Alaska and relayed  that the                                                                    
high  cost of  living in  these regions  did not  leave much                                                                    
money for buying books. She  shared that reading to children                                                                    
made  it possible  for  a child  to learn  how  to read  for                                                                    
themselves  and encouraged  funding the  Imagination Library                                                                    
in order to allow Rural  Alaska's children to have access to                                                                    
books.  She supported  the Parents  as Teachers  program and                                                                    
shared  that  Hoonah  Elementary School  had  made  adequate                                                                    
progress on  the annual statewide  assessment test  for over                                                                    
ten years as a result of its Parents as Teachers program.                                                                       
1:43:42 PM                                                                                                                    
JAN  WRENTMORE,   MUNICIPALITY  OF  SKAGWAY,   SKAGWAY  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke in  support  of  the restoration  of                                                                    
funding  for the  Alaska Marine  Highway System  (AMHS). She                                                                    
related that AMHS  had proposed cuts that  were targeted for                                                                    
a service  level reduction;  furthermore, the  Department of                                                                    
Transportation  and Public  Facilities  (DOT) had  indicated                                                                    
that the service level reductions  could take effect as soon                                                                    
as  "this"   summer's  schedule,  which  had   already  been                                                                    
published.   She   pointed   out   that   Skagway   was   an                                                                    
"entrepreneurial"  community that  relied on  predictability                                                                    
and   scheduling.   She   offered    that   AMHS   was   the                                                                    
infrastructure  that   supported  economic   development  in                                                                    
Coastal Alaska. She  opined that the marine  highway was how                                                                    
Coastal Alaska  moved goods, services,  and people  and that                                                                    
Lynn Canal provided some of  the highest volumes of users in                                                                    
AMHS.  She opined  that the  revenues earned  in Lynn  Canal                                                                    
helped  offset the  losses on  less  profitable routes.  She                                                                    
shared  that the  proposed budget  cuts and  reduced service                                                                    
could "bottleneck"  traffic in  Lynn Canal and  would result                                                                    
in significant financial losses.  She pointed out that there                                                                    
was  strong  public support  for  marine  operations in  the                                                                    
Interior and  South-Central Alaska.  She discussed  a period                                                                    
of  flooding  the prior  spring  when  parts of  the  Alaska                                                                    
Highway  and the  Klondike Highway  had closed;  during this                                                                    
time,  AMHS was  the only  way in  and out  of areas  of the                                                                    
state.  She  concluded  that the  marine  highway  had  been                                                                    
increasing its ridership as a  result of improved scheduling                                                                    
practices,  but  that the  proposed  cuts  would affect  the                                                                    
progress  that had  been made.  She urged  the committee  to                                                                    
support the economic development  of coastal communities and                                                                    
restore funding for AMHS operations.                                                                                            
1:46:48 PM                                                                                                                    
ELAINE   FURBISH,   SKAGWAY    MARINE   ACCESS   COMMISSION,                                                                    
SKAGWAY (via teleconference), spoke  in support of restoring                                                                    
funding  to the  Alaska  Marine Highway  System (AMHS).  She                                                                    
related that AMHS was a  vital part of Skagway's economy and                                                                    
shared  that  the marine  highway  often  provided the  only                                                                    
access into  some communities when the  conditions prevented                                                                    
air  or road  access. She  discussed the  services that  the                                                                    
ferries  provided for  coastal  areas in  Alaska. She  noted                                                                    
that the  aviation highway system was  receiving an increase                                                                    
to its budget, but that  AMHS was receiving budget cuts. She                                                                    
wondered why  the fiscal  reductions were  concentrated only                                                                    
on   AMHS  and   stated   that  reductions   in  the   state                                                                    
transportation system should not  be focused solely on AMHS.                                                                    
She urged for the restoration of funding for AMHS.                                                                              
1:49:13 PM                                                                                                                    
BILL  THOMAS, SELF,  HAINES (via  teleconference), testified                                                                    
in support  of increased funding for  the Southeast Regional                                                                    
Fish  and  Game  Budget,  in  particular  for  the  "sockeye                                                                    
management"  funding.  He  also  spoke  in  support  of  the                                                                    
Parents as  Teachers program. He expressed  appreciation for                                                                    
the restoration  of "sockeye management" funding  to replace                                                                    
federal  money,  but  opined  that  the  funding  should  be                                                                    
increased.  He  related  that the  money  was  critical  for                                                                    
sockeye management throughout Southeast  Alaska and was very                                                                    
important for  all the user  groups. He did not  support the                                                                    
removal  of the  extraterritorial  jurisdiction funding.  He                                                                    
discussed a  challenge by the Federal  Subsistence Board and                                                                    
related  that the  state needed  to  protect its  management                                                                    
rights  in Southeast  Alaska. He  observed that  the sockeye                                                                    
management  funding  was  for  DNA  testing.  He  noted  the                                                                    
inclusion  of  aerial  survey funding  and  opined  that  it                                                                    
should not be included to  the detriment of sockeye funding;                                                                    
he suggested prioritizing the  sockeye funding in Department                                                                    
of Fish  and Game's  budget over conducting  aerial surveys.                                                                    
He offered that the Chilkat  and Chilkoot River systems were                                                                    
Southeast Alaska's  only two major  salmon streams  that the                                                                    
state had full ownership of.  He pointed out that salmon was                                                                    
a renewable resource  that should be managed  on science and                                                                    
not  politics.  He opined  that  intent  language should  be                                                                    
added  to  prevent the  Department  of  Fish and  Game  from                                                                    
moving or removing research or  management money to backfill                                                                    
needs elsewhere in the budget.  He pointed out that airbases                                                                    
and army  bases in  Anchorage and  Fairbanks, as  well rural                                                                    
villages like Hoonah, were dependent  on Parents as Teachers                                                                    
programs.  He  urged support  for  the  Parents as  Teachers                                                                    
1:54:17 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Kelly CLOSED public testimony.  He commented on the                                                                    
impressive turnout for the public  testimony, as well as the                                                                    
courtesy and  decorum that  was demonstrated  throughout the                                                                    
CS HB 65  (FIN) was HEARD and HELD in  committee for further                                                                    
CS HB 66  (FIN) was HEARD and HELD in  committee for further                                                                    
1:54:57 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 1:55 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 65-66 Public Testimony 032313 AM.pdf SFIN 3/23/2013 10:00:00 AM
HB 65
HB 65-66 Testimony - Woldstad.pdf SFIN 3/23/2013 10:00:00 AM
HB 65
HB 65-66 SFC Testimony 032313 -Lujan.docx SFIN 3/23/2013 10:00:00 AM
HB 65
HB 65-66 Testimony Niemi.msg SFIN 3/23/2013 10:00:00 AM
HB 65