Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/22/1994 02:35 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE February 22, 1994 2:35 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman Senator Steve Rieger, Vice-Chairman Senator Bert Sharp Senator Georgianna Lincoln Senator Judy Salo MEMBERS ABSENT NONE COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 70 "An Act establishing a loan guarantee and interest rate subsidy program for assistive technology." SENATE BILL NO. 212 "An Act relating to publications produced by state agencies and to the procurement of property, property interests, and services by state agencies." SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD THIS DATE. SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 45 Relating to bilateral trade talks with Japan regarding Alaska seafood products. SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD THIS DATE. PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 70 - See HESS minutes dated 3/22/93. See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 1/25/94. SB 215 - See Resources minutes dated 11/19/93, 1/19/94, 2/7/94, and 2/16/94. SJR 45 - NO PREVIOUS ACTION. WITNESS REGISTER Stan Ridgeway, Deputy Director Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Department of Education 8800 Glacier Highway, Suite 236 Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 70. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-10, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN TIM KELLY called the Labor and Commerce Committee meeting g to order at 2:35 p.m. SENATOR KELLY returned SB 70 (ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY LOAN GUARANTEES) sponsored by SENATOR JIM DUNCAN to committee, and asked his aide, JOSH FINK, to explain the proposed committee substitute. MR. FINK first explained the committee substitute was written with the assistance of STAN RIDGEWAY, Deputy Director for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and SENATOR DUNCAN'S staff. MR. FINK also stressed, on page 1 of the committee substitute, LAUTERBACH, 2/18/94, lines 4 through 6, language was added to make it clear it is the intent of the legislature that this program be established with the use of federal and private sources, only. There would be no general fund money used in the future. MR. FINK directed attention to line 10 of the first page, after the second sentence of the first subdivision (a), the following was added: The agency may solicit and accept available federal and private money for distribution from the fund. The agency may not solicit money from the state's general fund. On line 13 of page 1, MR. FINK explained the addition of (d) would d relate to page 2, lines 21 through line 1 of page 3, which would establish a loan committee, inserted at the division's request. Also on page 2, the words employer or prospective employer were deleted so loans would not be made available to employers, only individuals. In the original bill on page 2, paragraph (2), which talked about the term of the loan and maximum loan amounts was deleted, and MR. FINK said it would be discussed further in the bill. On lines 12 and 13 of page 2, MR. FINK also explained in paragraph (3) were added the words: before a loan guarantee or subsidy is requested from a lending institution, and on line 15, paragraph (4) ) lending institution had been substituted for agency. He discussed sed the loan committee as to the membership and responsibilities of the committee. MR. FINK explained on page 3, lines 4 through 11, included the sunset provision of one year after the repeal of the federal grant program, unless there is a successor program, in which case, sunset would occur one year after the end of the successor program sunsets at the federal level. Number 067 MR. FINK said MR. RIDGEWAY would address some of the other concerns raised by the committee. SENATOR KELLY asked if the committee substitute was acceptable to the sponsor, and MR. FINK replied it was. SENATOR KELLY asked MR. FINK to review provisions in the new CLINTON budget, and MR. FINK said would be explained by MR. RIDGEWAY, but he thought it had been increased for vocational rehabilitation. MR. FINK advised a new fiscal note had been distributed showing the $100 thousand a year, over the next three years. MR. RIDGEWAY quoted the CLINTON Administration as announcing today they are going to increase the Community Reinvestment Act program, because banks are not performing as well as they should. He said this would help the bill because banks would be forced to put more money back into the community. MR. RIDGEWAY, in reviewing the federal budget, said that under the Institute for Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research there is a separate fund for technology. The funding has jumped from $37.7 million to $44.7 million with an increase in rehabilitation funding. Number 107 MR. RIDGEWAY reviewed a thirteen year breakdown of federal funds from the REAGAN years to the present showing there has been an increase of between 11% and a minimum of 1% in rehabilitation funding. He addressed some specific questions from the previous meeting as to whether the limits of the loan and the amounts should be in statute v. regulation. He reviewed the three states where the program is funded strictly from federal funds, and all have limits established in regulation. The study showed the regulations were established to make it friendlier to adjustment for market trends and the size of the loans. He also explained most states have a cap of $5 thousand on their technology loans. SENATOR KELLY said he was reminded by staff, on page 2, line 18, in paragraph (5) that the division had requested the deletion of purchase or leaving "modify a vehicle ...." MR. RIDGEWAY confirmed ed that was true, and referred to an example in the previous hearing about a person buying a boat. He explained the main emphasis on the technology is to enable a person to adapt various living and working by allowing them to modify a vehicle, which is the intent of the program. SENATOR KELLY asked if he wanted the loans capped legislatively at $5 thousand, and MR. RIDGEWAY requested it be allowed in regulation by the committee. Number 155 SENATOR SALO questioned the fiscal note of $100 thousand for each of the three years and asking whether the fiscal note would limit the program in any way with benefactor money or accepting increased federal funding. Both SENATOR KELLY and SENATOR SHARP agreed there was a provision to accept additional funds. SENATOR SALO moved to amend the committee substitute on page 2, line 18, in paragraph (5) with the deletion of purchase or leaving g "modify a vehicle ...." Without objections, the amendment was incorporated into the proposed committee substitute for SB 70. SENATOR LINCOLN moved to adopt the new committee substitute for SB 70 as amended. Without objections, so ordered. SENATOR LINCOLN moved to pass CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 70(L&C) (ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY LOAN GUARANTEES) from committee with individual recommendations. Without objections, so ordered. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m. by SENATOR KELLY.