Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/22/1994 02:35 PM Senate L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                               
  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.                                                         
 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               
 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           
 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                   
 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.                          

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