Legislature(2003 - 2004)

2003-08-20 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2003-08-20                     House Journal                      Page 2208
HB 76                                                                                             
The following letter dated June 12, 2003, was received:                                             
"Dear Speaker Kott:                                                                                 
On this date I have signed with line item vetoes the following bill                                 
passed by the first session of the Twenty-third Alaska State                                        
Legislature and am transmitting the engrossed and enrolled copies to                                
the Lieutenant Governor's Office for permanent filing:                                              

2003-08-20                     House Journal                      Page 2209
      CONFERENCE CS FOR SS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 76                                                    
      "An Act making appropriations for the operating and capital                                   
      expenses of the state's integrated comprehensive mental health                                
      program; and providing for an effective date."                                                
      Chapter No. 84, SLA 2003                                                                      
      [Effective Date:  July 1, 2003]                                                               
Introduction of the administration's operating and capital budgets last                             
March and the Legislature's subsequent deliberations marked a turning                               
point in Alaska's fiscal history.  The approved budgets and revenue-                                
related legislation reflect our joint recognition that Alaska's finances                            
must be immediately corrected.  We also recognize that we must take                                 
these necessary steps now and not wait for a "politically convenient"                               
time-because it will never arrive.  This means we must cut spending                                 
now, use our reserves prudently now, and get more users to help pay                                 
for state services.  We also recognize that we must take the steps                                  
necessary now to generate revenues from resource development in the                                 
near future.                                                                                        
This holds true for the state's mental health programs and future                                   
decisions on how to allocate funding from the Mental Health Trust. In                               
the near term, the state will be unable to use its general funds for new                            
or expanded mental health programs-and it will be a challenge to                                    
maintain even the current level of services we have today.  Just as with                            
all other state services,  we must evaluate all programs in terms of how                            
effective they are in achieving the desired results, a goal that I know                             
the Mental Health Trust Authority shares.  It also will be necessary for                            
the Mental Health Trust to step forward and use the Trust's earnings to                             
increase financial support for its programs.   With this in mind, the                               
following reductions have been made:                                                                
Department of Health and Social Services                                                          
Behavioral Health/Behavioral Health Grants                                                          
Total veto: $39,200 General Fund/Mental Health                                                      
Reason:  Management savings/program effectiveness                                                   
The reduction will eliminate some contracts no longer necessary and                                 
will reduce funding for "Communities Organized for Health Options                                   
Alcohol and Drug Abuse" grants to a level that will fund a substance                                

2003-08-20                     House Journal                      Page 2210
abuse counselor in the integrated agency and eliminate other support                                
Behavioral Health/Behavioral Health Administration                                                  
Total veto: $825,600 (815,900 General Fund/Mental Health, $9,700                                    
Reason:  Management/other savings                                                                   
Savings will be achieved by integrating mental health and substance                                 
providers, reducing their overhead.  This will reduce the total number                              
of grant awards administered by the division and eliminate a grant                                  
administrator position.  Further reductions will be made in                                         
discretionary professional services contracts, eliminating the mental                               
health consumer affairs function, realigning staff assignments,                                     
consolidating functions, and closing the Southeast Regional Office in                               
Juneau and the Southcentral Regional Office in Wasilla.                                             
Behavioral Health/Community Action Prevention & Intervention                                        
Total veto: $93,300 General Fund/Mental Health                                                      
Reason:  Management/other savings                                                                   
Funding for the Central Council of Tlingit-Haida Safety Bear program                                
is being eliminated.  Evaluation of the State Incentives Grant project is                           
being reduced, along with this component's support of the Fetal                                     
Alcohol Syndrome multi-media campaign.                                                              
Behavioral Health/Psychiatric Emergency Services                                                    
Total veto: $80,000 General Fund/Mental Health                                                      
Reason:  Other savings                                                                              
Regional coordinators' funding for individualized emergency mental                                  
health services will be reduced.                                                                    
Behavioral Health/Services to the Chronically Mentally Ill                                          
Total veto: $150,000 General Fund/Mental Health                                                     
Reason:  Other savings                                                                              
Savings will be realized through reduced overhead costs due to                                      
integrating mental health and substance providers.                                                  
Behavioral Health/Alaska Psychiatric Institute,                                                     
Total veto: $600,100 General Fund/Mental Health                                                     
Reason:  Management/other savings                                                                   

2003-08-20                     House Journal                      Page 2211
API will reduce the supply of medications provided to patients at                                   
discharge, will implement prior authorization of all medical service                                
costs for patients by the API Medical Director, and will analyze                                    
pharmacy services throughout the department for possible                                            
consolidation. API also will eliminate less critical positions.                                     
Boards and Commissions/Alaska Mental Health Board                                                   
Total veto: $25,900 General Fund/Mental Health                                                      
Reason:  Management/Other savings                                                                   
Reductions will be made to staff travel.  Changes will be made on the                               
number, length, and location of board meetings.  Contractual services                               
and other purchases will be limited.                                                                
Boards and Commissions/Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug                                        
Total veto: $21,700 General Fund/Mental Health                                                      
Reason:  Other savings                                                                              
Contractual services will be reduced.                                                               
Boards and Commissions/Suicide Prevention Council                                                   
Total veto: $30,700 General Fund/Mental Health                                                      
Reason:  Other savings                                                                              
The scope of anticipated professional service contract(s) will be                                   
reduced.  This reduction might be managed by consolidation of                                       
services with the Division of Behavior Health.                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                 
Civil Division, Human Services Section                                                              
Total veto:  $600 General Fund/Mental Health                                                        
Reason:  Other savings                                                                              
The department is absorbing just over half of the increase for                                      
employee health insurance. This $600, attributable to the mental health                             
budget, will be offset with savings achieved by replacing hardcopy                                  
law books with an electronic format.                                                                
The fiscal decisions we make over the next few years are critical in                                
determining the kind of Alaska we will leave for the next generation.                               

2003-08-20                     House Journal                      Page 2212
These choices, including the vetoes outlined above, are in line with my                             
view that we each must take responsibility today, for Alaska's                                      
                                          Sincerely yours,                                          
                                          Frank H. Murkowski