Legislature(2003 - 2004)

2003-03-06 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2003-03-06                     Senate Journal                      Page 0404
SB 117                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 117 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                   
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                               
             "An Act eliminating the longevity bonus program and                                   
               making related conforming changes; and providing                                    
          for an effective date."                                                                   
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs and Finance                               
The following fiscal information was published today:                                               
 Fiscal Note No. 1, Department of Administration                                                    
Governor's transmittal letter dated March 5:                                                        
Dear President Therriault:                                                                          
Under the authority of art. III, sec 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am                           
transmitting a bill that would eliminate the Alaska Longevity Bonus                                 

2003-03-06                     Senate Journal                      Page 0405
In 1972 Alaska initiated a program to reward our long-term residents                                
(seniors) for their contributions and provide them with an incentive to                             
remain in Alaska for their retirement years. It was originally intended                             
to help those Alaskans who had been residents for 25 years and as                                   
stated in its original passage, was intended for those seniors who had                              
"molded Alaska as we know it through skillful application of their                                  
Since that time, the Courts ruled that the 25 year residency                                        
requirement was unconstitutional. The new program instituted was                                    
expanded to all seniors residing in the state for one year. By 1993, the                            
cost to the state was up to $65 million a year. The legislature,                                    
recognizing that the cost would continue to escalate with the rapid                                 
growth of Alaska's senior population, implemented a phase out of the                                
The judiciary eliminated the longevity program for Alaska's pioneers.                               
The bill I transmit today ends its successor, eliminating a program that                            
has outlived its original purpose and no longer offers special                                      
consideration to those pioneers so deserving of our thanks.                                         
Alaska will continue to provide assistance and "safety net" programs                                
for senior citizens. Some are directed toward all seniors such as an                                
exemption from Hunting and fishing fees, the senior citizen property                                
tax exemption and Pioneers' Homes. Many are targeted at seniors with                                
limited means, including, adult public assistance, Medicaid assistance,                             
personal care attendant services, nursing home services, home and                                   
community based waiver services, senior housing assistance, nutrition                               
programs, and senior training and employment programs.                                              
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                            
Frank H. Murkowski