Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/30/2009 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 204 POSTSECONDARY MEDICAL EDUC. PROG. TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 58 EDUC LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 58(EDC) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB  58-EDUC LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:44:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 58 "An Act  relating to a student  loan repayment                                                               
program for specified  occupations or fields in  which a shortage                                                               
of qualified employees  exists."  [Before the  committee was CSHB
58, Version 26-LS0307\P, Mischel, 2/25/09.]                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:44:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KACI  SCHROEDER,  Staff  to Representative  Bill  Thomas,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  explained that  since there had  been several                                                               
issues with selecting who would  be eligible for the program, she                                                               
spoke  with several  different departments.   The  aforementioned                                                               
resulted  in   an  amendment,  labeled   26-LS0307\P.8,  Mischel,                                                               
3/27/09,  that  should address  the  concerns.   She  noted  that                                                               
department  representatives  are  present  to  relate  the  exact                                                               
selection  procedure they  will use.    She also  noted that  the                                                               
committee  packet   should  include  other  amendments   for  the                                                               
committee's consideration.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:46:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.   SCHROEDER  explained   that  the   amendment  labeled   26-                                                               
LS0307\P.8,  Mischel, 3/27/09,  will allow  the commissioners  of                                                               
the Department  of Labor &  Workforce Development (DLWD)  and the                                                               
Department of  Administration (DOA)  to jointly decide  the needs                                                               
of the  state in  regard to recruitment.   The  aforementioned is                                                               
appropriate  since  commissioners  of  the  departments  are  the                                                               
decision-makers.  Furthermore, having  the commissioners make the                                                               
decision provides fluidity  to address the changing  needs of the                                                               
state.  She noted that the  first part of the amendment specifies                                                               
that only state employees are being addressed.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:47:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH  moved that the committee  adopt Amendment 1,                                                               
labeled 26-LS0307\P.8, Mischel, 3/27/09, which read:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 29, following "hired":                                                                                        
          Insert "by the state"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 2, following "employed":                                                                                      
          Insert "by the state"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 8:                                                                                                            
          Delete "in"                                                                                                           
          Insert "by"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, lines 9 - 11:                                                                                                      
          Delete "by the Department of Labor and Workforce                                                                      
         Development as having a shortage of qualified                                                                          
     employees in the state"                                                                                                    
     Insert "jointly  by the commissioner  of administration                                                                    
     and   the   commissioner   of   labor   and   workforce                                                                    
     development as  having a shortage of  qualified persons                                                                    
     available to be employed by the state"                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease form 8:48 a.m. to 8:49 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:49:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH  reminded the  committee that Amendment  1 is                                                               
in response to questions surrounding  who the qualified employees                                                               
would be.  The original  legislation listed qualifications as the                                                               
types of personnel,  but it was confusing.  He  opined that using                                                               
the  discretion  of the  commissioners  on  an ongoing  basis  is                                                               
probably the  best way to  make the  determination as to  who the                                                               
qualified employees are.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:50:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  recalled that public  testimony is still  open, and                                                               
therefore he  requested that the  motion to adopt Amendment  1 be                                                               
withdrawn.   He expressed the  desire to  allow the public  to be                                                               
aware of the amendments prior to taking public testimony.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:51:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH withdrew his motion to adopt Amendment 1.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:52:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNETTE  KREITZER,  Commissioner,  Department  of  Administration                                                               
(DOA), explained that  Amendment 1 narrows those  who are covered                                                               
under the legislation to only  state employees.  She informed the                                                               
committee that DOA  has the ability to review  how people recruit                                                               
for  positions.     She  recalled  when  she   was  appointed  as                                                               
commissioner and uncovered  a barrier to state  employment in the                                                               
form of  10 questions, referred  to as  desirable qualifications.                                                               
Those  10 questions  are  no longer  used.   Furthermore,  hiring                                                               
managers  have been  asked to  review minimum  qualifications and                                                               
determine whether  they still fit  the need.  For  instance, it's                                                               
redundant  to  require  a  bachelor's degree  of  those  who  are                                                               
certified in Microsoft  to work on the  state's computer systems.                                                               
She  related that  DOA's  part  is to  review  how recruiting  is                                                               
occurring  in order  to ensure  that the  state isn't  causing an                                                               
artificial shortage.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:56:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  expressed  her  desire  to  ensure  that                                                               
behaviors are  actually being changed  with HB  58.  She  posed a                                                               
scenario  in which  an Alaskan  student  receives an  engineering                                                               
degree  from out-of-state  and returns  to the  state.   She then                                                               
inquired as to how the funds would be used to change behavior.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER said  that she will be conservative in  terms of the                                                               
positions that  would qualify  for the funds  provided by  HB 58.                                                               
She  acknowledged that  there is  a  risk in  providing funds  to                                                               
students who  were going  into a  career in  which the  state has                                                               
identified shortages.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:58:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  posed  a  scenario in  which  a  student                                                               
attending school  on a scholarship  returns to the state  with an                                                               
education in a high  needs field and no student debt.   In such a                                                               
situation,  would   that  individual   have  an   opportunity  to                                                               
participate in the program proposed in HB 58, she asked.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER  remarked that there  will always be gaps  in regard                                                               
to who is  covered with programs such as these.   Therefore, it's                                                               
a policy call for the legislature.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:58:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON inquired  as to what other  steps are being                                                               
taken to recruit for state positions.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER  offered that other measures  being pursued include:                                                               
a geographic  differential study, a salary  study, an independent                                                               
review of the Human Resources  integration in DOA, an increase in                                                               
salary  for non-union  employees per  House Bill  412 [which  was                                                               
                     th                                                                                                         
passed   in  the   25    State   Legislature],  and   recruitment                                                               
representatives dispatched out of state.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:01:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KREITZER, in  response  to  Representative Munoz,  clarified                                                               
that   it  isn't   about  adding   state  employees.     However,                                                               
considering those  who are retiring,  it is important  to recruit                                                               
actively  to maintain  a healthy  workforce.   She expressed  the                                                               
hope that  salary increases will make  positions more attractive.                                                               
"It  really is  about continuing  the pipeline  of talent  that's                                                               
necessary  to achieve  the things  the  state needs  to do,"  she                                                               
said.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:02:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  opined that  the top  10 positions  in high                                                               
need would likely  expand and contract.  Therefore,  she asked if                                                               
the  intention is  to maintain  flexibility to  meet the  current                                                               
demands.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER  replied yes,  and added  that she  anticipated that                                                               
the department will continually review the situation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:04:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  then turned the  committee's attention  to proposed                                                               
Amendment  3,  labeled  26-LS0307\P.4,  Mischel,  3/16/09,  which                                                               
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, line 8, following "program":                                                                                       
          Insert "and is subject to appropriation"                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, following line 21:                                                                                                 
          Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                      
     "(d)   A repayment benefit approved  under this section                                                                    
     may not be  construed as an entitlement  and is subject                                                                    
     to cancellation  or modification  by the  commission at                                                                    
     any time."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:04:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHROEDER  explained that  Amendment  3  clarifies that  the                                                               
proposed program is not an entitlement  and that the needs or the                                                               
funding could change.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:05:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KREITZER   said  that  the   language  in  Amendment   3  is                                                               
satisfactory to  ensure that people realize  the proposed program                                                               
isn't  an  entitlement.   In  regard  to  the cap,  Ms.  Kreitzer                                                               
relayed that she is neutral on the cap.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:06:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARDNER  asked   if  the   legislation  includes                                                               
language that takes into consideration location specifics.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KREITZER answered  that she  didn't believe  the legislation                                                               
included  anything specific  about  location.   However, it's  an                                                               
issue throughout state government  that the department reviews in                                                               
order  to  determine  whether  there's   an  actual  shortage  of                                                               
positions.  She explained that  the department would first review                                                               
recruiting and whether that needs to be addressed.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:07:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  asked if  the  department  supports the  four-year                                                               
repayment  schedule   in  rural  areas  and   six-year  repayment                                                               
schedule in urban areas, contained in HB 58.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KREITZER stated  that she is neutral on the  remainder of the                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:08:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  pointed out  that the benefits  under this                                                               
legislation are  considered taxable income, although  that wasn't                                                               
the  case at  one time.   Therefore,  he inquired  as to  whether                                                               
there  is movement,  nationally or  otherwise, to  urge the  U.S.                                                               
Treasury to return to the  nontaxable status for benefits such as                                                               
those proposed in HB 58.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KREITZER  responded  that  she wasn't  aware  of  such,  but                                                               
offered to ask around about such.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:08:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  then turned the  committee's attention  to proposed                                                               
Amendment  2,  labeled  26-LS0307\P.7,  Mischel,  3/27/09,  which                                                               
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 13:                                                                                                           
          Delete "on annually over a period of not more                                                                         
     than six years.  The maximum annual repayment benefit                                                                      
     under this section is"                                                                                                     
          Insert "in an amount not to exceed $50,000,                                                                           
      payable by dividing that amount into annual payments                                                                      
      to be paid over a period of not more than six years,                                                                      
     as follows:"                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 18:                                                                                                           
          Delete "principal plus accrued interest"                                                                              
          Insert "loan balance"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 20:                                                                                                           
          Delete "principal plus accrued interest"                                                                              
          Insert "loan balance"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 22:                                                                                                           
          Delete "principal plus accrued interest"                                                                              
          Insert "loan balance"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 24:                                                                                                           
          Delete "principal plus accrued interest"                                                                              
          Insert "loan balance"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 27:                                                                                                           
          Delete "principal plus accrued interest"                                                                              
          Insert "loan balance"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 29:                                                                                                           
          Delete "principal plus accrued interest"                                                                              
          Insert "loan balance"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 31:                                                                                                           
          Delete "principal plus accrued interest"                                                                              
          Insert "loan balance"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, line 2:                                                                                                            
          Delete "principal plus accrued interest"                                                                              
          Insert "loan balance"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, line 4:                                                                                                            
          Delete "principal plus accrued interest"                                                                              
          Insert "loan balance"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "principal plus accrued interest"                                                                              
     Insert "loan balance"                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:08:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHROEDER explained that Amendment  2 places a $50,000 cap on                                                               
the benefit that each student may  receive.  The remainder of the                                                               
amendment makes conforming changes  to the repayment schedules in                                                               
order to have  a better handle on  the cost of the  program.  Ms.                                                               
Schroeder noted that although the  legislature may want to remove                                                               
the cap  in the  future, it seems  appropriate given  the state's                                                               
current financial status.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:09:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  asked  if   the  intent  of  the  original                                                               
legislation was  broader in scope,  and thus addressed  more than                                                               
state employees.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHROEDER said  that at this time the  [sponsors] have chosen                                                               
to  stay  with  state  employees   because  more  information  is                                                               
available for state  employees.  She informed  the committee that                                                               
DLWD has said  that in a few years it  will have more information                                                               
about the private sector, at which  time it may be appropriate to                                                               
include the private sector.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:10:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  interjected that the private  sector tends                                                               
to pay more than the state,  and therefore it most likely doesn't                                                               
experience the same difficulties as the state.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:10:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HANNAH  HARRISON,  Intern,  Representative  Paul  Seaton,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, related  her understanding that Representative                                                               
Thomas has  said that  the legislation  originated after  a state                                                               
biologist informed  him of the difficulty  recruiting biologists.                                                               
The  state biologist  related that  in the  past legislation  had                                                               
been introduced and he hoped a similar effort could be made.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:11:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  highlighted that the  committee also has  before it                                                               
an amendment that would delete all  the material on page 3, lines                                                               
27-28, which stipulates  that an applicant must be  a resident of                                                               
the  state when  submitting an  application.   The aforementioned                                                               
has consequences for returning students.   Chair Seaton explained                                                               
that  the  loans   are  all  through  the   Alaska  Student  Loan                                                               
Corporation,  and  therefore  those  who qualify  for  an  Alaska                                                               
student loan  could have  them repaid.   The goal,  he clarified,                                                               
was to ensure that the program  didn't allow for the repayment of                                                               
a student loan that wasn't within the State of Alaska.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:12:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  requested an  explanation as to  the source                                                               
of revenue for this program.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHROEDER   specified  that  the  program's   funding  comes                                                               
directly  from  the  legislature,  and therefore  is  subject  to                                                               
appropriation by the legislature.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:13:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  surmised then that the  language suggesting                                                               
a dividend is merely suggestive.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHROEDER  explained that since  the corporation can  pay the                                                               
state  a  dividend, the  legislation  allows  the option  of  the                                                               
corporation placing the dividend in a fund.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:14:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  MARTIN LASTER,  Coordinator,  Education Leadership  Program,                                                               
University  of   Alaska  Southeast,   began  by   commending  the                                                               
committee  for all  the  work it  has done.    He then  expressed                                                               
concern for teachers who have been  working in the state for some                                                               
time   and   have   decided,   with    the   support   of   their                                                               
superintendents,  to   become  principals.     The   position  of                                                               
principal is very important in  terms of change and effectiveness                                                               
as well as an area in  which the Institute of Social and Economic                                                               
Research  (ISER)   has  suggested  that  there   are  significant                                                               
turnover  problems.   Furthermore,  folks  are  being brought  in                                                               
[from out  of state]  to fill these  positions, which  results in                                                               
the  double challenge  of fitting  in and  understanding Alaska's                                                               
climate,  demographics, cultural  issues,  and isolation  issues.                                                               
Dr.  Laster pointed  out that  originally HB  58 spoke  to Alaska                                                               
qualified  employees and  actually  listed education.   He  asked                                                               
that the  committee keep  in mind that  there aren't  many places                                                               
where  teachers can  go and  know the  additional support  of the                                                               
state, as suggested in HB 58.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:18:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. MARTIN, in response to  Representative Wilson, explained that                                                               
a teacher  has a  type "A"  certificate.   In order  to supervise                                                               
people, a  type "B" certificate  is required.  The  teachers work                                                               
through a Master's degree of  leadership and then their names are                                                               
submitted  to  the  state  in  order to  certify  that  they  are                                                               
eligible  for a  type "B"  certificate.   In further  response to                                                               
Representative  Wilson, Dr.  Martin acknowledged  that there  are                                                               
different ways  to approach this certificate.   Although distance                                                               
education courses within the state  can be taken, this particular                                                               
program requires teachers  to come to Juneau for  the better part                                                               
of the  summer to build  a cohort of  new leaders.   The teachers                                                               
then  utilize distance  delivery and  then return  to Juneau  for                                                               
another  summer.    In  response  to  Chair  Seaton,  Dr.  Martin                                                               
confirmed that the  teachers normally take a student  loan to pay                                                               
for the program.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:21:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JACK WALSH, Superintendent, Bristol  Bay School District, thanked                                                               
the  committee  for  the  work   it  does.    He  suggested  that                                                               
supporting in-state  students is critical in  retaining teachers.                                                               
He  then  noted  his  appreciation  for  Dr.  Laster's  testimony                                                               
regarding  teachers obtaining  leadership degrees.   He  recalled                                                               
his  experience  with  the principal  program  which  Dr.  Laster                                                               
referenced,  and related  that  it took  him  several summers  to                                                               
complete the program.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:24:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON,  upon determining  no one  else wished  to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:24:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  moved that  the committee  adopt Amendment                                                               
1,  labeled  26-LS0307\P.8,  Mischel, 3/27/09.    [Text  provided                                                               
previously.]                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON objected for discussion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:25:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked  if the language "employed by  the state" that                                                               
would  be inserted  by Amendment  1  means a  state or  political                                                               
subdivision or strictly the State of Alaska.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHROEDER  answered that it  refers strictly to the  State of                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON removed his objection.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:25:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  indicated her  objection and  inquired as                                                               
to  what  would occur  if  the  two commissioners  disagree  with                                                               
regard to what is high need.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHROEDER  pointed out  that the  term "jointly"  is utilized                                                               
and thus the two commissioners must agree.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:26:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER removed her objection.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:26:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:26:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  moved that  the committee  adopt Amendment                                                               
2,  labeled  26-LS0307\P.7,  Mischel, 3/27/09.    [Text  provided                                                               
previously.]                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:26:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON objected  for discussion.   Upon  determining there                                                               
was no discussion on Amendment 2, he withdrew his objection.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:27:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:27:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  moved that  the committee  adopt Amendment                                                               
3,  labeled  26-LS0307\P.4,  Mischel, 3/16/09.    [Text  provided                                                               
previously.]                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:27:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON objected for discussion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:28:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHROEDER  reminded the committee that  Amendment 3 clarifies                                                               
that the program is not an entitlement.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:28:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH  noted  his appreciation  that  Amendment  3                                                               
provides that the program can be canceled.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:28:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON   asked  if  the  language   "may  not  be                                                               
construed  as an  entitlement"  is fairly  common  language.   It                                                               
appears to be a subjective statement, he said.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  opined that the language  suggests that the                                                               
state is  not required to fund  the program and thus  the benefit                                                               
can't automatically be given.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:29:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SCHROEDER  pointed out  that  CSHB  58, Version  P,  already                                                               
includes   language  specifying   that  the   program  isn't   an                                                               
entitlement.   However, upon  the request  of the  department the                                                               
language in  Amendment 3 was  proposed to ensure  that absolutely                                                               
no student would construe that they were locked into a payment.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  recalled committee discussion  on this matter  at a                                                               
prior hearing in which the desire  was to ensure that the program                                                               
targeted  needed  jobs  and  that  the  state  wasn't  committing                                                               
repayment of loans for jobs that weren't of critical need.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:31:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON expressed satisfaction with the response.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:31:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON removed  his  objection.   There  being no  further                                                               
objections, Amendment 3 was adopted.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:32:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 9:32 a.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:32:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  moved that the committee  adopt Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 4, which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, Lines 27-28                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     DELETE ALL MATERIAL                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:33:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON objected for discussion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:33:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON,  after reminding  the committee  of the  purpose of                                                               
Conceptual Amendment  4, removed his  objection.  There  being no                                                               
further objection, Conceptual Amendment 4 was adopted.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:35:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  moved  to  report   CSHB  58,  Version  26-                                                               
LS0307\P,  Mischel, 2/25/09,  as amended,  out of  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:35:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER objected.    She said  that although  she                                                               
appreciates the intent of HB 58,  it's a large amount of money to                                                               
spend on a program that may  or may not alter behavior.  However,                                                               
she listed  a number  of other  means that  would serve  the same                                                               
purpose in a more effective  manner, such as updating the state's                                                               
salary scales and  possibly a retirement plan.   Furthermore, she                                                               
questioned how anyone could rely on  and plan to use the proposed                                                               
program if  it's subject  to cancelation  and modification.   She                                                               
then  suggested   that  a  new   engineering  building   for  the                                                               
University  of  Alaska  should be  constructed  to  host  various                                                               
engineering  programs statewide.   Representative  Gardner opined                                                               
that  bigger bang  for the  buck would  be achieved  by providing                                                               
need and  merit scholarships for  the state's  students attending                                                               
the state's  university.   In fact,  those scholarships  could be                                                               
focused on the high needs fields.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:36:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON   related  her  belief  that   people  who                                                               
couldn't pursue  careers in high needs  fields will do so  due to                                                               
the state helping to repay the loan.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:37:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  noted  her agreement  with  Representative                                                               
Wilson's comments.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:37:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  said that  although he wouldn't  oppose HB
58  moving  from  committee,  he   associated  himself  with  the                                                               
statements of Representative Gardner.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:38:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON said  that this  legislation attempts  to fill  the                                                               
vacancies throughout  the state with  people who took  out Alaska                                                               
student loans  and fill  critical positions.   Although  he noted                                                               
his agreement that constructing a  science building would be good                                                               
for Alaskan students, it doesn't target the vacant jobs.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:40:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH acknowledged that  there are other incentives                                                               
to fill  jobs.   However, he  related his  view that  first there                                                               
need to be  students seeking careers in the  professions in which                                                               
the  state faces  a  high need,  which  is what  HB  58 seeks  to                                                               
encourage.  Therefore, Representative  Buch said he would support                                                               
HB 58.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:41:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER related  that although  he won't  stand in                                                               
the  way of  passing the  legislation from  committee, it  may be                                                               
creating a  hiring preference for  those who have been  helped by                                                               
the proposed  program.   He expressed concern  that it  seems the                                                               
committee isn't looking at the big picture.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:42:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON pointed out that  other programs do address specific                                                               
critical  shortage  areas,  such   as  the  Wyoming,  Washington,                                                               
Alaska,  Montana,  and  Idaho  (WWAMI) program.    In  fact,  the                                                               
committee heard legislation today  that would repay student loans                                                               
of  WWAMI students  [in an  effort to  fill an  area of  critical                                                               
shortage].   The two  pieces of legislation  seek the  same goal,                                                               
but HB  58 has a  quicker repayment time  for those who  serve in                                                               
rural Alaska.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:43:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON   requested  a  recap  of   the  residency                                                               
requirements.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SCHROEDER recalled  that the commission uses  a definition of                                                               
residency that's  similar to  that used in  other programs.   She                                                               
noted that there  had been concern with the requirement  to be in                                                               
Alaska for 60 days before applying  for a job because some people                                                               
won't return to Alaska unless they have a job.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON clarified  that  this is  repayment  of only  loans                                                               
taken out under the Alaska  Student Loan program.  Therefore, the                                                               
student  would've had  to  qualify for  the  Alaska Student  Loan                                                               
program to obtain a loan and want to return to Alaska for a job.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:44:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER maintained her objection.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:44:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote  was taken.    Representatives Munoz,  Wilson,                                                               
Edgmon,  Keller, Buch,  and Seaton  voted in  favor of  reporting                                                               
CSHB 58,  Version 26-LS0307\P, Mischel, 2/25/09,  as amended, out                                                               
of  committee.     Representative   Gardner  voted   against  it.                                                               
Therefore, CSHB 58(EDC)  was reported out of  the House Education                                                               
Standing Committee by a vote of 6-1.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 204 information.pdf HEDC 3/30/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/1/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 204
AmendingCSHB58 verP3 28.pdf HEDC 3/30/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 58
HB 58 material.pdf HEDC 3/30/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 58
HB 58 fiscal note.pdf HEDC 3/30/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 58
HB 58 amendment.pdf HEDC 3/30/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 58
HB58EduAmendPacket.pdf HEDC 3/30/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 58