Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/27/1996 01:20 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  SENATE BILL 301                                                              
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to postsecondary education."                           
                                                                               
  DIANE BARRANS, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR, POSTSECONDARY  EDUCATION                 
  COMMISSION,  DEPARTMENT OF  EDUCATION, spoke  to the  fiscal                 
  note attached to the Executive  Order (EO) which indicates a                 
  reduction  in  costs   because  the   Commission  would   be                 
  eliminated.  What  was not included  in the Executive  Order                 
  was information that the Department of Education (DOE) has a                 
  pending  RSA for  $40  thousand dollars.    DOE backed  that                 
  amount out of their proposed FY97 budget and the fiscal note                 
  provided  by  the  Department  of  Revenue  represents  that                 
  amount.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Representative  Brown   MOVED  to  adopt  Amendment  #1,  9-                 
  LS1749\K.2, Ford, 4/26/96.   Ms. Barrans explained  that the                 
  amendment would eliminate the Commission  and would move the                 
  regulation  of  the  post  secondary  institutions  to   the                 
  Department of Education  as a department function  and would                 
  also  provide  the   needed  technical  corrections.     She                 
  reiterated that the amendment would eliminate the separation                 
  of  power issue, which was of concern to the Administration.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder  asked  if  Amendment  #1  would   be                 
  comparable to the  Executive Order.   Ms. Barrans stated  it                 
  would.  Representative Mulder OBJECTED to Amendment #1.                      
                                                                               
  A roll call was taken on the MOTION.                                         
                                                                               
       IN FAVOR:      Brown.                                                   
       OPPOSED:       Kelly, Kohring, Martin, Mulder, Parnell,                 
                      Therriault.                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Grussendorf, Navarre, Hanley  and Foster were                 
  not present for the vote.                                                    
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (1-6).                                                     
                                                                               
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  Representative  Parnell  MOVED  to  adopt  Amendment #2,  9-                 
  LS1749\K.1,  Ford,  4/25/96,  for  purposes  of  discussion.                 
  Representative Brown OBJECTED.   Ms. Barrans noted  that the                 
  Commission has  been supportive of the WAMI program and that                 
  the amendment would reinstate  it.  She pointed out  that it                 
  was a low cost program to administer.                                        
                                                                               
  WENDY   REDMAN,   VICE   PRESIDENT,  UNIVERSITY   RELATIONS,                 
  UNIVERSITY  OF  ALASKA,  understood  Representative  Bunde's                 
  intent in  the amendment to move  the WAMI program to  a new                 
  base.  She acknowledged that  the University was willing  to                 
  work with him on that concern.                                               
                                                                               
  Ms. Redman advised that  the WAMI program is a  major public                 
  policy question that the State of Alaska needs to deal with.                 
  It is an expensive program, although, it is not an expensive                 
  program as an alternative to medical school.  The University                 
  of Washington sets aside ten seats for Alaskans.  The policy                 
  issue  needs to  be  determined by  the  Legislature if  the                 
  intent is to provide for rural doctors.                                      
                                                                               
  She recommended establishing an interim committee  to pursue                 
  the  concerns.   Ms.  Redman  objected  to Amendment  #2  as                 
  proposed.  It  would place into  the University budget,  the                 
  money for the years 2, 3 and 4 as part of the program.   She                 
  pointed out  that this  was not  part of  the University  of                 
  Alaska's  program;  it is  a  straight pass  through  to the                 
  University of Washington.   It would inflate  the University                 
  of Alaska's budget.                                                          
                                                                               
  Representative  Brown asked  where  the first  year  funding                 
  would come from.  Ms. Redman  replied all first year funding                 
  is contained in the UAA budget.  The students attend UAA for                 
  the first year and  then go to the University  of Washington                 
  for the next three years.                                                    
                                                                               
  Representative  Therriault  asked  some  ideas  which  could                 
  attract  students to rural  Alaska.  Ms.  Redman stated that                 
  there  are  some states  which pay  a  flat amount  of money                 
  enticing doctors  into rural areas.   Other states  pay back                 
  the  student  loans.   These systems  do  work and  would be                 
  cheaper than the  current system  used in  Alaska under  the                 
  WAMI program.                                                                
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE CON  BUNDE commented that  the driving  force                 
  behind the WAMI program was UAA.  They want the program.  He                 
  thought it  would be  advisable to  consolidate the  funding                 
  into one entity.   Representative Martin  noted that he  did                 
  not believe  that anyone  from the University  "desperately"                 
  wanted this program.                                                         
                                                                               
                                                                               
                               14                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Ms.  Redman  corrected  that Representative  Bunde  had been                 
  referring to the maintenance of the first year budget at the                 
  University  of  Alaska.   She  added  that this  was  a high                 
  priority for  UAA.   The residency  program currently  being                 
  implemented at  the Anchorage hospital would not exist if it                 
  were not for the WAMI program participation.  The University                 
  does not want the funding responsibility  for years 2, 3 and                 
  4.                                                                           
                                                                               
  In response  to Representative Brown's question,  Ms. Redman                 
  noted that forty students per  year are participating in the                 
  WAMI program.  Ten from each class.  The cost is  $2 million                 
  dollars; emphasizing that  it is  a very expensive  program.                 
  Representative Brown suggested adding a  Letter of Intent to                 
  attach to the legislation.                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Kohring voiced his  support of the amendment.                 
  Representative Bunde  thought that  since years 2,  3 and  4                 
  were  at the  University of  Washington, that  would  be the                 
  ideal place to have the funding located.                                     
                                                                               
  A roll call was taken on the MOTION.                                         
                                                                               
       IN FAVOR:      Kohring, Kelly.                                          
       OPPOSED:       Martin,  Mulder,  Parnell,   Therriault,                 
                      Brown.                                                   
                                                                               
  Representatives Navarre, Grussendorf, Hanley and Foster were                 
  not present for the vote.                                                    
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (2-7).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder  noted  that  it  was his  intent  to                 
  support  the  Letter   of  Intent  to   further  investigate                 
  alternatives.                                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Martin MOVED  to report CS SB 301 (FIN)am out                 
  of Committee  with individual  recommendations and  with the                 
  attached fiscal notes.  There being  NO OBJECTION, it was so                 
  ordered.                                                                     
                                                                               
  CS SB 301  (FIN)am was  reported out of  Committee with  "no                 
  recommendation" and with  fiscal notes by the  Department of                 
  Revenue dated 4/19/96,  two from  the Alaska Post  Secondary                 
  Commission  dated  4/02/96  and  4/19/96   and  two  by  the                 
  Department of Education dated 4/19/96 and a zero fiscal note                 
  by the Alaska Postsecondary Commission.                                      

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