Legislature(2015 - 2016)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/12/2016 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSB 147(HSS) Out of Committee
Moved HCS CSSCR 1(EDC) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 317(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
CS FOR SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 1(EDC)                                                                                
     Relating to a legislative task force on civics                                                                             
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS,  SPONSOR, discussed  the legislation.                                                                    
He questioned  whether currently children were  aware of the                                                                    
basic  elements of  democracy  and  what it  meant  to be  a                                                                    
citizen  and   voter.  He  explained  that   the  resolution                                                                    
established a  task force to  examine and  improve awareness                                                                    
of  the importance  of  civics education  in  the state.  He                                                                    
noted  that currently,  the federal  Every Student  Succeeds                                                                    
Act (ESSA),  provided funding for  non-profits to  assist in                                                                    
the endeavor.                                                                                                                   
1:53:52 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wilson  noted  the  zero  fiscal  note.  She                                                                    
pointed to page 3, line 30  - 31 of the legislation and read                                                                    
the following:                                                                                                                  
     …further resolved that members of the task force serve                                                                     
     without compensation but be entitled to per diem and                                                                       
     travel expenses authorized for boards and commissions…                                                                     
Representative   Wilson  wondered   how   the  fiscal   note                                                                    
justified the provision in the bill.                                                                                            
1:54:12 PM                                                                                                                    
TIN LAMKIN, STAFF, SENATOR STEVENS,  pointed to the analysis                                                                    
on the second  page of the fiscal note. He  relayed that the                                                                    
members  of the  task  force  would pay  their  own way.  He                                                                    
provided the example of a  task force member employed by the                                                                    
University of Alaska utilizing University  per diem funds to                                                                    
attend. The  intent was  that members  would be  chosen from                                                                    
residents of  the Anchorage area  to keep travel costs  to a                                                                    
minimum. Representative  Wilson assumed the  travel expenses                                                                    
would  be covered  by their  organization  or employer.  Mr.                                                                    
Lamkin answered in the affirmative.                                                                                             
Representative  Guttenberg  commented that  the  legislature                                                                    
went through  many "machinations"  regarding the  issue over                                                                    
the  years. He  recalled  when  he was  in  grade school  he                                                                    
engaged in  civics lessons and activities.  He asked whether                                                                    
the  sponsor accumulated  information  regarding how  civics                                                                    
was  currently taught.  Senator Stevens  responded that  his                                                                    
views  on the  issue were  predicated on  his own  anecdotal                                                                    
experience  when  visiting  school classrooms.  He  observed                                                                    
that  basic  civics  understanding and  information  in  the                                                                    
schools was lacking.  He was not aware of  a specific study.                                                                    
Representative Guttenberg  ascertained that  the legislature                                                                    
needed  to   gain  a  better  understanding   regarding  the                                                                    
exposure  to  civics  Alaskan   children  was  receiving  in                                                                    
school. Senator Stevens provided an  example of a program in                                                                    
Boston,  Massachusetts that  helped teachers  teach students                                                                    
about civics  and citizenship.  He wished  to see  a similar                                                                    
outcome from the state's task force.                                                                                            
1:58:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara appreciated  the  senator for  bringing                                                                    
the legislation forward  and felt that with  the emphasis on                                                                    
STEM  (science, technology,  engineering and  math) training                                                                    
other  important aspects  of education  was  being lost.  He                                                                    
relayed  a  personal  experience  of being  mistaken  for  a                                                                    
congressional representative.                                                                                                   
Representative  Munoz  asked  whether  curriculum  expansion                                                                    
would be  a result  of the  bill. Senator  Stevens confirmed                                                                    
that  the  curriculum would  not  change.  He hoped  that  a                                                                    
separate civics class would be  established but the goal was                                                                    
to attain  results at low  costs which required  a different                                                                    
approach. Representative  Munoz wanted  to make sure  that a                                                                    
result  of  the  legislation was  not  mandating  additional                                                                    
graduation  requirements.  Mr.  Lamkin pointed  to  page  2,                                                                    
lines  14   through  20  in  the   current  House  Education                                                                    
Committee version of the bill  that requested the task force                                                                    
to  evaluate the  merits and  implementation of  requiring a                                                                    
civics test.  He shared  that the  test was  the citizenship                                                                    
test  that  immigrants  were  required  to  pass.  The  test                                                                    
contained 100 questions and 60  percent was a passing grade.                                                                    
Statistics showed  that 92 percent of  immigrants passed the                                                                    
test versus 3  percent of graduating seniors  in Arizona and                                                                    
4  percent in  Oklahoma. He  thought that  the results  were                                                                    
indicative of the current problem.                                                                                              
Co-Chair Thompson  invited questions for  Michael Poliakoff,                                                                    
Ph.D.,  Vice  President  of   Policy,  American  Council  of                                                                    
Trustees and Alumni.                                                                                                            
2:03:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Thompson OPENED public testimony.                                                                                      
2:03:48 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Thompson CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                      
Senator Stevens thanked the committee for hearing the bill.                                                                     
Co-Chair  Thompson  spoke  to  the  fiscal  note  FN3  (LEG)                                                                    
regarding  travel costs  that was  zeroed out  by the  House                                                                    
Education   Committee  with   the   included  remarks   that                                                                    
anticipated  the  travel cost  would  be  absorbed. He  felt                                                                    
uncomfortable  that   the  bill  still   contained  language                                                                    
entitling travel and per diem expenses.                                                                                         
2:04:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson  voiced that  the current  fiscal note                                                                    
was only  one page and  supported the zero fiscal  note with                                                                    
the absorption of travel related costs.                                                                                         
Co-Chair Thompson noted the zero fiscal note.                                                                                   
Representative Munoz  MOVED to  REPORT HCSCSSCR 1  (EDC) out                                                                    
of  committee   with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal  note(s). There  being NO  OBJECTION, it                                                                    
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
HCSCSSCR 1  was REPORTED out  of committee with a  "do pass"                                                                    
recommendation  and  with  one previously  published  fiscal                                                                    
note: FN3 (LEG).                                                                                                                
2:05:51 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
2:08:05 PM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB147 Summary of Changes 040416.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 147
SB147 Sectional Analysis 040416.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 147
SB147 Governor Transmittal Letter.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 147
02_SCR1_CivicsEd_TaskForce_SponsorStatement.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
10_SCR1_US Citizenship Civics Test-2 Page.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
09_SCR1_CivicsEd_TaskForce_OtherStatesLaws_Summary.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
08_SCR1_FactsAboutCivicsLiteracy.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
07_SCR1_CivicsRenewalNetwork_Article.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
06_SCR1_ACTA_Roosevelt_Survey.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
SCR 1 Article Atlantic Educ Age of Trump.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 317 DLAW email Re HB 317 legal concerns.pdf HFIN 4/12/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 317