Legislature(2019 - 2020)ADAMS ROOM 519

02/22/2020 12:00 PM FINANCE

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Audio Topic
12:06:47 PM Start
12:07:41 PM HB205 || HB206
12:09:25 PM Public Testimony: off Net/lios
02:37:45 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 205 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit 2 Minutes> --
+= HB 206 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit 2 Minutes> --
12:00 - 3:00 p.m. *Off Net/LIO's
- Select a spokesperson if you are part of a
group with the same message
- All Off Net callers must hang up immediately
after testifying to keep lines open
- Continue to access meeting through akleg.gov
- The hearing may be televised on Gavel to Gavel,
please check listings
- Please arrive 15 min. early for sign-in process
- Please arrive 30 min. prior to end of allotted
time or testimony will close early
- Send written testimony to
housefinance@akleg.gov by 1:00 pm on 2/26/20
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 205                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain    programs;    capitalizing   funds;    making                                                                    
     appropriations under art.  IX, sec. 17(c), Constitution                                                                    
     of the State of  Alaska, from the constitutional budget                                                                    
    reserve fund; and providing for an effective date."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 206                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive mental health  program; and providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
12:07:41 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY: OFF NET/LIOs                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
12:09:25 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
AMANDA  METIVIER, FACING  FOSTER CARE  IN ALASKA,  ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via  teleconference), was  a formal  foster care  youth and                                                                    
had been  a foster parent for  over a decade. She  called in                                                                    
support   of  continuing   positions  for   the  Office   of                                                                    
Children's Services (OCS) that  were originally allocated in                                                                    
previous  legislation. She  reported Alaska  had the  second                                                                    
highest rate  per capita of  children in foster care  in the                                                                    
country. She  also requested support  for a proposal  by the                                                                    
Department of  Health and Social  Services (DHSS) to  add an                                                                    
additional  deputy  commissioner  position  to  specifically                                                                    
oversee OCS and the Division of Juvenile Justice.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Johnston  indicated Representative  Kelly  Merrick                                                                    
was listening online.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
12:11:10 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ABIGAIL  REDUON, FACING  FOSTER  CARE  IN ALASKA,  ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via  teleconference), was  15 years  old. She  had been  in                                                                    
foster  care  for  15  years   and  had  had  23  placements                                                                    
including  treatment  centers  and   group  homes.  She  had                                                                    
stopped counting  the number  of case  workers she  had had.                                                                    
She advocated for continued funding  for OCS staff to reduce                                                                    
the number of  cases assigned to each OCS  worker to provide                                                                    
a better  experience for  youth such  as herself  when going                                                                    
through the system.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
12:12:21 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MATEO JAIME,  FACING FOSTER CARE  IN ALASKA,  ANCHORAGE (via                                                                    
teleconference),  was 18  and had  been in  the foster  care                                                                    
system for  3 years and  had had 6 placements.  He advocated                                                                    
for sustained funding for OCS  case workers. He had concerns                                                                    
with youth  losing their connections with  relatives. He had                                                                    
had at  least 5 social workers.  As a result, a  letter from                                                                    
his biological father,  who he had not heard from  in over 3                                                                    
years, was lost. He thanked the committee.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
12:13:21 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ISAIAH KING,  FACING FOSTER CARE  IN ALASKA,  ANCHORAGE (via                                                                    
teleconference),  was 21  and was  attending Alaska  Pacific                                                                    
University (APU).  He had been  in foster care for  about 18                                                                    
years   before   getting   adopted.   He   had   experienced                                                                    
approximately 15  placements while in foster  care. He spoke                                                                    
in support  of funding  for OCS.  He suggested  case workers                                                                    
were overloaded. He thanked members for their time.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Andy  Josephson was  online at  the Anchorage                                                                    
Legislative Information Office.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
12:14:21 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
NATASHA  GAMACHE,  SELF,   ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke  in  favor of  proper  funding  of the  mental  health                                                                    
budget. She  relayed that due  to the Medicaid  structure in                                                                    
Alaska  the state  had a  severe shortage  of mental  health                                                                    
workers to  provide services to lower  income residents. One                                                                    
of  the  residents  was  her 6  year-old  son  who  recently                                                                    
attempted suicide.  Her son had been  systematically bullied                                                                    
at school. She  believed his attempt at  suicide was because                                                                    
she could not  find him adequate mental  health services. He                                                                    
was currently at North       Star Hospital in Anchorage. She                                                                    
found out  that there  were no  treatment centers  in Alaska                                                                    
for children  under the  age of 12.  If North  Star Hospital                                                                    
recommended  residential treatment  for her  son, she  would                                                                    
have to  go out of state.  She thought it was  a travesty to                                                                    
separate  small children  from their  families  in order  to                                                                    
access comprehensive  and adequate mental  health treatment.                                                                    
The  problem  existed throughout  Alaska  -  the number  one                                                                    
cause of death  for youth between the ages of  15 and 24 was                                                                    
suicide. She  argued that  the state  was failing  its young                                                                    
people. She  suggested that  it was  on the  legislature and                                                                    
the state's  citizens to do  a better job of  advocating and                                                                    
providing services  for Alaska's  young people.  She thanked                                                                    
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
12:16:42 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PAT  HOLMES,  SELF,  KODIAK  (via  teleconference),  thought                                                                    
there should  be no  increase to the  PFD. He  advocated for                                                                    
returning to the priorities  of statehood: education, public                                                                    
safety,  and  transportation  including  the  Alaska  Marine                                                                    
Highway System  (AMHS), fisheries,  and social  services. He                                                                    
suggested  the   state  needed   to  increase   revenues  by                                                                    
increasing  oil  taxes and  reinstating  a  wage tax  and  a                                                                    
school  head  tax.  He   also  suggested  allowing  resource                                                                    
royalties,  such as  a raw  fish tax,  to go  to communities                                                                    
from which they were generated.  He added that if Alaska was                                                                    
to become  a true  conservative state, he  suggested raising                                                                    
revenues  by changing  the mainland  highways to  toll roads                                                                    
like was  done in Florida. He  had been a Republican  all of                                                                    
his life, bet  felt that the party had swung  too far to the                                                                    
right and allowed the legislature  to be influenced by large                                                                    
corporations. The  discussion on  oil revenues  was supposed                                                                    
to increase jobs. However, BP  laid off 1,500 people. It was                                                                    
a   very  difficult   time  for   everyone.  He   hoped  the                                                                    
legislature   could  find   a   reasonable  compromise   and                                                                    
consensus  like in  the days  of his  youth. He  thanked the                                                                    
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Johnston asked  what Mr. Holmes had  said about the                                                                    
PFD.  Mr. Holmes  did  not  think the  PFD  funds should  be                                                                    
increased.  He did  not think  the  supplemental amount  was                                                                    
necessary - he  would rather see the money  be spent towards                                                                    
education.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
12:19:36 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN   MERRITT,   SELF,  WRANGELL   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
appreciated  being able  to be  heard. He  advocated keeping                                                                    
the  local  fish and  game  office  open in  Wrangell.  Many                                                                    
people  used  the facility  for  things  that could  not  be                                                                    
accomplished online. He listed  several items. On average he                                                                    
visited  the  office  10  times   per  year  for  clarifying                                                                    
information about sport  and commercial fishing regulations.                                                                    
He  presented  ADFG  game   guiding  principles  and  forest                                                                    
services  which he  found on  the  department's website.  He                                                                    
read  the list.  He appreciated  the staff  at the  fish and                                                                    
game office and noted  how their performance corresponded to                                                                    
the  guiding principles.  He also  mentioned another  reason                                                                    
for  keeping the  office  open: to  show  the Canadians  the                                                                    
state was monitoring and doing  its part in keeping track of                                                                    
the  Stikine  River. He  urged  members  to support  of  the                                                                    
Alaska  Marine Highway  System (AMHS),  as it  was the  road                                                                    
system  for  Southeast  Alaska.  He  spoke  of  the  several                                                                    
benefits of AMHS.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
12:21:50 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BRENDA  YEAGER, SELF,  WRANGELL (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support  of funding the AMHS.  She used the service  as a                                                                    
means  to earn  a living.  She  thought the  AMHS should  be                                                                    
consistent. She also wanted to  see the ferry system forward                                                                    
funded  for the  purpose of  scheduling. She  also spoke  in                                                                    
support of keeping  the Wrangell Fish and  Game office open.                                                                    
She ran  a sport  fishing guide business.  She spoke  of how                                                                    
she  frequently  used  the  services   at  the  office.  She                                                                    
reported that Wrangell statistically  had a higher number of                                                                    
elders that  had not adapted  well to  technological methods                                                                    
and how  they used the  office frequently. She  continued to                                                                    
speak  about the  needs of  maintaining the  ADFG office  in                                                                    
Wrangell.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
12:25:12 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JIM   ANDERSON,   SELF,   WRANGELL   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
supported keeping  the Wrangell  Fish and Game  Office open.                                                                    
He noted how  helpful the staff had been to  him. He thanked                                                                    
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
12:25:53 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DEBORAH LANCASTER, SUPERINTENDENT,  WRANGELL PUBLIC SCHOOLS,                                                                    
WRANGELL (via  teleconference), advocated for funding  for a                                                                    
full-time position at OCS. She  spoke of all of the benefits                                                                    
of  OCS  having  a  presence in  Wrangell.  Wrangell  had  a                                                                    
poverty level  of 52  percent. The school  no longer  had an                                                                    
in-house school counselor. She restated  her desire to see a                                                                    
full time OCS position in her community.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
12:27:55 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LARRY KLINE,  SELF, WRANGELL (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
support of keeping  the Wrangell Fish and  Game Office open.                                                                    
The people  currently working in  the office  were fantastic                                                                    
to work with. The office was a necessity for him.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
12:29:45 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN  MCCLURE, ALASKA  WING  COMMANDER,  CIVIL AIR  PATROL,                                                                    
ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference),  spoke  in  support of  the                                                                    
Civil Air Patrol.  He indicated there were  3 mission items,                                                                    
search and  rescue, aerospace  training, and  cadet service.                                                                    
He provided  some statistics regarding search  and saves. He                                                                    
had  been  involved with  the  Civil  Air Patrol  since  the                                                                    
1950s.  He asked  members to  help the  Civil Air  Patrol to                                                                    
complete its missions and provide continued funding.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
12:31:56 PM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
12:32:36 PM                                                                                                                   
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CARLOS  ALVAREZ, ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL DISTRICT,  ANCHORAGE (via                                                                    
teleconference),   supported   forward  funding   for   K-12                                                                    
education.  He  relayed  many of  the  benefits  of  forward                                                                    
funding. He talked about teachers  delaying making plans for                                                                    
the  future such  as  buying homes  due  to uncertainty.  He                                                                    
spoke  of   kids  having   enough  challenges   without  the                                                                    
challenge of having inconsistency  with public education. He                                                                    
thought  forward   funding  was   an  easy  way   to  garner                                                                    
reliability.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
12:34:53 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PAUL  BERAN, SELF,  JUNEAU  (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
support of the  AMHS. He thought funding  was imperative. He                                                                    
suggested that  the small communities  that depended  on the                                                                    
ferry  service   were  being   strangled.  He   advocated  a                                                                    
progressive income  tax. He  did not think  a sales  tax was                                                                    
fair,  as it  was  a  regressive tax.  An  income tax  would                                                                    
affect several  workers that  reside out-of-state  that work                                                                    
in  the oil,  mining, and  fishing industries  and presently                                                                    
pay  no tax.  He advocated  for  a smaller  PFD rather  than                                                                    
losing services.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative LeBon  asked Mr.  Beran if he  had considered                                                                    
details of  a progressive  income tax.  Mr. Beran  thought a                                                                    
progressive income tax should be  tied to the federal income                                                                    
tax.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
12:38:24 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ANNE HANSSEN,  SELF, HAINES (via  teleconference), supported                                                                    
funding for public  radio. She indicated that  with the loss                                                                    
of ferry  service, public radio  was even more  essential to                                                                    
life in Haines.  She spoke of the safety  benefit of knowing                                                                    
the conditions  of roads. Public radio  was hugely important                                                                    
to  the community  of Haines.  She thanked  members for  the                                                                    
opportunity to testify.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
12:40:16 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HARRIET  BELEAL,  ALASKA  NATIVE BROTHERHOOD,  CAMP  NO.  1,                                                                    
SITKA (via  teleconference), talked about an  airlift event.                                                                    
At  the  event,  many  families talked  about  the  lack  of                                                                    
groceries in  their small  communities. Several  people came                                                                    
together to  help. She  advocated for  funding of  the AMHS.                                                                    
Several small  villages were suffering. Many  of the smaller                                                                    
communities  did not  have employment  opportunities in  the                                                                    
winter. She  talked about not  being able to  attend certain                                                                    
cultural events. She  reported that the quality  of life for                                                                    
several communities  had been adversely affected.  She urged                                                                    
members to get the AMHS back online and in good condition.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
12:43:58 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
STACY  GOADE, SELF,  SITKA  (via teleconference),  advocated                                                                    
for  funding for  the AMHS.  She spoke  of how  the loss  of                                                                    
ferry  service  had   radically  affected  communities.  She                                                                    
provided  a  personal  example  of how  her  life  had  been                                                                    
negatively  affected. She  had participated  in the  airlift                                                                    
event,  which   was  aired  at  the   radio  station,  KCAW.                                                                    
Commercial  fishermen had  helped with  moving groceries  to                                                                    
some  of  the  small  communities. She  disagreed  with  the                                                                    
governor's vetoes.  She suggested the governor  had elevated                                                                    
the  disparity  between  groups of  people.  She  encouraged                                                                    
members  to restore  the funding  to the  AMHS. She  thanked                                                                    
members for their time.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
12:47:58 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PETE  HOEPFNER, SELF,  CORDOVA (via  teleconference), was  a                                                                    
school board  member and commercial  fishermen. He  spoke of                                                                    
deficit  spending  for  the previous  6  years.  Uncertainty                                                                    
plagued many  citizens. He  provided some  statistics having                                                                    
to do with state funding  and the economy. He suggested less                                                                    
money  was going  to the  classroom. He  disagreed with  the                                                                    
state changing to  a different retirement system,  as it was                                                                    
a  disincentive for  attracting teachers.  He advocated  for                                                                    
the restoration  of the AMHS.  He believed  deficit spending                                                                    
needed  to stop.  He provided  examples of  problems in  the                                                                    
state. He  thought a flat rate  income tax was a  good idea.                                                                    
He noted the  vastness of the state and the  fact it was not                                                                    
centered on the road system.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
12:51:52 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DANA   DARDIS,   SELF,   ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
advocated   for  additional   funding   for  mental   health                                                                    
services.  She had  had  to send  her son  out  of state  to                                                                    
receive care  for his issues.  She asked the  legislature to                                                                    
be thoughtful about the state's mental health budget.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
12:53:38 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE SMITH, SELF,  WRANGELL (via teleconference), advocated                                                                    
for the Wrangell Fish and Game Office to remain open.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
12:54:17 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE WARD,  SELF, WRANGELL  (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
support of the  AMHS and the Wrangell Fish  and Game Office.                                                                    
He  mentioned  that  outside  boats  came  to  Wrangell  and                                                                    
utilized  the fish  and game  office  as well.  He felt  the                                                                    
office was needed badly.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
12:55:25 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DENISE STEWART, SELF,  WRANGELL (via teleconference), wanted                                                                    
to see the Wrangell Fish  and Game supported. The office was                                                                    
used  on  a regular  basis.  The  older fishermen  used  the                                                                    
Wrangell office  frequently. The  staff was very  helpful in                                                                    
assisting the elders complete their paperwork.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
12:56:47 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
GHERT  ABBOT, SELF,  KETCHIKAN  (via teleconference),  asked                                                                    
the legislature  to appropriately fund the  state's Medicaid                                                                    
program. He noted the program  was essential to more than 20                                                                    
percent of Alaska's population. He thanked the committee.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
12:58:19 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LEES SHERWOOD, SELF, TOK (via  teleconference), was happy to                                                                    
be in Alaska. He was  retired and managed to make ends-meat.                                                                    
He  thought  there  were  programs that  could  be  cut.  He                                                                    
pointed out Alaska  was blessed with its  resources which he                                                                    
thought  should be  further developed.  He advocated  for 20                                                                    
percent  cuts.   He  was  comfortable  with   a  10  percent                                                                    
reduction to his senior benefits.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Johnston indicated  no  one else  was online.  The                                                                    
committee would take a 30 minute break.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:01:17 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:33:35 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MICHELE    GIRAULT,    KEY   COALITION,    ANCHORAGE    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified   in  support  of   funding  for                                                                    
disability services.  She shared that the  Key Coalition had                                                                    
closed  its  state  facility  in the  1990s  and  had  moved                                                                    
towards  home and  community based  services.  For the  past                                                                    
five  years  there had  been  a  reduction in  services  and                                                                    
access to services.  In 2017 there had been  2,085 people on                                                                    
waiver  services and  the  number had  dropped  to 2,048  in                                                                    
2019.  The  waitlist was  currently  730  people. They  were                                                                    
concerned  about   the  erosion   of  access   to  community                                                                    
services, while at  the same time, Alaskans  were being sent                                                                    
out of  state for services.  She discussed items  that could                                                                    
be done  in the  budget that could  stabilize services  at a                                                                    
less costly  rate than sending  people out of state,  to the                                                                    
hospital, or API.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Girault discussed  there were a number  of people living                                                                    
with aging  parents with disabilities and  those individuals                                                                    
were  not  on  the  waitlist. She  was  concerned  that  the                                                                    
state's capacity to serve Alaskans  in need was eroding. She                                                                    
supported  the creation  of a  stable service  structure for                                                                    
home  and community  based providers  and to  find a  way to                                                                    
reduce  the waitlist.  She explained  that investments  into                                                                    
special education  did not help  when there were  not follow                                                                    
up services later.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Ortiz asked if the  term home and community based                                                                    
services included the term day-hab  services for seniors and                                                                    
individuals with disabilities. Ms.  Girault responded in the                                                                    
affirmative. She explained that  day-habilitation was one of                                                                    
the  Medicaid   service  categories   under  the   home  and                                                                    
community  base waiver.  She relayed  that the  category had                                                                    
been reduced in the past five years for individuals.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Ortiz believed  that  at  one point  individuals                                                                    
receiving  day-hab  services  could  receive up  to  was  25                                                                    
hours. He asked for verification  the limit had decreased to                                                                    
12 hours.  Ms. Girault agreed.  She elaborated that  the cap                                                                    
was 12 hours.  She noted it was possible to  advocate with a                                                                    
care  coordinator writing  a very  defensive plan  to get  a                                                                    
little bit more; but the majority only received 12 hours.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:37:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JESSIE  PHILLIPS,  SELF,   ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in   support  of  domestic   violence  prevention                                                                    
funding. She  stressed that people were  all responsible for                                                                    
preventing domestic violence.  She detailed that individuals                                                                    
who were  raised with  domestic violence  were 7  times more                                                                    
likely  to  commit  domestic  violence.  She  stressed  that                                                                    
people did  not change  overnight -  they changed  how their                                                                    
beliefs   over  long   periods  of   time  with   additional                                                                    
counseling.  She  stated  there  was  nothing  normal  about                                                                    
domestic violence.  She underscored that annual  spending on                                                                    
the  issue ranged  between $8.6  billion  and $12.8  billion                                                                    
nationally. She spoke about the  number of domestic violence                                                                    
shelters -  there was  an average of  60 shelters  per state                                                                    
and Alaska  had only  32. The  shelters were  funded through                                                                    
state and government grants.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Phillips  provided  details and  statistics  about  the                                                                    
shelters and  the homeless population. She  called attention                                                                    
to the global  initiative to end all  corporal punishment of                                                                    
children. She  shared that children raised  in abusive homes                                                                    
were more  likely to  be abusive.  She spoke  about domestic                                                                    
violence  impacting men  as well.  She believed  in fighting                                                                    
back for Alaska. She shared that  she was born and raised in                                                                    
Nome. She  discussed that Alaska Native  and American Indian                                                                    
women accounted  for 5 out  of 6 missing and  murdered women                                                                    
at  today, while  the  same groups  only  accounted for  2.6                                                                    
percent of the nation's population.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:43:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LEZLIE  RICE, SELF,  WRANGELL  (via teleconference),  shared                                                                    
that  she had  worked for  the Department  of Fish  and Game                                                                    
Commercial Fisheries  for 15 years.  She had also  worked in                                                                    
the Wrangell office  as a fill in. She believed  it would be                                                                    
a hardship for the fishermen  and general population to lose                                                                    
the office.  She stressed that there  were numerous services                                                                    
that would be hard to reach  via the internet because of the                                                                    
location. She  provided examples  about receiving  DFG tags.                                                                    
Not everyone  had the ability  to go online to  get business                                                                    
done. Fishermen  also came to  the office to get  the weekly                                                                    
newsletter. She  explained that fish  sampling units  had to                                                                    
be connected  to the internet  in the  office at the  end of                                                                    
the  day  to send  out  sampling  information to  bosses  in                                                                    
Sitka, Petersburg,  and Juneau. Sampling  information helped                                                                    
determine  the fish  openings for  the  following week.  The                                                                    
Wrangell office was  shared by Sport Fish  and Wildlife. She                                                                    
listed additional services provided  in the Wrangell office.                                                                    
She spoke about  the lack of AMHS ferry  service. She shared                                                                    
that school  groups could not  afford to travel  without the                                                                    
ferries. She empathized with communities  that were not able                                                                    
to get food. She spoke in support of public radio.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:47:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WINSTON   DAVIES,  SELF,   WRANGELL  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified in support of the  Wrangell Department of Fish and                                                                    
Game office.  He shared that there  was substantial business                                                                    
that  went   through  the  office  pertaining   to  fishing,                                                                    
hunting,  trapping,  and  other. He  discussed  examples  of                                                                    
items  individuals  used the  office  for.  He stressed  its                                                                    
importance  for  commercial  fishing.  The  moose  check  in                                                                    
required an  individual to check  moose antlers,  hides, and                                                                    
other.   The  office   was  incredibly   important  to   the                                                                    
community. He supported the AMHS as well.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:49:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JULIE  DECKER,   MARI-CULTURE  TASK  FORCE,   WRANGELL  (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  on behalf of the  Alaska Mariculture                                                                    
Task  Force.  The taskforce  supported  the  actions of  the                                                                    
Department  of Natural  Resources,  Department  of Fish  and                                                                    
Game, and  Department of Environmental  Conservation finance                                                                    
subcommittees. She  highlighted support for three  items: 1)                                                                    
the insertion of an increment  of $187,300 and two positions                                                                    
for  the Department  of Natural  Resources for  aquatic farm                                                                    
application processing;  2) the rejection of  a decrement of                                                                    
one position  from the  aquaculture planning  and permitting                                                                    
section  in  Department  of  Fish   and  Game;  and  3)  the                                                                    
rejection of new paralytic  shellfish poisoning testing fees                                                                    
in the Department of  Environmental Conservation budget. The                                                                    
taskforce had  been established by administrative  order 280                                                                    
in  2016 with  the direction  to provide  recommendations on                                                                    
developing  a viable  and sustainable  mariculture industry.                                                                    
The  taskforce had  been reauthorized  in  2018 to  continue                                                                    
implementation    of   the    plan.   The    plan   included                                                                    
recommendations  and  action  items  related  to  the  three                                                                    
budget items  she had  highlighted. She  supported continued                                                                    
development  of the  mariculture  industry and  its goal  to                                                                    
grow to a $100 million per year industry in 20 years.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Carpenter  asked what  part of the  state the                                                                    
testifier  had   called  from.  Co-Chair   Johnston  replied                                                                    
"Wrangell."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:52:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GERRY HOPE,  SELF, SITKA (via teleconference),  testified in                                                                    
support of a full operating budget  to meet the need for all                                                                    
AMHS  vessels  to  operate. Coastal  communities  served  by                                                                    
ferries were  hurting and it  should never have come  to the                                                                    
current point. Some communities  were struggling to get food                                                                    
and access  to healthcare.  Additionally, he  recognized the                                                                    
Tlingit  cultural  connectivity  that was  provided  by  the                                                                    
ferry  system  - which  was  currently  absent. He  strongly                                                                    
advocated for full funding for AMHS.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:54:26 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:26:26 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
STAN   HJORT,   SELF,   PETERSBURG   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in  support  of the  AMHS.  He  underscored  that                                                                    
people of  Southeast Alaska were  already being  driven back                                                                    
to pre-ferry  conditions. He  highlighted travel  for school                                                                    
and medical  treatment that was  unavailable due to  lack of                                                                    
ferry service. He stressed that he  would now have to fly to                                                                    
and  from Seattle  to see  his  cardiologist. He  emphasized                                                                    
that  kids  in  Sitka   were  putting  together  a  GoFundMe                                                                    
fundraising  page  to  get  food  shipped  into  Hoonah.  He                                                                    
believed  the  problem with  the  ferries  resided with  the                                                                    
legislature  for its  lack of  planning.  He discussed  that                                                                    
when the  PFD had  started the citizens  of the  state would                                                                    
have been happy  to vote for a check of  $1,000 and no more.                                                                    
He underscored that residents had  been told that it was not                                                                    
about getting a  fat check every year. He  stressed the need                                                                    
to save for a rainy day.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:29:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID MACRI, SELF,  WRANGELL (via teleconference), testified                                                                    
in support of  an Office of Children  Services counselor for                                                                    
Wrangell. He stressed the need  to continue AMHS services to                                                                    
all ports including Prince Rupert.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:30:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHRYN  BOLAK, SELF,  CHUGIAK  (via teleconference),  urged                                                                    
continued  support for  the Alaska  Performance Scholarship,                                                                    
education, full funding for  Medicaid including coverage for                                                                    
licensed  professional  counselors,   senior  benefits,  the                                                                    
Pioneer Homes,  and restored funding  for AMHS.  She thanked                                                                    
the committee for its time.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:31:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOANN  THOMAS, SELF,  CORDOVA  (via teleconference),  shared                                                                    
that  her family  commercial fished  and she  was a  retired                                                                    
postmaster. She  had a  deep concern  about the  budget. She                                                                    
strongly  recommended  a  state  income  tax.  She  believed                                                                    
people  who were  invested took  a greater  interest in  the                                                                    
public  good. She  was in  favor of  a cap  on the  PFD. She                                                                    
agreed  that   the  PFD  was  necessary   for  many  village                                                                    
residents and she  thought a cap would  suffice. She thanked                                                                    
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:32:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DARLA  CHURCH, SELF,  CORDOVA  (via teleconference),  shared                                                                    
that she was a retired  teacher. She was concerned about the                                                                    
condition of the  AMHS. She stressed the  large coastline in                                                                    
the state  that needed  service. She  highlighted fisheries,                                                                    
fish  processing, state  fish and  game units,  Coast Guard,                                                                    
and more. She  believed some of the ferries  should be taken                                                                    
to  Seattle for  service. She  supported education  funding.                                                                    
She  supported  a  quality future.  She  believed  the  laws                                                                    
governing  the  PFD  should  be rewritten  to  result  in  a                                                                    
limited PFD. She  was amenable to an income  tax. She stated                                                                    
that much money  earned in the state went out  of state. She                                                                    
detailed that  workers often paid  income tax on  money made                                                                    
in Alaska in  other states. She proposed an  idea related to                                                                    
an  income   tax.  She  believed  the   Lower  48  currently                                                                    
benefitted too much from Alaska's resources.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Johnston  provided  the  House  Finance  Committee                                                                    
email address.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Johnston CLOSED public  testimony. She reviewed the                                                                    
agenda for the following Monday.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 205 HB 206 Governor's Amendments022420 .pdf HFIN 2/22/2020 12:00:00 PM
HB 205
HB 206