Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/09/2010 03:30 PM Senate COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HJR 46 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              HJR 46-SUPPORTING DENALI COMMISSION                                                                           
3:36:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON announced the first  order of business to come before                                                               
the committee was HJR 46.                                                                                                       
ROB  EARL, staff  to Representative  Herron, sponsor  of HJR  46,                                                               
said  the  resolution  encourages  Congress  to  reauthorize  the                                                               
Denali Commission  with adequate funding. HJR  46 also encourages                                                               
the  President  and his  administration  to  continue the  Denali                                                               
Commission  as  an  authorized independent  federal  agency.  The                                                               
Denali Commission  is one of  seven federal  regional commissions                                                               
serving the challenges  of rural America. It has  a proven record                                                               
of service for  10 years but is the only  regional commission not                                                               
presently authorized. Its authorization  expired October 1, 2009.                                                               
HJR 46 will act as a  clear statement from the Alaska Legislature                                                               
to Congress  to reauthorize the  Denali Commission,  enabling the                                                               
Alaskan  delegation  to  pursue  the necessary  funding  for  the                                                               
commission to invest in rural Alaska.                                                                                           
CHAIR  OLSON asked  how the  Denali Commission  has continued  to                                                               
operate,   and  if   it  has   been  as   effective,  since   its                                                               
authorization expired on October 1, 2009.                                                                                       
MR. EARL  replied that  he would  defer the  question to  Mr. Bob                                                               
CHAIR  OLSON   asked  if  any   problems  are   foreseeable  with                                                               
reauthorization of the Denali Commission.                                                                                       
MR. EARL  replied that he  has heard rumors  that reauthorization                                                               
is likely.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR OLSON asked if HJR 46 has any opposition.                                                                                 
MR. EARL answered no, not as far as he knows.                                                                                   
BOB PAWLOWSKI,  Legislative Liaison, Denali Commission,  said the                                                               
commission  is  functioning  under  the  appropriations  process,                                                               
allowing  it to  function  as an  authorized  federal agency  for                                                               
dispersing funds and conducting programs.                                                                                       
CHAIR OLSON asked  if the commission has the same  ability to get                                                               
the appropriations it has gotten in the past.                                                                                   
3:39:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PAWLOWSKI replied  that the commission has  not been affected                                                               
yet but will  be challenged in the future. Congress  can move the                                                               
appropriate appropriations  to an authorized agency  more easily.                                                               
An agency  without authorization  is only capable  of functioning                                                               
upon an appropriation.                                                                                                          
CHAIR OLSON asked why the  Denali Commission has been singled out                                                               
without perpetual reauthorization.                                                                                              
MR. PAWLOWSKI  said the commission  was not included in  the bill                                                               
which included  five authorizations. The  decision for it  not to                                                               
be brought up for reauthorization remains unclear.                                                                              
SENATOR THOMAS noted  that HJR 16 indicates  a base appropriation                                                               
of $11,965,000  and asked  if that  had been  the same  amount in                                                               
recent years.                                                                                                                   
MR. PAWLOWSKI  replied that the Obama  administration established                                                               
that amount as  the base appropriation for  the Denali Commission                                                               
in  2010 budget  and has  recommended  that amount  for the  2011                                                               
budget. Previously the base programs were less than $10 million.                                                                
SENATOR THOMAS commented that the increased amount is good.                                                                     
MR.  PAWLOWSKI said  the increase  recognizes  the importance  of                                                               
level funding in a base appropriation.                                                                                          
SENATOR THOMAS  asked if  there is state  support for  the Denali                                                               
MR.  PAWLOWSKI   replied  that  the   state  has  not   given  an                                                               
appropriation to the Denali Commission  recently.  He pointed out                                                               
that Karen Rehfeld [Director, Office  of Management Budget (OMB),                                                               
Office of  the Governor] is  the state  co-chair and plays  a key                                                               
role  with   staff  and  projects  that   the  Denali  Commission                                                               
3:43:04 PM                                                                                                                    
JOEL NIEMEYER,  Federal Co-chair,  Denali Commission,  said staff                                                               
for the  House Transportation  and Infrastructure  Committee have                                                               
relayed  that Congressman  Overstar, chair  of the  committee, is                                                               
inclined  to support  reauthorization of  the Denali  Commission.                                                               
HJR  46  from  the  Alaska   Legislature  would  be  helpful  for                                                               
Congressman Young as he works through the process.                                                                              
CHAIR OLSON asked if Mr. Niemeyer anticipated any problems.                                                                     
MR. NIEMEYER replied no; he has  not seen anything to suggest the                                                               
House Transportation and Infrastructure  committee was opposed to                                                               
3:45:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THOMAS commented that the  annual productions he has seen                                                               
should accompany HJR 46.                                                                                                        
MR. NIEMEYER said Mr. Pawlowski will be working on that.                                                                        
3:46:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THOMAS  moved  to  report HJR  46  from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached  fiscal note(s).  There                                                               
being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                         

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