Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/12/2010 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 209 STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS; REGULATIONS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 209 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 235 CHARTER/ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL FUNDING TELECONFERENCED
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
= SB 236 TAX CREDITS FOR EDUCATIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS
Moved CSSB 236(EDC) Out of Committee
                                                                                                                                
            SB 209-STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS; REGULATIONS                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:39:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER announced consideration of SB 209.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MENARD,  sponsor of SB  209, said this bill  will provide                                                               
the  Alaska State  Council on  the Arts  (ASCA) the  authority to                                                               
adopt regulations  relating to its  statutory powers  and duties.                                                               
The bill  was introduced  at the  request of  ASCA, which  is the                                                               
Last Frontier's state art agency, created over 40 years ago.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Several  of the  council's programs,  she said,  are governed  by                                                               
regulations  which  the  council  has  updated  over  the  years.                                                               
Recently the  arts council  has sought  to streamline  its grant-                                                               
making policies,  procedures, and  regulations; in the  course of                                                               
this effort,  the council was  informed by the Department  of Law                                                               
(DOL)  that it  does not  have the  statutory authority  to adopt                                                               
regulations under  the Administrative Procedures Act.  While this                                                               
legal opinion is  at odds with their  long-standing practice, the                                                               
council  considered  and  took  seriously  the  advice  from  the                                                               
Attorney General's  office and  determined that  the best  way to                                                               
rectify the  current situation is  to amend its  enabling statute                                                               
to allow it explicit statutory authority to adopt regulations.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
She  stated  that  this  legislation  will,  in  essence,  codify                                                               
existing  practice and  enable the  Alaska State  Council on  the                                                               
Arts  to   continue  to  administer  and   oversee  its  existing                                                               
programs.  Any and  all regulations  adopted in  the future  will                                                               
have to  comply with the  review and public-notice  provisions of                                                               
the Administrative  Procedures Act. This  bill has a  zero fiscal                                                               
note  and will  help  the Alaska  State Council  on  the Arts  to                                                               
continue  performing its  long-standing mission  of helping  more                                                               
Alaskans appreciate, create, and enjoy the arts.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MENARD said the best  example of the regulations they are                                                               
discussing is 20 AAC 30.010  through 30.061, which governs all of                                                               
ASCA's grant programs.  Each of the grant programs  in the agency                                                               
has  regulations  specific to  those  grants,  which outline  the                                                               
purpose  of  the  grants,  the  application  process,  deadlines,                                                               
eligibility, and limitations.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:43:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS said it makes sense  to bring the statute in line                                                               
with current practice.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS  agreed, but asked  what other councils  have the                                                               
authority to make regulations.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MENARD deferred to Rebecca  Hattan from the Department of                                                               
Law.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:44:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA HATTAN, Attorney, Department of  Law, Juneau, Alaska, said the                                                          
line of  cases that the Department  of Law is concerned  about centers                                                          
on  commissions as  opposed to  councils. She  could not  name another                                                          
council that promulgates regulations.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:44:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS  said he is not  sure they want to  open the door                                                               
to  having  councils passing  regulations  and  wondered if  ASCA                                                               
should be made a commission rather  than a council, as there is a                                                               
precedent for commissions in this regard.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:45:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  questioned whether a  change in the  verbiage on                                                               
page 2 might take care of it.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:46:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HATTAN  said  the  authority   to  adopt  regulations  flows                                                               
directly from statute, so the  fact that AS 44.27 is specifically                                                               
limited to  the Alaska State  Council on the Arts  precludes that                                                               
problem.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEVENS  said, if  he  understands  this correctly,  Ben                                                               
Brown has  been doing this for  years and they are  finally going                                                               
to OK what  he has been doing  all along. He asked  Ms. Hattan if                                                               
Mr. Brown has done anything wrong.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HATTAN said  no. She  suggested that  the best  way to  move                                                               
forward  is for  the council  to re-adopt  all of  their existing                                                               
regulations  in   order  to  eliminate  any   question  of  their                                                               
validity.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:47:30 AM                                                                                                                    
BENJAMIN BROWN, Chair, Alaska State  Council on the Arts, Juneau,                                                               
Alaska,  said  the  council  does  not have  a  great  number  of                                                               
programs  that require  regulations, but  those programs  it does                                                               
have definitely do  require them. The re-grant  program gives out                                                               
a  couple of  hundred thousand  dollars  per year  to small  arts                                                               
organizations across  the state  such as Valley  Performing Arts,                                                               
the  Kodiak Arts  Council, and  Fairbanks Drama  Association; the                                                               
biggest grant is  $21,000. These organizations have  to apply for                                                               
the grants  in a manner  prescribed by regulations  that pre-date                                                               
his  appointment  to the  council  seven  years ago  by  Governor                                                               
Murkowski.  The council  tried to  change  the grant  regulations                                                               
about a  year ago  to streamline  the process,  and that  is when                                                               
they realized  they don't have  the technical authority  to adopt                                                               
regulations. They  decided the  best thing  to do  is to  ask the                                                               
legislature for the specific authority  to adopt regulations that                                                               
implement their statutes. He reminded  the committee members that                                                               
the legislature had a bill several  years ago that dealt with the                                                               
"Silver  Hand" program;  it also  has regulations  that implement                                                               
the statutes, and  those need to have the force  of law to combat                                                               
fraud and protect the integrity of the Alaska Native Art Market.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROWN  concluded by  saying that the  council doesn't  have a                                                               
lot  of power,  but the  specific  activities they  engage in  to                                                               
improve  the lives  of Alaskans  by making  more arts  available,                                                               
require  that  their regulations  have  the  force of  law.  With                                                               
regard to  Senator Huggins' concern  about councils, he  said all                                                               
fifty states have arts agencies  that were created in response to                                                               
the  National Endowment  of the  Arts creation  back in  1967. In                                                               
Hawaii  it  is  called  a  foundation;  in  California  it  is  a                                                               
commission; in  Alaska it's  a council; they  are all  state arts                                                               
agencies. He said ASCA has been a  council for 40 years and he is                                                               
not sure what affect changing the  name might have. As Ms. Hattan                                                               
pointed out, since  this only applies to ASCA, there  will not be                                                               
any seepage of authority to other councils.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:51:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER closed public testimony.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:51:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  noted that  Judiciary is  the next  committee of                                                               
referral, so any legal issues can be ironed out there.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:52:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS moved  to report SB 209,  labeled 26-LS1236\A out                                                               
of  committee with  individual  recommendations  and zero  fiscal                                                               
note(s).  There being  no objection,  SB 209  was moved  from the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:53:11 AM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Co-Chair Meyer adjourned the meeting at 8:53 pm.                                                                                

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