Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/14/2004 09:05 AM Senate FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 375(FIN) am                                                                                          
     "An  Act  making appropriations   for the  operating  and  loan                                                            
     program  expenses of  state government,  for certain  programs,                                                            
     and to capitalize  funds; and providing for an effective date."                                                            
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 377(FIN)                                                                                             
     "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."                                                                             
This was  the third hearing  for these bills  in the Senate  Finance                                                            
Co-Chair Green announced  that public testimony from offnet sites is                                                            
scheduled for today. Testimony would be limited to two minutes.                                                                 
LOUISE  NASSUK  testified  via teleconference   from Craig  to  urge                                                            
funding support  for Alaska Legal Services as it provides  important                                                            
assistance to families in Rural Alaska.                                                                                         
DIANE MILLER  testified via  teleconference  from an offnet  site in                                                            
Teller to encourage funding  to support Alaska Legal Services (ALS),                                                            
particularly  funding to maintain  the Nome  office of ALS.  ALS has                                                            
provided important assistance to people in the Bush.                                                                            
JOHN  BIOFF, Staff  Attorney, Kawerak  Incorporated,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from an offnet site. He stated that  in his position                                                            
with Kawerak  Incorporated, he provides  legal assistance  to twenty                                                            
tribal  councils in the  Bering Strait  area. In  the course  of his                                                            
work, he is  repeatedly asked by individuals  to provide  assistance                                                            
with legal  issues.  These inquiries  are referred  to Alaska  Legal                                                            
Services  as most  of these  people  are low  income  and unable  to                                                            
afford  an attorney.  Therefore,  he  supported funding  for  Alaska                                                            
Legal Services  and of the continued  funding of the Nome  office in                                                            
particular,  as it provides a very  valuable service to the  region.                                                            
Without it,  people would  not have access  to legal assistance  for                                                            
such things as divorces, custody, and domestic violence issues.                                                                 
[NOTE: Testimony  from Deborah Mach,  City Clerk, City of  Unalaska,                                                            
was  heard  at this  point.  Her  remarks  are included  in  SB  336                                                            
testimony as they  pertained to that bill rather than  to HB 375 and                                                            
HB 377.]                                                                                                                        
SUSIE MACLAY  testified via  teleconference  from an offnet  site in                                                            
Pilot  Station to  urge continued  funding  for the  Tundra  Women's                                                            
Coalition.  It provides  "badly needed"  assistance  to families  in                                                            
Bethel and the Yukon Kuskokwim delta region.                                                                                    
ANTONE ANVIL  testified via  teleconference  from an offnet  site in                                                            
Bethel and voiced  concern that insufficient funding  is included in                                                            
the FY  05 Operating Budget  to support Alaska  Legal Services.  The                                                            
service ALS provides is important to the people in the area.                                                                    
There being no further  testifiers, Co-Chair Green ordered the bills                                                            
HELD in Committee.                                                                                                              
AT EASE: 9:18 AM / 9:20 AM                                                                                                      
[NOTE: Co-Chair Wilken assumed chair of the meeting.]                                                                           

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