Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/20/1995 09:11 AM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SHES - 3/20/95                                                                
         SB 117 STATEWIDE INDEPENDENT LIVING COUNCIL                         
 Number 405                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN introduced  SB 117  as the next order of business              
 before the committee.                                                         
 STAN RIDGEWAY, Deputy Director in Vocational Rehabilitation,                  
 explained that SB 117 was introduced at the request of the                    
 Department of Education (DOE).  SB 117 establishes in statute a               
 statewide independent living council which would allow the                    
 department to continue to receive federal funding.  Approximately             
 $900,000 in federal funding is received for independent living                
 services across the state.  He pointed out the analysis of the                
 fiscal note which breaks down the funding sources.  The Division of           
 Vocational Rehabilitation receives federal Part B funds in the                
 amount of $283,000 with a required state match.  Federal Part C               
 funding is granted to centers for independent living; Access Alaska           
 and Southeast Alaskan Independent Living Center receive portions of           
 that money.  The state contributes $563,000 in general funds to               
 centers in the state.                                                         
 Mr. Ridgeway explained that Governor Hickel had appointed a                   
 Statewide Living Council in 1993.  The Division of Vocational                 
 Rehabilitation and the council are required to submit a state plan            
 to the federal government in order to receive funding.  He                    
 explained that Governor Hickel had reappointed the council in 1994            
 due to controversy regarding that the council was not established             
 in statute.  This needs to be established in statute in order to              
 have an ongoing statewide living council.                                     
 SENATOR SALO asked if the provisions in SB 117 were the same as               
 those when the council was created under Governor Hickel.  STAN               
 RIDGEWAY stated that the council remains the same and he specified            
 that the majority of the council's members are disabled.                      
 SENATOR LEMAN asked if the language specifying that a member be               
 compensated with $150 for each day they perform services was the              
 existing requirement.  STAN RIDGEWAY said that there is not an                
 existing federal requirement.  The language merely allows                     
 compensation to a person that is unemployed or loses money from               
 their job.  Mr. Ridgeway specified that the amount parallels the              
 compensation other boards offer.                                              
 SENATOR LEMAN presumed that if this compensation was not required             
 by federal law then it would not be in statute.  STAN RIDGEWAY said           
 that was correct, but that the compensation is required in Title              
 VII of the Rehabilitation Act.                                                
 SENATOR LEMAN suggested that this language may need to be redrafted           
 in order to clarify.                                                          
 Number 345                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if it was common to specify the amount to be             
 compensated in the bill.  SENATOR MILLER explained that this                  
 compensation would be in addition to the per diem and travel                  
 expenses of the member.  There are other boards that have this such           
 as the Permanent Fund Dividend Board and the Railroad Board.  Most            
 boards only receive a per diem.  Senator Miller said that it is               
 common to specify the amount for compensation.                                
 SENATOR ELLIS asked if Chairman Green was suggesting an automatic             
 cost of living increase for boards and commissions.  CHAIRMAN GREEN           
 thought that if federal requirements changed then this would have             
 to be rewritten.  She stated that she did not know what the common            
 procedure was.                                                                
 SENATOR ELLIS inquired as to the location of the removal or                   
 dismissal standards in SB 117.  STAN RIDGEWAY stated that there is            
 not a dismissal standard; the members are appointed for three year            
 staggered terms.  A member can only serve two consecutive terms.              
 SENATOR ELLIS emphasized that a dismissal standard has to be                  
 addressed in some manner.                                                     
 SENATOR MILLER explained that if a dismissal standard is not                  
 specified then it would be at the pleasure of the governor.                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN assumed that when reasons for dismissal are listed             
 another problem would be created.                                             
 SENATOR SALO suggested that this concern could be handled by                  
 inserting the language, "All members serve at the pleasure of the             
 governor." on page 3, line 20.                                                
 CHAIRMAN GREEN stated that the amendments could be drafted for                
 Wednesday.  SENATOR LEMAN pointed out that the next committee of              
 referral for SB 117 was Senate Finance and his issue could be                 
 addressed in that committee.                                                  
 Number 298                                                                    
 SENATOR SALO moved her amendment, Amendment 1, which would insert             
 the sentence, "All members shall serve at the pleasure of the                 
 governor." at the end of Section 3, line 20.                                  
 STAN RIDGEWAY noted that federal law covers that; the governor                
 appoints the board.  He noted that each member of the board had               
 been asked to resubmit an application to the governor's office for            
 possible reappointment.                                                       
 CHAIRMAN GREEN explained that sometimes boards are bound by                   
 overriding federal laws which would be complicated with the                   
 addition of language encompassed in the amendment.                            
 SENATOR ELLIS stated that if the language is the same as the                  
 federal law, then the amendment should not be a problem.                      
 STAN RIDGEWAY did not foresee any conflict.                                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN inquired as to the pleasure of the committee                   
 regarding Amendment 1.  Hearing no objection, Amendment 1 was                 
 SENATOR MILLER moved that CS SB 117(HES) be moved out of committee            
 with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so             

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