Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/20/1995 09:11 AM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 adopted. SENATOR MILLER moved that CS SB 117(HES) be moved out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.