Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/01/1996 09:04 AM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 301 POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION Number 002 CHAIRMAN GREEN called the Senate Health, Education and Social Services (HESS) Committee to order at 9:04 a.m. and introduced SB 301 as the first order of business before the committee. She announced that she intended to take testimony, but anticipated some time constraints. HB 465 will be before the committee again on Wednesday. She invited any witness interested to submit written testimony to the HESS committee. Chairman Green asked Mr. Tibbles to review the changes made to SB 301 since the last meeting. MIKE TIBBLES, Staff to Senator Green, directed the committee to page 3 of the Ford draft F dated 3/29/96. Under Section 4, the specified members were deleted and replaced with "The corporation shall be the members of the commission." Under subsection (c), the specific references to the schools were deleted and replaced with generic language. SENATOR SALO inquired as to what language was deleted in Section 4. MIKE TIBBLES stated that the specific references to the members were deleted and replaced with language saying that the members will consist of the members of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. Under another section of the bill the members are specified. SENATOR SALO inquired as to where the commissioners were addressed. CHAIRMAN GREEN directed Senator Salo to page 17, Section 44; the members of the corporation are specified in this section. Number 078 MIKE TIBBLES noted a technical change on page 4, line 19 where "program" was changed to "programs". At the request of the Department of Law, subsection (b) was deleted because the corporation already had the authority to obtain legal counsel. On page 13, line 26 the existing language "subject to appropriation" was retained. Mr. Tibbles reiterated that Section 44 specifies what members are on the commission. SENATOR MILLER moved that the CSSB 301 Ford version F dated 3/29/96 be adopted in lieu of the original bill for a working document. Hearing no objection, Ford version F was adopted. SENATOR SALO noted that this draft has substantive changes and therefore, hoped that more time to review this draft would be given. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that in some brief checks, this draft has not met any objection. The bill, version C, that came before the committee was worked on by the Department of Law, the Department of Education, and the Commission on Postsecondary Education. The changes in version F were those discussed in the last meeting. Chairman Green said that legislators do want confirmation and the bill has been set up accordingly. Chairman Green stated that she would like to see the bill move out of committee today. Number 139 SENATOR ELLIS asked if this bill retained legislators on the Commission of Postsecondary Education. CHAIRMAN GREEN clarified that the legislative members are only ex officio, non voting, members as is the student member. This bill has aggressive language that does not allow persons with special interests to be appointed as a member. SENATOR ELLIS asked if SB 301 retained the proposals in the EO. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that six or seven areas of the EO are maintained in SB 301. This bill goes further than the EO by repealing those federal laws that are no longer applicable or required. The EO was used as the basis for the bill. Chairman Green believed the main difference between the EO and the bill is that the bill makes the legislature a part of the confirmation process. She reiterated the changes pointed out by Mr. Tibbles earlier. Chairman Green pointed out that the institutional authorization remains with the commission. There are also some clean-up items from SB 123. The bill provides that persons involved with the corporation's institutions will sign an agreement indicating their intention to provide a good product. DIANE BARRANS, Executive Director of the Alaska Postsecondary Education Commission, believed that the program participation agreement is in existing language. Number 206 SENATOR ELLIS inquired as to the fate of the WICHE and WAMI programs under this bill. CHAIRMAN GREEN referred Senator Ellis to page 2, line 21 where the WAMI program falls under the University of Alaska and would be controlled by the Board of Regents. Currently, there are two line items in the budget concerning the WAMI program; one is in the university budget and the other is in the Department of Education. She noted that this was decided in the House. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the effect would be to eliminate the lines in the budget. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that it would coordinate the line items for WAMI. There would be no change to WICHE. SENATOR SALO expressed concern that the bill allows two boards to remain although, they are the same people. The legislative confirmation of the members may or may not create problems with the bond rating from the Bond Council. Senator Salo pointed out that there has been a significant change in this draft by making the members of the corporate board the members of the commission. She wanted to be sure that this would not jeopardize the bond rating. She wanted to have more time for that reason. Will this go to Finance? CHAIRMAN GREEN replied yes and agreed that concern could be passed on to Finance. Chairman Green did not believe that anyone wanted to negatively impact the bond rating. She believed that there was a provision for the board to continue. Number 259 SENATOR LEMAN moved that CSSB 301, Ford version F, be reported out of committee with accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations. SENATOR ELLIS objected. He did not believe the committee had given this bill adequate time. CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that there had been a task force on this for three weeks. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the task force consisted of Senator Green, Representative Toohey, and Representative Bunde. CHAIRMAN GREEN emphasized that the task force was open to anyone interested. Chairman Green noted that the Department of Law, the Department of Education, and the Commission on Postsecondary Education participated. The Department of Law and the Commission on Postsecondary Education came up with version C of the bill. The following changes were made by Mr. Ford. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the Administration supported this version moving out of the committee. CHAIRMAN GREEN did not know. Upon a roll call vote, Senators Green, Miller, and Leman voted "Yea" and Senators Ellis and Salo voted "Nay". Therefore, CSSB 301(HES), version F, passed out of committee.