Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205
02/01/2016 01:30 PM Senate HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
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SB 124-EXTEND SUNSET ON AK COMMISSION ON AGING 1:48:50 PM CHAIR STEDMAN announced the consideration of SB 124. 1:49:21 PM SENATOR STOLTZE, sponsor, reviewed SB 124, a sunset bill that would extend the Alaska Commission on Aging (ACOA) for eight years. He noted the bill is straightforward and has been around for years. It makes federal grants available for senior Alaskans. The recently completed audit found a few advocacy issues which are being addressed. CHAIR STEDMAN said it is a simple extension of the Commission until June 30, 2024. CHAIR STEDMAN opened public testimony. 1:51:36 PM RACHEL GREENBERG, Executive Director, Mat-Su Senior Services, and Member, Alaska Commission on Aging, testified in support of SB 124. She said the bill allows the state to access funds through the Older Americans Act. 1:52:37 PM DAVID LEVY, Senior Services Coordinator for Anchorage, and Staff Support, Senior Advisory Commission, testified in support of SB 124. He noted that Alaska has one of the fastest growing senior populations in the country and ACOA's role is critical in providing relevant and important information on senior issues. 1:53:38 PM MARIE DARLIN, Legislative Advocate, AARP, and Member, Alaska Commission on Aging (ACOA), testified in support of SB 124. She said AARP supports the re-authorization of SB 124, noting that AARP works extensively with ACOA on many projects. It provides a great service to the state and is a requirement for receiving federal funds. 1:55:14 PM DENISE DANIELLO, Executive Director, Alaska Commission on Aging (ACOA), testified in support of SB 124. She provided background on ACOA, which has been in place since 1981. The Commission strives to provide a voice to ensure the dignity and independence of all older Alaskans and works closely with the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services in assisting the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to carry out its duties as the state agency on aging. The Division of Senior and Disabilities Services administers the federal and state funding for a variety of senior programs and services. The Commission takes responsibility for developing a comprehensive state plan, performing advocacy education, and outreach. MS. DANIELLO reported that the senior population in Alaska has grown. Currently, there are 120,444 people aged 60 and older, a 4.2 percent increase from last year. She said the work of the Commission is more important than ever as that population continues to grow. She explained how the Commission forms a comprehensive state plan for senior services. Since 2008, the Commission has completed three state plans. The purpose of the plan is to satisfy federal requirements. The Commission also prepares a senior snapshot that provides information about senior programs and demographics. The Commission also works closely with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and last year published a road map to address Alzheimer's disease and dementia. They make recommendations to the governor and to the legislature regarding legislation, regulations, and appropriations for programs and services. The Commission advocated successfully for the creation of the Medicaid Adult Dental Program, the re-authorization of the Senior Benefits Program, and creation of the statewide Silver Alert System. She concluded that the Commission has made efforts over the years in the area of brain health, senior housing, and senior fall prevention. She called attention to the fact that seniors represent a $3 billion industry for the state. Alaska seniors appreciate the state programs that allow them to age in place in Alaska. 2:00:56 PM KRIS CURTIS, Legislative Auditor, Division of Legislative Audit, Legislative Affairs Agency, answered questions regarding SB 124. She stated that the division conducted a sunset review of the Alaska Commission on Aging and concluded that the Commission is serving the public's interest. The division recommended extending the Commission for 8 more years. There were two small recommendations, one to improve public noticing of the meetings, and one to ensure a review of the legislation distribution list. 2:02:21 PM CHAIR STEDMAN closed public testimony. CHAIR STEDMAN held SB 124 in committee. He said he does not anticipate any negative feedback and will bring the bill back at the next meeting.