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Senator Sean Parnell Session:
State Capitol, Room 518
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2995
Fax: (907) 465-6592
Send E-Mail

Interim:
716 W 4th Avenue, Suite 530
Anchorage, AK 99501-2133
Phone: (907) 269-0250
Fax: (907) 269-0249

Senate Finance Passes Y2K Supplemental Bill

For Immediate Release: February 24, 1999
Contact: Senator Sean Parnell at (907) 465-2995.

Juneau -- The Senate Finance Committee today passed a bill appropriating $12.6 million to help the State ensure its computers and computer-operated services will survive the "Millennial Bug" and keep operating properly after January 1, 2000.

"The supplemental appropriation in SCS HB 64 represents a reduction of more than $6.6 million from the $19.2 million request for Y2K compliance that Governor Tony Knowles introduced two weeks ago," said Senator Sean Parnell (R-Anchorage), co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

"We understand the importance of making sure vital State functions continue operating safely and efficiently in the new century," said Sen. Parnell. "But it seemed as though every time we raised specific questions about the numbers in the Governor's request, we found out the hard costs weren't there."

For example, the Department of Transportation's request for more than $5.28 million in additional funds included a request for $110,000 to assess the Y2K compatibility of the new state ferry F/V Kennicott. Closer inspection revealed, however, that all but $32,000 of that projected expense was already included in a separate $600,000 request for Y2K remediation of the entire ferry system. The Finance Committee also approved a letter expressing the Legislature's intent to have the ferry's builder pay for its Y2K compliance.

"Scrutiny of the Governor's request revealed many similar opportunities for reductions," said Senator Gary Wilken (R-Fairbanks), who chaired a Senate Finance Subcommittee that evaluated the governor's request. "Checking for Y2K compliance is like moose hunting," said Sen. Wilken. "The closer you get to December 31, 1999, the easier it is to see the target, and in this case, it's the Millenium Bug."

In reviewing the request, members of the Finance Committee focused on identifying expenditures that were truly critical to assess, fix and test systems to ensure their ability to function past milestones such as the end of the fiscal year or calendar years.

In another adjustment, the Finance Committee reduced the Governor's requested appropriation for the University of Alaska by about $2.3 million, down to $2.7 million, after determining the full amount was not absolutely essential to university operations.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.

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