Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

03/21/2016 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:02:19 AM Start
08:02:50 AM SB89
09:42:00 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 89 SCHOOLS;PARENT RTS;ABORT. PROVDRS LIMITS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 156 SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES; FED. LAW TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled to 3/23/16>
        SB 89-SCHOOLS: PARENT RTS; ABORT. PROVDRS LIMITS                                                                    
                [Contains discussion of SB 191]                                                                               
                 [Contains discussion of HB 44]                                                                               
8:02:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
CS FOR SENATE  BILL NO. 89(RLS) am(efd add), "An  Act relating to                                                               
a parent's right to direct  the education of a child; prohibiting                                                               
a  school district  from contracting  with  an abortion  services                                                               
provider;  prohibiting   a  school  district  from   allowing  an                                                               
abortion  services  provider  to   furnish  course  materials  or                                                               
provide instruction concerning  sexuality or sexually transmitted                                                               
diseases;  relating to  physical examinations  for teachers;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:03:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MIKE DUNLEAVY, Alaska State  Legislature, named the three                                                               
main components  of SB 89,  which are:  parental  rights, banning                                                               
abortion providers  from the  schools, and  physical examinations                                                               
for teachers.   The  physical examination  facet was  included by                                                               
request of  school districts  as a means  to save  resources, and                                                               
was an  aspect of  the original  HB 44, but  not retained  in the                                                               
final version.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:04:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY cited  his background  in the  education field,                                                               
from teacher to administrator, and  said a growing concern exists                                                               
regarding  government infringement  on  parental  rights by  both                                                               
federal and state entities.   Furthermore, a number of things are                                                               
occurring today  in schools that  many people disagree  with, and                                                               
evidence  indicates   that  students   are  losing   interest  in                                                               
attending  neighborhood schools.   Home  schools are  an area  of                                                               
major growth  in Alaska, where two  methods can be applied.   One                                                               
is devoid of  any public program, and the other  adopts part of a                                                               
public program.   However, family  values are coming to  the fore                                                               
which  make it  difficult for  many parents  to remain  satisfied                                                               
with neighborhood  school programs.   He said he  attended public                                                               
schools throughout  his educational career, and  his children are                                                               
enrolled in public  school, but concerns exist for  what is being                                                               
provided  in  that forum,  including  what  has been  implemented                                                               
under   the   No  Child   Left   Behind   Act  (NCLB)   and   its                                                               
reauthorization  as  Every  Student  Succeeds Act  (ESSA).    The                                                               
concept of  having abortion providers,  in the  schools, teaching                                                               
children about  sexuality, is also  an issue, which is  the basis                                                               
for the bill.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:07:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY  said  SB  89 does  not  prevent  schools  from                                                               
teaching sex education; however,  health class is the appropriate                                                               
forum  for  such curricula.    The  bill does  prohibit  abortion                                                               
providers  from  being  contracted   to  present  sex  education.                                                               
Additionally, SB  89 does not  impinge on  HB 44, Erin's  Law and                                                               
Bree's Law [Alaska  Safe Children's Act], which  will not require                                                               
an opt-in  approval, but will  retain the parent's right  to opt-                                                               
out.  He  acknowledged that an argument has been  brought that SB
89 is an  attack on local control, and pointed  out that over 227                                                               
pages of  legislative generated statute exist,  which establishes                                                               
the parameters  for what  schools may  teach, and  how it  can be                                                               
presented.  It is the job  of the legislature to make general law                                                               
that guides the  schools.  Recalling HB 44, he  said it compelled                                                               
law  to   implement  training  in  dating   violence  and  sexual                                                               
awareness for children  in all districts.  Another  example, of a                                                               
compelling law  was the ability  to allow  a parent to  opt their                                                               
student  out of  a  classroom test.    Thus, it  is  part of  the                                                               
legislature's job to periodically  review issues that may require                                                               
the establishment of compelling law.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:10:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   DUNLEAVY  acknowledged   arguments  that   without  the                                                               
assistance  of abortion  providers, sex  education classes  could                                                               
not be afforded; however, the cost  has yet to be determined.  He                                                               
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
       We don't know what it costs.  We don't know what's                                                                       
     being taught.  We don't know if the teacher is in the                                                                      
     room when it's being taught.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  said every class  has a teacher, who  should be                                                               
present at all  times, and additional teachers would  not need to                                                               
be contracted for the specific  course, thus, the majority of the                                                               
cost is  already covered.   Criticism has also been  fielded that                                                               
the bill is  unconstitutional, he reported, and  opined that only                                                               
a  court can  make  that determination.    Legislative Legal  has                                                               
expressed  concern   for  the  constitutionality;   however,  two                                                               
states, Louisiana and Missouri, have  similar laws which have not                                                               
been challenged as unconstitutional.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:13:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELISSA  GRAVES,   Legal  Counsel,  Alliance   Defending  Freedom,                                                               
addressed  a number  of questions,  paraphrasing from  a prepared                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I  am an  attorney  for Alliance  Defending Freedom,  a                                                                    
     non-profit legal  organization. I am writing  to advise                                                                    
     you of the constitutionality  of SB 89, which prohibits                                                                    
     abortion   services  providers,   or  an   employee  or                                                                    
     volunteer of an abortion  services provider, to provide                                                                    
     instruction  or materials  relating to  human sexuality                                                                    
     or sexually transmitted diseases.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     1. SB 89 does not infringe on First Amendment rights.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     SB  89 does  not  restrict the  rights  of teachers  to                                                                    
     speak  outside of  their  employment,  contrary to  the                                                                    
     allegations  of  opponents to  this  bill  such as  the                                                                    
     American Civil  Liberties Union of Alaska.  It does not                                                                    
     forbid  teachers  from  volunteering  or  working  with                                                                    
     abortion services  providers in their  private capacity                                                                    
     as  citizens. Instead,  SB 89  prohibits any  abortions                                                                    
     services  provider, its  employees or  volunteers, from                                                                    
     delivering instruction  or materials relating  to human                                                                    
     sexuality  or  sexually  transmitted  diseases  in  the                                                                    
     capacity as  a representative of any  abortion services                                                                    
     provider.  This means  that teachers  and other  school                                                                    
     personnel   would,  for   example,   be  permitted   to                                                                    
     volunteer   with   an   abortion  provider   to   stuff                                                                    
     envelopes,  answer  phone  calls, educate  women  about                                                                    
     their  health, collect  signatures  for petitions,  and                                                                    
     speak  at  a rally  supportive  of  abortion rights  in                                                                    
     their  capacity   as  a   citizen,  while   also  being                                                                    
     permitted  to deliver  instruction in  sexual education                                                                    
     in their capacity as a teacher ...                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[Due to  technical difficulties the  remainder of  this testimony                                                               
was not heard.   The complete text is available  in the committee                                                               
packet,  as  an undated  letter  with  the letterhead,  "Alliance                                                               
Defending  FREEDOM For  Faith. For  Freedom.",  addressed to  the                                                               
House Education  Committee, Alaska  State Senate,  State Capitol,                                                               
Juneau, AK 99801, three pages.]                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:14:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND asked  whether, during  his career,  the                                                               
sponsor has to opt  a child out of a class, and  if there was any                                                               
trouble in implementing the provision.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY said he opted  his youngest child out of testing                                                               
and  there  was  no  express   trouble  but  some  confusion  and                                                               
questions resulted.   As a  parent, with an understanding  of the                                                               
process and school  law, he said he may have  been more proactive                                                               
than other parents.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND asked  whether he has had to  opt a child                                                               
out of lessons.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY responded, "No."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND asked whether  as an administrator he has                                                               
found the opt-in and opt-out procedures burdensome.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY said he has not had the experience to report.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:17:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON turned  to the  Sec. 4,  page 3,  line 15,                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     (a)   A   school    district   may   require   physical                                                                    
     examinations of teachers as  a condition of employment.                                                                    
     A  school district  may not  pay the  cost of  physical                                                                    
     examinations  for  teachers.   This  section  does  not                                                                    
     affect the  coverage of  any health  insurance benefits                                                                    
     that a school district provides to teachers.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  clarified that  the intent  is to  allow a                                                               
district  to require  the physical  examination of  its teachers,                                                               
but prohibits the district from paying  for the exam.  He noted a                                                               
possible disparity  in the use of  the terms may require  and may                                                               
not pay, particularly if health  insurance benefits are provided,                                                               
and asked how these terms work together.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY said the section  was implemented at the request                                                               
of  educators, and  using  the term  "may"  versus "shall"  might                                                               
require consideration.   However the intent is  for the districts                                                               
to be relieved of the examination costs.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  whether  the physical  examination,                                                               
includes fingerprinting and background checks.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY stated his understanding  that it would not, and                                                               
added that  fingerprinting is  handled through  the certification                                                               
renewal process via the office of public safety.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON expressed concern  for teachers in the Bush                                                               
whose  travel  costs  to  comply with  the  requirement  are  not                                                               
covered.   It  may represent  a  burden to  many rural  teachers,                                                               
which could result in a loss of teachers.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY opined that recruitment  and retention issues go                                                               
beyond physical examination requirements.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:21:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  moved  to  Sec.   5,  to  ask  whether  a                                                               
volunteer or an  employee of an organization that  is an abortion                                                               
provider, may  instruct a sex  education course, if they  are not                                                               
acting specifically as an employee at the time.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  paraphrased from Sec.  5, page 3,  lines 22-25,                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     (c)  A  school  district  may not  permit  an  abortion                                                                    
     services  provider or  an employee  or volunteer  of an                                                                    
     abortion services  provider to offer,  sponsor, furnish                                                                    
     course  materials, or  provide instruction  relating to                                                                    
     human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY said  the intent  is  to bar  anyone under  the                                                               
guise  of an  abortion provider  from teaching  sex education  in                                                               
schools.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  clarified   that  an   abortion  service                                                               
provider  volunteer can  offer instruction  and materials  in the                                                               
classroom, as long  as they are not employed  by the organization                                                               
for that service.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  stated, "No."   An abortion  services provider,                                                               
and anyone  employed by or  who acts as  an integral part  of the                                                               
organization  may not  be  allowed to  deliver  sex education  in                                                               
schools.   To  a follow-up  question, he  said anyone  associated                                                               
with an abortion provider, would  be disallowed from teaching sex                                                               
education in schools.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER  interjected that course materials,  sourced from an                                                               
abortion provider, are also disallowed.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY said, "Correct."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:26:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. GRAVES said the section  does not cover activities outside of                                                               
public  employment.   The Sec.  5  language only  applies if  the                                                               
volunteer  or  employee  is  acting as  a  representative  of  an                                                               
abortion provider  organization to  deliver sex education  in the                                                               
school.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:27:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  turned  to  page 2,  lines  [23]-24,  and                                                               
paraphrased the language, which read as follows:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The policies adopted under (a)(3)  of this section must                                                                    
     require  written  permission  from the  child's  parent                                                                    
     before  each separate  activity, class,  or program  is                                                                    
     provided  to a  child that  includes content  involving                                                                    
     human reproduction or sexual matters.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON stressed  the  language requiring  written                                                               
permission before each separate  activity, and directed attention                                                               
to earlier language that appears to  be more broad; page 2, lines                                                               
4-[7], which read as follows:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     (3)  providing for  parent notification  not less  than                                                                    
     two weeks  before any activity, class,  or program that                                                                    
     includes  content   involving  human   reproduction  or                                                                    
     sexual  matters is  provided to  a child  and requiring                                                                    
     written permission  from the child's parent  before the                                                                    
     child  may  participate  in  the  activity,  class,  or                                                                    
     program;                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked  if the requirement is  intended as a                                                               
broad, inclusive  approval, suggested by  line 4, or  an activity                                                               
specific requirement, as indicated on line 24.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:30:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY the  intent is  allow  parents to  have a  full                                                               
understanding  of what  to  expect and  have  an opportunity  for                                                               
review.  Often, he espoused, a  visitor may be engaged to provide                                                               
a presentation without prior planning.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  theorized  that  the  subjects  would  be                                                               
provided  to the  parents, for  review, at  the beginning  of the                                                               
school year.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   DUNLEAVY  said   that  class   activity  plans   change                                                               
throughout a school  year, and this language is  to eliminate the                                                               
element  of surprise  by  requiring a  two  week advance  notice.                                                               
Parents need the  opportunity to say no, he said,  and provided a                                                               
scenario to illustrate  his point:  Perhaps  a biology curriculum                                                               
is  well known,  but two  days prior  to a  particular lesson,  a                                                               
[People   for   the   Ethical  Treatment   of   Animals   (PETA)]                                                               
representative is in  town, and the teacher invites them  to do a                                                               
presentation.   A  parent may  object to  the PETA  approach, and                                                               
should have  the opportunity to  deny their child access  via the                                                               
opt-out or,  as in  what is being  proposed, the  opt-in process.                                                               
Parents  have  cited the  lack  of  control  over these  type  of                                                               
spontaneous situations, as one reason  they are not sending their                                                               
children to public schools, he reported.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  surmised that  written permission  must be                                                               
given two weeks prior to each activity.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY concurred,  and added it applies  to any changes                                                               
from lesson plans provided at the beginning of the school year.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:35:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  returned page  3, lines  15-19, regarding                                                               
the  teacher's physical  examinations,  and  asked whether  these                                                               
exams are not already occurring.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY reported  that the section was  adopted from the                                                               
original HB 44, as a section that was removed in final passage.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked to know what  the current practices                                                               
are, regarding physical examination requirements for teachers.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  said physical  exams are  required for  any one                                                               
new  entering   a  district,  and  periodically   throughout  the                                                               
teaching  years.   Basic physical  exams, including  tuberculosis                                                               
screening,  have been  traditionally paid  for by  the districts.                                                               
As proposed, Sec.  5 removes the cost burden  from the districts.                                                               
To a  follow-up question he said  a district may deem  a physical                                                               
exam  unnecessary,   such  as  a  teacher   transferring  between                                                               
districts who was recently examined.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:39:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  directed  attention  to  the  committee                                                               
packet handout  titled, "Sectional  Summary for CSSB  89 (Version                                                               
F.A.)," and  paraphrased the  Section 4  language, which  read as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 4. Prohibits school districts from paying the                                                                    
     costs of physical examinations for teachers.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  pointed  out that  the  bill  language,                                                               
which aligns with  the above statement, utilizes  the term "may,"                                                               
and opined that it seems permissive.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY offered to provide further information.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:41:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ maintained  her concern for the  lack of a                                                               
required physical exam, and noted the  issues it may cause in the                                                               
Bush, where medical assistance may  not be available.  Contagious                                                               
diseases are certainly a current problem, she stressed.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:42:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  directed attention to page  3, lines 5-10,                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
      (5) "human reproduction or sexual matters" does not                                                                       
     include curricula or materials for                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
       (A) sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and                                                                        
     prevention training required under AS 14.30.355; or                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          (B) dating violence and abuse awareness and                                                                           
     prevention training required under AS 14.30.356.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON pointed out  the terms "sexual matters" and                                                               
"sexual  abuse," and  asked what  salient criteria  distinguishes                                                               
these two terms in the presentation of materials.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  said it's  defined under  AS 14.30.355,  and is                                                               
specific to  the Erin's Law  curriculum that is  being developed.                                                               
Additionally, AS  14.30.356 is also  excluded from  paragraph (5)                                                               
to satisfy specific law.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON opined  on the  difficulty of  segregating                                                               
the  topics  these  terms  encompass,  and  the  practicality  of                                                               
presenting  them  in a  classroom  in  isolation of  each  other.                                                               
Confusion and conflict may arise  when parents are presented with                                                               
the terms as they decide whether  to have their student opt-in to                                                               
sexual matters or  sexual abuse programs.  He  suggested that the                                                               
terms are subjective,  and pondered how this  scenario might play                                                               
out for parents.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY said  Erin's Law deals with  dating violence and                                                               
sexual abuse  awareness, and not sex  education and reproduction.                                                               
What is referred  to as Erin's and Bree's Law  are not subject to                                                               
the opt-in  choice, as all  students will receive  those programs                                                               
unless opted-out.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON opined  that the  conflict for  parents of                                                               
sexual abuse  may be more  of an  issue and problematic  than the                                                               
topic of how reproduction occurs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:47:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON recalled  public testimony  which reported                                                               
that 80  percent of the  parents don't have  sexual conversations                                                               
with their children.   Home schooling allows parents  to have the                                                               
ultimate involvement in  a child's life.  However,  80 percent of                                                               
public  school  attendees apparently  don't  have  that level  of                                                               
parental  involvement.     Thus,  a  large   populace  relies  on                                                               
information provided  through school programs.   Teachers are not                                                               
necessarily comfortable  presenting sexual education  topics, and                                                               
have, in turn,  come to rely on outside  organizations to provide                                                               
the  required, sensitive,  information, and  materials.   If that                                                               
resource is removed,  he asked, will the teachers  be required to                                                               
develop materials and a supporting curriculum.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY  responded  that  perhaps  there  is  a  larger                                                               
problem that  is not being  addressed, if  parental communication                                                               
is lacking.   The bill does  not prevent sexual education  in the                                                               
schools, he  said, and  pointed out  that certified  teachers may                                                               
review  and  propose  curriculum,  but the  program  may  not  be                                                               
brought into the schools by abortion providers.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:51:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:51:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE HARTLINE stated support for SB  89, and said as a parent                                                               
she considers the  public schools to be a tool  for teaching, not                                                               
the  primary  instructor  for  her children.    She  opined  that                                                               
abortion providers may bring a bias to the classroom.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:54:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL HARTLINE  stated support for  SB 89, echoing  the sentiments                                                               
of  the  previous witness  to  underscore  the shared  points  of                                                               
concern.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:56:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ED  GRAY stated  support for  SB 89,  and said  he protested  the                                                               
entry of  Planned Parenthood in  the public schools.   The agency                                                               
no longer exists in the Sitka  area, and the schools have adopted                                                               
other means for bringing sexual education to the classroom.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:58:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JULIE  STROEMER  stated  support  for SB  89,  and  recalled  how                                                               
upsetting  it was  to have  Planned Parenthood  enter the  public                                                               
classroom.   As a tax  payer, she  said this is  not appropriate,                                                               
however, she noted,  her daughter has benefited  from the opt-out                                                               
provision.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:01:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KEITH  KURBER II,  stated  support for  SB  89, underscoring  the                                                               
importance for the  legislation, citing it as a  means to prevent                                                               
the  erosion of  parental  rights concerning  issues of  profound                                                               
importance.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:02:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT HOCKEMA,  stated opposition to  SB 89, and said  the level                                                               
of unplanned pregnancies are on  a decline at the national level.                                                               
The more  students who participate  in sexual  education classes,                                                               
the  better  the  situation  will be  served  to  deter  unwanted                                                               
pregnancies.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:04:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICARDA LEBMAN, stated  opposition to SB 89,  paraphrasing from a                                                               
prepared statement, which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     I am  writing to  ask you  not to support  SB 89.   The                                                                    
     "opt-in" for  sexual education  was practiced  in Texas                                                                    
     when  I went  to  school  from 1961  to  1973.   Sexual                                                                    
     education  was offered  only once  (in sixth  grade) in                                                                    
     all  my primary  grade  years.   The opt-in  permission                                                                    
     slip was  given by teachers  just one day prior  to the                                                                    
     program  being presented  (although the  intent was  to                                                                    
     provide more notice, the reality  was not).  There were                                                                    
     about 15  of us  who missed the  program that  next day                                                                    
     because  of the  lack of  time and  due to  the opt-in,                                                                    
     instead of  the opt-out,  option which  was new  to the                                                                    
     parents.   Both my  parents were dismayed  that factual                                                                    
     information  approved  and   reviewed  by  professional                                                                    
     educators, had to be "opted-in".   This would be on the                                                                    
     same  scale   as  requiring  opting-in   for  evolution                                                                    
     education.   Another science based, proven  theory that                                                                    
     endures  educational  conflict from  biblical  creation                                                                    
     belief and political pandering.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     As I  listened to the  concerns expressed by  others on                                                                    
     the teleconference,  I was surprised  at the  number of                                                                    
     people who spoke about fear.   Fear that their children                                                                    
     might  learn from  someone amoral  and/or that  hearing                                                                    
     factual  information from  an  "abortion provider"  was                                                                    
     somehow different  than hearing the same  material from                                                                    
     a certified teacher.   Where are the  instances of such                                                                    
     abuse  or  misinformation  that support  these  claims?                                                                    
     Aren't these  the same  arguments presented  to attempt                                                                    
     removal of gay teachers from their jobs?  Who's next?                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     "Abortion Provider"  is a term  referring to  a medical                                                                    
     professional  that  performs  just  one  legal  medical                                                                    
     procedure for women.   This term should not  be used in                                                                    
     a Senate  Bill to  overshadow medical  doctors, clinics                                                                    
     and health providers (such  as Planned Parenthood) whom                                                                    
     perform  mostly other  medical services.   I  find this                                                                    
     bill to  be incendiary,  intolerant and  judgmental and                                                                    
     not reflecting Alaskan Values.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:06:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MOIRA PYHALA, stated opposition to SB 89, paraphrasing from a                                                                   
prepared statement, which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                 
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Without  a sexual  education program,  students are  at                                                                    
     risk  because  they're  in the  dark  about  their  own                                                                    
     bodies.  Without proper  sex [education], students will                                                                    
     revert to  mislead information from both  the internet,                                                                    
     aka  porn,  along  with their  peers.    Misinformation                                                                    
     about   sex  leads   to  unhealthy   relationships  and                                                                    
     situations.   This  is  one of  the  leading causes  of                                                                    
     violence  against women  in our  country today.   These                                                                    
     are  also factors  that Planned  Parenthood is  working                                                                    
     every day  to eliminate in  our society.  It's  a known                                                                    
     fact  that states  without  a  sex [education]  program                                                                    
     implemented  in  their  schools see  higher  levels  of                                                                    
     [sexually   transmitted   infections]  and   unintended                                                                    
     pregnancies every  year.  If  you truly wanted  to help                                                                    
     our state, it  would be in everyone's  best interest to                                                                    
     focus  on the  state's fiscal  issue and  not dwell  on                                                                    
     unnecessary  bills,  such  as  SB   89.    As  a  proud                                                                    
     supporter   of   Planned   Parenthood,   president   of                                                                    
     Generation Action,  Student's for  Reproductive Justice                                                                    
     at  [University of  Alaska, Anchorage],  and a  student                                                                    
     myself, I ask that the  committee does not support this                                                                    
     bill  and  works  on more  important  issues,  such  as                                                                    
     regaining  funding for  our  university.   Please  give                                                                    
     students  the   tools  they   need  to   flourish,  not                                                                    
     endangering  themselves  and  others.     [SB  89]  not                                                                    
     supporting school districts, it's limiting them.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:08:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOY  LYON stated  opposition to  SB  89, and  recalled the  brief                                                               
statement  her mother  made  to  her as  a  child,  along with  a                                                               
brochure that  was handed  out.  The  curriculum was  minimal, at                                                               
that  time; however,  she has  since  experienced a  presentation                                                               
that was  more appropriate.   Half of  the pregnancies  in Alaska                                                               
are  unintended, which  indicates a  lack of  understanding among                                                               
young people.   The cost is borne through Medicaid,  at a cost of                                                               
$44 million.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:11:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE NIEME, Member, League  of Women Voters, stated official                                                               
opposition  to SB  89,  and, on  behalf of  the  League of  Women                                                               
Voters,  paraphrased  from  a  statement,  which  read  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The League  of Women Voters of  Alaska (LWVAK) strongly                                                                    
     opposes  both SB  89  and  SB 191  based  on the  long-                                                                    
     established  (1983)  League  of  Women  Voters  of  the                                                                    
     United States (LWVUS)  Position on Reproductive Choices                                                                    
     which  state the  follows:   The  LWVUS "believes  that                                                                    
     public policy in a pluralistic  society must affirm the                                                                    
     constitutional right  to privacy  of the  individual to                                                                    
     make reproductive choices."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     In  addition,   the  LWVUS  Position  on   Health  Care                                                                    
     supports  "a  basic level  of  care  that includes  ...                                                                    
     prenatal  and reproductive  health."   This basic  care                                                                    
     for reproductive health  can have far-reaching positive                                                                    
     effects  including healthier  babies  and stronger  and                                                                    
     more  financially   stable  families.     Prenatal  and                                                                    
     reproductive  car can  also save  public  monies.   The                                                                    
     Guttmacher  Institute  reports  that in  2010,  Title-X                                                                    
     supported  reproductive health  services resulted  in a                                                                    
     net  savings in  Alaska  of $17.9  million  due to  the                                                                    
     prevention    of   unintended    or   closely    spaced                                                                    
     pregnancies,   low  birth   weight  babies,   [sexually                                                                    
     transmitted diseases (STD)]  transmission, and cervical                                                                    
     cancer cases.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     This  type of  success is  possible only  when sexually                                                                    
     active  men  and women  have  access  to sound  medical                                                                    
     information  and medical  care.   To ban  the use  of a                                                                    
     Title-X  funded   reproductive  health   facility  from                                                                    
     teaching  young men  and women  simply because  in some                                                                    
     cases   they  also   provide,  with   private  funding,                                                                    
     abortion services  is unwise.  Such  facilities have as                                                                    
     one   of  their   main  purposes   the  prevention   of                                                                    
     unintended pregnancies.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     And who might  know better the difficulty  in having to                                                                    
     end  a  pregnancy than  those  who  work with  families                                                                    
     facing  that most  difficult  of decisions.    It is  a                                                                    
     decision  best left  to  a woman  and  her health  care                                                                    
     provider;  it  is  a  very  private  and  personal  and                                                                    
     painful decision.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Those  who  oppose  the teaching  provided  by  Title-X                                                                    
     funded  reproductive health  workers should  experience                                                                    
     the  classes taught  by them.   Those  parents who  are                                                                    
     uncomfortable  with  a  science-based approach  to  sex                                                                    
     education  can always  opt-out.   But to  most parents,                                                                    
     education is not an activity  to be avoided, especially                                                                    
     when  it comes  to the  important area  of reproductive                                                                    
     health.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     LWVAK  strongly   urges  the  members  of   the  Alaska                                                                    
     Legislature to reject both of these bills.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:15:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARCI HAWKINS,  Sutton, Alaska, stated  opposition to SB  89, and                                                               
said  not   everyone  associated  with  Planned   Parenthood  are                                                               
abortion providers.   She said  this is a delineation  that needs                                                               
to be clarified.  The current  programs are free, or at a minimal                                                               
cost, and  the costs for  replacing the curriculum have  not been                                                               
identified.  The  research alone, to ensure  that any individuals                                                               
presenting sexual information in  schools are not affiliated with                                                               
abortion providers,  will require  funding; nurses,  doctors, and                                                               
hospital employees.  She encouraged  the members to attend one of                                                               
the classes, at a local school,  to gain an understanding of what                                                               
is actually  being taught.   As  a mother  of five,  she reported                                                               
having  homeschooled  two  of  her children  due  to  issue  that                                                               
included,  overcrowding, bullying,  and rampant  drug abuse,  but                                                               
not  because of  the sex  education programs.   The  focus is  on                                                               
preventing abortions,  and date related violence,  and she opined                                                               
that "sexual matters" is an inclusive term.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:20:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA HANEY, stated  support for SB 89, focusing  on the opt-in                                                               
aspect  of  the bill.    She  noted  that  the reported  rise  in                                                               
Alaska's [sexually  transmitted disease  9STD)] levels  and other                                                               
sexual issues, does  not bode well for the  effectiveness of what                                                               
is currently being presented through Planned Parenthood.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:24:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANDY HOLLEMAN,  Representative, Anchorage  Education Association,                                                               
stated opposition  to SB  89, noting  that many  school employees                                                               
work during  the summer  in medical  offices, which  may prohibit                                                               
their  ability  to lead  topical  discussions  in the  classroom.                                                               
Further, he paraphrased  from a prepared document,  which read as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I just want  to strongly urge the committee  to be sure                                                                    
     and  actually review  the materials  that  are used  in                                                                    
     classes at  all the  age levels so  that they  know for                                                                    
     certain what  they are reacting to  in considering this                                                                    
     legislation.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Classes  are   not  simply   turned  over   to  Planned                                                                    
     Parenthood  to   "sell  their   ideas"  to   a  captive                                                                    
     audience.  They are invited  in for a particular reason                                                                    
     because of  their expertise on reproductive  health and                                                                    
     human  sexuality.    One  caller  suggested  that  home                                                                    
     contact information  for students was given  to Planned                                                                    
     Parenthood.   Another asked if schools  might allow the                                                                    
     marijuana or alcoholic beverage  industry in to promote                                                                    
     their products.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Home contact  information is absolutely off  limits for                                                                    
     any outside  group.   To my  knowledge, no  school does                                                                    
     this, and  certainly, they should not,  now, without SB
     89 becoming law.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I  think we  all know  that we  do not  promote use  of                                                                    
     intoxicating products  in schools.   But it's  also the                                                                    
     case that we might allow  the CEO of a beverage company                                                                    
     to  talk  about  accounting or  shipping  obstacles  in                                                                    
     Alaska.    We wouldn't  treat  them  like someone  that                                                                    
     should be shunned but we  absolutely would not let them                                                                    
     promote  their products  to students.   We  promote the                                                                    
     sport  of marksmanship  and we  instruct in  gun safety                                                                    
     without  "promoting"  students   to  carry  weapons  or                                                                    
     engage in  inappropriate or illegal  activities, though                                                                    
     some parents do object to those activities.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     If  there  are  schools legitimately  violating  parent                                                                    
     rights,  I hope  you'll facilitate  them being  able to                                                                    
     challenge their  local school boards and  schools on an                                                                    
     individual  basis.     Across   this  state   you  have                                                                    
     thousands of  employees working  hard to  have students                                                                    
     know   what  they   need  to   know  while   respecting                                                                    
     individual choices and values that vary widely.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     SB 89  doesn't help us do  that.  It does  create spike                                                                    
     strips  in conducting  certain  classes that  educators                                                                    
     will avoid by a large margin.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:27:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA SAMASH, President, Right to Life Interior Alaska, stated                                                                 
support for SB 89, paraphrased from a prepared statement, which                                                                 
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Thank goodness  for this wonderful  bill, I  support it                                                                    
     because it puts parental rights first.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     As a mother of 4 daughters,  this bill is near and dear                                                                    
     to me  because 2 of my  girls are in the  public school                                                                    
     system.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I do  not want to  see Planned Parenthood  teaching sex                                                                    
     Ed because first, I feel  they are an organization that                                                                    
     directly benefits  from promoting sex. It  doesn't make                                                                    
     any  sense to  say the  state  wants to  slow down  the                                                                    
     spread of  STD's and then  to turn around and  hire sex                                                                    
     promoters in the classrooms.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Another issue I  have is the parental  opt out program.                                                                    
     As  an experienced  public school  mom, I  would highly                                                                    
     recommend  that  if  this  bill  fails,  the  education                                                                    
     department  should  focus  on the  communication  style                                                                    
     they use  to contact  parents. Presently the  system is                                                                    
     to send notes  home with the kids and then  to have the                                                                    
     parents  sign  and  then the  kids  return  them.  This                                                                    
     process is  not good enough  because this issue  is way                                                                    
     to important and even dangerous  in my opinion and kids                                                                    
     are  known for  never even  getting the  notes home  to                                                                    
     their parents because they either  forget or they don't                                                                    
     want to be  opted out and look weird  to their friends.                                                                    
     School social pressure  is real and can  be intense and                                                                    
     trusting  kids to  handle this  note responsibility  is                                                                    
     irresponsible  in  my   experience.  Instead,  I  would                                                                    
     suggest to  the education  dept. that they  implement a                                                                    
     direct contact  system from the  school to  the parents                                                                    
     along   with   all   the   curriculum   including   the                                                                    
     pornographic material given to  the parents so they are                                                                    
     fully aware and can make  an informed choice of whether                                                                    
     or not  to have their  kids participate in  this sexual                                                                    
     desensitization class. This is the  only way to be sure                                                                    
     that the parents really do know of what's going on.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:31:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID NEES, stated  support for SB 89, citing  the origination of                                                               
Planned Parenthood  and how  it developed,  from Irish  roots, to                                                               
what it represents today.   He said the bottom line  is who is in                                                               
charge of our children, the government or parents.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:33:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID  BOYLE, stated  support  for  SB 89,  and  opined that  the                                                               
question is who has more rights  over their child, the parents or                                                               
government.    He  provided  a scenario  using  marijuana  as  an                                                               
example and how it might  be handled given similar circumstances.                                                               
Also,  a  situation  arose  in   the  Anchorage  School  District                                                               
regarding  transportation,  which,   using  the  permission  slip                                                               
method, did not have good success.  The government is not a                                                                     
surrogate parent, he maintained, and urged passage of the bill.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:36:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHIE JOHNSON, stated support for SB 89, paraphrasing from a                                                                   
prepared statement, which read:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     As   a  parent   and  grandparent   I  have   seen  the                                                                    
     devastating   effects   of  sexual   activity   without                                                                    
     boundaries.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Sexuality   is   a   great   gift   that   comes   with                                                                    
     responsibility  not just  in  preventing pregnancy  and                                                                    
     STD's.   We do our  kids a disservice in  teaching them                                                                    
     that  self-control  is  either   not  possible  or  not                                                                    
     necessary.    Are all  teens  going  to exercise  self-                                                                    
     control?  Of  course not.  But many more  might if they                                                                    
     were taught  of the emotional, spiritual,  and physical                                                                    
     consequences.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Planned Parenthood  will teach  them about  "safe" sex,                                                                    
     how  to  use a  condom,  and  give them  birth  control                                                                    
     pills.   If by  chance there is  a pregnancy  they will                                                                    
     offer  an abortion.   But  the  consequences are  still                                                                    
     there  affecting  individuals,   families,  and  future                                                                    
     generations.   Planned Parenthood doesn't want  to come                                                                    
     into  our schools  because it  is a  benevolent charity                                                                    
     who  loves our  children.   It  is a  business with  an                                                                    
     ideology.  A big business.   Any person is free to walk                                                                    
     into their office  if they agree with  the ideology and                                                                    
     want  their services.   Not  satisfied  with that  they                                                                    
     want to  influence all our  kids.  Don't let  them into                                                                    
     the schools.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:38:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:38:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON directed attention to the bill, page 1,                                                                   
lines [12] - 13 [and page 2, line 1], which read as follows:                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     (1) recognizing the authority of  a parent and allowing                                                                    
     a parent  to object  to and withdraw  the child  from a                                                                    
       standards-based assessment or test required by the                                                                       
     state;                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON reiterated his previous request and asked                                                                 
to have clarification of the required test, and how statutory                                                                   
compliance will be satisfied.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER noted he will be sure the sponsor receives that                                                                    
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked whether Version I was the working                                                                   
document.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER responded that the committee adopted Version Y as                                                                  
the working document.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER announced SB 89 as held over.                                                                                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB156 Sectional.pdf HEDC 3/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
SB89 Letters of Support.pdf HEDC 3/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 89
SB89 Testimony E. Graves.pdf HEDC 3/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 89
SB89 Opposition.PDF HEDC 3/21/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 89