Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/22/1993 03:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Number 563 REP. B. DAVIS asked whether, in light of the urgency, Chair Bunde would be willing to delete the sections of HB 235 that were not required to continue receiving federal special education funds. She said some of the other elements could be dealt with through other bills. She said some had already been introduced, and some were in HB 85. She said she saw no need to deal with the bill so fast. CHAIR BUNDE said there was no assurance that HB 85, a very complex bill, would pass anytime soon. He said he would not want elements of HB 235 contingent on HB 85. Number 567 REP. G. DAVIS said he was involved in TAG programs, and knew that parents of such children were more involved than normal with education. He said Rep. B. Davis's points were valid, and that he would look forward to the input from the governor's council, which would help address the concerns of parents, students and the administration. He pointed out that HB 235 addressed points other than just those necessary to secure federal special education funding. He expressed hope for an opportunity to address the other points later. CHAIR BUNDE noted that, due to technical problems, Klawock could not transmit testimony, but only listen in. Number 588 REP. TOOHEY asked whether the loss of the federal funds would be permanent if the state failed to make the necessary changes in its special education laws by a certain deadline. Number 600 MS. HOWE stated that conversations that day with a federal official indicated that the date was July 1, 1993. "It is conceivable that a person could go beyond that, but the problem is that the federal money has a certain statute of limitations, so if we go beyond the date, then the money is gone. So, and that's the situation New York is finding itself in right now. We've had a conditional essentially for two years. Under our state plan we have a new one that's due for FY95, and so we can't go beyond, you know, we had promised them actually last July that we would have this all signed and delivered for them." TAPE 93-41, SIDE B Number 000 CHAIR BUNDE moved amending section 17, line 13, of HB 235, adding so that it would read, "requires a school district to provide special education, gifted, and related services available ..." etc. He asked for objections. Number 024 MS. HOWE suggested an alternative wording, amending line 10 by striking the words "of an exceptional child" and inserting "a child with exceptionalities" or "an exceptional child," both of which were commonly used terms that would encompass both gifted and disabled children. She said the term special education in Alaska was already construed to mean both gifted and disabled students. Number 030 CHAIR BUNDE asked whether she meant use the word "exceptionalities" instead of the word "disabilities" on line 11. MS. HOWE answered yes. Number 035 CHAIR BUNDE asked whether the term was politically correct. Number 037 MS. HOWE answered yes, in Alaska. Number 040 CHAIR BUNDE asked if the DOE would prefer such wording. MS. HOWE said it would be clearer usage and more consistent with the section. Number 044 CHAIR BUNDE withdrew his earlier motion, and moved instead an amendment to use the word "exceptionalities." Number 046 AN UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE ON TELECONFERENCE (possibly Marc Grober) asked if the chair would entertain additional public testimony. Number 050 CHAIR BUNDE said no, that public testimony had closed. He then restated the motion and asked for discussion or objections to it. Number 061 REP. OLBERG asked Chair Bunde to repeat his motion. CHAIR BUNDE repeated his motion. REP. OLBERG objected to the motion. CHAIR BUNDE invited him to speak to the motion. REP. OLBERG declined. CHAIR BUNDE called for a voice vote on the motion, and heard no nays. REP. OLBERG noted that a roll call vote was more usual. CHAIR BUNDE agreed to a roll call vote, but none was taken. Number 086 REP. B. DAVIS asked if the term "exceptionalities" were defined in statute, and said the objection might change if the term were defined. CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Howe for a definition of the term "exceptionalities." Number 097 REP. OLBERG asked if the motion meant that the legislature was mandating home instructional opportunities for any exceptional child, whether disabled, gifted or whatever. CHAIR BUNDE said he understood that was a proper reading; it currently applied to all special education children, and the motion would allow the inclusion of gifted children. He said he understood Rep. Olberg's reservation. Number 111 MS. HOWE read a definition of the term "exceptional children" found on page 6, line 6, paragraph (3). She suggested that the motion be amended to follow the wording in that paragraph. CHAIR BUNDE agreed that "exceptionalities" was an obtuse word. He asked Rep. Olberg if the change clarified his question. REP. OLBERG stated, "It clarifies without satisfying, whatever that means." CHAIR BUNDE commented that it sounded like a new product. Number 137 REP. OLBERG said the committee was creating a new educational product that would stretch the education budget yet again. CHAIR BUNDE disagreed, saying that the provision already existed in state statute. He said the DOE wanted to take gifted education out of the special education program, an effort that would be dealt with in the discussion of HB 85, scheduled for the following week. Number 145 REP. OLBERG asked whether the particular statute did or did not address gifted children at that time. CHAIR BUNDE said that gifted student programs were, at that time, funded through special education programs. Number 150 REP. OLBERG asked whether HB 235 was an effort to limit home instruction to children with disabilities. CHAIR BUNDE responded, "To exceptional children." REP. OLBERG clarified, "No, I mean, no, it reads `disabilities.'" CHAIR BUNDE said, "As it was originally worded it would not include gifted children. My understanding of the statute, as it was being crafted, it was to include gifted children. As you may have noticed, there's a good bit of concern about separating gifted children out from special ed." Number 159 REP. OLBERG stated, "I think we've gone full circle here, so let me try one more time. If this did not exist, would gifted children be entitled to home instruction?" CHAIR BUNDE replied, "Yes." REP. OLBERG said, "This then came along and eliminated the gifted children and limited it to disabled children." CHAIR BUNDE responded, "That's correct." REP. OLBERG stated, "And we're going to go back to where we started from, even though that might not have been a good place to be." Number 165 CHAIR BUNDE said, "Yes, we will discuss that issue in more detail in HB 85." REP. OLBERG stated, "Thank you." Number 173 REP. VEZEY said the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) did not deal with gifted people, but with disabled people. He said he was having difficulty reconciling a bill that dealt with gifted students with the ADA. He said the purpose of the statute, supposedly, was to remain in compliance with federal law, which he said it might do, but only after going through a lot of extraneous information. CHAIR BUNDE said he had asked that the bill be written to reflect current state policies, and later, when the committee got to HB 85, it could then separate funding for special education students and gifted students, which would then establish a new state policy to supercede the current state policy. Number 191 REP. VEZEY commented that the motivation behind HB 235 was the ADA. CHAIR BUNDE disagreed, saying HB 235 dealt only with federal funding of special education, not with the ADA. Number 197 REP. VEZEY said he thought that the purpose behind HB 235 was to have the state remain in compliance with the ADA. He said it was possible they were talking about two different acts. CHAIR BUNDE said that was correct; they were speaking of two different acts. REP. OLBERG said that the federal law with which the state was attempting to remain in compliance with through HB 235 was the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. He commented that, "We're trying to slice our interest groups into ever smaller pieces." Number 206 CHAIR BUNDE said he wanted to try again to achieve the amendment to page 10, line 5, which would read: "If a parent with an exceptional child enrolls the child ..."; striking the words "with" and "disabilities." REP. TOOHEY contested the wording. CHAIR BUNDE explained that she had forgotten an earlier amendment. REP. TOOHEY said she stood corrected. REP. OLBERG objected to the motion. CHAIR BUNDE invited him to speak to his objection. REP. OLBERG declined. CHAIR BUNDE called for a roll call vote on the amendment to amend line 10 to read, "If a parent of an exceptional child enrolls the child ... " The amendment deleted the words "with disabilities," he said. Those voting yea were Reps. G. Davis, Vezey, B. Davis, Toohey and Bunde. Those voting nay were Reps. Kott and Olberg. The MOTION PASSED 5-2. Number 243 CHAIR BUNDE moved passage of HB 235 with individual recommendations. REP. B. DAVIS objected, saying she supported the changes necessary for the DOE to come into compliance with federal laws, but she believed the House Finance Committee would not have the time to address the issues that should have been addressed in the HESS Committee. She said it was not a money issue. She opposed passage from the committee, saying that the bill could have had at least one additional hearing before the HESS Committee to address some elements of the bill to make it even better and more acceptable to parents as well as administrators. Number 256 REP. KOTT objected, saying his reasons were similar to those of Rep. B. Davis. He said much of the testimony represented disagreement on several issues, and it would be prudent to hold the bill over for a day or so to resolve some of the conflicts. CHAIR BUNDE called for a brief at-ease before the vote, at 4:09 p.m. He called the meeting back to order at 4:11 p.m. and repeated the motion to pass HB 235 from the HESS Committee with individual recommendations. Those voting yea were Reps. Vezey, Kott, Brice, Toohey, Bunde and G. Davis. Those voting nay were Reps. Olberg and B. Davis. The MOTION PASSED 6-2. CHAIR BUNDE then brought HB 210 to the table.