Legislature(2003 - 2004)
04/03/2003 03:04 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 167-ALCOHOLISM AND DRUG ABUSE GRANTS Number 1420 CHAIR WILSON announced that the final order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 167, "An Act relating to grants for alcoholism and drug abuse programs; and providing for an effective date." Chair Wilson noted that this is the fourth hearing before the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee for this bill. Number 1428 REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER told the committee she is very concerned about alcoholism in the state. She said the Building Bridges campaign is in town and had walked through the [Capitol]; one of the issues the campaign brought up is the difficulty of individuals with mental illness who are trying to get substance abuse treatment, because those individuals are dually diagnosed. She said a lot of treatment facilities do not have the capacity to deal with these problems and there are long waiting lists at every treatment facility. She said a substance abuser does not put his or her drinking on hold until getting treatment; that person's kids and families suffer, domestic violence is high, and accidental deaths are more frequent. In fact, she said there was a recent accidental death in Southeast in which a 23- year-old asphyxiated due to alcohol abuse. REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said she believes if the state spends money for treatment, there will be savings in the long term in health care, correctional costs, public safety costs, educational costs, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). She said almost every area of the state will save money in the long term if there is a commitment to substance abuse treatment. Number 1512 REPRESENTATIVE SEATON offered Amendment 1, which read [original punctuation provided]: Section 1. AS.47.30.475(c) is amended to read: Line 5: (c) Grants shall be awarded in a ratio of 85  percent state money to 15  Number 1520 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL objected for purposes of discussion. REPRESENTATIVE SEATON explained that Amendment 1 is an effort to phase-in the local match, so that communities do not have to "jump" from 10 percent to 25 percent in one year, which is a lot for local communities. He said the first year would be 17.5 percent or half of the amount; the increase that communities would have to match would be up 7.5 percent from the current 10 percent. Representative Seaton explained that the following year it would go up 7.5 percent to the 25 percent match. Number 1569 REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA said she believes the amendment is a good concept; however, she would like the match to be a lower percent. She said when she came to Alaska 35 years ago, the state led the nation in alcoholism. Representative Cissna said Alaska is paying the price for that now, and part of that price is the care and treatment of [fetal alcohol effects (FAE)] and FAS individuals. Over the last two decades, she said the state has made some changes to increase the number of programs dealing with alcohol abuse. She suggested that Alaska would pay an enormous price in terms of domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect, and other violent behavior if the state did not turn this around. Representative Cissna said she believes there are other alternatives that this administration is not [considering]. Number 1681 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL withdrew his objection. Number 1682 REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER objected to Amendment 1. She told the committee she does not like the bill and the amendment does not make it much better. Number 1686 A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Wilson, Seaton, Cissna, Gatto, Wolf, and Coghill voted in favor of Amendment 1 to HB 167. Representative Kapsner voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 1 passed the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee by a vote of 6-1. Number 1696 REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to report HB 167, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER objected to the motion. A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Wilson, Cissna, Gatto, Wolf, Coghill, and Seaton voted in favor of CSHB 167. Representatives Kapsner voted against it. Therefore, CSHB 167(HES) was reported out of the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee by a vote of 6-1.