Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106
03/08/2018 03:00 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
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HB 351-JUVENILES: JUSTICE,FACILITES,TREATMENT 3:36:52 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 351, "An Act relating to care of juveniles and to juvenile justice; relating to employment of juvenile probation officers by the Department of Health and Social Services; relating to terms used in juvenile justice; relating to mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect; relating to adjudication of minor delinquency and the deoxyribonucleic acid identification registration system; relating to sexual assault in the third degree; relating to sexual assault in the fourth degree; repealing a requirement for administrative revocation of a minor's driver's license, permit, privilege to drive, or privilege to obtain a license for consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs; and providing for an effective date." 3:37:39 PM MATT DAVIDSON, Social Services Program Officer, Division of Juvenile Justice, Department of Health and Social Services, stated that the proposed bill was an update for the terms used in the juvenile justice statute to describe the facilities and staff. Most of the bill applied to conforming changes throughout the statutes, and not for actual changes to meaning, or changes to the powers or duties of the Division of Justice. He listed some of the outdated terms used in statute, which included juvenile work camps and detention homes, noting that these were being updated with modern terms to describe the facilities. He stated that the definition for juvenile probation officer was being updated, as well as providing a delineation between adult and juvenile probation officers in statute. He pointed out that the proposed bill added juvenile justice staff and probation officers as mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect in AS 47.17. He stated that this reflected a role of the staff in working with kids, as they were often disclosing this type of activity, which would be reported to the Office of Children's Services. REPRESENTATIVE TARR clarified that this was current policy and was now being written into statute. 3:39:38 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR opened public testimony and after ascertaining no one wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 351. 3:40:19 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR moved to adopt proposed Amendment 1, labeled 30-LS0416\R.1, Glover, 2/28/18, which read: Page 13, lines 6 - 7: Delete "the minor is not in sight or sound of adult prisoners, and" REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN objected for discussion. REPRESENTATIVE TARR explained that proposed Amendment 1 addressed page 13, lines 6 - 7, of the proposed bill in which youth could be detained in a temporary secure holding area. She stated that removal of this language could be problematic for these temporary secure holding areas. 3:41:40 PM MR. DAVIDSON clarified that this section of the bill was in the delinquency statute and, while drafting it, the separation of sight and sound had been added to the wrong place. He explained that currently this applied to youth in the custody of the Department of Corrections, as explained in lines 18 and 21. He stated that the intent of the bill was not for the Department of Corrections to have sight and sound separation for those individuals and that it was not required by law. 3:42:35 PM REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN removed his objection. There being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. 3:42:59 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN moved to adopt proposed Amendment 2, labeled 30-LS-0416\R.2, Laffen, 3/8/18, which read: Page 18, line 21, through page 19, line 13: Delete all material and insert: "* Sec. 38. AS 47.17.020(a) is amended to read: (a) The following persons who, in the performance of their occupational duties or [,] their appointed duties under (8) of this subsection, [OR THEIR VOLUNTEER DUTIES UNDER (9) OF THIS SUBSECTION,] have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has suffered harm as a result of child abuse or neglect shall immediately report the harm to the nearest office of the department: (1) practitioners of the healing arts; (2) school teachers and school administrative staff members, including athletic coaches, of public and private schools; (3) peace officers and officers of the Department of Corrections; (4) administrative officers of institutions; (5) child care providers; (6) paid employees of domestic violence and sexual assault programs, and crisis intervention and prevention programs as defined in AS 18.66.990; (7) paid employees of an organization that provides counseling or treatment to individuals seeking to control their use of drugs or alcohol; (8) members of a child fatality review team established under AS 12.65.015(e) or 12.65.120 or the multidisciplinary child protection team created under AS 47.14.300; (9) juvenile probation officers, juvenile probation office staff, and staff of juvenile detention facilities and juvenile treatment facilities, as those terms are defined in AS 47.12.990 [VOLUNTEERS WHO INTERACT WITH CHILDREN IN A PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL FOR MORE THAN FOUR HOURS A WEEK]." Page 19, following line 13: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 39. AS 47.17.022(e) is amended to read: (e) Each school district that provides training under this section shall provide notice to public and private schools located in the school district of the availability of the training [AND INVITE VOLUNTEERS WHO ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT ABUSE OR NEGLECT OF CHILDREN UNDER AS 47.17.020 TO PARTICIPATE IN THE TRAINING AT NO COST TO THE VOLUNTEER]." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. Page 19, line 15: Delete "and 47.14.990(9)" Insert ", 47.14.990(9); and AS 47.17.020(j)" Page 19, line 31: Delete "Section 41" Insert "Section 42" REPRESENTATIVE TARR objected. REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN explained that proposed Amendment 2 would protect the treatment of volunteers and recognize them as not paid and not receiving direct benefits for their service. He stated that the current proposal would allow that volunteers were criminally liable for not reporting under the mandatory reporter requirement. He said that the proposed amendment would not limit a volunteer's ability to make a report. He stated that making a volunteer criminally liable just for their volunteer work would result in fewer volunteers. 3:44:59 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR shared a provision from House Bill 44 that had been added to statute in 2015. She noted that there had been a lot of discussion for this provision, and that the provision had been added because of some very high-profile incidences for individuals abusing children. She stated that this was an attempt to create a better system, and it only applied to those who volunteered for more than four hours each week. She pointed out that it was important for these longer- term volunteers to have the training as their behavior and their recognition of other behavior would be enhanced. She shared that, although she frequently received communication regarding this bill, she had not heard of any issues with this provision. She declared that she was not supportive of the proposed amendment. She pointed out that the proposed bill was focused on updates to the Division of Juvenile Justice statutes, and that the mandatory reporter provisions were specific to juvenile probation. 3:47:34 PM REPRESENTATIVE SULLIVAN-LEONARD asked whether volunteers were already covered for liability. MR. DAVIDSON explained that the volunteers referenced in the proposed amendment were not specific to Juvenile Justice volunteers. He noted that the proposed bill added juvenile justice officers and juvenile probation staff to the mandatory reporting requirement. He deferred to Representative Tarr for a better understanding of the mandatory reporter statute. He pointed out that the Office of Children's Services administered the mandatory reporter training. REPRESENTATIVE SULLIVAN-LEONARD stated her understanding that there was liability coverage for volunteers and asked for a comparison of the description beginning on page 18, line 22 of the proposed bill with the proposed Amendment 2. MR. DAVIDSON said that he was not familiar with liability coverage for volunteers. 3:49:55 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR opined that volunteers were covered through the school district and elsewhere. 3:50:17 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN reported that, as a mandatory reporter in his role as a firefighter for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, they regularly received this training. He stated that proposed Amendment 2 recognized that volunteers should be treated separately than those who were paid. He offered his belief that "telling someone who's abusing a child that they need to report the abuse of that child is not going to have much of an effect on stopping that abuse. I think if someone already violating the law ... probably isn't going to change much." He said that it would impact those who were recruiting volunteers to work with children, as many volunteers would not sign up under a condition of liability. He pointed out that liability insurance would protect against a civil suit, but proposed Amendment 2 would protect against criminal sanctions. He stated that this amendment was not limiting the ability to report anything that was of concern or limiting the training offered. 3:52:24 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR maintained her objection. 3:52:29 PM A roll call vote was taken. Representative Eastman (via teleconference) voted in favor of proposed Amendment 2. Representatives Sullivan-Leonard, Claman (alternate), Kito, Edgmon, Johnston, and Tarr voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 2 failed by a vote of 1 yea - 6 nays. 3:53:29 PM REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON moved to report HB 351, Version 30- LS0416\R, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 351(HSS) was moved from the House Health and Social Services Standing Committee.