Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

02/07/2005 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 123 OCCUPATIONS: FEES & EXTENSION OF BOARDS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 123(L&C) Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= HB 109 SCREENING NEWBORNS FOR HEARING ABILITY
Moved CSHB 109(L&C) Out of Committee
HB 123-OCCUPATIONS: FEES & EXTENSION OF BOARDS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  123,   "an  Act  relating  to  occupational                                                               
licensing fees  and receipts; extending the  termination dates of                                                               
the Boards  of Barbers and  Hairdressers, Social  Work Examiners,                                                               
Pharmacy,     Professional    Counselors,     Psychologist    and                                                               
Psychological  Associate  Examiners,  and  Veterinary  Examiners;                                                               
relating to  an exemption that  allows one bill to  continue more                                                               
than one board, commission, or  agency program; and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  started off  by  announcing  that there  was  an                                                               
amendment for  this bill, and that  he would get to  it after the                                                               
public testimony.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:26:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICK  URION,   Director,  Division  of   Occupational  Licensing,                                                               
Department  of  Commerce,  Community,  and  Economics,  gave  his                                                               
support for  the bill, and  noted that  the sections of  the bill                                                               
that  warranted his  strongest support  are the  extensions.   He                                                               
then announced that  he is here today to explain  and clarify the                                                               
first four  sections of  the bill, which  will explain  the fines                                                               
and penalties of the bill.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  URION explained  that the  law required  that the  aggregate                                                               
cost for regulating  the profession itself divided  by the number                                                               
of licensees, becomes  the licensing fee.  Included  in this fee,                                                               
were   the  fines   and  penalties   that  were   generated  from                                                               
disciplinary action. He then said  that that the professions pays                                                               
the cost of  any disciplinary action and thus it  seems only fair                                                               
that the profession would receive  any rewards from monies gained                                                               
from these actions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  interjected,  and  referring  to  the  amendment                                                               
suggested by  Mr. Urion, asked if  it is adopted, would  the fees                                                               
and adjustments  acquired that do  not equate to  the operational                                                               
costs  of  the  professional  board be  returned  in  someway  or                                                               
adjusted for accordingly.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. URION  stated that  existing law says  that the  division can                                                               
charge whatever it costs.  This  is determined every year, and is                                                               
adopted into  regulation. He then  said that there is  a required                                                               
30-day public notice period before  it is enacted.  The amendment                                                               
eliminates this expensive regulation and the 30-day requirement.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON  moved that the  committee adopt the  amendment as                                                               
suggested by  Mr. Urion.   He ended by  asking if there  were any                                                               
objections to adopting it into the bill.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  commented that they have  lumped a lot                                                               
of  bills together  here that  cover several  professional boards                                                               
and he asked  if all the changes  made in HB 123  were uniform to                                                               
all the professional boards mentioned in the bill.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:30:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. URION  answered that  the changes to  fines and  penalties to                                                               
all the licensed professions.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  then  asked   if  these  changes  are                                                               
uniformly applied to all boards and commissions.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  URION asserted  that generic  language was  used and  it was                                                               
applicable to all the licensed professions.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON pointed  out  that a  number  of bills  regarding                                                               
professional licensing were introduced.   However, Josh Applebee,                                                               
staff  to   Representative  Anderson,   compiled  all   of  these                                                               
disparate bills into one bill.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG related his  understanding that none of                                                               
this legislation  addressed any  of the recommendations  from the                                                               
legislative audits.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:32:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAT  DAVIDSON, Legislative  Auditor, Legislative  Audit Division,                                                               
discussed Sections  5-10, which  dealt with  extension deadlines.                                                               
She  began by  stating that  in 2005,  12 boards  and commissions                                                               
will reach  sunset status,  which amounts to  almost half  of all                                                               
boards and commissions.  The  alignment of these sunsets happened                                                               
for  various reasons.   During  the course  of these  audits, the                                                               
audit  division  wanted  to  be more  strategic  about  the  date                                                               
extensions  being recommended.    For this  reason, the  division                                                               
investigated  a  period  of  six years.    Given  the  particular                                                               
circumstances for  each board and  commission, the  division made                                                               
individual  recommendations  to  spread  out  the  sunset  dates.                                                               
Although it  appears as if  they are  weighted to the  year 2010,                                                               
there is a spectrum of dates spread out evenly.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. DAVIDSON  announced that the  division had a few  changes for                                                               
the  committee to  consider.   She  mentioned  that the  division                                                               
recommended that  the board of  hairdressers and barbers  be able                                                               
to  delegate the  practical examination  to the  training schools                                                               
and supervisors.   This, she said,  could be spot checked  by the                                                               
board  without any  undo  costs  and would  not  create a  public                                                               
hazard.   With regard  to the  Board of  Pharmacy, she  said that                                                               
they had a concern with the  actual licensing fee increases.  For                                                               
the Board of Psychologists and  Psychological Associates she said                                                               
that there  were two recommendations.   The first was  that there                                                               
needed  to  be an  increase  in  licensing  fees to  finance  the                                                               
board's  deficit,  and  second,  that the  governor  make  timely                                                               
appointments to the board.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:36:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  (looking at  the unqualified  law exempt                                                               
section of  Alaskan Statute  44.66.050 E)  asked if  Ms. Davidson                                                               
was familiar  with the  1977 legislation  (amended in  2002) that                                                               
basically describes  the enactment  of a  bill that  provides for                                                               
more than one board, commissioner, or  agency.  He then asked her                                                               
if she was informed of the  history and intent of the statute and                                                               
the 1977 legislation that created it.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DAVIDSON  specified  that   the  1977  legislation  was  the                                                               
original legislation and her understanding  is that the intention                                                               
of  the bill  to  have each  board and  commission  be looked  at                                                               
separately and to  have individual audits.  The  whole process is                                                               
a  very  involved  process  and  significant  use  of  resources.                                                               
Though reviewing the boards on  an individual basis is the spirit                                                               
of  the law,  the legislature  faces  almost half  of the  boards                                                               
right now due to their sunset alignment this year.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  if there  is a  legal opinion  on                                                               
this interpretation of the statute.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
JEAN MISCHEL,  Attorney, Legislative Legal Counsel,  and Research                                                               
Services, Legislative Affairs Agency,  agreed with Ms. Davidson's                                                               
interpretation,  which   was  generally  the   way  the   law  is                                                               
understood.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  related his understanding of  the boards                                                               
being discussed  in HB 123,  there are, save one,  no substantive                                                               
recommendation  from   the  audits  to  make   any  additions  or                                                               
corrections to the statute.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. DAVIDSON answered  that the only substantive  change would be                                                               
whether the legislature decides to  merge two of the professional                                                               
boards into one.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:40:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG,  asked if the committee  would be remiss                                                               
in its  legislative oversight if  it were  to pass this  bill and                                                               
lump all  of these  boards under one  statute that  addresses all                                                               
sunset extensions.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DAVIDSON stated  that  it  was up  to  the  pleasure of  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON mentioned that he  believed that he was saving the                                                               
legislature  money and  time with  HB 123.   He  then directed  a                                                               
question  to  Ms. Mischel  if  section  13,  which adds  the  new                                                               
section  exempting from  the prohibition  to combine  legislation                                                               
concerning  regulatory  boards  and  commissions,  is  legal  and                                                               
conforming.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MISCHEL answered  by stating  that Chair  Anderson, being  a                                                               
later legislator could,  in fact, modify the  implementation of a                                                               
previously legislated statute, which is what you are doing here.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  then  asked  if  it  were  valid  when,  as  the                                                               
committee goes from  one board to another, and  by section within                                                               
each board, the changes that  are being considered will simply be                                                               
attached  to the  relevant sections  of  the professional  boards                                                               
governing statute.   By doing so, he said, there  is no change to                                                               
the  construct of  the bill.    He commented  that additions  and                                                               
deletions will not affect the extension of the board regardless.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. MISCHEL  indicated that she  is not one hundred  percent sure                                                               
what   the  Chair   was   getting  at   and   then  offered   her                                                               
interpretation.  She  stated that if you change the  dates on the                                                               
board extension  pursuant to the  recommendation, and  then asked                                                               
the chair if he meant, given this, would he be in compliance.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON  stated that if we  are in the spirit  of the law-                                                               
within section 13  of the past legislation, the  committee is not                                                               
obligated to just  extend dates, and that if  a committee desires                                                               
to change the fee structure, it can do this in this legislation.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MISCHEL  confirmed  that legislative  oversight  does  exist                                                               
within the present legislature.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:43:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked if  the single subject rule would                                                               
be  violated  if  a  committee wanted  to  create  a  substantive                                                               
amendment for one of the boards.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. MICHELE answered that such  a situation would not violate the                                                               
single subject  rule.  She  noted that there  is a broad  line of                                                               
cases that define the single subject  rule quite well.  However a                                                               
change  that  described here  like  this  would require  a  title                                                               
change because the title does not encompass licensing standards.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:45:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.   MICHELE said  that the title  does not  encompass licensing                                                               
standards,  but that  it  extends the  termination  dates of  the                                                               
board and refers to licensing fees.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON announced  that the bill as amended  is before the                                                               
committee.  He indicated that he  was a little hesitant, since he                                                               
did not  want to see  the different aspects offered  now, without                                                               
having the  various boards  present to  hear the  suggestions. He                                                               
indicated that he only wanted  to address the extension aspect of                                                               
the bill, not any fee increases.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DAVIDSON  interjected  that  these  fee  increases  are  not                                                               
statutory changes, but instead they  are merely suggestions.  The                                                               
responsibility of  the fee  increases lays  with the  Division of                                                               
Occupational Licensing.  She pointed  out that the only statutory                                                               
changes were to  allow the Board of Barbers  and Hairdressers the                                                               
ability  to  delegate  the supervision  of  the  state  practical                                                               
licensing  exam to  the actual  schools and  training facilities,                                                               
and to merge  the Board of Marital and Family  Counseling and the                                                               
Board of Professional Counseling into one board.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:47:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON reminded the committee  that the Amendment 1 which                                                               
was  adopted  does  state  that  the  division  itself  can  make                                                               
statutory  changes to  the fee  structure accordingly.   He  then                                                               
offered the  addition of  Amendment 2 which  provided for  a date                                                               
change  for the  Board of  Barbers and  Hairdressers which  would                                                               
extend  the board  to the  year 2011.   Other  additions in  this                                                               
conceptual amendment  were extensions of the  professional boards                                                               
of  social  work  examiners, pharmacy,  professional  counseling,                                                               
pharmacy,  and psychological  associate examiners,  to 2010,  and                                                               
veterinary examiners to 2009.   This is all per recommendation by                                                               
Ms. Davidson.  He announced that Conceptual Amendment 2.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD asked  if the  amendments being  adopted                                                               
would  affect fee  collection, and  would the  division have  the                                                               
ability to collect fees over a number of years as it can now.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:50:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. DAVIDSON clarified that although  the Division of Legislative                                                               
Audit  recommends  fee  increases  based  on  its  analysis,  the                                                               
Division  of  Occupational   Licensing  actually  calculates  the                                                               
license fees.  She indicated that  the one thing that would throw                                                               
off  any  board's  estimated  fee  schedule  would  be  licensing                                                               
investigations  because  they are  time  intensive  and they  are                                                               
expensive.     She  then  stated   that  that  the   Division  of                                                               
Legislative Audit  had the view  that no provision in  law allows                                                               
the recoupement period to be  extended into the future.  However,                                                               
the Division  of Occupational  Licensing has  extended it  out to                                                               
four years to recoup fees over time.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG supposed that, in  the past, a board that                                                               
uses its own  money to perform an investigation  and a subsequent                                                               
fine is  imposed, yet the money  garnished by the board  from the                                                               
individual or group  is placed into the state  general fund, even                                                               
though the regulatory board spent  their own money to conduct the                                                               
investigation.    He  then  stated that  HB  123  corrected  this                                                               
problem.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. URION  related an example  of a very  expensive investigation                                                               
of  a real  estate  agent  which resulted  a  fine  of $  25,000.                                                               
However,  the cost  to get  this fine  allocated did  exceed this                                                               
amount.  Amendment 1 addressed the aforementioned problem.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG highlighted  that  each  board is  self-                                                               
supporting, but the  misconduct of one within a  group can result                                                               
in the other people  in the profession having to pay  for it as a                                                               
group.   They get in  other words,  a double penalty,  since they                                                               
have to  come up with the  cash to prosecute and  then, when this                                                               
is done, they get none of  the benefits of the monies gathered by                                                               
the administration of the fine.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD asked  if there is any  opposition to the                                                               
merger of the Board of  Professional Counselors, and the Board of                                                               
Marital and Family Counseling.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:56:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  indicated  that  there  was  opposition  to  the                                                               
proposed  merger, and  that he  wanted to  wait on  that question                                                               
until they  had heard from  some people  in the public  that were                                                               
testifying on behalf of these groups.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ANNE    HENRY,   Co-Secretary/Counselor,    American   Counselors                                                               
Association  of Alaska,  related that  the Licensed  Professional                                                               
Counselors  Board  oppose  the  merger for  many  reasons.    The                                                               
merger,  she  said, would  increase  the  fees because  it  would                                                               
increase the  number of meetings.   She noted that  she discussed                                                               
this  merger with  the American  Association of  State Counseling                                                               
Boards  who said  that  in  states that  this  has happened,  the                                                               
result has been  problematic due to more meetings, and  a rise in                                                               
turf issues.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD  announced  that he  is  concerned  with                                                               
adding more  than a sunset  clause in  the legislation.   He then                                                               
expressed the need for more committee discussion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON indicated that for  the record, the legislature is                                                               
not merging the boards and that  the committee has not adopted an                                                               
amendment to do so.  This  bill is particularly focused on sunset                                                               
clauses that  affect various  professional boards.   He  ended by                                                               
stating that the opposition is safe  and there will be no further                                                               
talk of merger.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX confirmed this  by asking again whether the                                                               
committee would definitely  not be doing anything  with the board                                                               
of family and marital therapy.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON  announced that this  was again correct.   He went                                                               
on  to say  that it  was only  a recommendation  from Legislative                                                               
Audit  that  this  bill  could be  the  appropriate  vehicle  for                                                               
administering the merger of the two boards.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:00:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DIANA STRAUB,  Hairdresser, Member  of the  Board of  Barbers and                                                               
Hairdressers, stated that  the board is a hard  working board, as                                                               
evidenced  by how  they dealt  with the  licensing of  tattoo and                                                               
piercing facilities that  took place a couple of years  ago.  She                                                               
expressed  her desire  for  the  board to  continue  in the  same                                                               
manner it has in the past.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON, upon  determining  that no  one  else wished  to                                                               
testify,  closed   public  testimony  and  said   that  he  would                                                               
entertain a motion from the members at this point.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ROKEBERG  interjected   his   belief  that   the                                                               
legislature as  illustrated by this present  legislation, has the                                                               
ability to exempt itself from its oversight abilities.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked if the  merger ideas were  slated to                                                               
be revisited on another bill platform before this committee.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DAVIDSON stated  that  these boards  are  under sunset  this                                                               
year, and  will go through this  year and will end  by next year.                                                               
She then said that it will then be eliminated.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON  surmised that it  would be  next year or  the one                                                               
after that when legislation will be introduced to deal with it.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  pontificated that her  understanding still                                                               
was that  it was going  to be  sunsetted next year,  according to                                                               
what was  being said.  She  then said that if  the committee does                                                               
not do anything, the board gets sunsetted.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DAVIDSON informed  the  committee that  there  are only  two                                                               
groups, the Board of Marital and  Family Therapy and the Board of                                                               
Dental   Examiners,  that   are   not  being   covered  by   this                                                               
legislation.  She specified that  between HB 123 and other bills,                                                               
all  the  boards  and  commissions under  sunset  this  year  are                                                               
covered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 4:04:11 to 4:04:48.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:04:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON informed  the committee that the  Board of Marital                                                               
and  Family Counseling  and the  Dental Examiner  Board is  being                                                               
dealt with  in other bills.   He then  requested for a  motion to                                                               
move the bill out of the committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX moved to report  HB 123, as amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There being  no objection,  CSHB 123(L&C)  is so                                                               
moved from the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                

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