Legislature(2013 - 2014)BARNES 124

02/10/2014 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 211(L&C) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 213(L&C) Out of Committee
         HB 211-EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES                                                                     
4:16:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON announced  that the final order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 211,  "An  Act  relating  to the  education  and                                                               
employment of individuals with disabilities."                                                                                   
4:16:23 PM                                                                                                                    
VASILIOS  GIALOPSOS,  Staff,   Representative  Charisse  Millett,                                                               
Alaska State Legislature, stated that  HB 211 will make Alaska an                                                               
employment-first  state, which  is  a national  movement for  all                                                               
agencies  in  the  state  to  work  towards  gainful,  integrated                                                               
employment  for persons  with disabilities.    This policy  would                                                               
include  education  policy  and  how  the  persons  are  provided                                                               
service.    This  means  those  who  have  disabilities  but  are                                                               
gainfully employed  live healthier  lives, have a  higher quality                                                               
of life, and incur lower health care costs.                                                                                     
MR. GIALOPSOS  provided a section-by-section analysis  of HB 211.                                                               
He said that  proposed Section 1 would require  the Department of                                                               
Education and  Early Development  (EED) to  report to  the Mental                                                               
Health Trust  Authority with  respect to  the data  collection on                                                               
the  transition of  services.   Under Section  2, the  bill would                                                               
also add  an education  plan to  include a  goal for  children 15                                                               
years of  age and older to  become gainfully employed.   He added                                                               
that this doesn't preclude post-secondary education.                                                                            
4:18:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.   GIALOPSOS  stated   that   Sections  3-5   have  the   same                                                               
aspirational language  imbedded in  the requisite titles  for the                                                               
DLWD, the Department of Health  and Social Services (HSS) and the                                                               
Department of  Administration.  The  fiscal notes show  that this                                                               
is  existing policy  so  the  fiscal impact  is  absorbed by  the                                                               
department and these departments have zero fiscal notes.                                                                        
4:19:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CHENAULT referred  to page 2, line  2, and offered                                                               
Conceptual  Amendment 1,  which would  add after  "time", "within                                                               
one year  of leaving  high school" and  delete [the  remainder of                                                               
subsection (c), after "time" which read, in part:                                                                               
     ... for compensation that is                                                                                               
               (1) at or above the minimum wage; and                                                                            
           (2) not less than the compensation paid by                                                                           
     the employer for the same or similar work performed by                                                                     
     an individual who is not disabled.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE CHENAULT said that  Mr. Gialopsos can explain what                                                               
this change would accomplish.                                                                                                   
MR. GIALOPSOS explained the reason  for Conceptual Amendment 1 is                                                               
to  conform to  the  legislative  intent to  take  the same  data                                                               
collection requirements that the EED  is required to perform with                                                               
respect to special education with no impact to the department.                                                                  
4:21:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  asked whether the legislature  would no                                                               
longer set a mandate for minimum wages.                                                                                         
MR. GIALOPSOS  answered no; that  the definitions would  apply to                                                               
the  goals for  persons with  disabilities in  other titles.   He                                                               
explained   that  Conceptual   Amendment  1   pertains  to   data                                                               
collection for  transitional services.   The goals will  still be                                                               
present, but  the way the  language was  imbedded in the  bill it                                                               
required  data  collection  the  department  does  not  currently                                                               
perform,  although this  data is  collected by  the DLWD.   Thus,                                                               
Conceptual Amendment  1 would eliminate the  redundancy and focus                                                               
on the transition services of those 15 years of age and older.                                                                  
There being no objection, Conceptual Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                   
4:22:49 PM                                                                                                                    
RON PAUL, Disabilities  Employment Specialist, Frontier Community                                                               
Services (FCS),  explained that FCS  is a non-profit organization                                                               
that provides services for people of  all ages and has served 190                                                               
persons  with a  disability under  its behavioral  health support                                                               
employment program.   Currently,  26 of  its 38  enrolled clients                                                               
are  gainfully employed  for a  68 percent  employment rate.   He                                                               
reported  that  FCS's  clients from  referrals  through  Serenity                                                               
House,  the   adult  probation   office,  ALELA,   the  Peninsula                                                               
Community  Health Center,  and  vocational rehabilitation  office                                                               
have serious  disabilities.  He  offered his belief  that without                                                               
the program, these individuals would likely not be employed.                                                                    
4:24:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PAUL provided specific examples  of persons with disabilities                                                               
that the  FCS has assisted,  including assisting  an incarcerated                                                               
person who  is now working on  the North Slope, a  homeless woman                                                               
now working  in retail,  and an  obese man who  has been  able to                                                               
sufficiently  deal  with issues  allow  him  to attend  community                                                               
college and live in his own  apartment.  He illustrated the value                                                               
of  FCS, given  that  disabled  people who  come  to the  program                                                               
basically "have  nowhere to go"  but are assisted by  the program                                                               
and become gainfully employed.                                                                                                  
MR.  PAUL  said he  was  unsure  how  those individuals  who  are                                                               
seriously disabled and confined  to wheelchairs will obtain help.                                                               
He  offered his  belief  that no  matter  what disability  people                                                               
have,  they  deserve the  opportunity  to  secure meaningful  and                                                               
gainful employment  and receive  the same assistance  and respect                                                               
as those not disabled.                                                                                                          
4:28:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CATHY  BABUSCIO, Director  of  Human  Resources, Mat-Su  Regional                                                               
Medical Center (MSRMC), said MSRMC's  project search program is a                                                               
unique  "business  led"  vocational  rehabilitation  program  for                                                               
adult students  18-22 years of  age who  experience disabilities.                                                               
This program  provides students who  want to work  an opportunity                                                               
to develop  transferable job skills.   The ultimate  program goal                                                               
is   independent   adults   securing  employment   within   their                                                               
communities.    She  explained   that  students  experience  full                                                               
immersion at the hospital,  and individualized jobs, development,                                                               
and placement occurs  based on student strength and  skills.  The                                                               
project  search program  is a  collaborative  effort between  the                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna   Borough  School   District,  the   Governor's                                                               
Council on  Disabilities and Special Education,  and the Division                                                               
of  Vocational   Rehabilitation.    The   MSRMC  has   had  three                                                               
successful  program completions  with 100  percent employment  of                                                               
their  students.   She pointed  out the  average wage  is greater                                                               
than $13 per hour.   Additionally, 20 percent of those completing                                                               
the  program have  been  awarded  positions at  the  MSRMC.   She                                                               
stated that this program has  increased employee satisfaction and                                                               
has benefitted  the hospital with dedicated  and skilled workers.                                                               
She said that the MSRMC supports employment first.                                                                              
4:30:03 PM                                                                                                                    
RIC NELSON, Member, Governor's Council  on Disabilities & Special                                                               
Education, testified through an interpreter, as follows:                                                                        
     Good  evening,  Mr.  Chair.     I  have  my  Bachelor's                                                                    
     [degree] in business administration.   I've always been                                                                    
     told I'll  never be able to  work or even able  to give                                                                    
     back to society.  You  know, I've worked a couple part-                                                                    
     time  jobs  and every  time  I've  worked, people  have                                                                    
     enjoyed working with  me.  I bring a  different take on                                                                    
     life on how people work  with disabilities.  And within                                                                    
     a  year  or  two  after  I  graduate  with  my  Masters                                                                    
     [degree], I want  to start my own business.   I want to                                                                    
     open an  agency that  serves people  with disabilities.                                                                    
     I  want to  give back  for what  I have  gotten through                                                                    
     with my  life.   I want  to make  sure that  people can                                                                    
     work in  their own community doing  whatever they want.                                                                    
     I urge to please pass HB 211.                                                                                              
4:35:13 PM                                                                                                                    
ERIC YANUSZ provided his testimony, as follows:                                                                                 
     I am  Eric Yanusz and  I'm currently working  at REACH,                                                                    
     where Cathy  works, too.   [In]  my first  rotation the                                                                    
     day  surgery is  sanitized,  dusted:   take out  trash,                                                                    
     repair  the  chemicals,  [and] clean  the  lobby  area.                                                                    
     Second rotation, food service:   fill required buckets,                                                                    
     wipe  tables, wrap  silverware,  [and] refill  napkins.                                                                    
     Indisc.  I don't know my third rotation.                                                                                   
4:36:01 PM                                                                                                                    
LUANN YANUSZ stated that she is  the parent of a 21-year-old son,                                                               
[the previous testifier], with disabilities.   She explained that                                                               
parents  of  children  with  disabilities do  not  know  what  to                                                               
expect,  how  much  they  will  be   able  to  learn  or  do,  or                                                               
contribute.   She  said her  son  hasn't received  a high  school                                                               
diploma so he  is in a lower  range than many in  society. In his                                                               
current  program,   "Project  Search"  and  other   job  training                                                               
programs, he  has learned what  employers expect of him,  such as                                                               
to  be  at work  every  day,  develop  a  good work  ethic,  show                                                               
initiative, and follow the rules.   She said he is hoping through                                                               
the transition  from Project Search  to get at least  a half-time                                                               
job and continue  his work routine.   She said he will  be out of                                                               
the school district  this May and he is  very "routine oriented."                                                               
She hoped  the transitional services  will provide  assistance so                                                               
his routine  from working at  school to working in  the community                                                               
can  continue instead  of  him  watching television.    If he  is                                                               
watching  television,  he  will  know  the  television  schedule.                                                               
Under the  program, he  is gainfully  employed in  the community,                                                               
learns how to take the bus and  get to his job, what the employer                                                               
expects, and  would earn appropriate  wages.  In  conclusion, she                                                               
said, she supports the employment first bill.                                                                                   
4:38:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MILLIE RYAN,  Executive Director, REACH, Inc.,  stated that REACH                                                               
serves  about 400  individuals, primarily  with intellectual  and                                                               
developmental  disabilities in  northern Southeast  Alaska.   One                                                               
service  REACH  provides  is  employment,  and  it  is  currently                                                               
implementing employment-first  policies across  the agency.   For                                                               
example,  when people  are developing  their  service plans,  the                                                               
first thing REACH asks about  is employment.  REACH has collected                                                               
baseline information on the percent  of youth and adults who have                                                               
employment  goals in  their service  plans.   She indicated  that                                                               
REACH's board of directors will  be setting targets over the next                                                               
five years.   She stated that  providers can do a  lot to support                                                               
people and  help them get  employment but the state  must provide                                                               
strong policies that promote employment  as the preferred outcome                                                               
for individuals with developmental  disabilities.  She emphasized                                                               
that HB  211 will really make  that happen.  She  thanked members                                                               
for the opportunity to support of HB 211.                                                                                       
4:40:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  OLSON,  after first  determining  no  one else  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 211.                                                                                     
4:40:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT remarked that  she was appointed last year                                                               
to  serve on  the Governor's  Council on  Disabilities &  Special                                                               
Education (GCDSE).   She said it  has been an honor  to work with                                                               
the GCDSE, including  those present today.  She  said the GCDSE's                                                               
priority  legislation  is HB  211  and  HB  212.   She  said  the                                                               
legislature   is  working   on   healthy   communities  and   the                                                               
legislature's priorities  are to  make sure that  businesses grow                                                               
and help  individuals become  independent.  She  said that  a job                                                               
does wonders for  people, in terms of  depression, suicide, self-                                                               
worth, caring  for self,  developing a  social life,  and meeting                                                               
people, and  being an active  part of the community  is something                                                               
everyone in Alaska  deserves.  This bill would  help us recognize                                                               
individuals for their  special qualities.  She said,  "The sky is                                                               
the limit.   As they grow and learn skills,  the limitations they                                                               
overcome are phenomenal."   She has observed  Ric Nelson graduate                                                               
from  college.    She  is  thrilled he  is  working  towards  his                                                               
Master's Degree.   She said he is an inspirational  person and it                                                               
is meaningful  to speak with  him to learn  about his life.   She                                                               
said that  Teresa Holt has  been an excellent  executive director                                                               
for the  council.  She  said she  has probably learned  more from                                                               
serving on this council from the  human perspective and it was an                                                               
honor  to  carry  the  bill.    The  bill  is  truly  a  work  in                                                               
collaboration with a  lot of people who care.   She characterized                                                               
the council as being a dedicated group.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  moved to report  HB 211, as  amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
4:44:26 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no objection,  the CSHB  211(L&C) was  reported from                                                               
the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB213 ver A.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 213
HB213 Sponsor Statement.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 213
HB213 Sectional Analysis.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 213
HB213 Fiscal Note-DCCED-ABC-02-06-14.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 213
HB276 ver U.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 276
HB276 Sponsor Statement.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 276
HB276 Fiscal Note-DOLWD-WHA-02-07-14.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 276
HB276 Supporting Document-Letter DOLWD to Auto Dealers 12-6-2013Correspondence between Auto Dealers and DOL.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 276
HB276 Supporting Documents-Letter AK Auto Dealers Assoc 01-23-2014.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 276
HB211 ver A.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB211 Sponsor Statement.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB211 Sectional Analysis.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB211 Fiscal Note-DHSS-CDDG-02-05-14.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB211 Fiscal Note-DOA-DOP-02-07-14.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB211 Fiscal Note-DOLWD-CS-02-07-14.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB211 Fiscal Note-EED-SSA-2-7-14.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB211 Supporting Document-BMC Psychiatry Report.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB211 Supporting Document-Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education Summary of HB 211.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB211 Supporting Document-NACDD Report.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB211 Supporting Document-State Employment Leadership Network Report.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211
HB213 Supporting Documents-Letter O'Malley's on the Green 2-7-2014.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 213
HB213 Supporting Documents-Letter FEDCO 02-7-2014.pdf HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 213
HB211 Supporting Documents-Letter FOCUS, Inc 02-6-2014.PDF HL&C 2/10/2014 3:15:00 PM
HB 211