Legislature(2011 - 2012)SENATE FINANCE 532

01/30/2012 09:00 AM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 9 RAISE COMP. SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AGE/TRUANCY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 137 SUICIDE AWARENESS & PREVENTION TRAINING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SCR 2 UNIFORM RULES: PRESIDING OFFICER PRO TEM TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
SENATE BILL NO. 137                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act requiring suicide awareness and prevention                                                                         
     training for certain school personnel."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:22:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Davis  stated that SB  137 would allow  teachers and                                                                    
school employees to obtain suicide prevention training.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Obermeyer explained  the bill,  and quoted  the Sponsor                                                                    
Statement  (copy on  file).  He stated  that  SB 137,  short                                                                    
titled  the  Jason  Flatt   Act,  required  mandatory  youth                                                                    
suicide awareness  and prevention  training approved  by the                                                                    
Commissioner, Department of  Education and Early Development                                                                    
to  each teacher,  administrator, counselor,  and specialist                                                                    
who was employed by a  school district, regional educational                                                                    
attendance  area, or  department each  year for  services to                                                                    
students in grades  7 to 12. Training  was important because                                                                    
suicide was the third leading  cause of death for ages 10-24                                                                    
and the  number one  cause of death  for Alaskans  under the                                                                    
age 50 years.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Obermeyer  stated that awareness and  education were the                                                                    
keys  to prevention,  and tying  suicide prevention  efforts                                                                    
into  teacher  training had  proved  very  helpful in  other                                                                    
states  for  reducing  teen   suicides.  Most  young  people                                                                    
contemplating suicide  showed clear  warning signs  prior to                                                                    
the attempt.  It was imperative  that educators know  how to                                                                    
recognize  signs  of  at-risk  youth and  were  prepared  to                                                                    
intervene when they identified a problem.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Obermeyer explained that recognizing  that Alaska had by                                                                    
far the highest  rate of suicide per capita  in the country,                                                                    
particularly  among teens,  young men,  and Alaska  Natives.                                                                    
The  Alaska  Mental  Health  Board  and  Advisory  Board  on                                                                    
Alcoholism  and   Drug  Abuse,   in  partnership   with  the                                                                    
Statewide   Suicide    Prevention   Council,    the   Alaska                                                                    
Association  of  Student   Governments,  the  University  of                                                                    
Alaska,  and the  Jason  Foundation  had established  goals,                                                                    
training programs,  and resources for teachers,  coaches and                                                                    
staff in suicide prevention.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Obermeyer  noted that the  bill would create  the needed                                                                    
hope,   promise,  and   optimism   to   build  healthy   and                                                                    
appropriate  relationships   and  behaviors.   By  requiring                                                                    
suicide prevention training for  educators and school staff,                                                                    
the state of Alaska can ensure  the youth at risk of suicide                                                                    
were more likely to be identified and receive help.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Obermeyer noted  the fiscal  note, and  felt that  some                                                                    
member  fees  could  be eliminated  through  donations  from                                                                    
foundations.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:28:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  noted the  fiscal  impact  note from  the                                                                    
Department of Education and  Early Development. He requested                                                                    
a look  at whether  the fiscal note  could be  adjusted, per                                                                    
Mr. Obermeyer's observation.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Davis remarked  that there  was some  money in  the                                                                    
governor's proposed  budget that could possibly  be used for                                                                    
the program.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMES  BIELA, AMERICAN  FOUNDATION  FOR SUICIDE  PREVENTION,                                                                    
BETHEL  (via teleconference),  testified  in  support of  SB
137.  He stressed  that teachers  and school  employees were                                                                    
the main contact for most students in Alaska.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:33:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAROL  WATERS, ALASKA  ASSOCIATION  OF STUDENT  GOVERNMENTS,                                                                    
ANCHORAGE (via teleconference), spoke  in support of SB 137.                                                                    
She  felt that  suicide prevention  should be  a focus  when                                                                    
training  educators  and  school employees.  She  shared  an                                                                    
anecdote  regarding an  associate  who  had numerous  family                                                                    
members,  friends,  and   acquaintances  who  had  committed                                                                    
suicide.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SONNIE  ANDERSON,   KLAWOK  SCHOOLS   (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified in support  of SB 137. She  explained a resolution                                                                    
that  had passed  among the  Alaska  Association of  Student                                                                    
Governments.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:37:54 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:38:31 AM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Anderson continued  with her  testimony. She  furthered                                                                    
with her explanation of the resolution.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:40:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CLARK  FLATT, PRESIDENT  AND CEO  OF  THE JASON  FOUNDATION,                                                                    
NASHVILLE,  TENNESSEE  (via  teleconference),  testified  in                                                                    
support of  SB 137. He  noted that  a similar bill  had been                                                                    
passed in six other states.  He pointed out that five states                                                                    
had passed the bill without  a fiscal note. He stressed that                                                                    
educators  could reduce  the number  of suicides.  Education                                                                    
was a key to the foundation of preventing suicide.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SHARIN   STRUTZNORTON,    AMERICAN   SOCIETY    OF   SUICIDE                                                                    
PREVENTION,   HOMER  (via   teleconference),  testified   in                                                                    
support of  SB 137.  She stated  that she  had a  history of                                                                    
suicide in her family.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:46:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DONNA  BARTMAN, ALASKA  ASSOCIATION OF  STUDENT GOVERNMENTS,                                                                    
MANOKOTAK (via teleconference), spoke  in support of SB 137.                                                                    
She  referred  to  the resolution  for  the  Association  of                                                                    
Student Governments,  and stressed  that it had  passed with                                                                    
unanimous consent.  She felt that  the bill should  focus on                                                                    
ages  younger than  seventh grade.  She  stressed that  some                                                                    
elders in her Yupik culture  were lacking in leadership, and                                                                    
even taking their own lives.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:50:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANN  SCHAACK, NORTH  STAR,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified in support of SB 137.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MADISON MANNING, ALASKA  ASSOCIATION OF STUDENT GOVERNMENTS,                                                                    
PORT  HEIDEN (via  teleconference), spoke  in support  of SB
137.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BYRON  CHARLES,   TRIBAL  MEMBER   OF  TLINGIT   AND  HAIDA,                                                                    
KETCHIKAN (via  teleconference), testified in support  of SB
137. He  explained that the tourism  industry provided jobs,                                                                    
and that jobs were the key to preventing suicide.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
KATE   BURKHART,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  STATEWIDE   SUICIDE                                                                    
PREVENTION  COUNCIL, testified  in  support of  SB 137.  She                                                                    
noted a letter of formal  support from the Suicide Awareness                                                                    
and Prevention Training (copy on file).                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:58:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LES MORSE, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND                                                                    
EARLY  DEVELOPMENT, explained  the fiscal  note and  cost of                                                                    
the implementing the  bill. He pointed out  that the funding                                                                    
behind the  fiscal note  would be  the e-learning  model and                                                                    
expertise. He stated  that the fees would  contribute to the                                                                    
e-learning  module. He  explained that  there were  some no-                                                                    
cost modules  available from the Jason  Foundation. He noted                                                                    
that  there would  be  some updates  required  from year  to                                                                    
year.  He stressed  that Department  of Education  and Early                                                                    
Development modules could track usage and effectiveness.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman felt that the  bill sponsor should focus on                                                                    
the issues that Mr. Morse addressed.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson wondered  if  there were  plans  to focus  on                                                                    
school  districts with  higher rates  of suicide.  Mr. Morse                                                                    
replied  that  the  fiscal  note   from  the  Department  of                                                                    
Education  and Early  Development  would  provide money  for                                                                    
training for everyone, however there  was money available in                                                                    
the Governor's  budget from the Suicide  Prevention Council.                                                                    
The funds  needed to  be examined  to determine  exactly how                                                                    
and where  they would be distributed,  without excluding any                                                                    
school district.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Egan wondered if it  was up to the individual school                                                                    
boards  to  make  the  training   mandatory  in  the  school                                                                    
districts.  Mr. Morse  replied that  the districts  would be                                                                    
required  to  implement the  training  based  on a  list  of                                                                    
trainings that would be approved  by the Commissioner of the                                                                    
Department of Education and Early Development.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
In response  to a  question from  Senator Thomas,  Mr. Morse                                                                    
stated  that  there  would  be  money  from  the  governor's                                                                    
proposed budget  that could be  used for  suicide prevention                                                                    
training.  He  pointed  out   that  students  had  expressed                                                                    
concern and  interest in piloting a  program called Cognito,                                                                    
which was a suicide prevention tool.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:05:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KATYA  WASSILLIE,  INTERN,  SENATOR BETTYE  DAVIS,  stressed                                                                    
that the  bill would  particularly impact rural  Alaska. She                                                                    
shared personal experiences with suicide.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  felt  that  suicides  were  often  committed                                                                    
because an  older person commits suicide,  so younger people                                                                    
were copying  the older people.  Ms. Wassillie felt  that if                                                                    
there was more awareness at  the school level, the indicator                                                                    
awareness could spread out throughout the community.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bettye Davis thanked the committee.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SB  137  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 9 Docs - US Dept Labor. . Compulsory School.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
SB 9 Docs - NCSL - Compulsory Education.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
SB 9 -Docs - NEA-AK Ltr of Support 2-18-2011.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
SB 9 Docs - EED Graduation-Dropout Fact Sheets.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
SB 9 Docs - ECS Compulsory School Age Requirements.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
SB 9 Docs - NEA's 12-Point Action Plan.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
SB 9 Docs -National HS Ctr - HS Dropout Stats.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
SB 9 Docs-BostonGlobe-Law Urged Teens Stay in School.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
SB 9 Docs-Maryland FINALCOMPULSORYATTENDANCETASKFORCEREPORT.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
SB 9 Sectional Summary.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
SB 9 Sponsor Statement Rev. 1-31-2011 (2).pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9
Jason Flatt Act bullet points 9-28-2011.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 137
Ltr of support - Suicide Prevention Council.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 137
SB 137 2012-17 Alaska Suicide Prevention Plan.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 137
SB 137 - Documents - Facts & Information.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 137
SB 137 Sectional Summary 27-LS0094M 1-24-2012.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 137
SB 137 Sponsor Statement Rev. 1-23-2012.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 137
CSSCR 2(STA) Sectional Summary 3-21-2011.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SCR 2
SCR 2 Docs- NCSL Legislative Organization.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SCR 2
SCR 2 Sponsor Statement Rev. 3-20-2011.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SCR 2
SCR 2 Docs-NCSL Examples.Duties. Feb.2011.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SCR 2
SB 9 Sectional rev 1-31-2012.pdf SFIN 1/30/2012 9:00:00 AM
SB 9