Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532
04/03/2018 09:00 AM FINANCE
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CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 275(FIN) "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Massage Therapists; relating to license renewal and criminal history record checks for massage therapists; and providing for an effective date." 10:24:11 AM REPRESENTATIVE SAM KITO, SPONSOR, discussed CSSB 275(FIN). He stated that the bill would extend the Board of Massage Therapists. He shared that the bill was only recently established. Some of the audit recommendations were being addressed in another piece of legislation. He remarked that there was some overlap between an amendment in the bill, and HB 110, which may need to be resolved. He stated that the bill included a reduction in the frequency of background checks. He remarked that the initial legislation required the background check at every renewal cycle. The current version changed the background check to occur every third renewal cycle to decrease the administrative burden and cost. CRYSTAL KOENEMAN, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE SAM KITO, noted that Legislative Audit recommended a four-extension to 2022. The other body recommended a six-year extension based on potential savings to Legislative Audit, and steps that the board was taking to address the audit recommendations. The board was created in 2015, and the licensing fees were based on an estimate of 600 massage therapists. She announced that the number had grown significantly. She shared that there were 1186 new licenses at the time of the audit. She remarked that there were over 1400 active licenses in the last licensing cycle. She stated that the division had taken steps to adjust the licensing fees accordingly. She announced that there were three audit recommendations. She reiterated that there was another piece of legislation, because some of those recommendations were better addressed through statutory changes. 10:27:18 AM KRIS CURTIS, LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR, ALASKA DIVISION OF LEGISLATIVE AUDIT, discussed the document "A Sunset Review of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Board of Massage Therapists (board)," (copy on file). She remarked that it was a new board, and this was its first sunset review. The audit found that the board was serving the public's interest in all areas except licensing. She stated that the audit found that applicants were not consistently issued licenses in according with statutes, regulations, or their procedures. Additionally, there was an FBI audit that found improvements were needed to comply with federal standards over criminal history record information obtained as part of the licensing process. The audit recommended that the legislature extend the board for only four years. She highlighted the features of the audit. 10:33:13 AM Senator von Imhof asked about the significance of the phrase, "additional supervisory resources are needed." Ms. Curtis surmised that the department's comments may mean that they need additional financial resources. She deferred to Ms. Chambers. SARA CHAMBERS, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF CORPORATIONS, BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSING, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, stated that the program was anticipated to have 600 licensees, while here was currently 1,400. She remarked that some of the unusual requirements caused some stress. She remarked that additional staff was needed for the board. Senator von Imhof wondered whether there should be an administrative fee taken from some of the board surpluses to help with some of the supervisory positions. Ms. Chambers stated that the department had found the procedural errors that the additional oversight (to make sure procedures were followed) was necessary and extended to board training. 10:38:07 AM Senator Micciche wanted to learn what management of boards and commissions cost comprehensively. He believed there were many costs that were unaccounted for. He acknowledged that some boards were much more labor intensive than others. Ms. Chambers was happy to share the information with the committee. She stated that the department had documentation of indirect expenses. Ms. Curtis stated that page 14 standard. Co-Chair MacKinnon OPENED public testimony. DAVID EDWARDS-SMITH, CHAIR, BOARD OF MASSAGE THERAPISTS, KENAI (via teleconference), spoke in support of the bill. Co-Chair MacKinnon asked how the board was complying with the federal findings. Mr. Edwards-Smith asked if Co-Chair MacKinnon was referring to the findings pertaining to fingerprint chain of custody. Co-Chair MacKinnon agreed. Mr. Edwards-Smith affirmed that the application had been changed to inform applicants of the use of fingerprints. 10:43:26 AM Co-Chair MacKinnon asked if Mr. Edwards-Smith had adopted a policy to motivate the department to adopt a policy. Mr. Edwards-Smith stated that the board considered the subject to be a division issue. Co-Chair MacKinnon wondered whether the department had addressed the FBI audit findings for the particular licensure. Ms. Chambers stated that there were 3 areas that the FBI identified. She announced that there were channels of communication which allowed for hacking into the system to get access to certain documentation. She shared that there was a new secure piece of technology that met the FBI requirements. She stated that the application concern was corrected prior to the conclusion of the audit. The inadequate chain of custody was currently being addressed by working with other agencies and departments to see if there were opportunities to share resources to secure a fingerprint card to meet the federal recommendations. She remarked that there was no statutory provision to maintain chain of custody. She remarked that a statute change may be needed to alter the mandate to process fingerprint cards. 10:46:48 AM Co-Chair MacKinnon felt that it was unacceptable. She remarked that the department had been given a year to address the concerns. She felt that it was the administration's responsibility to comply with existing law. She wanted to meet with Ms. Chambers at a later time. Ms. Chambers was happy to meet with Co-Chair MacKinnon and other parties to address the concerns. Co-Chair MacKinnon wondered if there was further information about why the administration did not comply with the chain of custody issue, other than the assertion of a change in statute. Ms. Chambers replied that the data was secure. She stressed that the question was about whether the fingerprints were actually the applicant. Vice-Chair Bishop asserted that there were a myriad of fingerprinting protocols in different state agencies. 10:50:04 AM VOLKER HRUBY, AMERICAN MASSAGE THERAPY ASSOCIATION ALASKA CHAPTER, ANCHORAGE (via teleconference), testified in support of the bill. He noted that a recent audit had identified suggestions. The reasons for establishing the board were the same reasons he believed the board should be extended. He thought while the division did a good job providing support for the board, it was not qualified to perform the functions of the board. He referenced comments by Ms. Chambers. Mr. Hruby continued his testimony, and considered that the board had done a good job implementing statute. He urged committee members to move the bill from committee. JILL MOTZ, SELF, MATSU (via teleconference), testified in support of the bill. She understood that the fingerprint issue was an issue. The board had gathered from the FBI report that it was necessary to gather more information. Co-Chair MacKinnon reminded that the committee's responsibility to ensure that there was compliance with state statutes and federal requirements. She did not consider the bill to be stalled in committee. Vice-Chair Bishop thought that the committee was attempting to protect the integrity of the therapists with their fingerprints. Co-Chair MacKinnon CLOSED public testimony. 10:55:41 AM Vice-Chair Bishop addressed the fiscal note. Co-Chair MacKinnon pointed out that the board cost more than what was reflected on the fiscal note Co-Chair MacKinnon announced the due date for the amendments. Co-Chair MacKinnon announced visitors to the committee in the audience. HB 275 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further consideration.