Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/11/2001 02:51 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATOR WARD  moved to adopt CSSB  116(HES) as the working  document                                                            
of the committee (Version  J).  There being no objection, the motion                                                            
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN asked Mr. Jim Nordlund to come forward.                                                                        
MR. JIM  NORDLUND, Director  of the Division  of Public Assistance,                                                             
DHSS, explained  that the only difference between  Version J and the                                                            
previous  version  adopted  by  the committee  is  the  addition  of                                                            
language on  page 1, line 11, that  reads, "unless the second  needy                                                            
parent  is determined  under  regulations  of the  department to  be                                                            
physically  or mentally  unable to  perform gainful  activity."   He                                                            
explained that  language is the status quo of the  way both the AFDC                                                            
and ARAP  programs operated.   If one parent  is incapacitated  in a                                                            
two-parent  family, the benefit will  not be cut in half  during the                                                            
summer months.                                                                                                                  
Number 2183                                                                                                                     
SENATOR LEMAN asked what  standard is used by the Division of Public                                                            
Assistance to  determine physical or mental disability  for purposes                                                            
of work.                                                                                                                        
MR. NORDLUND  replied  that definition  is in regulation  and  is in                                                            
committee members' packets.                                                                                                     
CHAIRWOMAN  GREEN noted it is in 7  AAC 45.235.  She asked  if, when                                                            
the legislature passed  its welfare reform legislation several years                                                            
ago,  it  was  ahead  of Congress  and,  by  the  time  the  federal                                                            
government  implemented  its  law, Alaska's  law  was  a little  bit                                                            
askew.  Although DHSS has  used the standard in the federal law, the                                                            
court  has said  the  statute must  be  corrected so  this  language                                                            
confirms what DHSS has been doing.                                                                                              
MR. NORDLUND  said that  is correct.   He pointed  out the  critical                                                            
issue in  the court case  was removing the  language that refers  to                                                            
the unemployment  of the  family's principal  wage earner.   That is                                                            
the last remnant  of the old AFDC  law.  When that "bath  water" was                                                            
thrown out, the "baby"  went with it, the "baby" being a category of                                                            
folks that had always been exempted.                                                                                            
CHAIRWOMAN GREEN  said she has worked closely with  DHSS to get this                                                            
legislation  to the point  where DHSS  can live  with it until  next                                                            
year, when this subject will be revisited.                                                                                      
There being no further  discussion, SENATOR WARD moved CSSB 116(HES)                                                            
from committee  with  individual recommendations.    There being  no                                                            
objection, the motion carried.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects