Legislature(2001 - 2002)

02/19/2001 01:45 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                     February 19, 2001                                                                                          
                         1:45 P.M.                                                                                              
TAPE HFC 01 - 31, Side A                                                                                                        
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Williams called the House  Finance Committee meeting                                                                   
to order at 1:45 P.M.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Eldon Mulder, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Con Bunde, Vice-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative John Davies                                                                                                      
Representative Bill Hudson                                                                                                      
Representative Ken Lancaster                                                                                                    
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Heather   Brakes,  Staff,   Senator   Gene  Therriault;   Pat                                                                   
Davidson,  Legislative Auditor,  Legislative Audit  Division;                                                                   
Catherine   Reardon,  Director,   Division  of   Occupational                                                                   
Licensing, Department of Community & Economic Development.                                                                      
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Karen   Grafton,   Alaska   Physical   Therapy   Association,                                                                   
SB 9      An Act extending the termination date of the State                                                                    
          Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers,                                                                      
          and Land Surveyors.                                                                                                   
          CSSB 9 (L&C) was reported out of Committee with a                                                                     
          "do pass" recommendation and with a new House                                                                         
          Finance Committee fiscal note and a House Finance                                                                     
          Committee Letter of Intent.                                                                                           
SB 52     An Act extending the termination date of the State                                                                    
          Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board.                                                                      
          CSSB 52(FIN) was reported out of Committee with a                                                                     
          "do pass" recommendation and with a new fiscal                                                                        
          note by the House Finance Committee.                                                                                  
SENATE BILL NO. 9                                                                                                             
     An Act extending the termination date of the State                                                                         
     Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers, and                                                                       
     Land Surveyors.                                                                                                            
Co-Chair Williams explained that  the bill had been held over                                                                   
due  to  requests  from  some design  council  members.    He                                                                   
indicated the issues:                                                                                                           
     · The audit recommended that the Legislature amend the                                                                     
        statute to require individuals licensed  by the Board                                                                   
        to obtain continuing  education.  The  design council                                                                   
        and  the  Board  support  the   continuing  education                                                                   
        requirements,  however,   they   want   them  to   be                                                                   
        voluntary, not mandated.                                                                                                
     · The audit also recommended that the statute be                                                                           
        changed so that it would be consistent with the                                                                         
        regulation to eliminate possible legal challenges.                                                                      
        He noted that item caused the controversy.                                                                              
Co-Chair  Williams  stated that  the  problem  is that  there                                                                   
currently  are  fifteen people  who  cannot get  licensed  in                                                                   
Alaska.  Some  members of the community have  been requesting                                                                   
that  the  Board evaluate  their  years  of experience  as  a                                                                   
substitute for  the additional year of  educational training.                                                                   
The  Board  was   unwilling  to  do  that  and   changed  the                                                                   
regulations to  strengthen the requirement that  only a five-                                                                   
year  degree would  be  accepted.   When  the regulation  was                                                                   
changed,  the   Department  of  Law  and   Legislative  Audit                                                                   
Division felt  that the statute should mirror  the regulation                                                                   
in order to minimize the possibility of a legal challenge.                                                                      
Co-Chair Williams noted that the Board had promised:                                                                            
     · To look into the continued education requirement,                                                                        
     · To look for a solution for those people that are                                                                         
        currently unable to get licensure.                                                                                      
Co-Chair Williams recommended  amending the bill and changing                                                                   
the sunset  from 2005  to 2002  or 2003.   He indicated  that                                                                   
should give  the Board time to  look at these two  issues and                                                                   
then make a resolution  by the time their new  sunset date is                                                                   
He advised that  a complication could exist  with any attempt                                                                   
to add a "fix" to the bill because  the title is crafted very                                                                   
"tightly".  There  is no room to place any  other issues into                                                                   
the bill without  a title change resolution.    He added that                                                                   
Legislative  Audit suggests  that  another  audit would  take                                                                   
extra time.   Co-Chair Williams wanted the bill  to move with                                                                   
an accompanying "Letter of Intent".                                                                                             
HEATHER BRAKES, STAFF, SENATOR  GENE THERRIAULT, commented in                                                                   
response to  the ideas  proposed by  Co-Chair Williams.   She                                                                   
stated that either  shortening the sunset date  or adopting a                                                                   
Letter of Intent would be acceptable.                                                                                           
Representative  Davies inquired about  the lawsuits  that had                                                                   
been filed  against the licensure  requirement.  He  asked if                                                                   
the present  statute  places the  State in  a position  to be                                                                   
involved in future lawsuits.                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Williams  replied that  the State  would be  at risk                                                                   
for future lawsuits if the regulations  continue to read that                                                                   
five-years are  required.  The Board is  currently addressing                                                                   
that concern.   He added that  there could be  lawsuits posed                                                                   
from  the  fifteen   people  who  have  not   received  their                                                                   
licensure.  The Board is working  on a stipulation that would                                                                   
allow those people  to count their past work  experience as a                                                                   
schooling credit.                                                                                                               
PAT   DAVIDSON,  LEGISLATIVE   AUDITOR,   LEGISLATIVE   AUDIT                                                                   
DIVISION, understood that current  statute requires a certain                                                                   
certification for  the national  entity to make  an education                                                                   
difference.    There was  a  lawsuit;  the Court  upheld  the                                                                   
Board's  decision,  which  established   precedence.      Ms.                                                                   
Davidson  knew of  only  one lawsuit,  however,  acknowledged                                                                   
that the potential for further lawsuits was out there.                                                                          
Representative  Davies asked if  that lawsuit would  test the                                                                   
fundamental issue  of the statute requirement.   Ms. Davidson                                                                   
stated she  did not  know.  Currently,  the Court  has upheld                                                                   
what the Board was attempting to do in that situation.                                                                          
Representative Lancaster  asked if it the bill  left open the                                                                   
question of continuing education.                                                                                               
Ms. Davidson  stated that the  bill, as it currently  exists,                                                                   
would only extend the date.  Therefore,  the Board would make                                                                   
the   determination   of  whether   continuing   professional                                                                   
education should  be a statutory  responsibility.   She noted                                                                   
that  would not  preclude the  board  from coming  back in  a                                                                   
couple years  to address the  idea through legislation.   She                                                                   
reiterated  that as the  bill currently  exists, there  is no                                                                   
statutory mandate for instituting continuing education.                                                                         
Vice-Chair Bunde  stated that if  the bill was passed  in its                                                                   
current form, then a Letter of  Intent should accompany it so                                                                   
as to  encourage the  Board that  in two  years, they  report                                                                   
back regarding their progress  in addressing the problem.  He                                                                   
asked if that was a fair assessment.                                                                                            
Ms. Davidson  agreed  it was a  fair assessment.   She  added                                                                   
that shortening the date would  add work.  A Letter of Intent                                                                   
would   specifically   ask   the    Board   to   define   the                                                                   
recommendations  before bringing  it  before the  Committee's                                                                   
attention.   She commented that  the audit process  would not                                                                   
be  precluded;  however  instead,   there  would  not  be  an                                                                   
automatic "trigger".                                                                                                            
Vice-Chair  Bunde  MOVED  to  report  CSSB  9  (L&C)  out  of                                                                   
Committee  with   individual  recommendations  and   with  an                                                                   
accompanying  Letter of  Intent  with the  fiscal  note.   He                                                                   
recommended working with Ms. Davidson to draft that letter.                                                                     
Representative  Croft voiced  a conflict  of interest  noting                                                                   
that his wife is an architect.   He commented that it was the                                                                   
genuine  intention  for  that   Board  to  determine  what  a                                                                   
credible level of  experience would be for that  service.  He                                                                   
asked what the Letter of Intent should stipulate.                                                                               
Co-Chair Williams  noted that there were  two recommendations                                                                   
made by  the Board and that  the Board agreed to  address the                                                                   
continuing education  issue and at the same  time agreed that                                                                   
they would commit to the requirement  concern.  He understood                                                                   
that the education issue would be more difficult.                                                                               
Representative Whitaker  asked clarification about  the issue                                                                   
of continuing  education and/or  the five-year  certification                                                                   
concern.   He  asked  if the  Board,  through  the Letter  of                                                                   
Intent, planned to  make a determination in how  to deal with                                                                   
these concerns by 2005.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair Williams explained that  the Board would address the                                                                   
continuing education concerns,  and that they would need more                                                                   
time to settle the education issue.                                                                                             
Representative  Whitaker  pointed  out that  the  legislation                                                                   
would be giving the Board four  and a half years to deal with                                                                   
the issue.                                                                                                                      
Co-Chair  Williams  proposed  that  a  Letter  of  Intent  be                                                                   
drafted which  would provide  for a  one-year time  period to                                                                   
come to consensus.                                                                                                              
Vice-Chair Bunde  reminded members that currently,  there are                                                                   
fifteen people that  cannot get work because  of the wording.                                                                   
He recommended resolving the issue more quickly.                                                                                
Representative  Davies noted that  the Board has  been "slow"                                                                   
to address  this concern  over  the last several  years.   He                                                                   
questioned  what  the  Letter   of  Intent  would  stipulate.                                                                   
Representative  J.  Davies  suggested that  the  bill  needed                                                                   
something a  "little stronger" than  a Letter of Intent.   He                                                                   
added that the date should be  left at 2005, while drafting a                                                                   
strong Letter of Intent.                                                                                                        
Representative Hudson  agreed with Vice-Chair Bunde  that the                                                                   
bill  should be  passed  with a  simple  extension, adding  a                                                                   
Letter of  Intent that would direct  the Board to  present to                                                                   
the   Legislature,  no   later  than   February  15,    2001,                                                                   
recommended changes as indicated by the audit.                                                                                  
Co-Chair Williams  stated that the  title was too  "tight" to                                                                   
change  the bill.   He  reiterated  that a  Letter of  Intent                                                                   
could  address the  needed changes.   He asked  how long  the                                                                   
statute had been in place.                                                                                                      
Ms. Davidson did not know, adding  that she did not know when                                                                   
the lawsuit had been filed.                                                                                                     
Co-Chair Williams  reiterated his intent to have  a Letter of                                                                   
Intent drafted.                                                                                                                 
CATHERINE   REARDON,  DIRECTOR,   DIVISION  OF   OCCUPATIONAL                                                                   
LICENSING, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY  AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,                                                                   
questioned if  it was intended that  the Board find  a way to                                                                   
license  people who  have less  than  a 5-year  degree.   She                                                                   
asked specifics  on how  to explain the  Letter of  Intent to                                                                   
the members of the Board.                                                                                                       
Co-Chair Williams  commented that the Legislature  should not                                                                   
tell the  Board how  to do accomplish  the intent  but rather                                                                   
have them  come up with a  solution for those  fifteen people                                                                   
in waiting.   From  that time  forward, all candidates  would                                                                   
need to have the five-year education degree.                                                                                    
Ms.  Reardon  advised  that  the  licensing  Board  would  be                                                                   
meeting Friday with a suggested regulation change.                                                                              
Representative  Lancaster   asked  if  the  Board   would  be                                                                   
requiring some kind of continuing education.                                                                                    
Ms. Reardon  explained that would  be a separate topic.   She                                                                   
commented  that  she was  not  aware  if  the Board  had  the                                                                   
authority to mandate  education by regulation.   She proposed                                                                   
that the Board could "flush out"  what a continuing education                                                                   
regime might  look like.  She  believed that it would  take a                                                                   
statute change to impose the requirement.                                                                                       
In  response   to  Representative   Lancaster,  Ms.   Reardon                                                                   
clarified  that  the  five-year   education  degree  and  the                                                                   
continuing  education  topic  were entirely  separate.    She                                                                   
emphasized that the Board does not see them related at all.                                                                     
Representative  Hudson MOVED to  report CSSB  9 (L&C)  out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
attached  House Finance  Committee Letter  of Intent  and the                                                                   
new fiscal note.   He noted that the Letter  of Intent should                                                                   
be crafted with  assistance from Ms. Davidson  to reflect the                                                                   
recommended  changes  as  indicated  in  the  audit.    Those                                                                   
changes should be presented to  the Legislature no later than                                                                   
Feb 15, 2002.                                                                                                                   
Representative Davies OBJECTED for a question.                                                                                  
Representative Davies  asked specifically what  the audit had                                                                   
requested.    Representative  Hudson read  the  findings  and                                                                   
recommendation of the audit.                                                                                                    
     · The Legislature should consider revising statutes                                                                        
        requiring continuing education for architects,                                                                          
        engineers, and land surveyors.                                                                                          
     · The Legislature should consider revising the                                                                             
        structure of the State Board of Registration for                                                                        
        Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors.                                                                               
     · In order to improve statutory clarity, the                                                                               
        Legislature should consider amending the Board's                                                                        
        statutes related to licensure of architects by                                                                          
Representative  Davies  commented  that  he  would  prefer  a                                                                   
Letter  of Intent rather  than just  offering suggestions  to                                                                   
the Board in  relationship to the audit concerns.   He stated                                                                   
that  if that  were the  understanding, he  would remove  his                                                                   
Vice-Chair Bunde maintained that  the third issue was the one                                                                   
of greatest  concern.   He believed  that the other  concerns                                                                   
could be worked out through the Board.                                                                                          
Ms. Davidson  noted that  the report  recommends a  statutory                                                                   
amendment that  would make the  statute line up  with current                                                                   
Board  policy.    She advised  that  there  is  no  statutory                                                                   
authority to require continuing education.                                                                                      
There being NO  further OBJECTION, the bill  was reported out                                                                   
of Committee.                                                                                                                   
CSSB 9 (L&C) was  reported out of Committee with  a "do pass"                                                                   
recommendation and with a new  House Finance Committee fiscal                                                                   
note and a House Finance Committee Letter of Intent.                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 52                                                                                                            
     An Act extending the termination date of the State                                                                         
     Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board.                                                                           
HEATHER BRAKES,  STAFF, SENATOR  GENE THERRIAULT  stated that                                                                   
under   AS  08.84.010,   the  State   Physical  Therapy   and                                                                   
Occupational  Therapy  Board  regulates  the  professions  of                                                                   
physical    therapists,    physical    therapy    assistants,                                                                   
occupational therapists  and occupational therapy  assistants                                                                   
and  the practice  of physical  therapy and  the practice  of                                                                   
occupational therapy  by ensuring that the  requirements laid                                                                   
out for licensure are met and adhered to.                                                                                       
Ms. Brakes  noted that  the Board  consists of seven  members                                                                   
appointed  by  the  Governor  having  the  qualifications  as                                                                   
established in AS 08.84.010.   Board membership is prescribed                                                                   
by   statute  as   having  one   physician,  three   physical                                                                   
therapists or two physical therapists  and a physical therapy                                                                   
assistant,  two occupational  therapists  or an  occupational                                                                   
therapist  and occupational  therapists,  assistant, and  one                                                                   
lay person  with no direct  financial interest in  the health                                                                   
care industry.                                                                                                                  
The State Physical Therapy and  Occupational Therapy Board is                                                                   
set to expire June 30, 2001, under  AS 08.03.010©(1).  If the                                                                   
Legislature does not  act to extend the Board,  it would have                                                                   
one year, until June 30,  2002,  to administratively conclude                                                                   
its  affairs.   Senate Bill  52  would extend  the Board  for                                                                   
another six years to June 30, 2007.                                                                                             
KARIN   GRAFTON,  (TESTIFIED   VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   ALASKA                                                                   
PHYSICAL THERAPY  BOARD, ANCHORAGE,  testified in  support of                                                                   
the legislation.  She offered  to answer any questions of the                                                                   
Representative  Hudson MOVED to  report CSSB 52  (FIN)am (C.a                                                                   
version)  out of  Committee with  individual  recommendations                                                                   
and with  the accompanying new  fiscal note.  There  being NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
CSSB 52(FIN)  am was  reported  out of Committee  with  a "do                                                                   
pass" recommendation and with  a new fiscal note by the House                                                                   
Finance Committee.                                                                                                              
The meeting was adjourned at 2:27 P.M.                                                                                          

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