Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/15/2006 01:30 PM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Moved CSHB 446(JUD) Out of Committee
Scheduled But Not Heard
<Pending Referral><Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       March 15, 2006                                                                                           
                         1:44 P.M.                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 1:44:19 PM.                                                                                                          
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Jim Holm                                                                                                         
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                                  
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Michael   Pawlowski,  Staff,   Representative  Kevin   Meyer;                                                                   
Jacqueline  Tupou,  Staff,  Representative  Bruce  Weyhrauch;                                                                   
Diane   Casto,    Manager,   Prevention/Early    Intervention                                                                   
Services,  Division  of  Behavioral   Health,  Department  of                                                                   
Health  &  Social  Services;   Ric  Iannolino,  Juneau  Fetal                                                                   
Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) Diagnostic Clinic, Juneau;                                                                     
Laura Rorem,  Juneau Fetal  Alcohol Syndrome Disorder  (FASD)                                                                   
Team, Juneau;  Larry Rorem,  Pastor, Sheppard  of the  Valley                                                                   
Lutheran  Church,  Juneau  Fetal  Alcohol  Syndrome  Disorder                                                                   
(FASD)  Team, Juneau;  Craig Johnson,  Staff,  Representative                                                                   
Lesil  McGuire;  Mark Morris,  Professional  Engineer,  State                                                                   
Board  of Registration  for  Architects,  Engineers and  Land                                                                   
Surveyors  (AELS),  Juneau; Patricia  Senner,  Alaska  Nurses                                                                   
Association, Anchorage                                                                                                          
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Cheryl  Scott,  Parent,  Stone Soup  Group,  Anchorage;  Bill                                                                   
Taylor,   Anchorage,   Homebuilder's    Association,   Taylor                                                                   
Enterprises,  Anchorage;   Ed  Sniffen,  Assistant   Attorney                                                                   
General,   Fair   Business  Section,   Department   of   Law,                                                                   
Anchorage;  Paul  Michaelson,   National  Committee  of  Home                                                                   
Builders,  Builder,   Anchorage;  Sueshanna   Fiona  Stewart-                                                                   
Campbell,  FASD  Adult,  Fairbanks;   Jeanne  Gerharbt-Cyruf,                                                                   
Kiana; Michael  Baldwin, Mental Health Therapist,  Anchorage;                                                                   
Kara  Nyquist,  Alaska  Association for  Homes  for  Children                                                                   
(AAHC),  Anchorage;   Patricia  Senner,  Chair,   Legislative                                                                   
Committee for the Alaska Nurses Association, Anchorage                                                                          
HB 312    An  Act  relating  to   pregnant  women;  requiring                                                                   
          hospitals,  schools,   and  alcohol  licensees  and                                                                   
          permit tees  to distribute information  about fetal                                                                   
          alcohol   effects  and   fetal  alcohol   syndrome;                                                                   
          relating to the consumption  of alcoholic beverages                                                                   
          by and  the sale or service of  alcoholic beverages                                                                   
          to   a   pregnant  woman;   requiring   involuntary                                                                   
          commitment  of a  pregnant woman  who has  consumed                                                                   
          alcohol;  creating a  fund for  the prevention  and                                                                   
          treatment  of  fetal  alcohol  syndrome  and  fetal                                                                   
          alcohol  effects;  relating  to  fines and  to  the                                                                   
          taking of  permanent fund dividends for  selling or                                                                   
          serving alcoholic beverages  to pregnant women; and                                                                   
          increasing  taxes on  sales of alcoholic  beverages                                                                   
          to  fund treatment and  education related  to fetal                                                                   
          alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects.                                                                           
          HB 312 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                    
HB 377    An  Act  relating  to  an  exemption  from  certain                                                                   
          registration and practice  requirements for persons                                                                   
          preparing  drawings  or specifications  related  to                                                                   
          the construction of certain buildings.                                                                                
          HB 377 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                    
HB 446    An Act  relating to the  amount of a  civil penalty                                                                   
          for an  unlawful act or practice in  the conduct of                                                                   
          trade or commerce.                                                                                                    
          CS HB 446 (JUD) was REPORTED out Committee with a                                                                     
          "no  recommendation" and  with a new  indeterminate                                                                   
          note  by  the  House   Finance  Committee  for  the                                                                   
          Department  of Law and zero  note #1 by  the Alaska                                                                   
          Court System.                                                                                                         
HB 478    An  Act relating to  the municipal harbor  facility                                                                   
          grant  program;  and  providing  for  an  effective                                                                   
          HB 478 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                   
HOUSE BILL NO. 446                                                                                                            
     An Act relating to the amount of a civil penalty for an                                                                    
     unlawful act or practice in the conduct of trade or                                                                        
1:44:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CRAIG   JOHNSON,   STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE   LESIL   MCGUIRE,                                                                   
testified   that  the  Federal   Trade  Commission   recently                                                                   
reported that  Alaska topped the  nation in fraud  complaints                                                                   
last  year  with  249 per  100,000  people.    Unfortunately,                                                                 
Alaska's current consumer protection  laws provide one of the                                                                   
lowest civil penalties of any  state.  To strengthen Alaska's                                                                   
consumer protection law and send  a message to those who prey                                                                   
on Alaska consumers, HB 446 acts  to increase civil penalties                                                                   
authorized   under  Alaska's   Unfair  Trade  Practices   and                                                                   
Consumer Protection Act.                                                                                                        
Under  current law,  when  a person  or  company violates  an                                                                   
injunction   prohibiting   unfair   or   deceptive   business                                                                   
practices, they are subject to  a maximum penalty of $25,000.                                                                   
HB 446 would increase that maximum to $50,000.                                                                                  
Mr.  Johnson continued,  current  law provides  for a  $5,000                                                                   
civil penalty  for each violation.   The bill  increases that                                                                   
amount to a  range between $1,000 and $25,000  per violation.                                                                   
The  current $5,000  penalty  was established  in  1970.   By                                                                   
adjusting  for   inflation  alone,  the  penalty   should  be                                                                   
$20,200.   Obtaining  injunctive relief  and civil  penalties                                                                   
are the  tools that  enable the  attorney general to  protect                                                                   
Alaska   consumers  against   unfair   and  deceptive   trade                                                                   
practices.   The changes  are vital  enforcement tools  and a                                                                   
court  assesses all  civil penalties  after  a violation  has                                                                   
been proven.   All penalty payments  go directly to the State                                                                   
of Alaska.                                                                                                                      
1:47:21 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Chenault  inquired why  the $5,000 penalty  had been                                                                   
1:48:58 PM                                                                                                                    
ED  SNIFFEN,   (TESTIFIED   VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   ASSISTANT                                                                   
ATTORNEY GENERAL,  FAIR BUSINESS  SECTION, CRIMINAL  SECTION,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  OF LAW,  ANCHORAGE,  explained that  there are  a                                                                   
number of cases  involving violation of the  act that warrant                                                                   
some-kind of penalty.   He provided an example  of a business                                                                   
engaging in  advertising violations  but not realizing  there                                                                   
has  been  some  kind of  violation  causing  consumer  harm.                                                                   
However, in  that type of case,  the Department of  Law works                                                                   
with the business  to provide a meaningful penalty  less than                                                                   
$5,000.   Then  the Department  gets the  business to  change                                                                   
their practices  so that future  violations do not  occur and                                                                   
those are the cases where fewer penalties are warranted.                                                                        
1:50:27 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Hawker referenced  the fiscal notes,  pointed                                                                   
out increased penalties and thought  the note should indicate                                                                   
Mr. Johnson hoped  the note would be neutral,  and would keep                                                                   
business from violating the law.   It may be a bill that does                                                                   
nothing; with  relationship to consumer fraud,  doing nothing                                                                   
is a good thing.                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker asked how  the fines were accounted for                                                                   
and which department would be  indicating the note from fines                                                                   
Mr.  Sniffen   advised  that  the  funds  collected   by  the                                                                   
Department  for  civil  penalty  efforts  go  to  either  the                                                                   
general  fund or are  earmarked  to be used  by the  consumer                                                                   
agency   for  future   consumer   protection  education   and                                                                   
enforcement.  The  reason that a positive fiscal  note cannot                                                                   
be identified  is because the  Department does not  know what                                                                   
kind  of activity  might  occur.   Some  cases  do provide  a                                                                   
windfall into the State's general fund.                                                                                         
1:53:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Hawker thought it  would be more  appropriate                                                                   
to have  an indeterminate  note from  the Department  of Law.                                                                   
Co-Chair Meyer agreed.                                                                                                          
1:53:42 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Hawker  MOVED  a  conceptual  change  to  the                                                                   
Department  of Law's note  changing it  to indeterminate  for                                                                   
all years  indicated.  There  being NO OBJECTION,  the change                                                                   
was made.                                                                                                                       
1:54:33 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Joule recommended  that the indeterminate note                                                                   
be indicated in the Department's budget next year.                                                                              
Co-Chair Chenault  commented that their office  would attempt                                                                   
to track some of the indeterminate notes.                                                                                       
Vice Chair  Stoltze MOVED  to REPORT CS  HB 446 (JUD)  out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
Representative  Hawker did  not think  that the Alaska  Court                                                                   
System note would be affected.                                                                                                  
There being NO OBJECTION, the bill moved from Committee.                                                                        
CS HB  446 (JUD)  was reported  out of  Committee with  a "no                                                                   
recommendation"  and with  a new  indeterminate  note by  the                                                                   
House Finance  Committee for the  Department of Law  and zero                                                                   
note #1 by the Alaska Court System.                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 377                                                                                                            
     An   Act  relating   to   an  exemption   from   certain                                                                   
     registration  and  practice   requirements  for  persons                                                                   
     preparing  drawings  or specifications  related  to  the                                                                   
     construction of certain buildings.                                                                                         
1:56:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL PAWLOWSKI, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  KEVIN MEYER, stated                                                                   
that  State  law  requires  that  an  engineer  or  architect                                                                   
prepare drawings for specifications  for a residence if it is                                                                   
more than two stories high.  However,  building codes adopted                                                                   
by the State Fire Marshal and  many municipalities require an                                                                   
engineer or architect only if  a residence is more than three                                                                   
stories high.                                                                                                                   
The process of consulting with  an engineer or architect adds                                                                   
an unnecessary  expense to the construction or  renovation of                                                                   
a  home.    HB 377  amends  Alaska  Statute  to  reflect  the                                                                   
standard  already present  in  the adopted  codes across  the                                                                   
State.  The bill would allow contractors  and homebuilders to                                                                   
build or  expand a  residence if  it is  not more than  three                                                                   
stories high.                                                                                                                   
1:58:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Meyer pointed  out that  the  Alaska Home  Builders                                                                   
Association  does support  the  legislation.   Mr.  Pawlowski                                                                   
understood there  was a new  letter addressing  the committee                                                                   
substitute  and had  not yet seen  it.   He indicated  safety                                                                   
concerns that  had been voiced.   The current  exemptions are                                                                   
listed on Page  2, Line 19 & 20, for a four  family residence                                                                   
and  not more  than  two  stories  high.   The  international                                                                   
building  and  residential  codes  identify  buildings  three                                                                   
stories,  which is  the  issue  addressed by  HB  377.   With                                                                   
present building codes, a builder  would need to go through a                                                                   
planning review process to obtain a building permit.                                                                            
2:00:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly inquired  why it was  not left  to four                                                                   
families  -  three  stories.   Mr.  Pawlowski  explained  the                                                                   
original  version had  been drafted  that  way, however,  the                                                                   
dilemma was:                                                                                                                    
   · So not directly meet with the code reference of two                                                                        
     families and three stories, and/or                                                                                         
   · Once expanded from two to four families and three                                                                          
     stories, the buildings became bigger than a duplex - a                                                                     
     change made in the House Labor and Commerce Committee.                                                                     
2:00:51 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK   MORRIS,   PROFESSIONAL   ENGINEER,  STATE   BOARD   of                                                                   
REGISTRATION  FOR ARCHITECTS,  ENGINEERS  AND LAND  SURVEYORS                                                                   
(AELS), JUNEAU, spoke in opposition  to HB 377.  He noted the                                                                   
two letters  of opposition dated  February 24 and  March 14.                                                                    
The State AELS Board was unanimous  in its opposition because                                                                   
of the height,  not the size of a structure.   Increasing the                                                                   
height  affects the  design  load expeditiously  &  radically                                                                   
modifies what an engineer must take into consideration.                                                                         
Mr.  Morris discussed  these concerns,  emphasizing that  the                                                                   
statute  was  initially  written   to  protect  the  public's                                                                   
safety.   Contractors and home  builders are not  required by                                                                   
the  State of  Alaska to  have the  education, training,  and                                                                   
exam  verification  to  ensure   that  they  are  capable  of                                                                   
designing  that level  building.   Design  professionals  are                                                                   
trained to  ensure buildings are  safe for human  habitation.                                                                   
He  reiterated that  in the  interest of  public safety,  the                                                                   
AELS  Board strongly  opposes  the proposed  modification  to                                                                   
2:05:37 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice   Chair  Stoltze   questioned  the   typical  cost   for                                                                   
architectural  services and/or  the general percentage  used.                                                                   
Mr. Morris  responded that  is difficult  to determine;  on a                                                                   
home  as  proposed,  an  electrical  engineer  would  not  be                                                                   
needed,  only  a structural  engineer  and  that would  be  a                                                                   
smaller percentage.   On a commercial building,  typically it                                                                   
would  be somewhere  between 6%  and 8%  of the  cost of  the                                                                   
structure; on a home, it might amount to 3%.                                                                                    
2:06:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice Chair Stoltze  voiced concerned on  engineering failures                                                                   
of some public  buildings and asked if a "statute  of repose"                                                                   
could be traded,  giving the consumer more.  He  asked if the                                                                   
legislation had resulted from a "turf war".                                                                                     
2:08:19 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Morris did  not understand the question.   He stated that                                                                   
as a  professional, he  had nothing to  gain by the  proposed                                                                   
modification.    The  issue results  from  structural  design                                                                   
concerns.  A  person would be foolish to build  a three-story                                                                   
home  without   a  registered   professional  providing   the                                                                   
appropriate calculations.   A  contractor would not  be aware                                                                   
of those requirements.                                                                                                          
2:08:30 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Morris continued that with  regards to design, loads must                                                                   
be addressed.  He thought that  a professional must determine                                                                   
the numbers affecting a nailing schedule and wall design.                                                                       
2:09:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Hawker  worried   that  the  bill   proposes                                                                   
something  not supported by  the State  AELS Board  and asked                                                                   
the  applicability  of the  Alaska  Homebuilders  Association                                                                   
request.   Mr. Morris could not  comment on exactly  what the                                                                   
codes say.   He warned that codes are an  established minimum                                                                   
standard for  safety.  To  remove someone with  the knowledge                                                                   
on how to run calculations to  determine the loads on certain                                                                   
portions  of a structure  and  make sure that  the loads  are                                                                   
adequate would be  the intent of a code.   Only professionals                                                                   
are trained to do that.                                                                                                         
2:12:50 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer  asked if  it was  correct that when  building                                                                   
one's  own home,  any standard  could  be used.   Mr.  Morris                                                                   
understood that  in statute, if  a home were built  over that                                                                   
size, a professional would need to review the plan.                                                                             
Co-Chair  Meyer mentioned  an existing  conflict between  the                                                                   
Homebuilders  Association and  the Anchorage Municipal  Code.                                                                   
Mr. Morris did not know about codes outside of Juneau.                                                                          
Co-Chair  Meyer  thought  that the  legislation  could  bring                                                                   
consistency statewide.                                                                                                          
2:15:01 PM                                                                                                                    
BILL  TAYLOR,   (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   ANCHORAGE                                                                   
HOMEBUILDER'S  ASSOCIATION,  TAYLOR  ENTERPRISES,  ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
said  the bill's  language  proposes merely  a  "housekeeping                                                                   
measure".   It is intended  to clean  up the statute  and the                                                                   
codes.   He believed  that the  change would  have no  safety                                                                   
concern,  as  all  areas  where  the  codes  do  apply,  have                                                                   
scrutiny and design review schedules.                                                                                           
Representative  Kerttula  asked  clarification  if  the  plan                                                                   
would  be  reviewed  for  safety   provisions.    Mr.  Taylor                                                                   
responded that  there would be  a level of scrutiny  by every                                                                   
plan review section.                                                                                                            
2:17:55 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Joule   requested  a  definition   of  "three                                                                   
stories".     Mr.  Taylor  read   the  definition   from  the                                                                   
International  Residential Code (IRC):   "Anything  more than                                                                   
6' above the great  plain or more than 6' above  the finished                                                                   
ground  level  for  more  than  50%  of  the  total  building                                                                   
perimeter or  more than 12'  above the finished  ground level                                                                   
at any point."                                                                                                                  
2:19:22 PM                                                                                                                    
PAUL  MICHAELSON,  (TESTIFIED VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  NATIONAL                                                                   
ASSOCIATION  OF  HOMEBUILDERS,   BUILDER,  ANCHORAGE,  echoed                                                                   
comments  made by  Mr.  Taylor.   He  added  that most  three                                                                   
story,  single  family  dwelling  structures  are  drawn  and                                                                   
designed by professionals.   The designers have  the right to                                                                   
self-engineer  the building  and then  it would move  through                                                                   
the  Plan Review  Committee.    The builders  are  instructed                                                                   
where sheer walls & nails are  placed.  Each designer has the                                                                   
option to  hire an  engineer.  Mr.  Michaelson did  not think                                                                   
that self-engineering would be dangerous to the public.                                                                         
Co-Chair  Meyer  noted  that testimony  had  not  taken  into                                                                   
consideration   how  it  would   affect  the  areas   outside                                                                   
2:22:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Chenault  assumed  that  if  any  municipality  had                                                                   
building  codes, they  would  be required  to  build to  that                                                                   
code.   Mr.  Michaelson explained  that the  manner in  which                                                                   
International  Residential Code  (IRC)  was developed,  there                                                                   
were several codes used throughout  the entire United States.                                                                   
Most jurisdictions that adopt  codes have provisions allowing                                                                   
building  three  stories,  while considering  safety  of  the                                                                   
occupants.      Co-Chair   Chenault   clarified   that   each                                                                   
municipality adopts  their codes.   Mr. Michaelson  said they                                                                   
Representative  Kelly  questioned if  current  law was  being                                                                   
enforced.  Mr. Pawlowski did not  know.  Individuals building                                                                   
their own homes do not have to go through the process.                                                                          
2:25:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Pawlowski   noted  that   the  building  community   has                                                                   
indicated that in areas that have  a code and planning review                                                                   
committee, that process is strictly enforced.                                                                                   
Vice Chair  Stoltze pointed out  the absence of  letters from                                                                   
municipalities outside  of Anchorage.  Mr.  Pawlowski replied                                                                   
their office had requested comments  from other areas but did                                                                   
not receive any.                                                                                                                
Representative Kerttula  asked if a  plan review done  by the                                                                   
architect could  meet necessary safety concerns.   Mr. Morris                                                                   
said  that  if  the person  performing  the  review  has  the                                                                   
expertise to  run the calculations,  then a safety  net would                                                                   
be available.   The  concern is  given to  the loads  and the                                                                   
complexity of  the structures,  it becomes more  complex when                                                                   
vertically building-up.   The State has a method  to register                                                                   
structural  engineers to  run the calculations  and  make the                                                                   
necessary  changes.    Building  codes require  much  in  the                                                                   
interest  of  public  safety,   but  if  the  loads  are  not                                                                   
determined, the  situation becomes  vulnerable.   All designs                                                                   
must  meet  the national  electrical  codes.   The  codes  by                                                                   
themselves  are not  enough; someone  with  the expertise  is                                                                   
essential.  He knew that the City  and Borough of Juneau does                                                                   
not have a registered structural engineer on staff.                                                                             
2:30:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Michaelson interjected  that  most lending  institutions                                                                   
require that their  structure have an ICPO  inspector provide                                                                   
the proper  engineering.  He  did not believe  anything would                                                                   
slip through the cracks.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair Meyer  acknowledged he was "uneasy"  moving the bill                                                                   
from  Committee and  requested  Mr. Morris  be available  for                                                                   
further discussion with Mr. Pawlowski.                                                                                          
Vice  Chair   Stoltze  reiterated  his  concerns   and  asked                                                                   
assurance  that the consideration  is  a public safety  issue                                                                   
and not an industry protection bill.                                                                                            
2:33:51 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Holm mentioned  his  own situation  regarding                                                                   
costs  resulting   from  homeowner  withholding   information                                                                   
regarding a vapor  barrier and the costs that  accumulated to                                                                   
more than $90,000 dollars for  him and his family.  He agreed                                                                   
with   the  concerns   regarding  building   codes  and   the                                                                   
protection of assets when buying homes.                                                                                         
HB 377 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                         
HOUSE BILL NO. 312                                                                                                            
     An Act relating to pregnant  women; requiring hospitals,                                                                   
     schools,  and  alcohol  licensees  and  permit  tees  to                                                                   
     distribute information  about fetal alcohol  effects and                                                                   
     fetal alcohol  syndrome; relating to the  consumption of                                                                   
     alcoholic  beverages  by  and  the sale  or  service  of                                                                   
     alcoholic  beverages  to  a  pregnant  woman;  requiring                                                                   
     involuntary  commitment  of  a pregnant  woman  who  has                                                                   
     consumed  alcohol; creating  a fund  for the  prevention                                                                   
     and  treatment  of  fetal  alcohol  syndrome  and  fetal                                                                   
     alcohol effects; relating  to fines and to the taking of                                                                   
     permanent   fund  dividends   for  selling  or   serving                                                                   
     alcoholic  beverages to pregnant  women; and  increasing                                                                   
     taxes on sales of alcoholic  beverages to fund treatment                                                                   
     and  education related  to  fetal  alcohol syndrome  and                                                                   
     fetal alcohol effects.                                                                                                     
2:36:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BRUCE  WEYHRAUCH, SPONSOR, explained  that the                                                                   
legislation  came  forward  to  address  the  serious  matter                                                                   
relating to  Fetal Alcohol Spectrum  Disorder (FASD).   It is                                                                   
deplorable  that Alaska  ranks first  in the  Nation for  the                                                                   
highest  number of  children born  with FASD.   The bill  has                                                                   
evolved,  being amended  in the  House HESS  Committee.    He                                                                   
added that  there is  at least one  amendment to  the version                                                                   
before the Committee.                                                                                                           
2:38:29 PM                                                                                                                    
JACQUELINE  TUPOU,  STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE  BRUCE  WEYHRAUCH,                                                                   
said  the saddest  fact  is that  FASD  is 100%  preventable.                                                                   
FASD is the leading cause of mental  retardation in the State                                                                   
of Alaska.   She  stressed the  problem in  Alaska is  large.                                                                   
FASD  can  cause birth  defects,  retarding  brain  function,                                                                   
arrested  emotional  and  physical  development,  cause  poor                                                                   
behavior, deformed  facial features and harming  learning and                                                                   
sleeping patterns.                                                                                                              
Ms. Tupou  stated that it has  been estimated that  the State                                                                   
of Alaska will pay $3.1 million  dollars over the lifetime of                                                                   
each  child with  FASD.   Right  now,  that  cost amounts  to                                                                   
approximately $45  million dollars a year paid  by the State.                                                                   
Every  department  is affected  by  the costs  associated  by                                                                   
Ms. Tupou  explained the  changes that had  been made  to the                                                                   
House HESS version:                                                                                                             
   ·    It requires a continuing education component for                                                                        
        doctors and nurses;                                                                                                     
   ·    It provides for an educational requirement targeting                                                                    
        schools and hospitals; and                                                                                              
   ·    It institutionalizes continuing education, training                                                                     
        and diagnosis.                                                                                                          
The legislation  is a  small step  forward in addressing  the                                                                   
vast problem throughout Alaska.                                                                                                 
2:41:48 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Weyhrauch pointed  out the  five zero  inter-                                                                   
departmental  notes and  the one  fiscal impact  note by  the                                                                   
Department  of  Health  and  Social   Services.    Ms.  Tupou                                                                   
corrected,  there  are three  fiscal  impact  notes from  the                                                                   
Department of Health and Social Services.                                                                                       
2:42:43 PM                                                                                                                    
PUBLIC TESTIMONY                                                                                                              
DIANE   CASTO,    MANAGER,   PREVENTION/EARLY    INTERVENTION                                                                   
SERVICES,  DIVISION  OF  BEHAVIORAL   HEALTH,  DEPARTMENT  OF                                                                   
HEALTH &  SOCIAL SERVICES, testified  that the  Department of                                                                   
Health  and   Social  Services  is   in  favor  of   HB  312,                                                                   
emphasizing  that FASD  is preventable.    She mentioned  the                                                                   
social belief  that drinking  during pregnancy is  acceptable                                                                   
in  certain circumstances.    Ms. Casto  discussed,  drinking                                                                   
during pregnancy  is not okay at  any time by anyone.   There                                                                   
are still medical providers that  still do tell women that it                                                                   
is okay  to drink  in moderation.   The  reality is  that the                                                                   
part  of   the  brain  most   impacted  by  alcohol   evolves                                                                   
throughout the  entire pregnancy.   There is no safe  time to                                                                   
drink alcohol.                                                                                                                  
Ms.  Casto addressed  developmental issues  related to  FASD.                                                                   
She termed the  bill a building block and shared  the history                                                                   
of progress  relating to the issue.   She mentioned  a survey                                                                   
about to  be disbursed  that will  provide much needed  data.                                                                   
Training  is an  important  aspect  of the  service  delivery                                                                   
system.   The intent of the  legislation is to work  with the                                                                   
systems already in place that are working.                                                                                      
Ms.  Casto advised  that  currently, there  are  a number  of                                                                   
functioning diagnostic teams.   In the past year, a series of                                                                   
regional  summits were  held to  identify the  needs of  each                                                                   
community.   HB 312  closely aligns with  what people  in the                                                                   
public are recommending.                                                                                                        
Ms. Casto  urged that prevention  issues be addressed.   FASD                                                                   
requires a two-pronged approach:                                                                                                
   · Prevention, and                                                                                                            
   · Early services in place.                                                                                                   
2:50:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Kelly  questioned   if  other  states   were                                                                   
treating  it as a  crime.   Ms. Casto  replied, a few  states                                                                   
have  found  that many  of  the  women with  serious  alcohol                                                                   
problems are  not receiving services.   Women, who  would ask                                                                   
for  help,  stopped  seeking  services  when  a  penalty  was                                                                   
imposed.   A  better plan  would  be intervention,  including                                                                   
services and that  pregnant women should have  a priority for                                                                   
substance abuse treatment.                                                                                                      
Representative  Kelly inquired  about forcibly  incarcerating                                                                   
women.       Ms.   Casto    asked   further    clarification.                                                                   
Representative   Kelly  restated  his   query.     Ms.  Casto                                                                   
addressed  the involuntary  commitment statute;  there  are a                                                                   
few states,  which have  addressed it with  some of  the same                                                                   
problems following  that method with the women  going "under-                                                                   
ground", not  coming forward  for services  out of fear.   In                                                                   
Alaska, there  is an involuntary commitment  statute allowing                                                                   
family members to go through the courts to commit a person.                                                                     
2:54:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Holm  questioned   the  Alaska  FASD   ratio                                                                   
compared nationally  per 1,000  FASD cases.   Ms. Casto  said                                                                   
that,  unfortunately, Alaska  is not  one of  the few  states                                                                   
that keep  good data on  it.  In  a five-state study,  Alaska                                                                   
was  significantly  higher,  1.6% per  1,000  for  full-blown                                                                   
FASD.   10% have  FAS and  85% have  a disability related  to                                                                   
prenatal exposure to alcohol.                                                                                                   
Representative  Holm shared his  concern about the  extent of                                                                   
the problem  and lack  of data  and solutions  from a  public                                                                   
health standpoint.   He  warned that  choice is involved  and                                                                   
that forced birth control might be a solution.                                                                                  
Ms. Casto corrected  assumptions made by  Representative Holm                                                                   
regarding  the   amount  of  available  data.     Alaska  has                                                                   
extensive  data and agreed  that there  is a  lot to  be done                                                                   
with it.  Contraception  is a large part of  the solution and                                                                   
it  is  included   in  the  current  version   of  the  bill.                                                                   
Additionally, it is  important to look at FASD  from a public                                                                   
health  standpoint.   She thought  the  Department could  not                                                                   
support  mandatory   birth  control.    Representative   Holm                                                                   
clarified that  the data he  was referring to  was statistics                                                                   
that  show a  decrease or  increase due  to the  Department's                                                                   
Ms. Casto  shared  her history  in the FASD  program and  the                                                                   
results of having a State registry.   Data shows that FASD is                                                                   
not frequently reported.  She  described the data changes due                                                                   
to better  reporting and  that education  should result  in a                                                                   
decline  of  FASD  in  the  birthrate.    The  Birth  Defects                                                                   
Registry Data  only goes through  1998; currently,  the State                                                                   
has increased  their ability to diagnose the  condition, with                                                                   
increased education  among medical providers, there  has been                                                                   
an increase in reports.                                                                                                         
3:04:41 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Holm voiced  frustration about  lack of  data                                                                   
regarding significant reductions  in FASD.  He asked what the                                                                   
Legislature  could  do  to  help.    He  suggested  mandatory                                                                   
Ms. Casto  emphasized that  the Department  has done  quite a                                                                   
lot through awareness  campaigns.  Behavior  has changed with                                                                   
those who  do not have  a substance abuse  problem.   Now the                                                                   
focus is  on women who do  having a drinking problem.   Early                                                                   
intervention must  reach the women  who need substance  abuse                                                                   
treatment before they become pregnant.                                                                                          
3:08:06 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice Chair Stoltze pointed out  that the intended beneficiary                                                                   
of the bill is  the unborn child.  He wondered  if such a law                                                                   
could actually be  enforced on those who have  a disregard of                                                                   
life.   Representative  Weyhrauch  said they  had not  gotten                                                                   
into that.                                                                                                                      
3:10:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Joule  commented that he had sat  on the State                                                                   
Drug and  Alcohol Control  Board in the  1980's when  FAS was                                                                   
relatively  unknown.  He  commented on  the magnitude  of the                                                                   
problem and  maintained that education  needs to  be constant                                                                   
because  change  comes  slowly.     The  State  needs  to  be                                                                   
consistent.   The  most compelling  fact is  the cost to  the                                                                   
State  every  year at  $45  million  dollars.   The  proposed                                                                   
legislation will  save the State a  lot of money in  the long                                                                   
3:13:53 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer acknowledged everyone  is passionate about the                                                                   
Representative   Kerttula  addressed   the   intent  of   the                                                                   
registry.  Mr. Casto explained  that the information would be                                                                   
carefully guarded  and that the names would  not be released.                                                                   
The registry helps track the concerns.                                                                                          
3:15:09 PM                                                                                                                    
LAURA ROREM, PARENT  NAVIGATOR ON THE FETAL  ALCOHOL SYNDROME                                                                   
DIAGNOSTIC  (FASD)  TEAM,  ADVOCATE FOR  PERSONS  WITH  FASD,                                                                   
JUNEAU, introduced herself and her affiliation.                                                                                 
LARRY ROREM, PASTOR,  SHEPPARD OF THE VALLEY  LUTHERN CHURCH,                                                                   
MEMBER OF THE  JUNEAU FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME  DISORDER (FASD)                                                                   
TEAM, JUNEAU,  explained the  role of  his church in  serving                                                                   
"marginalized"  people  in  the   community.    Pastor  Rorem                                                                   
interwove  his involvement with  the church  and that  of his                                                                   
two adopted FASD adult children.                                                                                                
Ms.  Rorem discussed  HB  312.   She addressed  the  lifetime                                                                   
reality of adopting  two children with FASD,  with whom State                                                                   
services claimed were  healthy at the time of  adoption.  She                                                                   
presented a photo picture book of her adult children.                                                                           
Pastor  Rorem compared  his life  to a recent  fire at  their                                                                   
church; that fire  did not show itself on the  surface or the                                                                   
outside  of  the church,  but  inside,  there  was a  lot  of                                                                   
damage.    Their  adult children  suffer  from  severe  brain                                                                   
damage.   They have little  support systems within  the State                                                                   
of Alaska.   He urged something  be done to help  prevent the                                                                   
damage  occurring for  both the  person with  FASD and  their                                                                   
caretakers.  The  "garbage dump" for these people  is usually                                                                   
prison.  Anything that can be  done to prevent the foundation                                                                   
damage and apply the appropriate repairs is vital.                                                                              
Ms. Rorem stressed  how important passage of HB  312 is as it                                                                   
addresses  the  prevention.   It  provides for  education  of                                                                   
professionals.  Lifetime costs  for FASD are outrageous.  She                                                                   
noted  that they  call  their  children the  "million  dollar                                                                   
babies" because  so much has been  spent on their care.   Ms.                                                                   
Rorem stated  that they are  exhausted by the  realities that                                                                   
await their  children.   Both of  these young people  express                                                                   
anger  toward  the effects  that  alcohol  has had  on  their                                                                   
3:22:30 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer voiced his appreciation for their testimony.                                                                     
RIC IANNOLINO, JUNEAU FETAL ALCOHOL  SYNDROME DISORDER (FASD)                                                                   
DIAGNOSTIC  CLINIC, JUNEAU,  read a  letter from  a child  he                                                                   
cares for with FAS, literally  a physical & mental disability                                                                   
with permanent and irreparable brain damage.                                                                                    
Mr.   Iannolino   emphasized   that  approximately   60%   of                                                                   
individuals with FAS will end  up in prisons or mental health                                                                   
facilities.   About 50%  of Lemon  Creek incarcerated  people                                                                   
were prenatally exposed  to alcohol and it is  estimated that                                                                   
70%  of  the  children  in foster  care  were  exposed.    He                                                                   
mentioned  the  facial  features  of  some  with  FAS,  which                                                                   
develop during  the 19-24    day of pregnancy.   He  made the                                                                   
analogy of the FASD tragedy to that of Hurricane Katrina.                                                                       
Mr. Iannolino referenced comments  made by a physician at the                                                                   
University of  Washington, Dr. Stiscode, who  stated that the                                                                   
costs  associated  with all  alcohol  births  are very  high,                                                                   
particularly  those with  the FASD individuals.   Those  with                                                                   
secondary disabilities  resulting from FASD are  dropping out                                                                   
of school,  going  to jail,  stealing, experience  alcoholism                                                                   
and  homelessness.    Those individuals  actually  need  more                                                                   
services than those with full-blown FAS.                                                                                        
Mr. Iannolino provided information  on his background working                                                                   
with Tlinget-Haida  tribes of Alaska and the  lead agency for                                                                   
the  FAS diagnostic  clinic,  providing  research through  an                                                                   
international agency  studying FASD and his  involvement with                                                                   
the U.S. Indian  Health Service.  Most people  do not realize                                                                   
that  the average  person that  has a  child with  FAS is  35                                                                   
years old, white and professional.   The associated costs are                                                                   
huge; 54%  of children  in custody are  estimated to  be FAS.                                                                   
He stressed  the seriousness of  the concern and  the tragedy                                                                   
involved in the field.                                                                                                          
3:29:25 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Holm asked if there  had been any reduction in                                                                   
the numbers.  Mr. Iannolino responded  that the concern is so                                                                   
huge and unbelievable.   The rates are very  high compared to                                                                   
the rest  of the country.   Canada has many more  services in                                                                   
place and  understands that support  services are the  way to                                                                   
address  the  vastness of  these  concerns.   He  urged  that                                                                   
treatment  and support  services be put  in place  throughout                                                                   
3:31:01 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Holm  agreed it is a difficult  issue and that                                                                   
his wife,  a schoolteacher,  experienced extreme  frustration                                                                   
and sadness  in attempting  to deal  with the heartbreak  and                                                                   
concern.  He hoped to find a way to slow-down the process.                                                                      
3:31:47 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Meyer  indicated that  the  amendment  in the  file                                                                   
would be held for consideration at a late date.                                                                                 
SUESHANNA    FIONA    STEWART-CAMPBELL,     (TESTIFIED    VIA                                                                   
TELECONFERENCE),  FASD ADULT, FAIRBANKS,  stated that  she is                                                                   
an adult FAS survivor.  She commented  on the challenges that                                                                   
have kept her from functioning  fully in the world, stressing                                                                   
the difficulties accessing services.                                                                                            
Ms.  Stewart-Campbell  referred   to  herself  as  a  "cookie                                                                   
cutter".  Life is raw for those  with FAS and many are deeply                                                                   
wounded in  their hearts and  souls. She stated  that because                                                                   
of her condition,  she has not been able to  live a rewarding                                                                   
life;  always  being either  homeless  or among  the  working                                                                   
poor.  She stressed that FASD  diagnostic teams could provide                                                                   
education  for the  public,  support groups  because  without                                                                   
diagnosis  and support,  these  people can  not discover  the                                                                   
beauty of their own truth and  talents.  She urged support to                                                                   
maintain and increase funding.                                                                                                  
3:39:10 PM                                                                                                                    
JEANNE   GERHARBT-CYRUF,  (TESTIFIED   VIA   TELECONFERENCE),                                                                   
PARENTS, KIANA, spoke  on behalf of her six  children exposed                                                                   
to  prenatal  alcohol  and  now  FASD.    She  addressed  the                                                                   
continual  need for  services  for individuals  and  families                                                                   
impacted  by  FASD.   Her  children  range  between  six  and                                                                   
eighteen  years   of  age.     They  have  many   challenges,                                                                   
behavioral, social and language  and it affects their ability                                                                   
to function successfully.                                                                                                       
Ms.  Gerharbt-Cyruf stressed  that  unless  the concerns  are                                                                   
addressed daily, it is difficult  to understand the impact on                                                                   
individuals  and their  families.  These  are individuals  at                                                                   
risk.   She urged the legislation  be adopted and  moved from                                                                   
3:43:21 PM                                                                                                                    
KARA  NYQUIST,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  ATTORNEY,                                                                   
ALASKA ASSOCIATION FOR HOMES FOR  CHILDREN (AAHC), ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
stated that among  the youth their agency serves,  as many as                                                                   
60%  suffer from  FASD.   There is  not a  diagnosis for  all                                                                   
those youth.   The program  has never adequately  been funded                                                                   
and consequently,  the agency  has not been  at a  point that                                                                   
they  could collect  adequate data.   Native  youth, at  this                                                                   
time,  are  the only  ones  being  diagnosed.   There  is  no                                                                   
funding for  non-Native youth.   The  young being served  are                                                                   
the ones coming back from residential  treatment programs and                                                                   
are  the ones  in the  foster care  system.   Those kids  are                                                                   
having   behavioral  problems   in  school   and  are   found                                                                   
throughout the criminal justice system.                                                                                         
Ms. Nyquist  noted AAHC  supports the  legislation and  hopes                                                                   
that   the  Legislature   will   adequately  fund   treatment                                                                   
programs.   The  Legislature keeps  complaining that  funding                                                                   
requests from  the Department  of Health and Social  Services                                                                   
keep increasing;  that is because the State  is not investing                                                                   
the necessary  dollars early on;  instead, treating  only the                                                                   
crisis.   A  crisis  already exists  and  funds  needs to  be                                                                   
invested in  diagnosing the data  of those youth  who already                                                                   
have  fetal  alcohol  syndrome.     She  reiterated,  current                                                                   
funding is  inadequate and that  the real issue is  not being                                                                   
addressed.   AAHC supports  HB 312 and  would like to  see it                                                                   
accompanied  with  adequate funding  so  it  can be  properly                                                                   
3:47:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  BALDWIN,  (TESTIFIED   VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  MENTAL                                                                   
HEALTH THERAPIST,  ANCHORAGE, spoke  to his involvement  with                                                                   
FASD in  his counseling practice  and the devastating  impact                                                                   
of alcohol  on these  families.   He spoke  to other  problem                                                                   
areas that are  tied to the consequences of  prenatal alcohol                                                                   
exposure such as the high suicide & violence rates.                                                                             
Mr.  Baldwin  referenced  the  public health  issues  of  the                                                                   
legislation.   The  public health  approach changes  cultural                                                                   
beliefs about  alcohol and  more people  need to be  educated                                                                   
regarding these  concerns.  The system must  change; adequate                                                                   
funding is essential to help educate  the populace.  There is                                                                   
research  available that  upfront  dollars reduce  long-range                                                                   
costs  associated  with FASD.    He  echoed support  for  the                                                                   
PATRICIA  SENNER,  (TESTIFIED   VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  CHAIR,                                                                   
LEGISLATIVE  COMMITTEE  FOR THE  ALASKA  NURSES  ASSOCIATION,                                                                   
ANCHORAGE,  advocated   for  greater  funding   reserved  for                                                                   
education  and  training  of nurses  addressing  FASD.    She                                                                   
stressed that many kids are misdiagnosed  and women are still                                                                   
not being educated  regarding the dangers of  drinking during                                                                   
pregnancy.  Health care providers  are not always recognizing                                                                   
these children.                                                                                                                 
Ms. Senner  recommended that  training for nurse  practioners                                                                   
must include  midwife  direct entry nurse  midwives as  well.                                                                   
Prevention is effective and will  change the way services are                                                                   
provided  for  those  kids.   Many  of  the  folks  currently                                                                   
getting training are FASD kids  themselves and are now having                                                                   
children of their own.                                                                                                          
3:53:37 PM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Senner mentioned  the "secret-drinking mothers",  as more                                                                   
people  know   that  they  should  not  be   drinking  during                                                                   
3:55:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHERYL SCOTT, (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),  PARENT OF FASD                                                                   
CHILD, STONE  SOUP GROUP, ANCHORAGE,  spoke to her  child and                                                                   
his  associated  FASD  disorder.     She  addressed  all  the                                                                   
conditions  that  occur  with  the  illness.    The  area  of                                                                   
developmental  disabilities is  vast.   The Stone Soup  Group                                                                   
has been  available to  provide support  for children  around                                                                   
the State with FASD and sharing  resource information.  It is                                                                   
families  that  cannot  access   in-home  support  that  need                                                                   
assistance  and are  in  crisis.   The  challenge is  finding                                                                   
appropriate  childcare.  She  stressed that  it is  a tragedy                                                                   
because  these children  often  do not  physically look  like                                                                   
they suffer from FAS.                                                                                                           
Ms. Scott  recommended family  camps.   The Stone Soup  Group                                                                   
has  been researching  the issue  since 1997  to determine  a                                                                   
strategy to help  these children.  She emphasized  the number                                                                   
currently living in foster care  because their birth families                                                                   
are in crisis.                                                                                                                  
HB 312 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                         
HOUSE BILL NO.478                                                                                                               
     An Act relating to the municipal harbor facility grant                                                                     
     program; and providing for an effective date.                                                                              
HB 478 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                             
4:02:49 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 4:03 P.M.                                                                                          

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