Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/20/2006 01:30 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 253 EXTEND BOARD OF CHIROPRACTIC EXAMINERS TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ SB 254 EXTEND PT & OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY BOARD TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ SB 255 OPTOMETRY: EXTEND BD/LIC. ENDORSEMENT TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 29 HEALTH CARE INSUR./COMP HEALTH INS. ASSN TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled from 04/19/06>
+= SB 200 USE OF FORCE TO PROTECT SELF/HOME TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 20, 2006                                                                                           
                         1:52 P.M.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 1:52:48 PM.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
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                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Norman   Rokeberg;  Cecil   Bykerk,   Alaska                                                                   
Comprehensive  Health  Insurance Association  Board  (ACHIA),                                                                   
Omaha,   Nebraska;  Brian   Angel,   Vice  Chairman,   Alaska                                                                   
Comprehensive  Health  Insurance Association  Board  (ACHIA),                                                                   
Omaha,   Nebraska;   Linda  Hall,   Director,   Division   of                                                                   
Insurance,  Department of  Commerce,  Community and  Economic                                                                   
Development; Susan  Parks, Deputy Attorney  General, Criminal                                                                   
Division, Department  of Law; Tom Maher, Staff,  Senator Gene                                                                   
Therriault;  Pat  Davidson,  Director,  Legislative  Auditor,                                                                   
Legislative  Audit Division; Dave  Stancliff, Staff,  Senator                                                                   
Gene Therriault                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Sundi Hondel, President, Physical Therapy Board, Anchorage                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 29     An Act relating to health care insurance and to                                                                       
          the Comprehensive Health Insurance Association;                                                                       
          and providing for an effective date.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          HB 29 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   CS SB 200(JUD) am                                                                                                            
             An Act relating to defense of self, other persons,                                                                 
             property, or services.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
             CS SB 200 (JUD)am was  HEARD and HELD in Committee                                                                 
             for further consideration.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   SB 253    An Act  extending  the  termination  date  for  the                                                                
             Board of Chiropractic Examiners; and providing for                                                                 
             an effective date.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
             SB 253 was reported out of Committee with a "no                                                                    
             recommendation  and with  fiscal  note  #1  by  the                                                                
             Department  of  Commerce,   Community  &  Economic                                                                 
             Development.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   SB 254    An Act  extending  the  termination  date  for  the                                                                
             State Physical  Therapy  and  Occupational Therapy                                                                 
             Board; and providing for an effective date.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
             SB 254 was reported out of Committee with a "no                                                                    
             recommendation  and with  fiscal  note  #1  by  the                                                                
             Department  of  Commerce,   Community  &  Economic                                                                 
             Development.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   CS SB 255(FIN)                                                                                                               
             An Act extending  the termination  date and duties                                                                 
             for the Board of  Examiners in Optometry; amending                                                                 
             the licensing, endorsement, and renewal provisions                                                                 
             for optometrists;  and providing  for an effective                                                                 
             date.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
             CS SB 255 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with                                                                 
             a "no  recommendation and  with fiscal  note #1  by                                                                
             the Department  of Commerce,  Community & Economic                                                                 
             Development.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   1:53:47 PM                                                                                                                 
   HOUSE BILL NO. 29                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
        An Act relating to health care insurance and to the                                                                     
        Comprehensive   Health   Insurance   Association;   and                                                                 
        providing for an effective date.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN  ROKEBERG,  SPONSOR,  stated  that the                                                                 
   Alaska Comprehensive  Health  Insurance  Association (ACHIA)                                                                 
   was established to provide access to health insurance to all                                                                 
   residents of the State who are  unable to find or are denied                                                                 
   health insurance or  who are considered  uninsurable.  It is                                                                 
   additionally required coverage  for those federally eligible                                                                 
   individuals  under  the  Health  Insurance  Portability  and                                                                 
   Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
The plan was first implemented  in 1993 and is funded through                                                                   
premiums  collected  from insured  and  assessments  received                                                                   
from health insurers  transacting business in  Alaska.  Prior                                                                   
to the  time that  the State became  self-insured,  the State                                                                   
also  participated  in  providing  funds  to  ACHIA  (through                                                                   
assessments received  from its  health insurer).   The effect                                                                   
of  the decision  not  to remain  in ACHIA,  reduced  ACHIA's                                                                   
funding by approximately $400,000 dollars per year.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
In  December   2003,  there  were  484   insured  individuals                                                                   
participating  in ACHIA.   He stated that  as the  insurer of                                                                   
last resort, it  is important that the State  guarantee ACHIA                                                                   
remains viable  and in place.   During 2003, over  $4 million                                                                   
dollars  was  collected  in assessments  from  ACHIA  members                                                                   
(those companies  or entities who  do business in  Alaska and                                                                   
pay into ACHIA)  and over $2.6 million dollars  was collected                                                                   
in premiums  from insured individuals.   ACHIA paid  out over                                                                   
$6.6 million dollars in claim expenses in that same year.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Rokeberg  continued, the majority  of Alaskans                                                                   
that receive  health care benefits  do not contribute  to the                                                                   
high-risk pool;  thereby, shifting costs to  only individuals                                                                   
and small  groups that  purchase health  insurance.   That is                                                                   
poor  public  policy,  particularly on  an  unfunded  Federal                                                                   
mandate.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Many of the self-insured companies,  objected to the original                                                                   
version of  the bill.  In  order to accommodate the  needs of                                                                   
ACHIA,  the legislation  has  been modified  to  grant a  tax                                                                   
credit to the insurance companies  who are currently assessed                                                                   
for the entire  ACHIA shortfall, by using a  small portion of                                                                   
the premium taxes paid into the  State.  A premium tax credit                                                                   
would be justifiable given the  importance of maintaining the                                                                   
viability  of  the  Association  and  its  requirement  under                                                                   
HIPAA.   He maintained that  when viewed against  the demands                                                                   
of the  general fund, viability  of ACHIA exceeds  most other                                                                   
legislation and he urged support.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:01:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Rokeberg presented  a handout,  demonstrating                                                                   
ACHIA contribution breakdowns  from 1993 through 2005.  (Copy                                                                   
on File).  The attachment highlights:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   · 1998-2005: Proforma With HB 29                                                                                             
   · 1993-2005: Historical                                                                                                      
   · 1998-2005: Proforma Assuming State Had Remained Insured                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Rokeberg   noted    the   State's   original                                                                   
participation  in the  program,  dropping out  and giving  up                                                                   
responsibility.  He emphasized  the need to meet that burden,                                                                   
   which  can  be  addressed  through  a  tax  credit,  not   an                                                                
   allotment.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   2:04:22 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Co-Chair Meyer advised that  the Committee is concerned with                                                                 
   rising costs  in  the out  years.    Representative Rokeberg                                                                 
   pointed  out  that   all  insurance   premiums  continue  to                                                                 
   increase.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Weyhrauch commented on the unfunded liability                                                                 
   burden to the Department and  the Division of Retirement and                                                                 
   Benefits.  Representative Rokeberg  was not sure, understood                                                                 
   this  would  be  a  tax  credit.    He  said  Representative                                                                 
   Weyhrauch referenced  an  old  fiscal note  to  the previous                                                                 
   version of the bill and that there would be no impact to the                                                                 
   unfunded liability.  The prior version did spread the risk.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Weyhrauch inquired if the bill was related  to                                                                
   HB 10, the non-profit pool.   Representative Rokeberg stated                                                                 
   it wasn't, however, has the same goal.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   2:08:03 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Kelly asked if  other states use the proposed                                                                 
   system.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   Co-Chair Meyer  inquired why  the legislation  was coming  to                                                                
   the Committee at such a  late date.  Representative Rokeberg                                                                 
   explained that he had changed  the source of funding and the                                                                 
   style of the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   2:10:16 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   CECIL  BYKERK,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  ALASKA  COMPREHENSIVE                                                                 
   HEALTH INSURANCE ASSOCIATION BOARD (ACHIA), OMAHA, NEBRASKA,                                                                 
   advised that  ACHIA  is an  important  program,  which first                                                                 
   passed in  1992.   He  offered  to provide  the  FY04 annual                                                                 
   report to the Committee.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
   ACHIA is  an  important  piece of  the  insurance  system  in                                                                
   Alaska.   It serves &  benefits all  Alaskans  in one-way  or                                                                
   another.  Over the 14 years, ACHIA has paid over $45 million                                                                 
   dollars  in  claims;  collecting   $17  million  dollars   in                                                                
   premiums.  The people purchasing those premiums for the most                                                                 
   part are uninsurable individuals.   ACHIA offers coverage  on                                                                
   a subsidized  basis.   The primary  purpose is  to serve the                                                                 
   uninsurable population.    ACHIA  is  the  Healthy Insurance                                                                 
   Portability  and  Accountability  Act  (HIPAA) solution  for                                                                 
   Alaska and  under  which Alaska  has  fulfilled  the federal                                                                 
   requirements.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   Mr. Bykerk added that ACHIA offers an outlet of insurance  to                                                                
   those that would  otherwise be uninsurable.   Member's pay  a                                                                
high rate @ 140%  above the standard rate.   In reality, they                                                                   
should pay 300%  more given the health issues.   ACHIA offers                                                                   
an in for  the system.   Those people become "payers"  to the                                                                   
health  system, which  eventually,  benefit  everyone in  the                                                                   
State.  There is no cost shifting using these mechanisms.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Currently,  short  falls  are  made-up  by  assessing  health                                                                   
insurers.  It  has been estimated that premium  taxes paid by                                                                   
health  insurers,  are  somewhere   between  $10-$12  million                                                                   
dollars.   When companies  get assessed  for shortfalls,  the                                                                   
costs get transferred  back to the policyholders.   Those are                                                                   
expenses that insurance companies  must cover in some manner,                                                                   
ultimately transferred back through  premiums to individuals.                                                                   
HB  29 will  ease the  burden by  broadening ACHIA's  overall                                                                   
funding base.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Bykerk added,  AHCIA  anticipates  receiving $1  million                                                                   
federal  dollars over  the next  five years.   He  reiterated                                                                   
that all  Alaskans would benefit  from ACHIA.  He  offered to                                                                   
answer questions of the Committee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:18:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN  ANGEL,  VICE  CHAIRMAN,  ALASKA  COMPREHENSIVE  HEALTH                                                                   
INSURANCE   ASSOCIATION  BOARD   (ACHIA),  NEBRASKA,   echoed                                                                   
comments made by  Mr. Bykerk.  He emphasized  that ACHIA does                                                                   
benefit all  Alaskans.   The $45  million dollars that  ACHIA                                                                   
has paid  in claims is  money that would  not have  gone into                                                                   
the  system,  rather  "free-care".     He  acknowledged  that                                                                   
everyone knows, there is no such thing as "free care".                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:19:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer   asked  if  the  legislation   could  reduce                                                                   
insurance rates.   Mr. Bykerk  replied that health  insurance                                                                   
costs and  premiums continue to go  up.  The bill  could help                                                                   
mitigate some  costs for individuals and small  groups buying                                                                   
coverage.   Those assessments  have been in  a range of  1% -                                                                   
1.5%  of premium  costs  each  year.   He believes  it  could                                                                   
become more equitable for those purchasing insurance.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:22:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA HALL,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION  OF INSURANCE,  DEPARTMENT OF                                                                   
COMMERCE, COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT, commented that                                                                   
the ACHIA plan would not prevent  the type of concerns voiced                                                                   
by Representative Kelly and those  seeking different kinds of                                                                   
relief.   People  that are  a part  of ACHIA,  do pay  health                                                                   
insurance premiums,  but pay at a  reduced rate.  There  is a                                                                   
150% cap  of the average  rate.   Uninsurable people  can buy                                                                   
insurance at  a substantially increased premium;  the program                                                                   
does prevent  the growth  of the  uninsured population.   She                                                                   
advised  that  the Division  of  Insurance  has  historically                                                                   
supported the  program and noted  they had worked  diligently                                                                   
   with Representative Rokeberg to  find other funding sources.                                                                 
   The program provides "huge" benefit to Alaskans.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   2:24:15 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Holm asked  what it  means to have  a 150%  of                                                                
   higher rate cap.  Mr. Bykerk  explained, the rates are based                                                                 
   upon surveys taken  from the top five  insurance carriers  in                                                                
   the State of Alaska.  Based on that, the Board sets the rate                                                                 
   at a  percentage, capped  at 150%.   There  is no  intent  to                                                                
   compete with the insurance industry.   Those rates are based                                                                 
   on the  same  structure in  the  market place  and  are age-                                                                 
   dependent, offering  various deductible  choices.   ACHIA  is                                                                
   capped at 150% by law, attempting to keep it affordable.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
   2:28:39 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Holm asked if the majority of the subscribers                                                                 
   were non-paying.  Mr. Bykerk  noted that those that left the                                                                 
   coverage participated in a survey, which indicated that they                                                                 
   could not pay the premium costs.   Available data shows that                                                                 
   if they were uninsurable  and not HIPAA  eligible, they must                                                                 
   indicate  that  they  applied  and  were  turned  down.    He                                                                
   emphasized, they must demonstrate that they are uninsurable.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   2:31:15 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Mr. Angel pointed  out that  there are 32  states that carry                                                                 
   high-risk pools;  19 states  use some  form of  general fund                                                                 
   revenues to fund the pool.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   2:32:24 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Co-Chair  Meyer  noted   concern  with   the  fiscal  costs,                                                                 
   indicating he would hold the  bill in Committee to determine                                                                 
   other fiscal options.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   2:32:59 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Kelly asked  how it could  be determined, who                                                                 
   is an  assessed  "other  insurance   company".   Mr.  Bykerk                                                                 
   replied that  there  is no  correlation  or  assessment,  but                                                                
   rather defined in statute.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   HB 29 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   2:37:28 PM                                                                                                                 
   CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 200(JUD) am                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to defense of self, other persons,                                                                         
     property, or services.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DAVE STANCLIFF,  STAFF, SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT,  stated that                                                                   
SB  200  was  introduced  to  allow  individuals  to  protect                                                                   
themselves  and  others from  violent  crimes.   Based  on  a                                                                   
Florida Statute  hailed as  the "Castle  Law", SB 200  allows                                                                   
force or  deadly force  as a legally  available option  under                                                                   
certain circumstances  where life, property, and  the welfare                                                                   
of others is at risk.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Stancliff noted the provision  excluding the use of force                                                                   
for any  reason against  law enforcement officers,  emergency                                                                   
services  personnel   and/or  those  assisting   in  official                                                                   
duties.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:42:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice  Chair  Stoltze  said  he   had  heard  concerns  voiced                                                                   
regarding the  time after exercising the "doable  force", the                                                                   
person  being prosecuted.   Mr. Stancliff  declared  that was                                                                   
motivation  for  the  bill and  the  front  section  includes                                                                   
exceptions.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:44:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker asked  about the  legal precedence  of                                                                   
the  language  on Page  3,  removing  "duty to  retreat"  and                                                                   
replacing  it with  "leaving the  place of  encounter".   Mr.                                                                   
Stanclif deferred to the Department of Law.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN  PARKS,  DEPUTY ATTORNEY  GENERAL,  CRIMINAL  DIVISION,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  OF LAW, addressed  the change  in terminology  on                                                                   
Page 3, stating that the Department  did not believe it would                                                                   
raise concerns  regarding legal  precedent.  In  working with                                                                   
the Sponsor,  they attempted  to make  the self-defense  laws                                                                   
easier to  understand.  Previously,  she thought it  was more                                                                   
difficult   to  get   lawyers   and  jurors   to   understand                                                                   
phraseology.  She  stated the Department was  involved in the                                                                   
drafting the bill.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:48:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Parks  noted the  Department supports  the rewrite.   She                                                                   
offered to answer questions of the Committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kerttula  referred  to the section on immunity                                                                   
and asked if  the person was acting in true  self-defense and                                                                   
the other person turned out to  be an off-duty peace officer,                                                                   
how would that be resolved.  Ms.  Parks stated the Department                                                                   
had not  been involved in drafting  that portion.   She added                                                                   
it  would be  left  to the  jury to  decide  the immunity  or                                                                   
liability.  The  plaintiff would not automatically  be liable                                                                   
or immune.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   2:50:26 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Kerttula  referred to  the section addressing                                                                 
   gangs; she  thought  there was  justification  available for                                                                 
   self-defense written  into Section 2.   In  that section,  an                                                                
   individual might not be able to use the justifications.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   Ms. Parks stated that section pertains to "shoot outs".  The                                                                 
   Sponsor attempted to carve out  situations when a person  was                                                                
   engaging in criminal type  behavior, when self-defense would                                                                 
   not apply.   She referred to  Subsection 4,  (a,b,c,d).  The                                                                 
   intent is  meant  to  help  innocent  people  and  not those                                                                 
   involved in criminal acts.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Kerttula  requested  clarification  regarding                                                                 
   new gang members,  who may not have  committed criminal acts                                                                 
   and could use  that self-defense  justification.   Ms. Parks                                                                 
   pointed  out  that  current  law  precludes  it;  if  one  is                                                                
   involved in such risky behavior,  they stand the risk of the                                                                 
   violent response.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Kerttula  referred to  Page 2,  Subsection  C,                                                                
   Line 24, suggesting  they might have a  history of violence,                                                                 
   but not  committing  the  crime,  merely  responding  to the                                                                 
   conduct of others.   Ms. Parks offered to  follow up on that                                                                 
   conversation.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   2:55:05 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Hawker observed that Section 2, Subsection  4,                                                                
   was difficult language  to understand.   He pointed out that                                                                 
   in (D),  one might  not claim  self-defense if  that person,                                                                 
   possessed an illegal weapon.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Ms. Parks  acknowledged that  was  correct; she  pointed out                                                                 
   cases in which,  felons, who had  no legal right  to carry  a                                                                
   concealed weapon, end up in a confrontation and then claimed                                                                 
   self-defense.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   2:57:14 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Hawker referred to (D) and the illegal nature                                                                 
   of the  weapon as  a result  of the  felony conviction.    He                                                                
   asked about the circumstances  of registered firearms and  if                                                                
   the individual could use the self-defense justification.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
   2:58:27 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Ms. Parks replied the original restriction had been broader.                                                                 
   Under federal law, those involved in domestic violence could                                                                 
   possess weapons; many Alaskans do own weapons.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
   3:00:12 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Holm noted    the    reference    to    "first                                                                   
responders"  and asked  if that  included  military or  other                                                                   
sections  of government.   He  asked  how that  related to  a                                                                   
person wanting  to protect themselves, "from  the government"                                                                   
taking property.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:01:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Parks referred to Section  1, which creates immunity from                                                                   
civil  liability.   She pointed  out  that subsection  merely                                                                   
prevents    the    immunity    from    becoming    automatic.                                                                   
Specifications  leave the  decision  to the  discretion of  a                                                                   
judge.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:02:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Stoltze  noted  the arduous  process the  bill has                                                                   
gone through during other committee discussions.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:03:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Stancliff  mentioned amendments  made to the  bill during                                                                   
the committee process.  The bill  does not provide license to                                                                   
shoot  someone for  stealing property.   Each  case would  be                                                                   
weighed  on  terms regarding  "reasonably  necessary  force".                                                                   
The intent is  to provide individuals, the ability  to defend                                                                   
their life and property.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer asked  if the Sponsor  had supported  changes.                                                                   
Mr. Stancliff acknowledged that  amendment which the National                                                                   
Rifle Association  (NRA)  does not agree  with, however,  the                                                                   
overall  intention of  the bill  has remained  intact to  the                                                                   
satisfaction of the Sponsor.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:07:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker expressed  appreciation for the process                                                                   
the bill has moved through.  He  referred to the provision on                                                                   
Page 2, the  possession of an illegal weapon,  resulting in a                                                                   
felony  conviction.   He thought  it created  a loophole  and                                                                   
asked why  the provision was  limited to instances  of felony                                                                   
conviction.  Mr. Stancliff provided  a hypothetical situation                                                                   
of a person owning  a shotgun and making the  decision to use                                                                   
it to protect their  home.  In that process,  they would open                                                                   
themselves up to prosecution for possession.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:10:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Stoltze  reiterated,  is  the  bill  as  effective                                                                   
with the changes made in previous  committees.  Mr. Stancliff                                                                   
responded  that it is  impossible to  cover all  hypothetical                                                                   
   situations and  that the sponsor  is "comfortable"  with  the                                                                
   current form.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   3:11:04 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Weyhrauch indicated   concern   that   if   an                                                                
   individual used  an  illegal  weapon, they  no  longer could                                                                 
   claim self-defense.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   3:11:38 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Hawker asked for  the Sponsor's response to  a                                                                
   proposed change on  Page 2,  adding a period  after the word                                                                 
   "possess",  eliminating  "conviction  for  a  felony".   Mr.                                                                 
   Stancliff thought  the change  could make  the justification                                                                 
   "unusable".                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   3:13:02 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Hawker  thought  that  loophole,  provides  an                                                                
   opportunity for a misdemeanor domestic violence perpetrator,                                                                 
   to  use  the  clause.    Mr.  Stancliff  said  it  could   be                                                                
   considered a friendly amendment.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   3:14:10 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Vice Chair Stoltze  commented that  technical matters should                                                                 
   not be dealt with  "hastily".  He  suggested taking the time                                                                 
   necessary to work  it out,  since House Finance  is the last                                                                 
   committee of referral.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   Co-Chair Meyer agreed that  if the bill were  held, it would                                                                 
   provide the time for needed discussion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   3:15:59 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   SB 200 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   3:17:05 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   SENATE BILL NO. 253                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
        An Act extending the termination date for the Board of                                                                  
        Chiropractic Examiners; and providing for an effective                                                                  
        date.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   TOM MAHER, STAFF, SENATOR  GENE THERRIAULT, provided a brief                                                                 
   background on  the  sunset  process  that  produced  SB 253.                                                                 
   Sunset reviews  were  conducted  under  revisions  made last                                                                 
   session to  statutes that  govern the  sunset process.   The                                                                 
   standard sunset  period  for  occupational  boards  and non-                                                                 
   occupational boards  was changed  from  "not to  exceed four                                                                 
   years" to  "not  to  exceed eight  years".    Increasing the                                                                 
standard sunset period allows  for better use of audit staff,                                                                   
committee time,  and makes the sunset process  less consuming                                                                   
for boards and regulatory agencies.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Maher  added that  Alaska's sunset  process has  matured,                                                                   
most of the sunset reviews are  less about eliminating boards                                                                   
and commissions, and more about  operational performance.  To                                                                   
better  measure operational  performance,  last session,  two                                                                   
new criteria  were added to  statute that must  be considered                                                                   
in the course of a sunset review by the auditors:                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
   · The extent to which the board, commission, or agency                                                                       
     has effectively attained its objectives and the                                                                            
     efficiency with which it has operated                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   · The extent to which the board, commission, or agency                                                                       
     duplicates the activities of another governmental                                                                          
     agency or the private sector.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Maher  continued, expanding  criteria  assures  auditors                                                                   
will  measure the  efficiency  and effectiveness  of  boards,                                                                   
commissions  or agencies  under review.   SB  253 stems  from                                                                   
recommendations  contained in  the  Legislative Audit  Sunset                                                                   
Report dated  September 26,  2005.   They concluded  that the                                                                   
Board of Chiropractic Examiners  is operating in the public's                                                                   
best interest and should continue  to regulate chiropractors.                                                                   
SB 253 follows the auditor's recommendation  that extends the                                                                   
sunset to June 30, 2014 for an eight-year extension.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There is  a fiscal  note and that  extending the  Board would                                                                   
not incur any  additional costs over the amounts  proposed in                                                                   
the FY07 Governor's  operating budget request.   The Board is                                                                   
self-supporting.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:119:53 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly referenced Page 5 of the audit.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PAT   DAVIDSON,  LEGISLATIVE   AUDITOR,   LEGISLATIVE   AUDIT                                                                   
DIVISION, explained that the Board  seemed to get "caught up"                                                                   
in a couple  issues such as independent  medical examinations                                                                   
(IME).   The  Department  of Law  warned  them,  they had  no                                                                   
statutory authority  to provide school sport  examinations or                                                                   
MIE's, which tied into LBA's first  recommendation to improve                                                                   
efficiency of the meeting process.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly  asked if there was a cost  to the State                                                                   
for  those inefficiencies.   Ms.  Davidson  replied that  the                                                                   
license fees support the Board's activities.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:22:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   Representative  Foster  referenced  the  attorney  general's                                                                 
   recommendations  listed  on  Page  18  of  the  audit.   Ms.                                                                 
   Davidson echoed previous comments  regarding the independent                                                                 
   medical examiners.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   3:23:29 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative  Foster  MOVED  to   REPORT  SB  253  out   of                                                                
   Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                                                                 
   accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   Representative  Weyhrauch  OBJECTED  noting  the  number   of                                                                
   boards of commissions  statewide.   Representative Weyhrauch                                                                 
   WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Foster pointed  out that in  1989, there were                                                                 
   114 Boards and  Commissions.  After  Governor Hickel's term,                                                                 
   there were 142.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   There being NO further OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   SB  253   was  reported   out  of   Committee  with   a  "no                                                                 
   recommendation and with fiscal  note #1 by the Department  of                                                                
   Commerce, Community & Economic Development.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   3:25:29 PM                                                                                                                 
   SENATE BILL NO. 254                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
        An Act extending the termination date for the State                                                                     
        Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board; and                                                                    
        providing for an effective date.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   TOM MAHER, STAFF, SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT, explained that  SB                                                                
   254 stems from recommendations  contained in the Legislative                                                                 
   Audit Sunset Report  dated September 17,  2005.  Legislative                                                                 
   Audit  concluded  that   the  State   Physical  Therapy  and                                                                 
   Occupational Therapy Board is operating in the public's best                                                                 
   interest  and  should  continue  to  regulate  physical  and                                                                 
   occupational therapists.   The  Board safeguards  the public                                                                 
   interest by promoting the  competence and integrity of those                                                                 
   who practice  in  the  field and  continues  to  improve the                                                                 
   effectiveness  and ensure  therapists  are  licensed  in  the                                                                
   State  of   Alaska.     Accordingly,  given   the  Auditor's                                                                 
   recommendation, SB 254 extends  the sunset date of the Board                                                                 
   to June 30, 2014, for an eight-year extension.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
   There is a fiscal note  associated with extending the Board;                                                                 
   it will not incur additional  costs over the amounts already                                                                 
   contained in the  FY07 Governor's  operating budget request.                                                                 
   The Board is self-supporting.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:26:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUNDI  HONDEL,  (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  PRESIDENT,                                                                   
ALASKA PHYSICAL THERAPY BOARD,  ANCHORAGE, voiced support for                                                                   
the  legislation  and  offered  to answer  questions  of  the                                                                   
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:27:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster   MOVED  to  REPORT  SB   254  out  of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal notes.  There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SB  254   was  reported   out  of   Committee  with   a  "no"                                                                   
recommendation and  with fiscal note #1 by  the Department of                                                                   
Commerce, Community & Economic Development.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 255(FIN)                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     An  Act extending  the termination  date and duties  for                                                                   
     the  Board  of  Examiners  in  Optometry;  amending  the                                                                   
     licensing,  endorsement,   and  renewal  provisions  for                                                                   
     optometrists; and providing for an effective date.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:28:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM MAHER, STAFF, SENATOR GENE  THERRIAULT, explained that SB                                                                   
255 relates to the termination  date and duties for the Board                                                                   
of   Examiners   in  Optometry;   amending   the   licensing,                                                                   
endorsement,  and  renewal provisions  for  optometrists  and                                                                   
providing for an effective date.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Sec. 1 of extends  the sunset date of the Board  of Examiners                                                                   
in Optometry  from June  30, 2006  to June  30, 2014  per the                                                                   
audit  conclusions  contained  in the  report.    Legislative                                                                   
Audit  concluded that  the Board  of  Examiners in  Optometry                                                                   
continues  to serve  a public  need and is  operating in  the                                                                   
public interest.   The regulation and licensing  of qualified                                                                   
optometrists  is necessary  to protect  the public's  health,                                                                   
safety and welfare.  The Board  of Examiners in Optometry has                                                                   
operated   effectively,   adopted  regulatory   changes   and                                                                   
supported  legislation that  improved  its oversight  process                                                                   
and   promoted   more  effective   regulation   of   licensed                                                                   
optometrists.   The Auditor's recommendation provides  for an                                                                   
eight-year sunset extension to June 30, 2014.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Sections 5,  6, 9, 10, &  12 incorporate the  recommendations                                                                   
by   the  Legislative   Auditor  concerning   a  problem   on                                                                   
licensing.   The  Auditor recommended  the Legislature  amend                                                                   
the   optometry   statutes   to    ensure   current   license                                                                   
endorsements  for   the  diagnostic  use   of  pharmaceutical                                                                   
agents.  Currently, statutory  language provides for a single                                                                   
   endorsement to both  prescribe and use.   However, the Board                                                                 
   of Examiners  in  Optometry  is  now  issuing  two  types  of                                                                
   endorsements:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     · The first allows a practitioner to both prescribe and                                                                    
        use pharmaceutical agents, and                                                                                          
     · The second allows a practitioner "use" only.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   Current law does not authorize the use only endorsement.   SB                                                                
   255 corrects that  situation by adding  sections authorizing                                                                 
   the  use   only  endorsement   and  "grandfathers"   in   the                                                                
   practitioners  that  were  given  the endorsement   over the                                                                 
   years.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   Mr. Maher  continued, the  legislation  changes law  to make                                                                 
   current practices  legal, grandfather's  license holders in,                                                                 
   and makes sure  no practitioners  are left  out, which could                                                                 
   have an  impact  on  the  number  of  providers  serving the                                                                 
   public, maximizing  the  number  of  practitioners  that  can                                                                
   practice in Alaska.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   The  rest   of  the   legislation   contains  "housekeeping"                                                                 
   recommendations  that   were  approved  by   the  Board  and                                                                 
   supported by  the Department.   Section  2 deletes  the word                                                                 
   "President" as the Board actually has a "Chair".                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   Mr. Maher discussed,  Sections 3 & 4,  allowing the Board  to                                                                
   better protect  the  public  by  improving  the  handling  of                                                                
   disciplinary actions.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   Section 7 deletes  the statutory cite  requiring 24 hours  of                                                                
   continuing  education  instruction,  allowing  the  Board  to                                                                
   establish through  regulation, the  number of  hours without                                                                 
   amending statute.   The amendment was  requested in response                                                                 
   to the audit and is similar to other boards.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Section 8  removes the  "branch office"  reference  as it  no                                                                
   longer exists.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
   Mr. Maher  pointed out  the fiscal  note by the  Division  of                                                                
   Occupation  Licensing;   the   legislation  will   incur   no                                                                
   additional costs beyond those  already contained in the  FY07                                                                
   Governor's operating  budget  request.   The Board  is self-                                                                 
   supporting thru the receipt of member fees.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   3:32:51 PM                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Weyhrauch  asked if  an effort  had ever  been                                                                
   made to combine some of the boards.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   PAT  DAVIDSON,   LEGISLATIVE   AUDITOR,   LEGISLATIVE  AUDIT                                                                 
   DIVISION, replied that they have  not looked at that per se;                                                                 
they   had   attempted   to   combine   the   Mental   Health                                                                   
professionals, which did not go well.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:34:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kerttula referenced  Section 10, regarding the                                                                   
use of drugs  applied topically by an  optometrist, recalling                                                                   
past  issues.   Ms. Davidson  said  that area  was not  being                                                                   
discussed  as it  is "systemic  versus topical  drugs".   The                                                                   
bill addresses  optometrist's authority to prescribe  drugs &                                                                   
use them;  however, the statute  does not allow the  Board to                                                                   
license  for use  only.   There  is a  small  segment of  the                                                                   
population that is looking for  a "use only" and the proposed                                                                   
language allows that endorsement.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:36:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:37:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair  Stoltze  MOVED to  REPORT CS SB  255(FIN) out  of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal notes.  There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS SB  255 (FIN) was  reported out of  Committee with  a "no"                                                                   
recommendation and  with fiscal note #1 by  the Department of                                                                   
Commerce, Community & Economic Development.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 3:37 P.M.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects