Legislature(2007 - 2008)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/27/2008 01:30 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 50 CHILD PLACEMENT COMPACT TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 50(JUD) Out of Committee
+ HB 314 G.O. BONDS FOR TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Postponed>
+ HJR 37 CONST AM: SEC. OF STATE REFERENCES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 37(JUD) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 419 STATE LEASE-PURCHASE AGREEMENTS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 367 SALE OF RAW MILK PRODUCTS TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Postponed>
+= HB 400 MITIGATING FACTOR: CARE FOR DRUG OVERDOSE TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
<Bill Held Over from 3/26/08>
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       March 27, 2008                                                                                           
                         1:49 P.M.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 1:49:15 PM.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
Representative Bill Thomas Jr.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
Representative Mary Nelson                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Max  Gruenberg; Representative  Beth Kerttula;                                                                   
Tom Wright, Staff, Representative  Mike Chenault; Vern Jones,                                                                   
Chief  Procurement  Officer,  Department  of  Administration;                                                                   
Aurora Hauke,  Staff, Representative Beth  Kerttula; Rynnieva                                                                   
Moss, Staff,  Representative John Coghill;  Marsha Pickering,                                                                   
Deputy   Compact  Administrator,   Social  Services   Program                                                                   
Coordinator, Office of Children's  Services (OCS), Department                                                                   
of  Health  and  Social  Services;  Mike  Lesmann,  Community                                                                   
Relations,  Office of Children's  Services (OCS),  Department                                                                   
of Health and Social Services                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 50     An Act relating to the Interstate Compact for the                                                                     
          Placement  of Children; establishing  an interstate                                                                   
          commission for the placement  of children; amending                                                                   
          Rules  4 and 24, Alaska  Rules of Civil  Procedure;                                                                   
          and providing for an effective date.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          CS HB 50 (JUD) was reported out of Committee with                                                                     
          a "do pass" recommendation and with zero note #1                                                                      
          by the Department of Administration and fiscal                                                                        
          note  #2 by  the Department  of  Health and  Social                                                                   
          Services.                                                                                                             
HB 367    An  Act relating to  the sale of  raw milk  and raw                                                                   
          milk products.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          HB 367 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                   
HB 400    An  Act  relating to  a  person who  seeks  medical                                                                   
          assistance   for  a  person  experiencing   a  drug                                                                   
          overdose.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          HB 400 was reported out of Committee with a "do                                                                       
          pass" recommendation  and with zero note  #1 by the                                                                   
          Department of Law.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 419    An Act prohibiting certain  state leases and lease-                                                                   
          purchase   agreements  for   equipment  and   other                                                                   
          personal property;  and providing for  an effective                                                                   
          date.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          HB 419 was HEARD & HELD in Committee for further                                                                      
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HJR 37    Proposing  amendments  to the  Constitution of  the                                                                   
          State of  Alaska to correct obsolete  references to                                                                   
          the  office of secretary  of state by  substituting                                                                   
          references  to the  office  of lieutenant  governor                                                                   
          and  to eliminate  personal  pronoun references  in                                                                   
          the sections proposed to be amended.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          CS HJR 37 (JUD) was  reported out of Committee with                                                                   
          "individual  recommendations" and with  fiscal note                                                                   
          #1 by the Office of the Governor.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:50:04 PM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 419                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An Act prohibiting certain state leases and lease-                                                                         
     purchase agreements for equipment and other personal                                                                       
     property; and providing for an effective date.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Chenault MOVED  to  ADOPT work  draft  25-LS1567\K,                                                                   
Cook,  3/26/08,  as  the  version  of  the  bill  before  the                                                                   
Committee.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:50:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM WRIGHT,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  MIKE CHENAULT,  explained                                                                   
that the work  draft proposes a "kinder and  gentler" version                                                                   
of the  original bill.   He  stated that  HB 419 places  into                                                                   
statute,  authorization  for   State  departments  and  other                                                                   
agencies such as the Supreme Court,  the Board of Regents for                                                                   
the  University  of Alaska  and  the Legislative  Council  to                                                                   
enter into lease-purchase  contracts for equipment  and other                                                                   
properties that are not considered real property.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
In  the past,  there were  no limitations  on a  department's                                                                   
ability to enter  into lease purchases for  non-real property                                                                   
purchases.    The  Administration   interpreted  an  Attorney                                                                   
General's opinion  from 1987 to give them the  power to enter                                                                   
into  the  agreements.    The  new  section  of  HB  419,  AS                                                                   
36.30.086,   provides   the    explicit   authorization   for                                                                   
departments  to  enter  into  lease-purchase  agreements  for                                                                   
equipment to  perform the duties  and statutory  functions of                                                                   
the department.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Wright  continued,  the legislation  requires  that  any                                                                   
agency  that  enters  into  a  lease-purchase  contract  that                                                                   
exceeds $100 thousand dollars,  provide written notice to the                                                                   
House  and   Senate  presiding   officers  and  the   Finance                                                                   
Committee  chairs.   It  also  requires  that the  Office  of                                                                   
Management and  Budget (OMB) submit a report  containing each                                                                   
lease-purchase  agreement entered  into by  an agency  during                                                                   
the preceding fiscal  year.  The report will  need to include                                                                   
the  purchase  price,  term  payments,  the  amount  of  each                                                                   
payment  and the  amount  of  interest or  financing  charges                                                                   
paid.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He identified changes made to the bill:                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   ·    Section 1 designates in AS 36.30.085 as pertaining                                                                      
        to only real property.  Previously, there were no                                                                       
        provisions addressing the legal definition of                                                                           
        personal property.                                                                                                      
   ·    AS 36.30.086, lease-purchase of personal property,                                                                      
        provides all departments ability to enter into                                                                          
        lease-purchase agreements.                                                                                              
   ·    Additional   reporting    requirement   was    added,                                                                   
                                 th                                                                                             
        indicating by January 15 of each year, all lease-                                                                       
        purchase agreements must be reported to the                                                                             
        Legislature.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:53:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer  pointed  out the  testifiers  available  for                                                                   
comment on the  bill.  Mr. Wright indicated  his gratitude to                                                                   
the many  agencies that  had assisted  in preparation  of the                                                                   
bill.   He  understood that  OMB has  indicated concern  with                                                                   
some reporting  requirements for  the lease-purchase  items &                                                                   
that  the  Department  of  Administration   might  also  have                                                                   
concerns.    He maintained,  it  is  prudent for  all  lease-                                                                   
purchase agreements to be reported.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:54:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  inquired if there was  a definition of                                                                   
lease-purchase  agreement in  Statute.   Mr.  Wright did  not                                                                   
believe there  was but  noted there is  a definition  of real                                                                   
property and non real property.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  questioned   if  the  intent  was  to                                                                   
provide an agreement  at the end of the lease  purchase title                                                                   
to the State  of Alaska and  if that would be  limited scope.                                                                   
He  wondered if  a loophole  was  there, escaping  reporting.                                                                   
Mr. Wright deferred  to the department.  He  pointed out that                                                                   
AS  36.30.085 discusses  lease-purchase  agreements and  does                                                                   
relate to  real property  agreements and provides  guidelines                                                                   
to lease-purchase agreement concerns.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly asked  if  the bill  would increase  or                                                                   
decrease the  amount of lease-purchasing  done by  the State.                                                                   
Mr. Wright did not think it would  be affecting it one way or                                                                   
the  other and  that  the sponsor  did not  want  to see  the                                                                   
system abused in the future.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:57:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault interjected,  the intent is to determine if                                                                   
there are abuses  occurring in the programs.   Presently, the                                                                   
process indicates  there are no  abuses but certainly,  large                                                                   
amounts  of money  have gone out.   It  is the  Legislature's                                                                   
authorization to  know how the  departments are  spending the                                                                   
money and  how loans  are paid  back.   He wanted to  present                                                                   
legislation that provides a report  and the details as to how                                                                   
the  funds  will  be  used.    He  reiterated  the  issue  of                                                                   
appropriation  power  and  tracking  of  money  spent  across                                                                   
department lines.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:59:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VERN  JONES,   CHIEF  PROCUREMENT   OFFICER,  DEPARTMENT   OF                                                                   
ADMINISTRATION,   responded    to   a   previous   query   by                                                                   
Representative  Hawker  regarding  the difference  between  a                                                                   
lease and a  lease purchase, noting no  statutory definition.                                                                   
The difference  is that at the  end of a lease-purchase,  the                                                                   
State would  own the  asset and  at the end  of a lease,  the                                                                   
asset is returned to the party that it was leased from.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker questioned  the  terminology of  those                                                                   
concepts.  He  pointed out the principle regarding  the title                                                                   
transfer  lessee; in  other cases  where  the lease  involves                                                                   
substantial value  of the asset,  while it does  not transfer                                                                   
title,  it   is  still  required   to  be  recognized   as  a                                                                   
capitalized asset.  He believed  that it would be possible to                                                                   
circumvent the  intent of  the Statute by  terms of  a lease-                                                                   
purchase agreement, which could  actually be a transfer title                                                                   
risk of ownership.   At the end of the lease  term, the title                                                                   
could  remain   with  the  leaser   and  would   not  require                                                                   
disclosure.   Mr. Jones agreed  that if the State  intends to                                                                   
simply  lease  a  piece  of  equipment   with  no  option  of                                                                   
ownership, the bill does not apply.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  requested working with the  Sponsor to                                                                   
correct the loophole.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:02:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Crawford  remembered   that  the   bill  had                                                                   
initially  been   submitted  in  conjunction   with  Governor                                                                   
Murkowski's  jet purchase  and asked  if it  was intended  to                                                                   
deter future  actions such  as that.   Mr. Jones said  if the                                                                   
bill been in  place, the Department would have  been required                                                                   
to make the transaction and report  it to the Legislature and                                                                   
would have shown up in the January report.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:03:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Thomas  remembered   that   the  press   had                                                                   
indicated  that  the  Legislature  allowed  the  Governor  to                                                                   
purchase the jet because of certain  language in Statute.  He                                                                   
wanted to  be guaranteed  that would not  happen again.   Mr.                                                                   
Wright  said that  the sponsors  did  discuss caps;  however,                                                                   
created complications  in cases  where the Legislature  wants                                                                   
to authorize or  approve a lease-purchase by  adding unwanted                                                                   
steps.   That  option  has created  stumbling  blocks by  not                                                                   
limiting the Legislature's ability to authorize.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule  inquired if it  could be an  option for                                                                   
the  Legislative   Budget  and  Audit  (LBA)   Committee  for                                                                   
consideration  of adding a  cap exceeding  the request.   Mr.                                                                   
Wright  advised  that LBA  can  not authorize  exceeding  the                                                                   
caps; they do not have that approval authority.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:05:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  observed  that  the  work  draft  was                                                                   
intended to be the "nicer" version  of the bill; he suggested                                                                   
consideration  of  the  original  version.    Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                   
proposed  the bill  be  held so  that  Co-Chair Chenault  and                                                                   
Representative  Hawker  could  discuss  the version  to  move                                                                   
forward.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:06:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 419 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:07:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 400                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to a person who seeks medical                                                                              
     assistance for a person experiencing a drug overdose.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BETH KERTTULA,  SPONSOR, introduced  the bill                                                                   
because a constituent's  daughter died from  a drug overdose,                                                                   
and out of that,  she has put her grief to  work to determine                                                                   
a  way  to  encourage reporting  of  someone  having  a  drug                                                                   
overdose.   There  have  been nationwide  studies  undertaken                                                                   
that address mitigating factors.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:08:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AURORA  HAUKE, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE  BETH KERTTULA,  stated                                                                   
that HB  400 is an  attempt to  save lives; approximately  85                                                                   
Alaskans die  each year from  drug overdoses and  that number                                                                   
exceeds the national  average.  Many times,  deaths from drug                                                                   
overdoses may  be preventable  by a single  911 call.   Often                                                                   
those  calls  are  not  made   because  the  people  who  are                                                                 
witnessing  the   overdose  are  afraid  of   being  arrested                                                                   
themselves.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB  400  identifies  the problem  by  allowing  a  mitigating                                                                   
factor  in   sentencing  for   crimes  involving   controlled                                                                   
substances, if  the defendant  sought medical assistance  for                                                                   
another person, who was experiencing a drug overdoes.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:09:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  asked the  specific  definition of  a                                                                   
drug  overdose.     Representative  Kerttula  viewed   it  as                                                                   
anything  threatening a  person's health  from the  use of  a                                                                   
drug.  Representative  Hawker questioned if a  single trip on                                                                   
heroine could be considered a  drug overdose.  Representative                                                                   
Kerttula offered  to check into that, advising  that what she                                                                   
had seen had been more serious and life threatening.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:10:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze   mentioned  a  case  that   happened  in                                                                   
Spenard.  He  thought that the definition was  too ambiguous.                                                                   
Representative Kerttula  countered that the judge  could make                                                                   
the decision regarding whether  it was appropriate or not and                                                                   
that factual information is never  taken lightly.  Vice-Chair                                                                   
Stoltze  did not  have the  same confidence  in the  judicial                                                                   
branch.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:12:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  took  offense   to  comments  regarding                                                                   
judges,  made by  Vice-Chair  Stoltze.   Representative  Gara                                                                   
suggested  that  those  type  of  comments  are  not  in  the                                                                   
Committee's greatest use of time.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  noted that  these  are  not people  who                                                                   
have committed a  crime and are going to get  off sentencing.                                                                   
Instead, it will  be a person that has committed  a crime and                                                                   
convicted  of  committing that  crime.    It is  a  mitigater                                                                   
indicating that in  the circumstances where there  is a crime                                                                   
committed,  during the  commission of  that crime, you  place                                                                   
the call  for help for another  person, that action  would be                                                                   
considered in  the sentencing.   If a crime is  committed and                                                                   
other awful  things have  been done also,  there would  be an                                                                   
aggravator and  the judge determines  the sentence  for those                                                                   
people.     There  are  more   aggravators  than   there  are                                                                   
mitigaters in the sentencing statutes.   Sentencing should be                                                                   
determined by  everything the  person did.   He summed  up, a                                                                   
person  calling  law  enforcement  to  help  another  person,                                                                   
should receive some favorable consideration.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer agreed  that  if someone  does  a good  deed,                                                                   
there should  be mitigating factors  considered.  He  did not                                                                   
know  if people  committing  the crimes  would  know that  by                                                                   
calling  911,  there  would  be a  possibility  of  a  lesser                                                                   
sentence.  Representative Kerttula  replied that this kind of                                                                   
information  does get around  and is known  and could  make a                                                                   
difference.  She  noted she  had looked into  the statute and                                                                   
could not  determine if there  was a criminal  law definition                                                                   
for overdose.  She thought it might be a medical term.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:15:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Hawker   commented  that   the   legislation                                                                   
proposes a  "good Samaritan  refuge".   He wondered  if there                                                                   
was  another  way  to  look  at   the  language  to  be  more                                                                   
inclusive.     Representative   Kerttula  advised   that  the                                                                   
information in  HB 400 is  specific about the  actual problem                                                                   
related to the overdose itself.   Ms. Hauke added, last year,                                                                   
the  State of  New  Mexico, which  also has  a  high rate  of                                                                   
deaths   related   to   drug    overdoses,   passed   similar                                                                   
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:17:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  advised  that the  bill  proposes  to                                                                   
create a mitigater and asked if  that could create a conflict                                                                   
with    presumptive    sentencing   already    in    Statute.                                                                   
Representative Kerttula did not  think so.  She said that the                                                                   
Department of  Law had looked closely  at it.  It  would only                                                                   
happen  after the  person  is convicted  and  the judge  then                                                                   
makes  certain findings;  it  would be  left  to the  judge's                                                                   
discretion.   Ms. Hauke added  that the mitigating  factor is                                                                   
based  on the  presumptive  sentences.   The  low-end of  the                                                                   
presumptive range is zero to four  years; it could be reduced                                                                   
to removing the sentence all together.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:19:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  believed that a court could  interpret a                                                                   
drug overdose.   He  pointed out  that sentence hearings  are                                                                   
not long like  trials can be.   He pointed out #18,  the need                                                                   
to prove  that  mitigating factors,  asking what  "suffering"                                                                   
from mental disease  means.  He thought that  some terms just                                                                   
do not need to be defined.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Gara   referenced   the  comment   made   by                                                                   
Representative   Hawker   regarding  the   "Good   Samaritan"                                                                   
provision  of  the  bill.    To  resolve  the  drug  overdose                                                                   
situation,  it  is a  good  thing  for  someone to  call  for                                                                   
medical help during a crime and  recommended that alternative                                                                   
language be included.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kerttula thought  those changes would  reduce                                                                   
the  title, making  is substantially  broader.   She did  not                                                                   
object to  that if it  were the will  of the Committee.   She                                                                   
pointed out that New Mexico added  immunity to their statute.                                                                   
She had not offered  the bill that way.  HB  400 specifically                                                                   
offers  a mitigater.   Co-Chair  Meyer  commented that  those                                                                   
changes  should  have  been  made   in  the  House  Judiciary                                                                   
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:22:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  asked if  references  had  been made  to                                                                   
legal  or   criminal  immunity.     Representative   Kerttula                                                                   
responded, it  would be  immunity from criminal  prosecution.                                                                   
The Committee chose not to do that.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  disagreed with the term  "Good Samaritan"                                                                   
suggesting  rather a  "criminal  accomplice with  a lapse  of                                                                   
conscience".    He asked  if  the legislation  could  include                                                                   
alcohol abuse.  Ms. Hauke stated  it deals with AS 11.71, the                                                                   
controlled  substances statute.    She did  not believe  that                                                                   
drug  overdose would  also  be considered  alcohol  overdose.                                                                   
Representative Kerttula  said arguably it could  be, however,                                                                   
wanted to check it with the Department of Law.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:24:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule thought that  Representative Stoltze was                                                                   
correct.   He noted that  he had served  on the  Alcohol Drug                                                                   
and Advisory Board, referencing  alcohol and other drugs.  He                                                                   
worried the  bill would place  a continued stress on  the bed                                                                   
space at  the Department  of Corrections.   He wanted  to see                                                                   
responsibility  in  addressing  people's choices.    Co-Chair                                                                   
Meyer agreed  and thought that  the bill could  actually save                                                                   
the  State money.    He did  not  know about  sentencing  and                                                                   
mitigating factors.   Representative Kerttula  explained that                                                                   
mitigating  factors  must  be  specifically  requested,  with                                                                   
findings  made and after  the trial,  during the  sentencing.                                                                   
Then  there is  a  range of  mitigating  options  and in  the                                                                   
higher  sentencing,  the  judge  can  only reduce  ½  of  the                                                                   
sentence.   She added that these  kind of defendants  do know                                                                   
the law and she thought it would have a beneficial result.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara advised that  the legislation  would not                                                                   
cover alcohol  abuse; it  is only for  a conviction  under AS                                                                   
11.71, which he  thought was only controlled  substances, not                                                                   
alcohol.   He  stated that  part  of the  criminal system  is                                                                   
determining the  right level  of punishment.   Representative                                                                   
Kerttula  clarified  that  the  offense that  the  person  is                                                                   
convicted under is  under AS 11.71; however, it  is the other                                                                   
person that  is actually experiencing  the drug  overdose and                                                                   
consequently,   alcohol   would   be   included   under   the                                                                   
definition.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:29:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:30:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  thought that inclusion of  the mitigater                                                                   
could  reduce jail  time,  which could  zero  out the  fiscal                                                                   
note.  Co-Chair Meyer advised  that the note is already zero.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  MOVED to REPORT  HB 400 out  of Committee                                                                   
with  individual recommendations  and  with the  accompanying                                                                   
fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HB  400  was reported  out  of  Committee  with a  "do  pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and with zero  note #1  by the Department  of                                                                   
Law.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:31:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 50                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     An  Act  relating  to the  Interstate  Compact  for  the                                                                   
     Placement  of   Children;  establishing   an  interstate                                                                   
     commission  for  the  placement  of  children;  amending                                                                   
     Rules  4 and 24,  Alaska Rules  of Civil Procedure;  and                                                                   
     providing for an effective date.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
RYNNIEVA MOSS,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE JOHN  COGHILL, directed                                                                   
her  comments to  Representative  Coghill's involvement  with                                                                   
the legislation.   She stated that HB 50  provides provisions                                                                   
for  adoption of  a new  Interstate  Child Placement  Compact                                                                   
(ICPC).    The  current ICPC  was drafted  in 1959 to  assure                                                                   
that children placed across state  lines were placed with the                                                                   
same protections and services  as children placed intrastate.                                                                   
Through the  years, it has become  evident that the  ICPC has                                                                   
resulted in unnecessary delays  in moving children across the                                                                   
state  lines,   lack  of   accountability  and  an   outdated                                                                   
administrative  process.   The  current ICPC  applies to  all                                                                   
interstate placements  such as  placement with relatives  and                                                                   
residential treatment centers,  not just placements involving                                                                   
children in state custody.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  continued, the new compact  would hold states  to a                                                                   
higher standard  of duty, eliminating regulation  of children                                                                   
not in  state custody,  making provisions  for private  child                                                                   
placement  agencies and bringing  the administrative  process                                                                   
into current  times with  home study incentives,  definitions                                                                   
for  new terminology  requiring  consideration of  interstate                                                                   
placements,  cooperation  between  member states  in  sharing                                                                   
information and  providing foster parents  more participation                                                                   
in the process.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  stated that  HB 50 provides  state child  placement                                                                   
agencies  and courts,  the tools  to  make faster  interstate                                                                   
placements and holds all parties  accountable for providing a                                                                   
safe, reliable home for children in out-of-state placement.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:34:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARSHA  PICKERING,   DEPUTY  COMPACT  ADMINISTRATOR,   SOCIAL                                                                   
SERVICES PROGRAM  COORDINATOR, OFFICE OF  CHILDREN'S SERVICES                                                                   
(OCS), DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH  AND SOCIAL SERVICES,  addressed                                                                   
the  ICPC, which  attempts to  bring more  uniformity to  the                                                                   
process  because under  the current  compact,  the rules  and                                                                   
regulations that  have been developed were not  drafted under                                                                   
the Administrative  rule process.   The Department  wanted to                                                                   
determine accountability  for the  receiving state.   The new                                                                   
compact  offers  the opportunity  to  come  up with  rules  &                                                                   
regulations  that all  states  follow and  requirements  will                                                                   
include  enforcement.    There   would  also  be  a  required                                                                   
mediation structure, allowing  for lawsuits in federal court.                                                                   
The reprecosity  element  will be a  continuation of  current                                                                   
practice with more uniform guidelines.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Pickering  noted that  the compact  has been endorsed  by                                                                   
the National Council  on State Human Services  & the National                                                                   
Association of  Public Child  Welfare Administration  & other                                                                   
agencies.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Pickering  commented that  another opportunity  under the                                                                   
ICPC will  be uniform data  collecting, sharing  & guidelines                                                                   
involving  tribal governments.    Under  the new  commission,                                                                   
the State would have opportunities  to actually work with the                                                                   
tribes  to determine  a mechanism  for the  placements.   The                                                                   
legislation  will  provide  for provisional  approval.    She                                                                   
commented  on the  length of  time it  takes for  placements.                                                                   
The  new compact  provides the  Division  the opportunity  to                                                                   
offer  provisional   approvals  based  on   local  background                                                                   
checks.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Pickering  added  that  the   new  compact  deletes  the                                                                   
requirement for  parents to go  through the compact  to place                                                                   
their  children  in residential  treatment  centers.   It  no                                                                   
longer  applies  to  foreign  adoptions  or  families  making                                                                   
decisions  among  themselves  regarding  the  placement  with                                                                   
someone  that is not  an actual  relative but  a part  of the                                                                   
family.  The compact will require  a State advisory committee                                                                   
for oversight, which will be represented  from each branch of                                                                   
government.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:40:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule  asked about  the  fiscal  costs.   Ms.                                                                   
Pickering anticipated  two years for all states  to enact the                                                                   
legislation;  it  will  take approximately  another  year  to                                                                   
determine  the rules  and  regulations.   At  that time,  the                                                                   
Department  will be  able  to determine  what  is needed  for                                                                   
compliance and the associated costs.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  asked if thirty-four other states  would need                                                                   
to  approve before  going into  effect.   Ms. Pickering  said                                                                   
yes.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara asked  if the proposed  compact  had the                                                                   
same language  as the one put  before the other states.   Ms.                                                                   
Pickering said it  was the same with the addition  of statues                                                                   
to support the  provision to renumber.  Ms.  Moss interjected                                                                   
that the provision that was renumbered  was an indirect court                                                                   
rule that applies only to the State of Alaska.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:42:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  noted that  the sponsor decided  to hold  the first                                                                   
draft of  the compact as he  wanted to be guaranteed  that it                                                                   
would not  supersede State law  and wanted to make  sure that                                                                   
any  threat to  State sovereignty  was  eliminated.   Through                                                                   
negotiations  with  the  Division,   language  concerns  were                                                                   
removed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:43:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly  asked   if  those  comments  had  been                                                                   
directed  to Page  2,  the Department  of  Health and  Social                                                                   
Services fiscal note reference  to tribes.  Ms. Moss said no;                                                                   
however, the old  version stated that regulations  adopted by                                                                   
the  commission  would supersede  State  law.   She  provided                                                                   
examples of language  that had been removed.   Representative                                                                   
Kelly  asked assurance  that was  no longer  a concern.   Ms.                                                                   
Moss agreed.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:44:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer  referenced  the  Department  of  Health  and                                                                   
Social Services fiscal note.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE   LESMANN,  COMMUNITY   RELATIONS,   OFFICE   CHILDREN'S                                                                   
SERVICES  (OCS), DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH  AND SOCIAL  SERVICES,                                                                   
explained  the fiscal note,  which does  reflect that  in the                                                                   
first  two  fiscal   years,  OCS  would  not   be  requesting                                                                   
additional resources;  beginning in  2011, that would  change                                                                   
depending on ratification of the thirty-four other states.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly  mentioned the  size  of  the note  and                                                                   
asked  what would  happen if  it was  not passed.   Ms.  Moss                                                                   
pointed out that the fiscal notes  reflect the administration                                                                   
of the  commission.   She did not  believe that they  "fairly                                                                   
reflect" that and less expense  would be incurred by OCS from                                                                   
the  quickness of  placement,  putting  children with  family                                                                   
rather than  into foster homes.   She reiterated,  the fiscal                                                                   
note does not adequately reflect the real fiscal impact.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly  asked  if  the  sponsor  believes  the                                                                   
actual   cost  would   be  lower.     Ms.   Moss  said   yes.                                                                   
Representative  Kelly advised  that family  should be  taking                                                                   
care of  these concerns  and that  they should  not be  paid.                                                                   
Ms. Moss responded that there  are incidences where the State                                                                   
does pay family in situations  which the children have either                                                                   
physical or mental  problems that need medical  attention and                                                                   
Medicaid assistance.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:48:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  MOVED to REPORT CS HB 50  (JUD) out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal notes.  There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS  HB 50  (JUD) was  reported out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                   
pass" recommendation and with  zero note #1 by the Department                                                                   
of Administration  and fiscal  note #2  by the Department  of                                                                   
Health and Social Services.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:48:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 37                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Proposing  amendments to the  Constitution of  the State                                                                   
     of Alaska  to correct obsolete references  to the office                                                                   
     of secretary of state by  substituting references to the                                                                   
     office of lieutenant governor  and to eliminate personal                                                                   
     pronoun  references  in  the  sections  proposed  to  be                                                                   
     amended.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MAX GRUENBERG,  SPONSOR, advised that in 1970,                                                                   
the legislature proposed and the  voters of Alaska approved a                                                                   
series of amendments  to the State Constitution  that changed                                                                   
the name of the Office of "Secretary  of State" to the office                                                                   
of  "Lieutenant  Governor".    At  that  time,  the  drafting                                                                   
attorneys did not  catch all of the references  to "Secretary                                                                   
of State".                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HJR 37  corrects the two  remaining references  to "Secretary                                                                   
of State".  The proposed amendments,  if approved would place                                                                   
it  before the  voters  in the  next  general  election.   He                                                                   
added,  it  also corrects  personal  pronouns  referenced  in                                                                   
those sections.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:50:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
In response to Representative  Gara's observation of changing                                                                   
all  pronouns  to "he",  Representative  Gruenberg  responded                                                                   
that  he wanted  to take  the  path of  least resistance  and                                                                   
controversy.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara thought that  since the bill  intends to                                                                   
be a "clean-up", all legislators  should not be referenced as                                                                   
"he".  Representative Gruenberg  noted that the original bill                                                                   
could be adopted rather the House Judiciary draft.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  asked why the House  Judiciary Committee                                                                   
changed  the  pronouns  to "he".    Representative  Gruenberg                                                                   
noted  that  the   House  Judiciary  draft  has   attached  a                                                                   
memorandum addressing two subjects.   For that reason, it was                                                                   
determined safer to limit it to  "Lt. Governor" and "he".  He                                                                   
noted  that another  bill  HJR  7, adds  additional  language                                                                   
clean-up.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:53:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze commented that  incorrect gender reference                                                                   
falls under  obsolete but that  the courts will do  what they                                                                   
want to in any  case.  He noted that he had  not received any                                                                   
complaints regarding the matter.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  questioned why  an  oversight from  a                                                                   
previous amendment,  merits a process  of putting it  back in                                                                   
front of  the people  for a vote.   Representative  Gruenberg                                                                   
responded   that  it   is  important   to  keep  the   Alaska                                                                   
Constitution  correct and  up to date,  acknowledging,  it is                                                                   
not earth-shaking.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:58:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  stated that he  would vote "do  not pass"                                                                   
the bill  out of Committee if  the sponsor intended  to place                                                                   
any amendments  into it on  the House floor.   Representative                                                                   
Gruenberg replied he had no intention of adding amendments.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Chenault MOVED  to REPORT  CS HJR  37 (JUD) out  of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal  note.  There being NO  OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS HJR 37 (JUD) was reported out of Committee with                                                                              
"individual recommendations" and with fiscal note #1 by the                                                                     
Office of the Governor.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:01:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 3:03 P.M.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                

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