Legislature(2011 - 2012)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/08/2011 09:00 AM FINANCE

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Moved Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Moved CSHB 126(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       March 8, 2011                                                                                            
                         9:07 a.m.                                                                                              
9:07:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Stoltze called the  House Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 9:07 a.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bill Stoltze, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Bill Thomas Jr., Co-Chair                                                                                        
Representative Anna Fairclough, Vice-Chair                                                                                      
Representative Mia Costello                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Doogan                                                                                                      
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Representative  Kurt  Olson,  Sponsor;  Representative  Alan                                                                    
Austerman;   Representative  Mike   Chenault;  Linda   Hall,                                                                    
Director,  Division of  Insurance,  Department of  Commerce,                                                                    
Community and Economic  Development; Mike Monagle, Director,                                                                    
Division of  Workers' Compensation, Department of  Labor and                                                                    
Workforce     Development;     Rena    Delbridge,     Staff,                                                                    
Representative  Mike   Hawker;  Pat   Davidson,  Legislative                                                                    
Auditor,  Division   of  Legislative  Audit;   Don  Habeger,                                                                    
Director,    Division   of    Corporations   Business    and                                                                    
Professional  Licensing, Department  of Commerce,  Community                                                                    
and Economic Development.                                                                                                       
HB 13     WORKERS' COMPENSATION: MEDICAL FEES                                                                                   
          HB 13  was REPORTED  out of  committee with  a "do                                                                    
          pass" recommendation and with  one new fiscal note                                                                    
          by the House Finance  Committee for the Department                                                                    
          of Labor and Workforce Development.                                                                                   
HB 80     SELF DEFENSE                                                                                                          
          HB 80 was HEARD and  HELD in committee for further                                                                    
HB 126    OMNIBUS BOARD EXTENSIONS                                                                                              
          CSHB 126(FIN)  was REPORTED out of  committee with                                                                    
          a "do  pass" recommendation and with  a new fiscal                                                                    
          note by the Department  of Commerce, Community and                                                                    
          Economic Development.                                                                                                 
HOUSE BILL NO. 13                                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to fees and charges for medical                                                                           
     treatment or services as they relate to workers'                                                                           
    compensation; and providing for an effective date."                                                                         
9:08:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KURT OLSON,  SPONSOR,  discussed  HB 13.  He                                                                    
explained  that  the  existing  extension  to  the  workers'                                                                    
compensation  fee schedule  would have  expired on  December                                                                    
31, 2010, but  it had been extended  by emergency regulation                                                                    
until  June  30,  2011.  He   communicated  that  staff  and                                                                    
employees  of  the  Department of  Commerce,  Community  and                                                                    
Economic Development  (CCED) were  available to  discuss the                                                                    
LINDA HALL,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF INSURANCE,  DEPARTMENT OF                                                                    
COMMERCE, COMMUNITY AND  ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, addressed the                                                                    
bill  and  the   purpose  of  the  fee   schedule.  In  2007                                                                    
anticipated  legislation,  which  would have  addressed  the                                                                    
inadvertent  deletion  of the  fee  schedule,  had not  been                                                                    
introduced. Over time three  provisions had been implemented                                                                    
that made cost of living  increases to the fee schedule. The                                                                    
procedure codes  in the  schedule had  not been  kept up-to-                                                                    
date;  currently there  were approximately  2,000 fee  codes                                                                    
that were not covered. She  referred to several charts (copy                                                                    
on  file)  that  showed  current  medical  fees  related  to                                                                    
workers'  compensation  in  Alaska. The  first  handout  was                                                                    
titled "Medical  Benefits Constitute  the Majority  of Total                                                                    
Benefit  Costs in  Alaska." She  shared  that a  significant                                                                    
portion of  workers' compensation cost  was due to  the high                                                                    
cost  of  medical care;  the  chart  showed that  the  total                                                                    
medical  costs  in  Alaska represented  75  percent  of  the                                                                    
system  costs  compared to  the  countrywide  average of  58                                                                    
percent.  The  second graph  from  the  National Council  on                                                                    
Compensation  Insurance was  titled "Alaska  Medical Average                                                                    
Cost per Case  vs. Countrywide." The average  cost in Alaska                                                                    
for  a  workers'  compensation  case  in  2009  was  $37,000                                                                    
compared to  the average countrywide cost  of $27,000, which                                                                    
represented a  37 percent  cost differential.  She discussed                                                                    
that it  was important  to restructure  the fee  schedule in                                                                    
order to address  the high costs. The third  handout was the                                                                    
"2010  Oregon  Workers'  Compensation Premium  Rate  Ranking                                                                    
Summary." Alaska no  longer held the number-one  rank in the                                                                    
study  that it  had occupied  during the  prior four  years.                                                                    
There had been rate decreases for the last five years.                                                                          
Ms. Hall  discussed the general  overview of  the provisions                                                                    
in  the  legislation.  She  detailed  that  the  bill  would                                                                    
replace  the  past  Consumer  Price  Indexes  (CPI)  with  a                                                                    
sustainable schedule, which would  limit the division's need                                                                    
to request CPI increases from  the legislature every year or                                                                    
so. A full fee schedule  that included the missing procedure                                                                    
codes  would  be  provided  and  was  a  step  back  to  the                                                                    
methodology that  had been  in place  in 2004.  The schedule                                                                    
was  adopted  by the  Workers'  Compensation  Board and  was                                                                    
constructed by  an outside vendor that  collected data based                                                                    
on geographical areas. The fee  schedule was a base schedule                                                                    
that was  not to exceed  the usual reasonable  and customary                                                                    
fees that were  established by the board; it was  based on a                                                                    
credible  profile  of  billed charges  to  ensure  actuarial                                                                    
credibility. The schedule reflected  the cost differences in                                                                    
the  four  geographical  areas in  Alaska.  Categories  were                                                                    
expanded under the bill to  ensure that all types of medical                                                                    
services were incorporated, including transportation costs.                                                                     
9:16:06 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Hall detailed  that some  transportation costs  such as                                                                    
emergency medevac  and ground transportation  were extremely                                                                    
expensive.  She had  received a  number  of anecdotal  cases                                                                    
from  Alaskans  related  to high  transportation  costs  for                                                                    
health  insurance and  workers'  compensation.  She did  not                                                                    
think  the transportation  costs  would  be reduced  through                                                                    
their inclusion in the fee  schedule. She added that the fee                                                                    
schedule  would be  based  on the  90th  percentile of  bill                                                                    
charges.  The number  was higher  than  most medical  health                                                                    
insurance  fee schedules  and ensured  that injured  workers                                                                    
would have access to good treatment.                                                                                            
Representative  Neuman  asked  how  the  bill  would  impact                                                                    
employer insurance  costs. He had heard  from employers that                                                                    
unemployment benefits and  workers' compensation contributed                                                                    
to their high insurance costs.                                                                                                  
Ms. Hall replied that the  bill stabilized the fee schedule.                                                                    
She did  not think that  it would  reduce costs, but  it had                                                                    
the potential to  cap costs. The 2,000  procedure codes that                                                                    
were not covered in the  fee schedule were currently paid at                                                                    
100  percent and  would  be capped  at  the 90th  percentile                                                                    
under  the legislation;  therefore,  a  small cost  increase                                                                    
could occur initially. She opined  that the stability of the                                                                    
fee  schedule would  be  beneficial to  the  system and  the                                                                    
system costs.                                                                                                                   
Representative Neuman wondered  whether the Physicians Board                                                                    
had  been  consulted  on  the   proposed  fee  schedule.  He                                                                    
believed  that  the  stability  could  help  to  bring  more                                                                    
insurance  companies  into  the  state,  which  would  offer                                                                    
increased competition and help to stabilize costs.                                                                              
Ms. Hall responded  that HB 13 was identical to  a bill that                                                                    
passed the  House the prior  year and changes had  been made                                                                    
to the  language in  response to  concerns from  the medical                                                                    
society.  She added  that  she had  not  heard the  concerns                                                                    
during the current year.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair  Stoltze observed  that  North  Dakota had  cheaper                                                                    
9:20:05 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Guttenberg  wondered  whether there  was  an                                                                    
analysis that showed how providers  would be impacted by fee                                                                    
schedule  or capping  cost shifts  related  to Medicaid  and                                                                    
other.  He asked  whether charges  would  increase in  other                                                                    
areas. Ms.  Hall did not  believe that an analysis  had been                                                                    
done, given  that the division's statistical  agent National                                                                    
Council  on Compensation  Insurance had  not conducted  one.                                                                    
She did not  think that any significant  cost shifting would                                                                    
occur with a fee schedule  at the 90th percentile. She noted                                                                    
that  a potential  reduction to  the rates  of Medicare  and                                                                    
Medicaid  could result  in rates  that were  lower than  the                                                                    
service costs.                                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Stoltze OPENED and CLOSED public testimony.                                                                            
Co-Chair Stoltze pointed to the $75,000 fiscal note.                                                                            
MIKE MONAGLE,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF  WORKERS' COMPENSATION,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT  OF  LABOR   AND  WORKFORCE  DEVELOPMENT  (DLWD),                                                                    
discussed that  the $75,000  estimated cost  associated with                                                                    
producing a medical  fee schedule was based on  the costs of                                                                    
the  last  contractor  the  department   had  used  in  2003                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze  asked what the  previous fee  schedule had                                                                    
cost.  Mr. Monagle  responded  that it  had  been ten  years                                                                    
since  the  last fee  schedule  had  been produced  and  the                                                                    
department did not have record  of the costs associated with                                                                    
its production. The department had  contacted Engenics for a                                                                    
general  quote  on the  costs,  but  did not  have  specific                                                                    
details because  DLWD was planning  to submit a  request for                                                                    
proposal and anticipated that the company may enter a bid.                                                                      
Co-Chair  Stoltze was  surprised  about  the missing  record                                                                    
because  workers' compensation  had not  been a  low profile                                                                    
issue in 2003 and 2004.                                                                                                         
Vice-chair Fairclough wondered  whether the committee should                                                                    
zero-out FY 13 through FY 17  on the fiscal note in order to                                                                    
make it more relevant.                                                                                                          
Co-Chair  Stoltze thought  the recommendation  represented a                                                                    
good compromise.                                                                                                                
Representative Doogan wondered whether  the first year would                                                                    
help to  provide information necessary  for a  more complete                                                                    
fiscal  note. Mr.  Monagle replied  in  the affirmative.  He                                                                    
explained  that  after  the  department  awarded  its  first                                                                    
contract bid it would have more solid cost data.                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze  remarked that the  cost would be  at least                                                                    
9:26:31 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-chair  Fairclough observed  that  it  was possible  the                                                                    
awarded bid would come in  higher than the projected cost on                                                                    
the fiscal  note, which  would not  look good;  however, the                                                                    
bid could be less than the projected amount.                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze communicated that  the fiscal note would be                                                                    
modified  to  reflect the  committee's  changes.  The FY  13                                                                    
through FY 17 columns would be zeroed-out.                                                                                      
Representative   Gara  commented   that  medical   costs  in                                                                    
workers'  compensation and  across  the board  were high  in                                                                    
Alaska.  He  had  been  told that  most  states  allowed  an                                                                    
average insurance  compensation at  the 50th  percentile and                                                                    
that Alaska allowed compensation  at the 70th percentile. He                                                                    
did  not know  whether the  insurance compensation  played a                                                                    
part  in Alaska's  high  medical costs,  but  he thought  it                                                                    
would  be worth  hearing  about as  the committee  discussed                                                                    
Medicare and medical costs.                                                                                                     
Vice-chair  Fairclough   MOVED  to  report  HB   13  out  of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                       
HB  13  was REPORTED  out  of  committee  with a  "do  pass"                                                                    
recommendation  and  with  new  fiscal  note  by  the  House                                                                    
Finance Committee for the Department  of Labor and Workforce                                                                    
9:29:34 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:30:45 AM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 126                                                                                                            
     "An Act  extending the termination  dates of  the Board                                                                    
     of Nursing,  the Board of  Dental Examiners,  the Board                                                                    
     of Barbers and  Hairdressers, the Regulatory Commission                                                                    
     of Alaska,  and the  Alcoholic Beverage  Control Board;                                                                    
     and providing for an effective date."                                                                                      
9:30:45 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze  discussed that there  was a CS for  HB 126                                                                    
that amended  the omnibus sunset extension  bill and removed                                                                    
the Regulatory  Commission of Alaska  (RCA) and  the Alcohol                                                                    
Beverage Control Board (ABC).                                                                                                   
Vice-chair  Fairclough  MOVED  to   ADOPT  Work  Draft  CSHB                                                                    
126(FIN) 27-LS0321\I (Kirsh, 3/1/11).                                                                                           
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
RENA   DELBRIDGE,   STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE   MIKE   HAWKER,                                                                    
discussed  that Representative  Hawker  was the  Legislative                                                                    
Budget and Audit chairman and  that he supported the omnibus                                                                    
extension. She  relayed that Representative  Hawker believed                                                                    
the  omnibus was  the most  efficient mechanism  for routine                                                                    
board and commission extensions.                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stoltze noted  that noncontroversial  sunset bills                                                                    
usually  came before  the committee  one at  a time  and had                                                                    
individual sponsors.                                                                                                            
Representative Gara commented that he  did not need a verbal                                                                    
review  of  the   reports  in  the  file,   given  that  the                                                                    
extensions were noncontroversial.                                                                                               
Co-Chair Stoltze asked for a brief explanation of the bill.                                                                     
PAT DAVIDSON,  LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR, DIVISION  OF LEGISLATIVE                                                                    
AUDIT, discussed  the division's recommendation  that boards                                                                    
should  make  timely   investigations.  She  explained  that                                                                    
health and  safety issues  were dealt  with first  and there                                                                    
were   long   periods    of   inactivity   associated   with                                                                    
investigations of complaints for boards.                                                                                        
Ms.  Davidson  notified  the committee  that  the  financial                                                                    
status  of  the  Board  of   Barbers  and  Hairdressers  was                                                                    
generally  alright; however,  the division  recommended that                                                                    
the public  member either resign or  surrender their license                                                                    
because board  members were  not supposed  to engage  in the                                                                    
profession they were actively regulating.  The member was no                                                                    
longer an  active hairdresser, but according  to statute the                                                                    
surrender of  a license  or the  resignation from  the board                                                                    
was  required. Apart  from the  timely investigations  there                                                                    
had  been  no  recommendations   for  the  Board  of  Dental                                                                    
Examiners. The board's accumulated  surplus was addressed by                                                                    
the reduction of fees during the FY 09 renewal cycle.                                                                           
Ms.  Davidson pointed  to  the Board  of  Nursing which  had                                                                    
three  specific  recommendations.   First,  the  appropriate                                                                    
entities  should   be  notified   when  an   advanced  nurse                                                                    
practitioner's authority to  write prescriptions was revoked                                                                    
or  suspended by  the  board. Second,  the  board needed  to                                                                    
improve  its oversight  of certified  nurse's aide  training                                                                    
programs.  Sporadic  onsite   reviews  had  been  conducted;                                                                    
however,  there had  been  no processing  or  review of  the                                                                    
self-evaluation  forms   that  were   submitted  biannually.                                                                    
Third, the current licensed  practical nurse (LPN) appointed                                                                    
to the board did not  meet the statutory qualifications. She                                                                    
explained that  according to statute the  board position was                                                                    
to be  held by  an LPN working  in an  institutional nursing                                                                    
situation, but  the current board  member was working  as an                                                                    
emergency  medical  technician. The  board  had  built up  a                                                                    
substantial   financial  surplus   as  a   result  of   past                                                                    
accounting errors  and had indicated  its intention  to drop                                                                    
fees  as much  as  20 percent  in the  FY  11/FY 12  renewal                                                                    
9:36:57 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wilson asked  how long  the division  gave a                                                                    
board to fill a position when a member was asked to resign.                                                                     
Ms. Davidson replied that the  Division of Legislative Audit                                                                    
did  not have  the ability  to enforce  its recommendations.                                                                    
She specified that  once the issue had  been identified that                                                                    
it was  up to  the appropriate  division to  take corrective                                                                    
Representative  Gara wondered  whether the  boards that  had                                                                    
received  recommendations  for  a  member  to  resign  would                                                                    
report to the committee once the resignation had occurred.                                                                      
Co-Chair  Stoltze  explained  that   Don  Habeger  with  the                                                                    
Department of  Commerce, Community and  Economic Development                                                                    
(CCED) would address the question.                                                                                              
Vice-chair Fairclough  wondered whether it would  be helpful                                                                    
for  Representative   Hawker  to  issue  a   letter  to  the                                                                    
department on  behalf of the  House Finance  and Legislative                                                                    
Budget  and Audit  Committees that  requested compliance  on                                                                    
the  recommendations  and asked  it  to  follow-up with  the                                                                    
committee no later than the  end of session or the following                                                                    
year. She discussed the ability  to know whether boards were                                                                    
in compliance prior to a bill vote on the House floor.                                                                          
Representative Guttenberg wondered about  the purpose of the                                                                    
prohibition that existed in AS  44.66.050 (e) that prevented                                                                    
the  bill  from  reestablishing   more  than  one  board  or                                                                    
Ms.  Davidson  replied that  according  to  statute, a  bill                                                                    
should  have no  more  than one  board extension  associated                                                                    
with it. She did not know the history of the statute.                                                                           
Co-Chair Stoltze remembered  a bill that had  included 12 to                                                                    
15 board extensions before his time in the legislature.                                                                         
9:40:21 AM                                                                                                                    
DON  HABEGER, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION  OF CORPORATIONS  BUSINESS                                                                    
AND   PROFESSIONAL   LICENSING,  DEPARTMENT   OF   COMMERCE,                                                                    
COMMUNITY  AND ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT,  addressed an  earlier                                                                    
question  from Representative  Gara.  He  believed that  the                                                                    
member  in  question  had  surrendered  the  license,  which                                                                    
brought  the   Board  of   Barbers  and   Hairdressers  into                                                                    
compliance.  He would  get  back to  the  committee with  an                                                                    
affirmative answer.                                                                                                             
Mr.  Habeger examined  other issues  and  concerns that  had                                                                    
been  discussed.  The  division was  working  diligently  to                                                                    
correct  the  timely  investigation   issue  that  had  been                                                                    
highlighted in  each legislative audit.  As a result  of the                                                                    
audit the division had replaced  an old database that lacked                                                                    
a mechanism  to flag older  cases. The division  was working                                                                    
to implement  a new  system that  was specifically  made for                                                                    
licensing  activities  nationwide.  The  division  hoped  to                                                                    
report  the following  year  that  the timely  investigation                                                                    
problems had been resolved.                                                                                                     
Mr. Habeger communicated that there  had been a $1.4 million                                                                    
roll-forward  related to  nurses' fees.  Fees were  reviewed                                                                    
and adjusted  on an annual  basis. Some  of the fees  he had                                                                    
reviewed had increased and others  had remained the same. He                                                                    
explained that any existing surpluses  were used to amortize                                                                    
licensing fees.                                                                                                                 
Representative  Neuman recalled  that the  Board of  Nursing                                                                    
had lacked  the ability  to resolve a  situation in  which a                                                                    
non-licensed nurse  practitioner had  written prescriptions.                                                                    
He  wondered  whether  Mr. Habeger  was  familiar  with  the                                                                    
Mr. Habeger replied that he  was familiar with one case that                                                                    
the  division   had  recently   handled.  He   relayed  that                                                                    
licensing actions  had been brought against  the individual.                                                                    
He had worked with the  board's chair and executive director                                                                    
to develop  a way to  make reporting available to  a broader                                                                    
group. He added  that the Board of  Nursing website included                                                                    
information on licensing action.                                                                                                
9:45:12 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Neuman   asked  about   the  inappropriately                                                                    
occupied positions  on the  Board of  Nursing that  had been                                                                    
cited in the  audit. He contemplated whether  a reduction to                                                                    
the  eight-year  board  term   was  necessary  in  order  to                                                                    
increase  the legislature's  oversight. He  wondered how  to                                                                    
deal   with   the   board   positions   that   were   filled                                                                    
Mr. Habeger responded that he  did not recall the issue with                                                                    
the Board of  Nursing. He agreed that it was  a challenge to                                                                    
keep  track of  the 129  board members  on approximately  20                                                                    
boards. He noted the concern and would keep it in mind.                                                                         
Representative  Wilson  cited  the  Legislative  Budget  and                                                                    
Audit  recommendation that  the  director  of boards  should                                                                    
fill the LPN position with  an individual that was currently                                                                    
involved in  institutional nursing services.  She understood                                                                    
that the  current Board of  Nursing LPN position  was filled                                                                    
by an  individual in the  emergency field and asked  CCED to                                                                    
notify the committee when the issue had been corrected.                                                                         
Representative  Gara asked  how quickly  CCED could  let the                                                                    
committee  know  about  the  course  of  action  related  to                                                                    
removing the board member. He  noted that once the committee                                                                    
approved  the board  that it  had  no authority  to get  the                                                                    
department to replace the position.                                                                                             
Mr. Habeger replied  that he would work  with the governor's                                                                    
office, as it  was responsible for the  appointment of board                                                                    
positions.  He believed  that the  issue had  been rectified                                                                    
shortly after  the legislative audit  had been  released. He                                                                    
would provide the  committee with a detailed  answer as soon                                                                    
as possible.                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stoltze  referenced earlier  commentary  regarding                                                                    
the eight-year board  term and noted that any  member on the                                                                    
committee   could  introduce   legislation   to  address   a                                                                    
Representative   Gara  requested   that   CCED  notify   the                                                                    
Legislative Audit  Division when  the issues related  to the                                                                    
Board of Barbers  and Hairdressers and the  Board of Nursing                                                                    
had been  resolved. He asked the  Legislative Audit Division                                                                    
to let the  committee know whether it felt  that the concern                                                                    
had been addressed.                                                                                                             
Mr. Habeger responded in the affirmative.                                                                                       
Co-Chair  Stoltze observed  that the  governor's office  was                                                                    
ultimately responsible for making the substantive changes.                                                                      
Vice-chair Fairclough communicated  that the committee could                                                                    
zero-out the  fiscal note or  ask the House  Rules Committee                                                                    
chair to hold the bill  until the requested answers had been                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stoltze was  comfortable  moving  the fiscal  note                                                                    
forward. He reflected on more  challenging issues related to                                                                    
boards  and commissions  in  the past.  He  opined that  the                                                                    
current issues were substantive, but solvable.                                                                                  
9:51:09 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Doogan  expressed   his  expectation   that                                                                    
affirmative  answers  would  be  provided prior  to  a  bill                                                                    
hearing on the House floor.                                                                                                     
Co-Chair Stoltze responded that  the committee would ask the                                                                    
House  Rules Committee  chair  to hold  the  bill until  the                                                                    
answers had been received.                                                                                                      
Representative Doogan  did not anticipate any  problems, but                                                                    
was aware that problems did happen.                                                                                             
Ms.  Delbridge responded  that  the  Legislative Budget  and                                                                    
Audit  Committee  would  be  happy   to  make  certain  that                                                                    
concerns   were  addressed   and   to   ensure  that   audit                                                                    
recommendations were followed.                                                                                                  
Vice-chair Fairclough  MOVED to report CSHB  126(FIN) out of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                       
Representative Gara  OBJECTED for purpose of  discussion. He                                                                    
wanted to  make certain that  the controversial RCA  and ABC                                                                    
boards were voted on during  the current session, given that                                                                    
both boards sunset in the current year.                                                                                         
Co-Chair Stoltze  believed the issues related  to the boards                                                                    
were  more substantive,  but not  controversial. He  relayed                                                                    
that the committee would address each of the boards.                                                                            
Representative Gara WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                     
CSHB  126(FIN) was  REPORTED  out of  committee  with a  "do                                                                    
pass"  recommendation and  with  a new  fiscal  note by  the                                                                    
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.                                                                     
9:54:12 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:57:12 AM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 80                                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to self defense in any place where a                                                                      
     person has a right to be."                                                                                                 
9:57:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MARK  NEUMAN, SPONSOR, discussed  that Alaska                                                                    
statute provided  the right to  use deadly force  to protect                                                                    
family, person,  and property. House Bill  80 clarified that                                                                    
the right applied to the home  and in any place a person had                                                                    
a right to  be. The bill clarified an  individual's right to                                                                    
protect  their  life and  the  lives  of their  family.  The                                                                    
proposed legislation  strengthened the legal  recognition of                                                                    
a  human's  basic  right for  self-defense  and  placed  the                                                                    
responsibility  of retreat  on the  perpetrator. He  relayed                                                                    
that  18 states  had introduced  similar legislation;  HB 80                                                                    
closely  followed language  suggested  by  the other  states                                                                    
which was included in member packets.                                                                                           
Representative Wilson  asked whether the bill  forced people                                                                    
to retreat.  She referred to  email correspondence  that had                                                                    
expressed concern about the issue.                                                                                              
Representative Neuman  responded that currently the  duty to                                                                    
retreat was  included in  Alaska statute,  but it  was being                                                                    
examined in  the judicial system.  The bill put  the ability                                                                    
into the  hands of the  individual responsible for  making a                                                                    
"split-second decision" and protected their rights.                                                                             
Representative Wilson  asked whether  an attempt  to retreat                                                                    
would  still be  required or  whether a  person could  stand                                                                    
their ground  without worrying  about being  prosecuted. She                                                                    
shared that constituents in her  community wanted to be able                                                                    
to protect their families and did  not want to be faced with                                                                    
making a decision to retreat in an emergency situation.                                                                         
Representative   Neuman    replied   that   there    was   a                                                                    
justification  clause in  statute  that specifically  stated                                                                    
how  self-defense could  be applied;  however,  the duty  to                                                                    
retreat language  was somewhat vague. He  explained that the                                                                    
bill worked  to clarify  a person's  ability to  stand their                                                                    
Representative  Gara  believed  that the  current  law  only                                                                    
required a  duty to retreat  in situations that  would allow                                                                    
an individual to retreat safely.  He did not want to provide                                                                    
individuals with  the right to  shoot someone in  all cases.                                                                    
He wondered what the standard would  be if there was no duty                                                                    
to retreat even in cases  where safe retreat would have been                                                                    
Representative   Neuman   responded    that   AS   11.81.330                                                                    
specifically  listed situations  in  which self-defense  was                                                                    
justified, including  the use of  force with  mutual combat,                                                                    
and  against  death,  serious physical  injury,  kidnapping,                                                                    
sexual assault  in the first  and second degree, abuse  of a                                                                    
minor, and  robbery in any  degree. The statute  also stated                                                                    
that a person may not use  deadly force under the section if                                                                    
a person knew  that "with complete personal  safety and with                                                                    
complete safety as to others  being defended, the person can                                                                    
avoid the  necessity of  using deadly  force by  leaving the                                                                    
area."  He thought  it  was  up to  the  judicial branch  to                                                                    
provide interpretation  on when deadly force  could or could                                                                    
not be  used. The  goal of  the bill was  to clarify  that a                                                                    
person did  not have  to second guess  their right  to self-                                                                    
10:03:21 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Gara wanted  to ensure  that fair  standards                                                                    
existed that did not allow a  person to shoot someone for no                                                                    
good reason.  He stated  that the  law was  circular because                                                                    
there was  a duty to not  shoot a person if  it was possible                                                                    
to safely retreat,  but the bill allowed a  person in safety                                                                    
to shoot  a person.  He thought  the other  circumstances in                                                                    
which a  person was not  allowed to shoot someone  were most                                                                    
likely  listed  somewhere  in  statute  that  had  not  been                                                                    
provided.  He  wanted  to  ensure   that  a  definition  was                                                                    
included in statute.                                                                                                            
Co-Chair  Stoltze asked  Representative Neuman  to make  the                                                                    
materials he was reading from  available to the committee at                                                                    
future hearings on the bill.                                                                                                    
Representative  Neuman  responded  in  the  affirmative.  He                                                                    
clarified  that  the bill  did  not  attempt to  change  any                                                                    
existing  justification  clauses;   full  justification  was                                                                    
still required for a person to use deadly force.                                                                                
Representative Gara  asked whether the  justification clause                                                                    
was under AS 11.81.330.                                                                                                         
Representative Neuman responded in the affirmative.                                                                             
Co-Chair Stoltze noted that the  Department of Law (DOL) and                                                                    
Department   of  Public   Safety  (DPS)   would  be   active                                                                    
participants   in  the   next  committee   hearing  on   the                                                                    
Representative  Gara wanted  to  also hear  from the  Public                                                                    
Defender Agency.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stoltze  responded  that Quinlan  Steiner,  Public                                                                    
Defender  was available  for  questions via  teleconference,                                                                    
but the committee would discuss  the bill more thoroughly at                                                                    
the next hearing.                                                                                                               
Vice-chair Fairclough  asked to hear from  DOL regarding the                                                                    
proposed two new full-time attorney  positions listed in its                                                                    
fiscal   note.  She   asked   the   department  to   provide                                                                    
information that supported the fiscal note.                                                                                     
Representative  Guttenberg wondered  whether the  bill would                                                                    
have changed  the outcome of  any specific situations  if it                                                                    
had been  implemented in the  past. He did not  know whether                                                                    
the bill made life safer or more complex.                                                                                       
Representative  Neuman  did  not   believe  there  would  be                                                                    
changes in  past convictions. He asked  for clarification on                                                                    
the question.                                                                                                                   
Representative  Guttenberg wondered  about  the impetus  for                                                                    
the bill and whether specific  incidents had occurred in the                                                                    
past that the bill could have helped.                                                                                           
Co-Chair Stoltze notified the  sponsor that he could provide                                                                    
the  committee with  an answer  at the  next meeting  on the                                                                    
bill.  He believed  that  the  purpose of  the  bill was  to                                                                    
reduce the  amount of prosecutions related  to self-defense.                                                                    
He reiterated that he would talk to DOL.                                                                                        
10:08:39 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Wilson asked  how  the 1,155  cases in  2010                                                                    
that were  listed in  the fiscal note  were relevant  to the                                                                    
department's  calculation  of  costs. She  wondered  whether                                                                    
there were past  cases that may not have  been prosecuted if                                                                    
the bill had existed at the time.                                                                                               
Co-Chair Stoltze  replied that  the committee would  get the                                                                    
answer from DOL and DPS.                                                                                                        
Vice-chair  Fairclough  asked  the   sponsor  to  provide  a                                                                    
definition for  self-defense in Alaska statute.  She thought                                                                    
it  would help  to  clear up  members'  questions about  the                                                                    
benefit of the legislation.                                                                                                     
Representative Joule  referenced the  state's law  that gave                                                                    
people the  right to conceal  a weapon. He wondered  how the                                                                    
bill  would  impact a  person  carrying  a concealed  weapon                                                                    
without a permit  who acted in self-defense in  a place they                                                                    
had a right to be.                                                                                                              
Co-Chair Stoltze  responded that there was  currently a dual                                                                    
system  that allowed  individuals with  or without  a permit                                                                    
the   right   to   carry  a   concealed   weapon   in   most                                                                    
Representative Neuman  answered that a person  could not use                                                                    
a handgun  for deadly force if  they did not have  the legal                                                                    
right to have  a handgun. The bill did not  protect a person                                                                    
that was  not legally permitted  to have a handgun,  such as                                                                    
felons and other.                                                                                                               
HB 80 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                               
10:11:58 AM                                                                                                                   
The meeting was adjourned at 10:11 AM.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB13 Sectional Analysis.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 13
HB13 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 13
HB13 Supporting Documents 2010 NCCI AK Med.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 13
HB13 Supporting Documets - MSRC Nov 2009 Report pages 11-12.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 13
HB126-NEWFNCCED-RCA-02-17-11.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126-NEWFNCCED-CBPL-02-16-11.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB13 Supporting Documents OR Rate Study Comparison.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 13
HB126 Supporting Documents-RCA Sunset Review.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Supporting Documents-RCA Audit Summary.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Supporting Documents-Nursing Sunset Review.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Supporting Documents-Nursing Audit Summary.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Supporting Documents-LB&A Subcommittee Recommendation ABC Board.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Supporting Documents-Dental Examiners Audit Summary.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Supporting Documents-Dental Ex Sunset Review.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Supporting Documents-Barbers and Hairdressers Sunset Review.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Supporting Documents-Barbers and Hairdressers Audit Summary.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Sponsor Statement LB&A letterheada.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Supporting Documents-ABC Audit Summary 2009.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB126 Supporting Documents-ABC Sunset Review.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126
HB80 HJUD Letter to HFIN 02-14-11.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Sponsor Statement for HFIN.docx HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB126 CS Work Draft 27LSO321-I.pdf HFIN 3/8/2011 9:00:00 AM
HB 126