Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/07/1994 03:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE March 7, 1994 3:00 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair Rep. Al Vezey Rep. Harley Olberg Rep. Bettye Davis Rep. Irene Nicholia Rep. Tom Brice MEMBERS ABSENT Rep. Pete Kott OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT Rep. Gene Therriault COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HB 478: "An Act relating to the authority of mobile intensive care paramedics and emergency medical technicians to pronounce death under certain circumstances." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 506: "An Act relating to student loans; to sanctions for defaulting on a student loan, including denial of a state occupational license or disbursement of state money; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD *HB 354: "An Act relating to identification required upon enrollment in a public school." NOT HEARD - POSTPONED UNTIL TIME UNCERTAIN (* First public hearing.) WITNESS REGISTER STEVEN O'CONNOR, Assistant Chief Central Emergency Services, Soldotna 231 S. Binkley St. Soldotna, Alaska 99669 Phone: (907) 262-4792 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) BILL KRIEGSMAN, Captain Emergency Medical Services Ketchikan Fire Department 319 Main St. Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Phone: (907) 225-9616 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) MARK JOHNSON, Chief Emergency Medical Services Section Division of Public Health Department of Health and Social Services P.O. Box H Juneau, Alaska 99811-0616 Phone: (907) 465-3027 Position statement: Testified in support of HB 478 THOMAS SWAN, Paramedic P.O. Box 83226 Fairbanks, Alaska 99708 Phone: (907) 488-3327 Position Statement: Testified in support of 478 (spoke via teleconference) CRAIG LEWIS, President Alaska Emergency Medical Services Association 1881 Marika St. Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 Phone: (907) 456-3978 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) THOMAS NAROW, Chief of Service Interior Ambulance and Rescue Squad 370 Old Steese Hwy. Fairbanks, Alaska 99710 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) RONNI SULLIVAN, Executive Director Southern Region Emergency Medical Services Council, Anchorage 6130 Tuttle Pl. Anchorage, Alaska 99507 Phone: (907) 562-6449 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) DAVID POTASHNICK, Assistant Chief North Slope Fire Department P.O. Box 69 Barrow, Alaska 99723 Phone: (907) 852-0307 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) JASON ELSON, Batallion Chief/Training Officer Kenai Fire Department 105 S. Willow Kenai, Alaska 99611-7745 Phone: (907) 283-7666 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) JOEY PAYTON, Emergency Medical Technician Delta Rescue P.O. Box 485 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Phone: (907) 895-4975 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) BRENT URSEL, Physician's Assistant McGrath Health Center P.O. Box 10 McGrath, Alaska 99627 Phone: (907) 524-3299 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) JANET NORTH, Physician's Assistant Galena Health Center P.O. Box 77 Galena, Alaska 99741 Phone: (907) 656-1366 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) GEORGE GILMORE, Physician's Assistant Tenana Chiefs Conference P.O.Box 309 Ft. Yukon, Alaska 99740 Phone: (907) 662-2462 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) WENDY HLADICK, Physician's Assistant Galena Health Center P.O. Box 74 Galena, Alaska 99741 Phone: (907) 656-1891 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 478 (spoke via teleconference) JOE MCCORMICK, Executive Director Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education 3030 Vintage Blvd. Juneau, Alaska 99801-7109 Phone: (907) 465-6740 Position Statement: Answered questions on HB 506 LYNNE SMITH, Committee Aid House Health and Social Services Committee Alaska State Legislature State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 465-6825 Position Statement: Answered questions pertaining to Amendment 2 for HB 506 PAIGE ADAMS, Vice-President University of Alaska Southeast Student Council, Sitka 6-B Lifesaver Dr. Sitka, Alaska 99835 Phone: (907) 966-2244 Position Statement: Testified in support of HB 506 DON WANIE, Director Division of Finance Department of Administration P.O. Box 110204 Juneau, Alaska 99811 Phone: (907) 586-3603 Position Statement: Testified on HB 506 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 478 SHORT TITLE: EMT'S AUTHORITY TO PRONOUNCE DEATH SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) THERRIAULT JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/14/94 2376 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/14/94 2376 (H) HES, JUDICIARY 03/07/94 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 506 SHORT TITLE: STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES BY REQUEST JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/16/94 2416 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/16/94 2416 (H) HES, L&C, FINANCE 03/03/94 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/03/94 (H) MINUTE(HES) BILL: HB 354 SHORT TITLE: I.D. REQUIRED TO ENROLL CHILD IN SCHOOL SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/10/94 2020 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/10/94 2020 (H) HES, JUDICIARY 03/07/94 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-38, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR TOOHEY called the meeting to order at 3:07 p.m., noted members present and announced the calendar. She then explained that HB 354 would be was postponed until a time uncertain. CHAIR TOOHEY brought HB 478 to the table and indicated that Anchorage, Barrow, Delta Junction, Fairbanks, McGrath, Galena, Ketchikan, and Soldotna were on teleconference. HB 478 - EMTs AUTHORITY TO PRONOUNCE DEATH Number 083 REP. GENE THERRIAULT, Prime Sponsor of HB 478, addressed his bill by reading from the sponsor statement. He stated that HB 478 proposes to allow mobile intensive care paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) to determine and pronounce death under certain circumstances. He indicated that certified paramedics and EMTs who are active members of a certified emergency medical service may make a determination and pronouncement of death if a physician is not immediately available upon determining that the person has suffered irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions. REP. THERRIAULT said currently when EMTs begin CPR they are required to continue resuscitation either until the person recovers or the EMT is relieved by either a medical facility or physician, or the responding parties become physically exhausted and are no longer able to continue, or their physical safety is seriously threatened, or a physician pronounces the person dead. REP. THERRIAULT indicated that many times emergency medical response members are required to continue unproductive resuscitation for several hours because physicians and medical facilities are not immediately available. REP. THERRIAULT stated that HB 478 would allow an emergency medical response member to declare death in situations where a physician is not available and would help emergency response teams respond to the emergency medical needs of Alaska. He asked for questions from the committee. Number 174 CHAIR TOOHEY asked for teleconference testimony. She also asked those testifying to limit their testimony to three minutes. Number 176 STEVEN O'CONNOR, Assistant Chief, Central Emergency Services, Soldotna, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. He stated that he had concerns regarding page 2, line 19, of the bill. He suggested that the line be deleted and recommended that the emergency medical technician should only provide information pertaining to the death to a physician who would actually sign the death certificate. He also indicated that there are areas of the state that have Home No Code Death policies and was concerned that the legislation might conflict with that established protocol. Number 250 CHAIR TOOHEY said Mr. O'Connor's concern was understandable. Number 252 BILL KRIEGSMAN, Captain, Emergency Medical Service (EMS), Ketchikan Fire Department, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. He stated that he was in agreement with Steven O'Connor's suggestions. He indicated that the term advanced cardiac life support techniques is referred to several times in the bill and suggested that the word cardiac be deleted. CHAIR TOOHEY asked Rep. Therriault if specific regulations would be brought up by the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) or the Department of Public Safety. She asked what the guidelines would be for EMSs. REP. THERRIAULT stated that there would be some regulatory "fleshing out" and he felt that statutes would not be able to address that level of detail. He then said he had an amendment that would delete the language that requires the EMS provider to sign the death certificate and would change the language to require the EMS to provide information regarding the circumstances of death to the person who signs the death certificate. REP. BUNDE made a motion to adopt the amendment to HB 478. REP. VEZEY objected. (CHAIR TOOHEY stated for the record that Rep. Brice arrived at 3:10 p.m. and Rep. Nicholia arrived at 3:13 p.m.) REP. VEZEY asked if the amendment was numbered A.1 (8-LS1678/A.1). He was told by a number of members that it was. REP. THERRIAULT said that the change would require the EMS to provide the information to the person who signs the death certificate. REP. VEZEY said the amendment did not read well and asked for someone to read it in context. Number 382 CHAIR TOOHEY read page 2, line 18, as amended: "The paramedic or emergency medical technician shall provide to the person who signs the death certificate the... name of the deceased; presence of a contagious disease, if known; and..." REP. VEZEY said it sounded like an incomplete sentence. REP. THERRIAULT further indicated that the words which must be include were deleted. He said that it is an incomplete sentence that is completed with 1, 2, or 3. REP. BRICE read the sentence again. CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Rep. Vezey understood the question. REP. VEZEY said yes. He then asserted that the physician would be held liable for the information provided by the EMS who hadn't signed anything. He asked why it would be preferable not to have the paramedic sign. CHAIR TOOHEY said the only information being provided was the name of the deceased, the presence of a contagious disease, if known, and the date and time. REP. VEZEY indicated that the aforementioned information was very critical legal information with tremendous legal consequences. REP. THERRIAULT said it was his intention to have the EMS provider sign the death certificate, but indicated there is a system already in place through which that information is provided. REP. OLBERG clarified that any death not attended by a physician would require a physician to sign a death certificate, even though the physician would be required to take a third party's word for it. He also said it was his understanding that a death, not attended by a physician, would result in an autopsy. CHAIR TOOHEY agreed with Rep. Olberg. REP. VEZEY said he was not comfortable with the amendment, but would listen to further testimony. CHAIR TOOHEY asked Mark Johnson to address the question. Number 500 MARK JOHNSON, Chief, Emergency Medical Services Section, Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Social Services, testified in Juneau in support of HB 478. He stated that there is a medical examiner system in place and also that the new State Medical Examiner, Dr. Probst, was opposed to the concept of EMS providers signing death certificates. He maintained that the thrust of the bill is to enable EMS providers to pronounce death as to avoid extremely prolonged resuscitative efforts. He also indicated that there were some administrative questions that he needed clarified. Number 541 REP. VEZEY asked if the amendment was still being debated. CHAIR TOOHEY said yes. She called for a vote. REP. G. DAVIS asked that the vote be held until further testimony was heard, and said that Rep. Vezey's concerns and questions may be answered during that time. CHAIR TOOHEY agreed. Number 576 THOMAS SWAN, Paramedic, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. He stated that the question of who would have the authority to pronounce a patient dead in the absence of a physician came up during a class that he was teaching last year. He said he has been pursuing the issue ever since as there was no clear answer in state law. He said the passage of HB 478 would ensure that proper medical procedures would be performed, that the EMS provider could pronounce the patient dead, and that the EMS provider would avoid any unnecessary exposure to a psychologically debilitating situation. He also said that the measure would preserve resources that may be needed in another emergency. Number 640 CRAIG LEWIS, President, Alaska Emergency Medical Association, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. He stated that the aforementioned concerns should not stand in the way of the passage of the bill. He felt the concerns could be addressed in regulation. He urged the committee to support the legislation. Number 670 THOMAS NAROW, Chief of Service, Interior Ambulance and Rescue Squad, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. He stated that the bill would help address situations where EMS providers are several hours away from a hospital. He also indicated that the term advanced cardiac life support is overly specific and explained that the Interior Ambulance and Rescue Squad is licensed as an advanced life support agency in the state of Alaska. Number 713 RONNI SULLIVAN, Executive Director, Southern Region Emergency Medical Services Council, Anchorage, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. She stated that the issue has been a major concern of hers for several years. She explained the danger that EMSs face and sometimes put other people in when they continue emergency care on people that are not "viable" because CPR has been too prolonged or they were almost dead upon their arrival. She further explained that her nightmare is that an ambulance would slide off a slippery road as it was rushing an obviously nonviable patient to the hospital and perhaps killing all those inside and maybe others on the road. She said the bill would allow for the best patient care possible and would also remove a lot of the risk involved for the EMS providers. She mentioned that the bill refers to paramedics as registered and indicated that they are, indeed, licensed. Number 758 DAVID POTASHNICK, Assistant Chief, North Slope Fire Department, testified via teleconference in support of HB 378. He stated that it was his understanding that the proposal would require EMS providers to initiate care first and then determine whether the patient should be declared dead. He felt there should be provisions for the initial withholding of care, especially in instances involving crime scenes. He indicated that on page 1, lines 5-10, the inclusion of physician's assistants and registered nurses should be considered. He explained that the aforementioned do provide care in pre-hospital settings. He further indicated that on page 2, line 6, the term active member is unclear and questioned how it applied to the EMS providers. Number 808 JASON ELSON, Batallion Chief/Training Officer, Kenai Fire Department, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. He stated that he agreed with the amendment. He also mentioned that an active member implies that the member is under current physician sponsorship and has a continuing medical education program. Number 820 JOEY PAYTON, Emergency Medical Technician, Delta Rescue, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. He stated that the 1990's have been dedicated to the research and development of quality treatment and equipment. He said that he has, at times, had to work for up to three hours on nonviable patients. He indicated that there is much emotional suffering endured by EMS providers that have to provide unnecessarily prolonged emergency treatment to a nonviable patient. He further indicated that Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell has clearly documented the mental trauma endured by EMS providers from a prolonged resuscitation. He maintained that the bill would give an EMS provider the ability to declare death, would reduce unnecessary trauma to providers, and would allow the "obviously deceased to remain dead with dignity." Number 900 CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was further teleconference testimony. Number 905 BRENT URSEL, Physician's Assistant, McGrath Health Center, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. He stated that villages in rural areas do not have state troopers or physicians that can pronounce people dead. He said that the EMTs and the health providers in the community are obligated to perform whatever life saving techniques are warranted, even when the case is obviously hopeless. He felt the proposal would address some of the needs of rural villages and would take the pressure off EMTs and health providers in those situations. Number 925 CHAIR TOOHEY said she agreed with Mr. Ursel and thanked him for his testimony. REP. BRICE asked Mr. Ursel if, as a physician's assistant (PA), he could pronounce a person dead or sign a death certificate. MR. URSEL replied that he has been in touch with the local magistrate who informed him that he can pronounce people dead and sign death certificates. Number 940 REP. G. DAVIS referred to the procedure of providing information to go along with a body to a physician who would then sign the death certificate and asked what his current procedure was in regards to the aforementioned procedure. MR. URSEL said that much of the information is provided to the coroner or state troopers. He indicated that in a small village a state trooper can pronounce death and then those who were providing emergency care would give the information to the trooper. Number 973 CHAIR TOOHEY asked for testimony from Galena. Number 975 JANET NORTH, Physician's Assistant, Galena Health Center, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. She stated that PAs, nurse practitioners, and health aids are often the only EMS providers in rural communities. She related an experience that happened over the weekend where a patient died after undergoing 40 minutes of CPR in the back of an ambulance. She indicated that she was under the impression that only the coroner could declare a patient dead and that they spent five hours trying to find the coroner. She asserted that the situation was distressing to the family of the deceased. She felt the proposed legislation would make her job easier. Number 995 CHAIR TOOHEY said she empathized with Ms. North's situation. She then asked for further testimony. Number 997 GEORGE GILMORE, Physician's Assistant, Ft. Yukon, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. He asked if the proposal would allow EMTs to declare death at the scene. CHAIR TOOHEY indicated that after appropriate training EMTs will have that authority. MR. GILMORE stated that he heartily endorsed the intent of HB 478. He explained that in the rural area he is in there has been no one who is certified to pronounce death. He said the issue has caused many problems and referred to the disposition of the deceased and the hardship endured by the family. Number 045 CHAIR TOOHEY asked for further testimony. Number 047 WENDY HLADICK, Physician's Assistant, Galena Health Center, testified via teleconference in support of HB 478. She stated her belief that if a coroner with no medical background can pronounce death, certainly an EMS provider, who is highly trained in emergency care, could also declare death. Number 064 CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was further teleconference testimony. There was none. REP. BUNDE made a motion to adopt the proposed amendment. CHAIR TOOHEY asked Rep. Vezey if his objection still stands. REP. VEZEY said no, and withdrew his objection. CHAIR TOOHEY, hearing no objections, stated that the amendment was so moved. She asked if there were any further amendments or questions. Number 090 REP. BRICE indicated that he would move to pass the bill out, unless Rep. Kott had an amendment to make. REP. KOTT stated that he had a letter of intent that he would like to have accompany the passage of HB 478 to the next committee of referral. He felt the letter of intent would be better addressed in the next committee. REP. BUNDE stated that HB 478 as amended had a zero fiscal note and asked if the letter of intent would have any fiscal impact. REP. KOTT responded no, but asked that perhaps a member of the department should address the question. Number 100 MR. JOHNSON stated it was his understanding that there would be no additional fiscal note added as a result of the accompanying letter of intent. Number 116 REP. BRICE made a motion to pass HB 478 as amended out of committee. REP. B. DAVIS asked what the focus of the letter of intent was. REP. KOTT stated that the letter of intent would require additional training for all EMS providers as to recognize the signs of death, and would also require that there be extensive notification to all emergency medical services providers and agencies as soon as possible after the bill becomes law. TAPE 94-38, SIDE B Number 000 CHAIR TOOHEY asked if the EMS providers have to be trained. MR. JOHNSON answered yes and said a notice would be sent to all the emergency medical services and medical directors in the state informing them of the new law. Then it would be the responsibility of the directors to ensure that the EMS providers under their sponsorship are appropriately trained. He said the DHSS would probably send guidelines as to how the training should be done. REP. G. DAVIS indicated that the letter from the Alaska State Medical Association recommends that the word or be changed to and on page 3, line 2, of the bill. He asked Mr. Johnson to respond to the suggestion. MR. JOHNSON said he felt the change would be going further than necessary. He said he preferred the language as written. Number 086 REP. BUNDE asked that there be a technical change to substitute the word licensed for the word registered. REP. THERRIAULT said he was unsure as to whether the term should be licensed or registered. MR. JOHNSON explained that the regulations for paramedics uses the word license. He also indicated that the words licensed and registered are "almost interchangeable words in our state." He said the word licensed is used on the certificate given to paramedics in the state. REP. THERRIAULT said that he would agree with any language that the legal department suggests. Number 133 CHAIR TOOHEY asked if the second item was addressed in the letter of intent. REP. KOTT said yes. CHAIR TOOHEY asked the pleasure of the committee. REP. BUNDE made a motion to pass HB 478 as amended out of committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal note. CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there were any objections. Number 154 REP. VEZEY objected. He referred to page 2, lines 29-31, and said he found it incredulous that EMS providers would be expected to perform life saving measures under those circumstances. He asked if there was a valid reason the line was in the bill. MR. JOHNSON agreed with Rep. Vezey, but felt it doesn't hurt to have the language included. However, he said that some of the conditions listed leave room for judgement. REP. VEZEY said, "what brought it out of my mind is the Alaska State Medical Association was advocating changing the word or after (the) semicolon to and. And, I would interpret that coming after the semicolon that it applied to all the previous subsections, which I think would just be ludicrous." REP. VEZEY further commented that perhaps it would be better to delete the entire sentence on page 2, lines 18-22. He asked if there was more information that goes on the death certificate than is listed on those lines. MR. JOHNSON said there is additional information that pertains to the cause of death. He felt it would be best to have those already trained in signing death certificates to continue doing so. Number 257 CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Rep. Vezey's objections still stands. REP. VEZEY withdrew his objection. REP. KOTT objected and asked that the maker of the motion to pass HB 478 as amended out of committee amend the motion to include the letter of intent. REP. BUNDE said that it was his intent to make that the next motion. He felt it should be done in two steps. REP. KOTT withdrew his objection. Number 283 CHAIR TOOHEY called for the vote to pass HB 478 as amended out of committee with accompanying fiscal note. Representatives Bunde, G. Davis, Vezey, Kott, B. Davis, Nicholia, Brice and Toohey voted Yea. There were no Nay votes. REP. BUNDE made a motion to include the accompanying letter of intent with HB 478 as amended. CHAIR TOOHEY, hearing no objections, said that HB 478 as amended was so moved. She then brought HB 506 to the table. HB 506 - STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM Number 348 JOE MCCORMICK, Executive Director, Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE), introduced himself and began his testimony on HB 506. CHAIR TOOHEY indicated that she was turning the gavel over to Rep. Bunde. Rep. Bunde presided over the remainder of the meeting. CHAIR BUNDE explained that there were two proposed amendments and indicated that amendment A.2 (8-LS1752/A.2), submitted by Rep. Brice, would be referred to as Amendment 1. He then asked Mr. McCormick how the amendment related to his suggested amendments. Number 400 MR. MCCORMICK stated that the amendment would pertain to the variable interest rate that the ACPE has recommended. He said, in good conscience, he could not support the amendment with a 15% cap. He maintained that to put a cap on the variable rate would defeat the purpose of having a variable rate. REP. BRICE made a motion to move Amendment 1. REP. TOOHEY objected. CHAIR BUNDE maintained that if a student wants to take advantage of low rates they "have to gamble on the high rates." He said he did not support the amendment. REP. BRICE agreed with Chair Bunde and indicated that was the reason he suggested a cap at such a high rate. He felt a cap at 15% would reach a certain level of compromise. He said his concern was if rates go above 20% that students would not be able to afford to go to school. Number 470 REP. VEZEY stated that the interest rate on a loan is not variable over the life of that loan, and the person knows that rate to be set for the life of the loan. He said if the cap is at 15% and the prime rate is 20%, the funds for the student loan program will be depleted quite rapidly. CHAIR BUNDE said the loan program would be shut down at that point. He further stated, "Each year is a new loan. Each year could be a different interest rate." REP. BRICE said, "Which is the precise reasoning for having a cap at 15%." He said the cap would prevent a person from being locked in at 20%. He acknowledged the provisions for refinancing but indicated that it's in the state's best interest not to have the rate "blossom." He felt anything over 15% would be a disincentive for students. Number 538 REP. TOOHEY asked Mr. McCormick if there would be any time in his career when he would advise an 18 year old, unemployed student to take a loan at 20%. MR. MCCORMICK said there has never been a time, to date, that he has done that. He explained that if a student is highly motivated in pursuing an education, the rate of interest is not a consideration. Number 545 REP. TOOHEY asked if Mr. McCormick would ever stop a student from taking a loan out at 20%. MR. MCCORMICK replied that he would caution the student as to the income to debt ratio that would be incurred, but he would not prevent the student from making that decision. He further indicated that it is the student's choice as a consumer. Number 579 CHAIR BUNDE pointed out that if the cost of money is higher than the interest that the students pay, the student loan program will be phased out. He asked for further discussion on the amendment. REP. KOTT asked if there was a section on the permanent fund dividend form that would allow the student to pay for education "at today's rates." CHAIR BUNDE said it was his understanding that the section is designed for parents and further explained that it takes quite some time to build up funds. He then called for a vote to adopt Amendment 1. Representatives B. Davis, Nicholia, and Brice voted Yea, and Representatives Bunde G. Davis, Vezey, Kott, and Toohey voted Nay. Chair Bunde announced that Amendment 1 failed. He brought Amendment 2 (8-LS1752/A.1) to the table. MR. MCCORMICK stated that the amendment would require a change to the promissory note and said administratively the change is not necessary. He said that persons within the Division of Finance who were present would testify and offer language that would change Sections 9 and 10. He said he would support those changes as a friendly amendment to the bill as to allow for the kind of leverage needed prior to the disbursements of warrants. He said, "If I read this right, that says... the disbursement is due under terms of a written contract with that person... which would mean I would have to print in my promissory note that I had the authority to do this. I just don't feel that's necessary." He further stated that it is the psychology of the provision that is the focus. He said students will stop and think about putting a higher priority on their student loan payment. He stated that he is opposed to the amendment. CHAIR BUNDE asked if there was anyone present to speak in favor of the amendment. He then indicated that the amendment came from the ACPE. MR. MCCORMICK said he offered a friendly amendment to amend Section 9, which would authorize the Department of Administration to withhold warrants from contractors. He was unsure if the amendment would accomplish that. He indicated that page 6, line 30, was under Section 10. Number 716 CHAIR BUNDE asked Lynne Smith where the amendment originated from. LYNNE SMITH, Committee Aid, House HESS Committee, explained that the amendment came from Dianne Behrends from the ACPE. CHAIR BUNDE stated that he withdrew his motion to adopt the amendment. He said if the amendment is needed, it could be addressed in a future committee. He then asked for further questions or testimony. Number 741 PAIGE ADAMS, Vice-President, University of Alaska Southeast Student Council, Sitka, testified in Juneau in support of HB 506. She stated that she did not think the role of the ACPE to be one of a financial advisor to students. She felt that students are old enough to figure that out for themselves. She asserted that if the interest rate was to remain at 8%, the availability of loans would decrease for future students. She said, personally, she did not want to pay higher interest rates, but she felt that any loan is better than no loan. Number 780 REP. BRICE, as the only legislator on the committee with an outstanding loan, related how the interest rates just continue to stack up. He said he hoped Ms. Adams will have a job a year after she graduates to make loan payments. MS. ADAMS said that her permanent fund dividend is paying for her schooling. She said after four hours of debate, the council decided that going with a variable rate would ensure the program's future. Number 815 REP. TOOHEY said Ms. Adam's attitude was very responsible. CHAIR BUNDE asked Don Wanie to testify. Number 818 DON WANIE, Director, Division of Finance, Department of Administration (DOA), testified on HB 506. He stated that the division runs the state's payroll and accounting systems. He further stated that the division would be paying employees who may have wage assignments and vendors who may have garnishments. He said the legislation would affect both areas. He indicated that Section 6, subsection C, may affect garnishments that the division already has in place. He said the student loan garnishment would take precedence, and the division would have to suspend the other garnishment. He questioned the wisdom of the requirement. MR. WANIE addressed Sections 9 and 10. TAPE 94-39, SIDE A Number 000 MR. WANIE stated that Section 10 would cause circumstances whereby the division could receive a notification by way of a computer file from ACPE saying that certain people are in default on their student loans. He said the division would then do a computer match against the vendor file and subsequently deny payments to vendors. He said the division has not in the past held payments to vendors without some type of court document. Although he did note that the Department of Law indicated that it would be permissible. He felt there was more than one way to address the problem and referred to the document he passed out titled "Comments on HB 506." (See Attachment 1) MR. WANIE said that, as written, the bill charges the DOA with the responsibility of performing the computer file matches and subsequent research to make absolutely certain that payments are withheld from the correct person. He said the ACPE would develop a subsection that would pass files to the division, which would have a subsection that would look into vendor files. On a day to day basis payments to vendors would be scrutinized to avoid payments being made to vendors who are delinquent in their loan payments. He said the responsibility would then lie with the DOA to catch those people. MR. WANIE suggested that language be included in Title 14 that would have the same effect as current language, but it would place responsibility for research and identification with the ACPE. The ACPE would then notify the DOA of the specific persons from whom payments should be withheld. He said the DOA currently has a mechanism in place, both in the payroll and vendor payment system, whereby if the DOA receives a court order that requests payments be held from a particular employee or vendor the payments are, indeed, withheld. He suggested that the language in Section 10 be placed in Title 14 and that the ACPE do the necessary researching and documentation before the DOA processes them through their existing mechanism. MR. WANIE stated that under language already in Title 9, the ACPE can get a court order to direct withholding of payments from a vendor. He reiterated that there is already a mechanism in place that would allow the ACPE to obtain a court order. Number 190 REP. OLBERG asked Mr. Wanie to define the term vendor. MR. WANIE referred to the list from the Suggested Amendments to HB 506 that was handed out at the previous meeting. He said the ACPE suggested amending Section 9 so that only disbursement of payments for goods and services provided by an individual contractor would be withheld. He said the DOA would not want to withhold welfare payments, longevity bonus payments, and other payments that are generated by the state system. He felt that the ACPE was focusing on payments for goods and services provided to the state. Number 233 REP. OLBERG asked if a person could be found under an assumed name. MR. WANIE responded no. He said the DOA can identify those people who provide goods and services to the state if they use a social security number (SSN) rather than an employer identification number. If they use an employer identification number as a sole proprietor, or if they are incorporated and use an identification number, the DOA cannot find them. He said the only matches that can be made are with SSNs. Number 278 CHAIR BUNDE referred to Mr. Wanie's suggestions regarding Sections 9 and 10 and asked Mr. McCormick if he felt Item 2, as indicated in Comments on HB 506, would be a feasible option for the ACPE. MR. MCCORMICK said it would be doable without considerable additional expense. He said a computer tape match system could be developed to match SSNs. He further explained that the previously withdrawn amendment that related to page 6, line 30, would reference the contractor not the borrower. He indicated that he was mistaken in his earlier opposition to that amendment and clarified that he now supported it. Number 360 CHAIR BUNDE asked for further clarification regarding contractor and borrower. MR. MCCORMICK stated that under Section 10, subsection B, the amendment would change the line to read, "The Department of Administration may not disburse money to a person under (a) of this section if..." He said the person would have a contract with the DOA. CHAIR BUNDE stated that Mr. McCormick's response clarified the issue for him. REP. VEZEY asked if the ACPE endorsed the amendment. MR. MCCORMICK said yes. CHAIR BUNDE asked if there was further discussion on Amendment 2. He then asked for any objections. Hearing none, Chair Bunde, stated that Amendment 2 was adopted. Number 416 REP. VEZEY asked that his amendment be discussed at the next meeting of the HESS Committee. CHAIR BUNDE asked Rep. Vezey to hand out his amendment and indicated that he wanted to be sure that Mr. McCormick could review it. REP. VEZEY made a motion to adopt Amendment 3. CHAIR BUNDE asked Rep. Vezey to speak to his amendment. REP. VEZEY stated there are several statutes that require the employer to continue to withhold payments until further order of the court. He indicated that those orders can stand in perpetuity and it is an unreasonable burden on an employer to keep track of an employee's garnishments if the employee has returned to the company after several years. He suggested that after the word court on page 5, line 9, the phrase "or until the employment of the obligee is terminated" should be added. He then said it would be the responsibility of the obligor to notify the employer to resume garnishing the wages of the obligee. Number 483 CHAIR BUNDE asked for further discussion. REP. BRICE related a scenario of an employee who has an outstanding student loan that is in default and quits his job. CHAIR BUNDE interjected and said that Rep. Brice was missing a step and added that the student has a loan in default, has been put into collections, and his wages are being garnished. REP. VEZEY interjected that conflict arises when the employee goes back to work for the employer after five years and the court order is still in effect. He stated that state agencies have "gone after" employers and have made them liable, after the rehire, for all pay periods that they did not garnish wages. REP. BRICE said, "whether or not he's working or not." REP. VEZEY said no, and further stated that the employer has to honor that court order no matter how old it is. They have to keep all their personnel records active to avoid possible penalties. CHAIR BUNDE reiterated the same scenario and further added that the employer is expected to remember that the employee had his wages garnished five years previously. He indicated that Rep. Vezey's amendment would require the ACPE to notify the employer. Number 544 REP. BRICE asked if Mr. McCormick would have access to the Department of Labor. CHAIR BUNDE indicated that Mr. McCormick has access to skip tracers that would track the student for those five years. MR. MCCORMICK said the amendment would shift the responsibility of tracking to the ACPE. He said he did not object to the amendment. CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were any objections to the amendment. Hearing none, Chair Bunde stated that Amendment 3 was adopted. He then indicated that several committee members had another meeting to attend and asked that all interested parties attend the meeting the next day to finish discussing HB 506. Seeing no further business before the committee, CHAIR BUNDE ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:25 p.m.