Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/18/1994 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
           HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                         
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                         March 18, 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. Pete Kott (arrived at 3:40 p.m.)                                        
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
  Rep. Harley Olberg                                                           
  Rep. Bettye Davis                                                            
  Rep. Tom Brice                                                               
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
  HB 488:   "An act relating to the scholarship loan program;                  
            and providing for an effective date."                              
                                                                               
            HEARD AND HELD                                                     
                                                                               
  *HB 291:  "An act establishing a consumer protection intern                  
            program at the University of Alaska."                              
                                                                               
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
                                                                               
  HB 422:   "An act relating to custody and visitation                         
            rights."                                                           
                                                                               
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
                                                                               
  (* First public hearing)                                                     
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
  PHYLLIS LARSON, Parent                                                       
  8935 Trio                                                                    
  Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                        
  Phone:  (907) 789-2941                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 488.                      
                                                                               
  DIANE BARRANS, Director                                                      
  Student Financial Aid Programs                                               
  Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education                                 
  3030 Vintage Boulevard                                                       
  Juneau, Alaska  99801-7109                                                   
  Phone:  (907) 465-6740                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on HB 488.                           
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS                                                 
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                   
  Phone:  (907) 465-4945                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided Sponsor Statement for HB 291.                  
                                                                               
  ALLISON ELGEE, Statewide Budget Director                                     
  University of Alaska                                                         
  227 4th Street                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 463-3086                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Answered questions on HB 291.                          
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB 488                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: RESTRICT STUDENT LOANS TO ALASKA SCHOOLS                        
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) VEZEY                                          
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
  02/14/94      2379    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  02/14/94      2379    (H)   HES, STATE AFFAIRS                               
  03/08/94              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  03/17/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB 291                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: CONSUMER PROTECTION INTERN PROGRAM                              
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) SANDERS                                        
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
  04/22/93      1431    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  04/22/93      1431    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                     
  03/18/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB 422                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION RIGHTS                             
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE                                          
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
  01/31/94      2206    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/31/94      2206    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                          
  03/11/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  03/11/94              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  03/15/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  03/15/94              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-56, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY called the meeting to order at 3:07 p.m., noted                 
  members present and announced the meeting would begin with                   
  HB 488.                                                                      
  HB 488 - RESTRICT STUDENT LOANS TO ALASKA SCHOOL                             
                                                                               
  Number 008                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. AL VEZEY, prime sponsor of HB 488, said the bill                        
  provides that undergraduate students who elect to attend                     
  school outside the state would not be eligible for a student                 
  loan.  He referred to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary                 
  Education (ACPE) 1992-93 annual report, Table 17 in the                      
  appendices, and reported to date, the Alaska Student Loan                    
  Program has loaned $369 million to students attending                        
  schools in-state.  During the same period of time it has                     
  loaned $326 million to students attending out-of-state                       
  schools.  In the 1992-93 school year the student loan                        
  program issued $29 million in loans to in-state students.                    
  During the same period it issued nearly $19 million in loans                 
  to students attending school out of state.  Rep. Vezey said                  
  Alaska could not build a better educational system if it                     
  continued to subsidize the better students' attendance of                    
  out-of-state programs, when those programs were available in                 
  Alaska.  He concluded, the reason for the bill is Alaska is                  
  unnecessarily exporting money and brainpower and HB 488 is                   
  in the best interests of the future, the economy, and the                    
  quality of educational programs in Alaska.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 058                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. CON BUNDE mentioned an observation made about the                       
  Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WAMI) loan program is                 
  that students develop contacts where they do their                           
  postgraduate work and then remain living in those areas.                     
                                                                               
  Number 078                                                                   
                                                                               
  PHYLLIS LARSON, concerned parent, testified against HB 488.                  
  She said she has lived in Alaska for 25 years and various                    
  members of her family have taken advantage of this program                   
  including her husband, son and hopefully, her daughter.  She                 
  added the state loans have all been repaid.  She described                   
  her daughter's various extracurricular activities and                        
  academic achievements and said neither her daughter or other                 
  students should be penalized because they choose to go                       
  outside the state for their education.  She said she                         
  believes this bill would be discriminatory against students                  
  in their endeavors to receive the education they so desire                   
  and to become the adults they wish to become.                                
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY added since 1992 the student loan program has not                 
  been capitalized by the state, but has been self-sustaining                  
  in that it issues bonds.  In 1991, the student loan                          
  corporation showed a loss of $31 million; in 1992, the loss                  
  was $29 million; and in 1993, the loss was $25 million.  He                  
  indicated at some point the state would be asked to provide                  
  additional capitalization to this fund and it would need to                  
  be determined if appropriating money to schools in the lower                 
  forty-eight would be desirable.                                              
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said Mr. Joe McCormick, ACPE's Executive Director                 
  was at a quarterly meeting and would be unable to attend                     
  today's committee meeting.                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 134                                                                   
                                                                               
  DIANE BARRANS, Director of Student Financial Aid Programs,                   
  ACPE, said the commission has not yet taken an official                      
  position on HB 488.  She said one concern was whether the                    
  university system was prepared to absorb the students who                    
  would then choose to attend school in Alaska.                                
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY asked what was involved in increasing the                       
  capacity of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) and                    
  University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA) to handle the students                 
  who are now getting loans.                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. BARRANS said she did not know.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 153                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY questioned the origin of the money put into                     
  this fund and wondered if there were strings attached.  She                  
  stated personally, as a mother of three children and someone                 
  who has made use of the fund, she is opposed to HB 488.                      
                                                                               
  Number 167                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY pointed out the student loan program has been in                  
  effect since 1971.  He remarked on the program's growth and                  
  said in 1971 it was a $1.3 million a year program, and did                   
  not pass the $10 million a year mark until 1981; it is now                   
  running in the range of $50-60 million a year.                               
                                                                               
  Number 180                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said given the degree to which the loans have                     
  needed to be subsidized, support from the general fund might                 
  not be forthcoming.  As a member of the ACPE, he said there                  
  is an effort by the commission to make the operation more                    
  business-like so general fund support would not be required.                 
  He referred to Ms. Barrans for further comment on the ACPE's                 
  fiscal note.                                                                 
                                                                               
  MS. BARRANS said she has not worked on the fiscal note and                   
  could consult with the finance officer and report back to                    
  the committee.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 207                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE questioned the $18,000 increases in operating                     
  expenses followed by a huge reduction in operating expenses                  
  shown on the fiscal note.                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 214                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. BARRANS said fewer loans would be outgoing so there                      
  would be a reduction in repayment as well.  She said the                     
  personal service increase refers to a review of graduate                     
  applications to determine if a course of study outside the                   
  state is available and similar to an in-state program.                       
                                                                               
  Number 229                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY asked what portion of out-of-state students                     
  default on their loans in comparison to students that remain                 
  in-state.                                                                    
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY said Mr. McCormick of the ACPE would have easy                    
  access to that information.                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 239                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. GARY DAVIS said even though he made personal use of the                 
  loan program when he was in school, given today's economy,                   
  Alaskans are forced to make some hard decisions.  He pointed                 
  out that other states may withhold scholarships and grants                   
  to Alaskan students because other states and colleges know                   
  that Alaskan students have this 5,000 plus dollar allotment                  
  available to them.  He concluded by saying, unfortunately                    
  this is the type of legislation that Alaskans are forced to                  
  look at if drastic measures are not taken elsewhere.                         
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY said the bill provides loans to graduate-level                    
  work outside of Alaska if those programs are unavailable in                  
  the state.  He said the ACPE indicated there were more                       
  problems collecting from Alaskan students attending schools                  
  out-of-state as compared to Alaskan students attending                       
  school in the state.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 310                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. BARRANS clarified there is a greater ability to collect                  
  from students who are actually in Alaska, partially because                  
  of the ACPE's access to the permanent fund dividends.                        
  Through extending contract work done with national credit                    
  bureaus and collection agencies, the ACPE intends to extend                  
  its outreach ability.                                                        
                                                                               
  MS. BARRANS said, "Historically when bills of this nature                    
  have been seen, we have been asked to get a bond counsel                     
  opinion in terms of whether or not restricting our loans to                  
  in-state borrowers only would have any impact on our ability                 
  to bond for the funding.  If it were to infringe upon our                    
  ability to bond, then we would have to look again to the                     
  general fund as a source of funds for new loans."                            
                                                                               
  Number 330                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Alaskan students did not attend out-                   
  of-state schools, would they consequently be deprived of any                 
  undergraduate studies.                                                       
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY said textile engineering, and possibly                            
  architecture are programs of study unavailable in Alaska.                    
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS said most graduate schools, even medical                       
  schools and law schools do not have a prescribed                             
  undergraduate program, but it would benefit predental or                     
  premedical students to attend such programs.                                 
                                                                               
  MS. BARRANS said the ACPE could provide this information by                  
  doing a comparison study of programs offered by different                    
  universities.  She added there are no physical therapy or                    
  occupational therapy programs available in Alaska.                           
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said testimony from students is missing in this                   
  discussion.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 370                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY said there was not a quorum and HB 488 would be                 
  held over.  Chair Toohey said HB 291 would be the next order                 
  of business.                                                                 
  HB 291 - CONSUMER PROTECTION INTERN PROGRAM                                  
                                                                               
  Number 394                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. JERRY SANDERS, prime sponsor for HB 291, read the                       
  following sponsor statement:  "This bill provides for a                      
  program for University of Alaska students to work with the                   
  fair business practices section of the Department of Law.                    
  The program will provide university credit and invaluable                    
  experience for the students plus a stipend.  The student                     
  interns will be involved with the fair business practices                    
  section of the Department of Law.                                            
                                                                               
  "In recent years, the fair business practices section of the                 
  Department of Law has been cut from 13 to 3 people.  The                     
  student interns will be able to assist in developing cases                   
  and providing needed follow-up on other cases and in return                  
  will receive valuable experience in the world of business                    
  and business law.  This program will also provide hands-on                   
  experience in business ethics for the students.                              
                                                                               
  "Alaskans are being ripped off nightly by unscrupulous                       
  telemarketers primarily based in the lower forty eight.                      
  Victims, especially in the remote bush areas of the state                    
  have little practicable recourse.  Alaska has a                              
  telemarketing law that makes the crime a felony with the                     
  possibility of extradition of offenders and serious fines.                   
  Currently, telemarketing enterprises who violate the law are                 
  merely sent a copy of the law and regulations.                               
                                                                               
  "Without the availability of additional staff, vulnerable                    
  members of our constituency will not be protected, because                   
  laws do not enforce themselves."                                             
                                                                               
  REP. SANDERS  referred to the two committee substitute                       
  changes:  1) On page 1, line 8, delete "must" and add "may"                  
  and 2) on page 1, line 11, delete "may not participate for                   
  more than one semester."  He explained attending more than                   
  one semester would allow the student more time for                           
  experience and learning.                                                     
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE moved to adopt the committee substitute for HB
  291.                                                                         
                                                                               
  (Chair Toohey then turned the gavel over to Rep. Bunde to                    
  preside over the remainder of the meeting.  Chair Bunde                      
  indicated for the record that Rep. Kott arrived at 3:40                      
  p.m.)                                                                        
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if students were interested in                             
  participating in this internship.                                            
                                                                               
  REP. SANDERS responded it was his understanding that                         
  students had expressed interest in the program.                              
                                                                               
  Number 486                                                                   
                                                                               
  ALLISON ELGEE, Statewide Budget Director, University of                      
  Alaska, said the university system supports this type of                     
  internship programs. She said there are cooperative                          
  agreements with several agencies regarding different intern                  
  programs.  She stated there is currently no agreement with                   
  the Department of Law's consumer protection program because                  
  their staffing level is not adequate to provide for                          
  supervision.  She said interns are required to be supervised                 
  by an attorney, although the attorney need not be present on                 
  a full-time basis.  She said legislation is not necessary to                 
  establish the intern program;  the problem lies with                         
  staffing at the Department of Law.  She concluded by saying                  
  internships presently do not involve stipends.                               
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if not having a stipend would be                           
  detrimental in getting students involved in the program.                     
                                                                               
  MS. ELGEE said if only one internship paid a stipend and the                 
  other programs did not, this could be a problem.                             
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS said this is the third intern program he is                    
  aware of and wondered if the universities are moving in the                  
  direction of developing more internship programs.                            
                                                                               
  MS. ELGEE said she did not know but could find out.                          
                                                                               
  Number 553                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS asked if it was possible to hold the program                   
  during the summer months.                                                    
                                                                               
  MS. ELGEE said she did not know if the paralegal program was                 
  offered during the summer, but she could find this out as                    
  well.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 568                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE recommended passage of the committee substitute                  
  without the fiscal note, so this internship would be on the                  
  same footing as other intern programs.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 576                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. TOOHEY wondered if it was legal to include the fiscal                   
  note.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 583                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said he thought it was legal but it would set a                  
  precedent.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 588                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. ELGEE referred to page 1, line 11, "and shall receive a                  
  stipend" and said the fiscal note reflects the language in                   
  the legislation, so the legislation itself would need to be                  
  modified.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 590                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. TOOHEY asked if it was wise to put an amount in the                     
  bill, and asked if the word "stipend" could be used instead                  
  of a specific amount.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 597                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE mentioned the other programs do not receive any                  
  stipend and it might be wiser to strike that last sentence.                  
                                                                               
  Number 600                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. KOTT asked if legislative interns receive a stipend.                    
                                                                               
  MS. ELGEE answered in the affirmative.  She added that none                  
  of the other paralegal programs receive stipends.                            
                                                                               
  Number 611                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. KOTT said the reason for the stipend is to defray costs                 
  in coming to Juneau, and asked if travel would be involved                   
  in this program.                                                             
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said he thought the program would take place                     
  locally.                                                                     
                                                                               
  REP. TOOHEY asked what the stipend amount was for the                        
  legislative intern program.  After some discussion she was                   
  informed the stipend was $3,000 to $3,500 per person per                     
  session.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 622                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked for the pleasure of the committee.                         
                                                                               
  Number 632                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS moved to pass committee substitute for HB 291                  
  to the Finance Committee with individual recommendations                     
  with the accompanying fiscal note.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 636                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE stated he would object, and called on Rep.                       
  Vezey.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 637                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY said other intern programs are funded through the                 
  university system and do not get special appropriations.                     
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-56, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 042                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY continued by saying he had nothing against the                    
  consumer protection intern program, but thought it could be                  
  implemented with the regulations that are currently on the                   
  books.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 045                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said this bill expresses legislative intent to                   
  see the program realized and possibly the funding as well.                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE stated there was a motion before the committee                   
  and before calling the roll he asked Rep. Sanders for a                      
  wrap-up.                                                                     
                                                                               
  REP. SANDERS said he had no problem deleting the last                        
  sentence referring to the $1,000.                                            
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS withdrew his motion to allow for amendments if                 
  so desired.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 065                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked for the pleasure of the committee.                         
                                                                               
  Number 067                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. TOOHEY pointed out the Department of Law would be                       
  delighted to implement an internship program and she                         
  wondered what would prevent this if the $1,000 stipend was                   
  removed.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 073                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY made a motion to amend the committee substitute                   
  by striking the last sentence.                                               
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE hearing no objection to the amendment, adopted                   
  the amendment, striking the sentence that referred to the                    
  stipend.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 081                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY moved to adopt a zero fiscal note for HB 291.                     
                                                                               
  Number 082                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE hearing no objection, adopted a zero HESS                        
  Committee fiscal note.  Chair Bunde asked for the pleasure                   
  of the committee.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 086                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY moved to pass committee substitute for HB 291 as                  
  amended from the HESS committee with individual                              
  recommendations.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 089                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked that a roll call be taken.                                 
  Representatives Bunde, G. Davis, Vezey, and Kott voted yea                   
  and Representative Toohey voted nay.  Chair Bunde declared                   
  that HB 291 passed out of committee with the accompanying                    
  fiscal note.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 096                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE brought HB 422 to the table and stated that                      
  since there had already been considerable discussion on this                 
  bill, he would like to wrap it up and call for a vote.                       
  HB 422 - CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION RIGHTS                                 
                                                                               
  Number 102                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. TOOHEY objected to the bill, saying it was poor                         
  legislation that addressed proceedings that should be                        
  addressed in court, and passage of the bill would not be in                  
  the best interests of the child.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 119                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE clarified that the discussion was in reference                   
  to the latest committee substitute which had not yet been                    
  adopted.  He stated his support of adopting the committee                    
  substitute.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 120                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. KOTT moved to adopt the committee substitute for HB
  422, dated March 16, 1994.                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE hearing no objection said the committee                          
  substitute for HB 422 was before the committee.                              
                                                                               
  Number 130                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY moved to pass the committee substitute for HB 422                 
  (HESS) from the HESS committee with individual                               
  recommendations.                                                             
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked that a roll call be taken.                                 
  Representatives G. Davis, Vezey, Kott and Bunde voted yea,                   
  and Representative Toohey voted nay.  Chair Bunde declared                   
  that HB 422 was so moved.                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE responded to Rep. Vezey's question about taking                  
  action on HB 488 and said he wanted to hear testimony from                   
  student witnesses.                                                           
                                                                               
  Seeing no further business before the committee CHAIR BUNDE                  
  ADJOURNED the meeting at 3:55 p.m.                                           

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