Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/07/1995 03:03 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 February 7, 1995 3:03 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Representative Con Bunde, Co-Chair Representative Gary Davis Representative Norman Rokeberg Representative Caren Robinson Representative Tom Brice MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Al Vezey COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HB 135:"An Act relating to student loans; and providing for an effecting date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE * HB 23:"An Act relating to referrals involving dental services." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE * HB 15:"An Act authorizing disclosure from court records of the name, address, and picture of, and other information about, certain minors from whom a delinquency petition is filed." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER DR. JOE L. McCORMICK, Executive Director State of Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education Department of Education 3030 Vintage Boulevard Juneau, AK 99801-7109 Telephone: (907) 465-6740 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information regarding HB 135. DR. DAN PITTS Soldotna Dental Clinic 155 Smith Way Soldotna, AK 99669 Telephone: (907) 262-4989 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 23. REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT State Capitol, Room 421 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-4797 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement for HB 15. VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director National Education Association of Alaska 114 Second Street Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-3090 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 15. ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant Department of Health and Social Services Alaska Office Building 350 Main Street, Room 229 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3030 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 15. KATHY TIBBLES, Acting Director Division of Youth and Family Services Alaska Office Building 350 Main Street, Room 404 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3191 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 15. PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 135 SHORT TITLE: STUDENT LOANS SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/30/95 174 (H) READ FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 01/30/95 174 (H) HES, FIN 02/07/95 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 23 SHORT TITLE: REFERRALS INVOLVING DENTAL SERVICES SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) G.DAVIS BY REQUEST JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 26 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 26 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 26 (H) HES, JUD 02/07/95 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 15 SHORT TITLE: PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF MINORS COURT RECORDS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) THERRIAULT, Rokeberg, Bunde, Toohey JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 24 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 24 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 24 (H) HES, JUD, FIN 01/19/95 88 (H) COSPONSOR(S): BUNDE 01/27/95 161 (H) COSPONSOR(S): TOOHEY 02/07/95 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-5, SIDE A Number 000 CO-CHAIR CON BUNDE called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde, Toohey, Rokeberg and Davis. Co-Chair Bunde announced that a quorum was present to conduct business, and read the calendar. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that Representatives Brice and Robinson joined the meeting at 3:04 p.m. HHESS - 02/07/95 Number 069 HB 135: STUDENT LOANS DR. JOE McCORMICK, Executive Director of the State of Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE), Department of Education, presented HB 135 to the Health, Education and Social Services (HESS) Committee members. He explained that the bill contains transition language which accompanies HB 506, which was passed by the legislature last year. DR. McCORMICK explained that the transition language will simply allow the ACPE to promote and finalize regulations required to fully implement HB 506 by July 1, 1995. The regulations put forth will call for the calculation of the appropriate interest rate on student loans awarded for the 1995-96 school year. Without the authority granted by HB 135, the ACPE cannot offer any loans after July 1. Therefore, Dr. McCormick requested that the bill be moved quickly so the ACPE can begin the regulatory process. REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE requested clarification on the fact that a bill was passed last year, but the legislature failed to give the ACPE authority to implement the bill. DR. McCORMICK answered that Representative Brice was correct. Representative Brice restated that all HB 135 does is give the ACPE regulatory authority to implement a bill passed last year. Number 180 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked what could be done to prevent such a mix up in the future. DR. McCORMICK answered that last year he was not familiar with Alaska's legislative process. The term "transition language" was new to him. He assumed when the bill was drafted that it contained all the necessary elements. It was not until the new regulations were sent over to the Department of Law for approval that the Department of Law said that the ACPE could not do anything because there was no transition language in the bill. Dr. McCormick would be very happy if the HESS Committee members could figure out a way to prevent this from happening in the future. Number 250 CO-CHAIR BUNDE stated that his previous question was not to be construed as criticism. Co-Chair Bunde also was inclined to believe that when something is received from the Department of Law that it will be drafted in an appropriate form. CO-CHAIR BUNDE addressed the committee members and reiterated that the bill was passed last year, changing the interest rate on the student loans made at a variable interest rate. HB 135 gives the ACPE regulatory authority to set the interest rate. Number 293 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked since the bill was passed last year and is now in statute, is it necessary to place Sections 1 and 2 of HB 135 in to statute or can they be placed into the Session Laws of Alaska (SLA) and be enacted. DR. McCORMICK answered that it is his understanding that HB 135 is the exact language the Department of Law says is necessary to enact HB 506. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE stated that HESS Committee members were told that the exact language was in HB 506. He confirmed he was not being critical, but his understanding is that statutory authority is needed in certain areas to implement regulations. DR. McCORMICK replied that apparently the section of primary importance in HB 135 is Section 2. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he did not know if the section needed to be enumerated or not. Number 370 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS said that he had the same concerns as Representative Brice because there are no statutes cited. He deduced that the SLA is being affected. He read a memorandum from Teresa Williams, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, which stated, "I am writing to explain the necessity for the legislature to immediately adopt transition provisions regarding ch. 112, SLA 1994." Representative Davis, therefore, decided that it must not be statutes, but SLAs that are being effected by this bill. Number 410 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if there was a representative from the Department of Law present. There was not. REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS asked if the HESS Committee members were again relying on the legal department to provide the proper language. CO-CHAIR BUNDE was inclined to feel that once an initial mistake was pointed out, Legal Services would be more diligent. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved that HB 135 be passed out of committee and sent to the Finance Committee because of time constraints. She stated that the bill can be checked for exact wording and can be killed in the Finance Committee if the wording is incorrect. Number 479 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON expressed concern that since the bill has a zero fiscal note, it may simply be waived out of the Finance Committee. She asked if it must go to the Finance Committee. CO- CHAIR BUNDE answered that the bill was scheduled to be heard by the Finance Committee unless the chair of that committee makes an extraordinary effort to have it waived. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that many times when a bill has a zero fiscal note the Finance Chair is petitioned. She wondered if this bill would further hinder the Finance Committee, and if perhaps it would not be better to contact Legal Services and get their questions answered immediately. The HESS Committee members then could hear other bills and come back to HB 135 at the end of today's meeting. Number 519 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the money to adopt regulations was within the fiscal note for HB 506. DR. McCORMICK answered "yes." REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG asked what student loan interest rates might be for this coming year. He said that there seems to be a problem with the state government providing loans at a five percent interest rate. Number 570 DR. McCORMICK answered that the main purpose of HB 506 was to tie the interest rate to the cost of money and to the cost of administering the loan program. It would be illegal to charge a five percent interest rate because the cost of money was in excess of five percent for the past year. The cost of administering the loan program is not to exceed a 2.5 percent cap. Therefore, the interest rate is based on the cost of money plus no more than 2.5 percent. The interest rate, therefore, will probably be in the range of 7.5 percent to nine percent for the coming year. The exact rate has not been calculated yet. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked about the cost of the last bond issue. DR. McCORMICK said he did not have that information, he would have to look it up. Number 655 CO-CHAIR BUNDE told Representative Robinson that in light of her concerns, he will communicate with the Finance Committee chair to make sure the fiscal note questions are taken care of. He then stated that the motion to move HB 135 was before the HESS Committee. Hearing no objection, the bill was passed out of committee. HHESS - 02/07/95 Number 676 HB 23: REFERRALS INVOLVING DENTAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS, sponsor of HB 23, stated that this bill was a repeat of a bill that passed out of the HESS Committee and through the House last year. He read a sponsor statement into the record: HB 23 will prohibit the receipt of compensation by a dentist for referring a person to another dentist or dental practice. The American Dental Association Code of Ethics forbids dentists from profiting from referrals. This legislation codified the ethical concern relating to referrals. In Section 2, the receipt of compensation by a person or advertisement referring a dental service, is prohibited unless the compensation of referral is disclosed at the time of referral. This legislation will help ensure that patients are being referred to a dentist or dental practice as a result of their quality service. The Alaska Dental Society has had several breeches of their ethics code and their board has requested this legislation. I feel this is an appropriate legislative function of the Board of Dental Examiners under AS 08.36.315. Number 784 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said that the Alaska Board of Dental Examiners has a number of issues that relate to what the board shall act on. This bill simply adds another section under their jurisdiction. As indicated, this bill has been introduced by request of the Dental Society and is a result of breaches in their national code of ethics. Because of those breaches and technology that has been advanced over the last few years, it is quite timely to have this legislation added to the actions of the board. Number 849 DR. DAN PITTS, Dentist, testified via teleconference from Soldotna. He said that the Dental Society was receiving complaints from the public, and this legislation is a result of those complaints. The complaints were the result of members of the public calling dental referral services located in the yellow pages. Such a business will get a toll-free number or telephone number which is remoted to another town or city out of state. A large ad is placed in the telephone book which identifies the company as a dental referral service for Alaska. The referral service then solicits business to perhaps three dentists who want to advertise and receive referrals. The dentists are charged a fee, and if a patient calls the referral service and requests an orthodontist, that patient may simply be sent to a dentist and not an orthodontist. MR. PITTS said these referral services mislead people with their advertising. It appears they are a service which is run by organized dentistry when, in fact, the service is just a for-profit operation. Number 968 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the names of the dentists who violate the code of ethics are made public information. Dr. Pitts answered that the names are not publicized. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Dr. Pitts if he felt this legislation would be restrictive of advertisement and good business principles? DR. PITTS answered that the legislation ensures that the referral service must say, in their advertisements, that the dentists they refer pay for this service. If this information is disclosed, advertising is in no way limited. The disclosure of this information and advertising in general is fully ethical nationwide. Number 1075 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the bill would preclude the current system, or referrals, or would it simply provide for a disclaimer that the referrals are a service purchased by the dentist. Dr. Pitts said that the latter was true. He continued that in dentistry, it is unethical to refer a patient to another dentist and then receive a kickback for that referral. This is called fee-splitting and is also illegal in dentistry statutes. HB 23 would not effect their system of referrals. Most dentists will refer patients to a specialist they feel is the best for the job. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY commented that no matter what the name, a kickback is still a kickback. Number 1166 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved that HB 23 be passed from committee with the accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations. There being no objection, CO-CHAIR BUNDE stated that the bill was passed. HHESS - 02/07/95 Number 1198 HB 15: PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF MINORS' COURT RECORDS REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT read his sponsor statement for HB 15 into the record: This legislation is intended as an intermediate stop in the juvenile justice system that goes beyond the degree of punishment currently possible, but stops short of prosecution as an adult. It would allow the state, under certain strict circumstances, to release the names of juvenile offenders. With varying degrees of exceptions, most states require a court order to release the names of juvenile offenders. Recently, however, the trend has been toward cracking that confidentiality. In 1993, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kansas approved a law that allows officials to publicize the names of juveniles over the age of 13 who are convicted of certain violent crimes. In 1990, Rhode Island opened the records of juveniles who are over 15. In May, 1994, Illinois legislators overwhelmingly approved a measure to make public the names of juveniles convicted of crimes involving guns, gangs or felony drug violations. In Alaska, prior to 1994, the law contained a little-used provision that allowed publication of the name of a minor who committed two offenses classified as felonies. Last year, Senate Bill 54 replaced that provision with one that prohibits disclosure of the name or picture of a minor under the jurisdiction of the court in connection with the minor's status as a delinquent child unless authorized by order of the court. HB 15 would again allow the state to disclose the name, address and picture of a minor following a second felony offense unless the court entered an order barring disclosure "for good cause shown in individual cases. The current shield of anonymity and lack of serious penalties foster the perception among many young adults entering the justice system that they can get away with anything. This reinforces criminal behavior that continues into adulthood, where the consequences are far more serious. Tight confidentiality laws have been near the center of America's juvenile justice philosophy for decades. However, society has changed since juvenile justice systems were created around the turn of the century, and it is time for law enforcement to change as well. This small step toward lifting the privileged status of a juvenile, when that juvenile has wittingly and repeatedly broken the law, is a reasonable step in that direction. Number 1329 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that earlier Representative Rokeberg had a question about the wording of the bill. They discussed the previous statutory language which required an order of the courts to release information and records. That provision had been on the books for a number of years but was never utilized. Representative Therriault felt the reason it was not used was because there was confusion about whether the agency (the Division of Family and Youth Services in the Department of Health and Social Services) or the courts would release the information. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT continued that the old statutory language made reference to the records, but did not make clear whether those records were under the jurisdiction of the agency or the courts. When Senate Bill 54 was considered and passed, the section regarding records was broken into two segments. This created clear statutory references to court and agency records. Number 1356 HB 15 is proposing to take the old language which had been modified and put it back into the statute specifically under the heading of court records. The court records section is the one specifically being amended. Number 1400 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT added that he is currently working on a packet of legislation, of which HB 15 is a part. The packet deals with the juvenile justice statutes. He is attempting to address repeat vandalism and offenders. Currently, the state's system is such that if you are a repeat offender, there is not much "down- side" to the juvenile justice system. The activities can be continued and the minor finds out rather quickly that there are few deterrents to crime. Representative Therriault stated that this knowledge is quite prevalent. However, when a child becomes 18 and an offense is repeated once more, suddenly the child is thrown into the adult justice system and treated as an adult. Representative Therriault seeks to provide for an in-between with HB 15, one in which a minor is still treated and adjudicated in the juvenile system, but there is an increased "downside" to illegal actions. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT assured the HESS Committee members that the only children he was trying to include were those who have committed a second offense which would be a felony if the minor was over 18. Therefore, the minor will still be given a first chance in which they are admonished. However, when they commit the second felony offense, HB 15 provides for a deterrent which is short of sweeping them into the adult system and trying them as adults. Hopefully, the bad habits are not being reinforced, leading the public to wonder why they are still acting like delinquents after age 18. By that time, in many cases the behavior has been reinforced. Number 1486 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT continued that he was expecting a research report from the Legislative Research Agency which will show that so far about 12 states have taken steps in this direction. He thinks the HESS Committee members will hear from the agency that this action will seriously jeopardize federal funding, but he does not necessarily believe that is true. Representative Therriault hoped that the HESS Committee members will consider the policy call of the legislation, and he assured them that he would address the potential loss of federal funding before the bill is heard before the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee is the bill's third committee of referral. Number 1515 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT assured HESS Committee members that he was conducting research in respect to the federal law, as to what is happening in other states which have enacted similar legislation, and how other states have dealt with the potential loss of federal funding. He would have this information by the time the bill is to be heard in the Judiciary Committee, the bill's second committee of referral. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT had a copy of the Illinois legislation, and he read a portion which was put into the Illinois statutes: The general public may have access to the name and address of a minor who is adjudicated a delinquent minor under this act based on the minor's commission of an act and furtherance of a criminal activity, breaking a controlled substance act, participating in gang activities, or violating Illinois weapons statutes. Number 1558 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT commended the Illinois legislation, and stated that he spoke with members of the Illinois state government this morning and he was not able find any evidence that they have jeopardized their federal funds. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT concluded by reading part of Governor Knowles' State of the State address, in which the Governor speaks on dealing with the crime problem in Alaska. The Governor identified four different things which he planned to attack. Number One on the list was: Crack down on youth violence. We have laws from the `Leave it to Beaver' era for thugs from the `Terminator' age. We must get police and prosecutors the tools to attack gangs and youth violence and increase parental accountability. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT stated that he was pleased to introduce legislation which is in furtherance of the Governor's legislative aims for this year. Number 1605 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Representative Therriault if the zero fiscal note represents the cost of implementing HB 15 if federal funding is not lost. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT answered "yes." REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked about the effectiveness of other states' similar legislation. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT responded that he was trying to get that information. He thought the Illinois legislation was recently passed in 1993, although he could not be sure, and he did not think that there has been time for them to compile data to indicate success or failure. Representative Brice said, therefore, HESS Committee members do not know whether publishing names will be a crime deterrent. Number 1664 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that his interest in this issue was sparked by incidents in Fairbanks. He showed a color photo, printed in the Fairbanks News Miner, which showed a vandalized classroom. This photo was published the day after two schools were vandalized. The resulting damage was estimated at $50,000. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT and his staff, therefore, began working on putting deterrents into the juvenile crime system without generating a large fiscal note. The result is HB 15. He would love to have some sort of statewide detention hall system, but he admitted that he did not know how it would be paid for considering that it is a struggle to pay for the current system. Representative Therriault also said he realizes that he will have to answer the question concerning the potential loss of federal funding. Number 1707 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked Representative Therriault to explain the difference between filing a delinquency petition under AS 47.10.02(a)(2) and adjudicated delinquency. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT responded that the actual adjudication consists of the judge making the determination that the charges are legitimate. Representative Brice summarized that it was just upon accusation that information about the minor would be released to the public. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that information about the minor and offenses would be released upon accusation of the second offense. The minor would have to be adjudicated of one offense prior to the current arrest. Number 1755 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY noted what has been done in the past is not working. She urged HESS Committee members and the audience to get a copy of this weeks' Newsweek magazine, which deals with putting the shame back into children in order to avoid anti-social behavior. She said she thinks that HB 15 is a step in the right direction and supports it. She also thinks that HB 15 may make the parents more likely to address a problem with their child. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that he can clearly remember in the eighth grade deciding what path he would take. He chose against the path that would bring disgrace on himself and his family. Maybe many children do not come to a clear realization of their choices. Representative Therriault said he believes that HB 15 would be a deterrent, however, maybe society has moved along far enough that it will not deter some kids. He agreed with Co-Chair Toohey that the system which has been in place is not working and changes are necessary. Number 1822 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the release of information was at the court's discretion. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT replied that unless the court, at the time of the filing of the delinquency petition, for good cause shows reason why the information should not be released, then the information will be released. The court has some discretion. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT continued that the way the old statute read was that the court had to show good reason to release information, and HB 15 changes this so the court must show good reason not to release information. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said it appears to him that HB 15 is more restrictive than the Illinois legislation. Representative Rokeberg's main concern was with the fact that public awareness was still at the court's discretion. He was also concerned about the ability of the press to react to this type of information. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG felt that the intent of the legislation is to make information available to the public, and he strongly supports this bill. However, he expressed concern because if it passed from the HESS Committee, he wanted it to have a speedy journey through the other committees. He asked Representative Therriault why he worded the bill the way he did versus making the bill more like the Illinois version, which makes the information public record. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said he worded the bill to facilitate its passage through the House. Number 1908 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented that his understanding what that the information was not at the discretion of the courts, but it was discretionary to keep the name out of public knowledge. The fact that there is a perception that there is no downside to breaking the law as a juvenile is wholly due to the fact that the Division of Youth and Family Services (DFYS) is continually under attack in terms of funding. The youth facility is crowded. In Fairbanks, to be placed in the youth facility, a person must meet the same requirements as those individuals who are being placed in McLaughlin, a youth facility in Anchorage. In Anchorage, however, the law is being interpreted more to the benefit of juveniles because of overcrowding. This treatment is not applicable in Fairbanks. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE continued that in order to make sure that juveniles get more than a slap on the wrist, adequate funding should be given to programs in which just punishment is received after the first offense. In addition, the juvenile should be put into funded programs which deter them from continuing their anti- social behavior. Number 1983 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that last year, a juvenile waiver bill was passed. People have recently seen how that is being used in Juneau. She recommended that time be taken to see how Juneau's program is working. In this program, a lot of juveniles are going to be waived to the adult facilities and their names will be published in the paper. She asked why another step (HB 15) is being taken when a similar step was taken last year. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON reported that there has already been a 200 percent increase of juveniles in the adult facility population because of the previously passed legislation. Number 2010 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT felt that the program to which Representative Robinson referred looked at only one end of the spectrum, children that have perpetrated a heinous crime and were placed into adult status. He was aiming for something in which children are still treated in the juvenile system, but they are given more of a deterrent other than punishment as a adult, including the sentencing and jail time involved in the adult system. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT worried that the current system unwittingly reinforces bad habits while individuals are juveniles, and then expects them to behave like adults after their 18th birthday. When they don't, the system is shocked by the number of young adults in the adult system. Number 2040 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that in her experience, juveniles did get some level of punishment. Juneau's correctional institution began as a 21 bed facility for juveniles and women. Due to the fact that there were so many young people that were being locked up, the facility became overcrowded. Part of the system is to try to work with the parents and children to get the young person on the right track before their name is published. Representative Robinson was confused as to which of the kids would end up in the adult institutions if they committed a felony offense. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that most people thought that last year the only children being waived to the adult facility were those that had committed manslaughter or murder. In actuality, there is a very large group of young people who had committed felony offenses who are going to be waived to adult treatment. Number 2096 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT mentioned that a series of memos were in the HESS Committee members' packets. These were sent to and from Representative Therriault and the Legal Department. The memos were an attempt to distinguish what implications HB 15 would have on federal funding. The memo to Deborah Wing, Director of the DFYS, from the Region X (ten) office, talks about its concern about the release of information from Title IV-B and IV-E case files. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that is specifically why HB 15 stipulates that the courts release information, and not the agency. The agencies still keep their files private. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT wondered if there was a federal law which forbid anyone from publishing information on juvenile offenders. He spoke to reporters and they said if they receive information on a juvenile taken into the system, they can print the name, address and photo of the child if they desire to do so. It only depends on where they get the information. They clearly cannot get the information from the agency files. But if a reporter has that information, there is nothing that stops them from releasing it. Number 2159 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented to Representative Robinson about her statements concerning the urgency in dealing with juvenile crime and violent crime throughout the state. Perhaps she has the good fortune to live in a lovely community like Juneau, but unfortunately in the more urban areas of the state, there is a large cry to deal with these problems. That is one reason why Representative Rokeberg strongly supports HB 15. Number 2188 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT commented that a number of years ago, he worked with a volunteer police officer from the city of North Pole. In their discussions the officer said that it was very frustrating to pick up a juvenile after he or she had committed some type of crime, and have the child tell the officer, "I don't know why you are wasting your time, I am going to be out on the street before the ink is dry on your report." REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that there are some very savvy kids who know how to work the system to their advantage. They do not see any deterrents in the current system. Representative Therriault said he did not know how to identify those kids, but he is looking for something that is a bit more of a deterrent without sweeping the juveniles into the adult system at no cost to the state. Number 2220 CO-CHAIR BUNDE stated that an additional public safety concern is the awareness of public schools about which children have committed serious crimes. VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director, National Education Association (NEA) of Alaska, said that last session NEA indicated concern over kids who had violent tendencies and were currently in the court system, and the issue of informing school districts about the situation. The outcome of last session's legislation was to make that information available to the administrative officer. MR. MARSHALL said that NEA receives many reports from teachers and other school employees concerning students with violent tendencies who are sitting in classrooms, and the teacher is unaware of this. Mr. Marshall stated that the purpose of informing the teacher is two-fold, one involves the need to know, and the other involves the structuring of a program in which the teacher can deal with the problem and not the symptoms of the problem. MR. MARSHALL said he did not know if HB 15 strengthens those purposes. He wondered if a child, in Juneau, is dealt with under HB 15, and the child then moves to another school district, does that information move with the child? He also wondered if teachers and school employees are informed so they can hopefully structure a program that is inclined to help young people deal with the issue of violence. Mr. Marshall said curriculum should be investigated which helps children deal with the whole issue of violence. Tape 95-5, Side B Number 000 MR. MARSHALL stressed that he was not speaking against HB 15. He was simply raising the question to the HESS Committee members and Representative Therriault whether the bill increases the window of understanding so that systems and teachers are aware that they have potentially difficult children in a classroom that need special attention. Number 042 CO-CHAIR BUNDE stated that HB 15 provides for the information being published, and if teachers and districts find out that information and want to do something with it, they can. The information will not be specifically sent to school districts. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that part of last year's SB 54 specifically says that information shall be made available from the agency to school officials as deemed necessary to protect the safety of school students and staff. The fact that in this case, information shall be made available from the agency is an exception. He said he spoke to a judge many years ago, and he indicated that the information should be disseminated because part of the basic language in adjudicating delinquents allows for the sharing of that information. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT was not sure whether that important information actually makes it down to the principal's level. Certainly, a principal would like to know which students have been caught on offenses such as weapons offenses. A principal may be more mindful of that child. However, Representative Therriault also expressed an understanding of the need to balance that watchful behavior, so the child does not become stigmatized. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that not only should the information be disseminated to the principal's level, but also to the teacher's level. Number 173 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Mr. Vernon if he felt HB 15 was a start in the right direction, and if he supported the placing of a further burden on the juvenile and the family if they have indeed done something wrong. MR. MARSHALL said "yes," and he felt that generally teachers have a decent view of potentially violent kids as early as the kindergarten years. Mr. Marshall was careful not to discount a teenager who suddenly finds him or herself in trouble. Society is definitely changing, and eight and nine year olds are committing felony crimes. Mr. Marshall said that a serious look should be taken at Alaska's children, and attention should be given to teacher's views of these children. Mr. Marshall strongly believes that violent behavior can be seen at an early age. MR. MARSHALL continued that he was not trying to add another burden to the public education system. The school is one of the few settings left in which to deal with the issue of student violence, but the schools are going to need help in order to do this. Alternatives can be developed which are designed to keep kids in schools, in addition to condemning violence and disruption in the classroom. Number 325 MR. MARSHALL said families exist, in society, that have different value systems from the norm, it is difficult to change those value systems. HB 15 is one step, but it will not correct the problem. The problem will still exist, HB 15 will just have the public know about the problem. Mr. Marshall asked, can a program be designed to intervene at early ages so families and children are brought together to help the child overcome potential anti-social behavior? CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said that she left New York City in 1957, and they were in the middle of a ten year study on children in the New York public school system. At the end of that study, they determined that by the second grade they could tell what the child was going to turn out to be. The study was killed because people did not want their children to be labeled as a delinquent. But the point was that the child was labeled a delinquent unless there was intervention. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY continued that what society must do is intervene in the first and second grades. Number 423 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he did not know if public condemnation will work. However, years ago he was stationed in Europe with the U.S. Army, and he thought the U.S. Army was gathering up all the misfits and sending them to Europe because there were so many G.I.s doing so many bizarre crimes. It finally occurred to Co-Chair Bunde that those G.I.s were far from home, and their families and their communities did not know what they were doing. Public condemnation does have an effect. The lack of it may produce more misbehavior than the reverse. Number 500 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant to Commissioner Karen Perdue, Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), reminded committee members of Governor Knowles' promise to look at the criminal justice system. MR. LINDSTROM said the issue of federal funding has been studied many times, and DHSS believes that the federal government would sanction DFYS in FY96 if HB 15 should be passed. The amount sanctioned would be about $6,086,700 of Title IV funds. As recently as that afternoon, DHSS had talked to the federal government and they said DFYS would be sanctioned if HB 15 is passed. There is a lot of confusion and misunderstandings concerning the complexities of the federal laws and what other states may or may not be doing. To the best of his knowledge, based on conversations with the federal government as recently as this afternoon, the passage of HB 15 would result in the loss of over $6 million in federal funds to the state. MR. LINDSTROM said on that basis, there is a series of fiscal notes in the HESS Committee members' packets which represents the cost to the state should the federal funding be stopped. The federal funds would be replaced with state general funds to maintain the current level of services and operations in place at the division. The Title IV funds permeate the entire division. They fund social workers and probation officers, administrative functions, residential care, etc. Given the magnitude of the loss that would occur, the DFYS cannot support the bill. Number 660 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Mr. Lindstrom if he found any problems with the bill if funding was not lost. MR. LINDSTROM stated that his department has not had a policy discussion. They have only focused on the fact that they will lose funding if the bill is passed. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that her understanding was that most first time felony offenders were going to get some type of adjudication and be placed into some type of system. She was again referring to the large number of individuals in Juneau waived to the adult facilities. Number 773 MR. LINDSTROM said that HB 15 is much broader than SB 54 was in terms of automatic waiver provisions. Those apply to children who are juveniles who would be charged with unclassified or Class A felonies against a person. That population of children is smaller than those distinguished in HB 15, which simply refers to all felonies. KATHY TIBBLES, Acting Director, Division of Family and Youth Services, testified that the large number of felonies covered under HB 15 include such crimes as failure to assist a police officer. She did not have the information, at hand, to determine numbers of youth affected in HB 15 versus the unclassified felonies against people that receive an automatic waiver into adult treatment and facilities. She did not know how many names would be published. Number 818 MS. TIBBLES felt it was a little early for the division to answer what effectiveness SB 54 waiver possibilities have had with regard to deterrence because it is relatively new and the youth in Juneau are the first ones to experience what happens when you are 16 and commit such a crime. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked for an estimation on how many kids end up at the Miller House or a similar juvenile detention facility. Representative Robinson recounted a case in which a young person honored in Juneau's Fourth of July parade for service during the Gulf War committed a felony offense when he was 17 by breaking out a window at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) building. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON continued that there is an opinion that juveniles are not penalized after their first offense, and they all just end up back in the school system. Obviously, the jails are full and something is happening. DHSS Commissioner Perdue made a comment at the House HESS overview that often the bad children are focused on, and not the good children, and laws are created to deal with the bad kids without looking at the best interests of the good kids. MS. TIBBLES said that her understanding is a felony crime is almost always petitioned upon. A lot of kids that end up in detention centers and are subsequently released had misdemeanor offenses. There are a lot of kids who cannot be detained on their offense, such as minor consuming offenses. But if there is a felony crime committed, there is a petition filed. It may not result in commitment to the McLaughlin Youth Center, but a petition is filed. MS. TIBBLES offered to check the records and provide Representative Robinson with statistics on the number of felony charges and the number of petitions. Given that Johnson Youth Center is a short term detention facility, and has been exceeding capacity considerably all year, Ms. Tibbles would think that kids from Southeast are ending up in detention centers. Number 974 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Ms. Tibbles how she would work with school districts and the impression of the school board administrators that the school districts never hear about these cases. Representative Robinson asked if this situation was occurring currently. MS. TIBBLES thought a variance exists in different parts of the state in terms of working relationships. It is very likely with probation officers and social workers that there is discussion between school counselors, and there is discussion between teachers in all the educational meetings. It is very likely the principals are unaware of a lot of those issues. DFYS is often criticized by teachers due to reports of harm, abuse and neglect that are not addressed by DFYS. Given the workloads of probation officers, social workers and teachers, communication is difficult. There are definitely areas where DFYS can improve. Number 1052 MS. TIBBLES continued that SB 54 gave DFYS a much larger ability to share information. Information was being shared previously on a need to know basis because of regulations DFYS developed that were in conflict with state law that said only a court could release information. DFYS has only had SB 54 in effect since September, 1994. It has been sent out to staff with the message that they must have greater flexibility and awareness must be increased. They are no longer so tightly bound by confidentiality. DFYS has begun working with the Department of Law in drafting the new regulations so they better conform with SB 54. Then policy and procedure will be put into place. In the interim, Ms. Tibbles is attempting to draft some temporary policy and procedures to assist staff in being more consistent statewide. There is work to be done, but DFYS believes it has the ability to do this work with the regulations in place and the policies and procedures working currently. Number 1105 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that there is obviously a debate whether DFYS or the Department of Law is right concerning the loss of federal funding. She asked why the discrepancy exists. MS. TIBBLES replied that perhaps the discussion about why some states are releasing information and why DFYS is maintaining that it cannot may help. The reason that Region X said that information is protected as long as it is within the agency is that Alaska is one of the very few states where delinquents are placed in the same agency as children in need of aid. The Title IV-A and IV-B requirements cover all children in the population DFYS serves, which includes delinquents. The DFYS meets similar criteria for delinquents in terms of trying to work with families to keep kids at home, and trying to make sure they have the same procedural safeguards. Number 1179 In order to keep the Title IV-A funding, while the delinquents are in the DFYS system, their information must be safeguarded along with the information for all the other children DFYS serves. Most other states do not have juvenile delinquency in the same departments. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Ms. Tibbles if it was simply the "paperwork" causing the problem. Ms. Tibbles said that it is the programs which would have to be in different departments. Number 1223 REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that the wording of the bill specifically breaks out children in need of aid. This was left so the court would have to specifically authorize a release of information. This is under the current statute. The old statute allowed for the sharing of this information, and it was somewhat problematic. The new statute says that the agency records can be shared with school officials, not the court records. Because of that concern over the agency records, Representative Therriault decided that the agency's records would be left alone. HB 15 would only deal with court record information. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT thought that a separation could be built between the courts and the agency, although that might require a lot of legal finesse. However, it would seem that there would have been a problem with the old statute and there would be a continuing problem with the new statute that was made into law last year. Number 1289 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noticed that HB 15 has two more committees of referral. Having had some experience with the Judiciary Committee, Co-Chair Bunde thought the legal arguments will be highly dissected. With that in mind, he asked for a motion to move the bill onto the next committee of referral. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved that the bill be passed with the accompanying fiscal notes to the next committee. Number 1315 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON objected to the motion. She believed strongly that it is the responsibility of the HESS Committee to completely understand what HB 15 does and the effect it will have on the budget. She did not think it was appropriate to shift the bill to another committee to discover necessary facts. The HESS Committee is the one that looks at the DHSS and its needs. In addition, she would not have a problem with a law that opens up communications with the school districts and counselors. However, she was uncertain whether it was good to have the public know information about juvenile offenders. In small communities, such information may jeopardize the family and the child who is trying to get help. There are many reasons why children commit crimes. Sometimes the reasons are alcohol and drug abuse, sometimes the child itself is being abused. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON concluded that HESS Committee members should wait and see what the possibilities were for the loss of federal funding. There is no way the operations of the juvenile justice system can continue if $6 million are lost. It is difficult for the agency to function on the funding it currently has. The reason there is currently a delay in actions is because the Anchorage office is overburdened. Number 1419 CO-CHAIR BUNDE was sure the Finance Committee will look at those issues very closely. He stated that another issue was whether public information resulted in the branding of children or the allowance of a community to protect itself from young delinquents. His vote will reflect that he thinks the community should protect itself rather than allow a cushion of anonymity which might encourage further crime. CO-CHAIR BUNDE repeated that a motion was made to pass the bill and a roll call vote was taken. Those voting for the passage were Representatives Toohey, Bunde, Davis and Rokeberg. Those voting against were Representatives Robinson and Brice. Number 1474 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that after a vote of six to two, HB 15 would be passed from the HESS Committee with individual recommendations. ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned by Co-Chair Bunde at 4:17 p.m.