Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/30/1995 02:10 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE March 30, 1995 2:10 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 78: "An Act relating to the maximum amount of assistance that may be granted under the adult public assistance program and the program of aid to families with dependent children; proposing a special demonstration project within the program of aid to families with dependent children and directing the Department of Health and Social Services to seek waivers from the federal government to implement the project." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE * HB 202: "An Act relating to the participation and accountability of parents and guardians and the enforcement of restitution orders entered in juvenile delinquency proceedings; relating to claims on permanent fund dividends for certain court-ordered treatment in juvenile delinquency proceedings; changing Alaska Supreme Court Delinquency Rules 3(b) and 8(b); and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 171: "An Act providing that the commissioner of education serves at the pleasure of the Board of Education; and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER KIM DUKE, House Researcher Representative Mark Hanley's Office Room 507, State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4939 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 78. CURT LOMAS, Program Officer Welfare Reform Program Division of Public Assistance Department of Health and Social Services 350 Main Street, Room 317 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3347 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 78. JIM NORDLUND, Director Division of Public Assistance Department of Health and Social Services 350 Main Street, Room 309 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3347 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 78. SHERRIE GOLL, Lobbyist Alaska Women's Lobby P.O. Box 22156 Juneau, AK 99802 Telephone: (907) 463-6744 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 78. LAURIE OTTO, Deputy Attorney General Criminal Division Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99811 Telephone: (907) 465-3428 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement for HB 202. REPRESENTATIVE TERRY MARTIN Alaska State Legislature Room 502, State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3783 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement for HB 171. TOM ANDERSON, Legislative Assistant Representative Terry Martin's Office Alaska State Legislature Room 502, State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3783 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 171. MARY HALLORAN, Legal Administrator Office of the Attorney General Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99811 Telephone: (907) 465-3600 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 171. SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to the Commissioner Department of Education 801 West 10th Street, Suite 200 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-2803 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 171. PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 78 SHORT TITLE: PUBLIC ASSIST. DEMO PROJECT & DECREASE SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) HANLEY, Rokeberg, Porter, Bunde, Toohey JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/15/94 (H) HES AT 09:00 AM CAPITOL 106 01/06/95 41 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 41 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 41 (H) HES, FIN 01/19/95 91 (H) COSPONSOR(S): BUNDE 03/09/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/09/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/15/95 (H) HES AT 09:00 AM CAPITOL 106 03/22/95 869 (H) COSPONSOR(S): TOOHEY 03/22/95 (H) HES AT 08:30 AM CAPITOL 106 03/22/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/30/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 202 SHORT TITLE: JUVENILE DELINQUENCY PROCEEDINGS SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/27/95 492 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/27/95 492 (H) HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 02/27/95 492 (H) 2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM) 02/27/95 492 (H) 3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DHSS) 02/27/95 492 (H) 2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LAW, REV) 02/27/95 492 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 03/30/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 171 SHORT TITLE: COMMR OF EDUCATION SERVES AT BDS PLEASURE SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/10/95 301 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/10/95 301 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/16/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/16/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/30/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-32, SIDE A Number 000 CO-CHAIR CON BUNDE called the meeting of the House Health, Education and Social Services standing committee to order at 2:10 p.m. Present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde, Toohey, Rokeberg, and Davis. A quorum was present to conduct business. Co-Chair Bunde read the calendar and announced the order of the bills. HB 78 - PUBLIC ASSISTANCE DEMO PROJECT AND DECREASE Number 066 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced this bill had been previously heard, and a work session attempted to create a composite bill that would best serve the purposes of the state. Co-Chair Bunde asked HESS Committee members and those in the audience to study a sheet from the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). This sheet presented a comparison between the welfare reform bills currently introduced by the Senate, the House and the Governor. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that Representatives Brice and Robinson joined the meeting at 2:11 p.m. Number 089 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE asked if anyone had introduced the new Director of the Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS). He said she is a good friend of Representative Brice, her name is Diane Worley. She was formerly the Executive Director of the Resource Center for Parents and Children. She was welcomed by the HESS Committee members. Number 129 CO-CHAIR CYNTHIA TOOHEY moved that the proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 78 be adopted as the working document. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced it was version "C," and asked for objections. There were none, and CSHB 78(HES) was adopted. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were any questions concerning the comparison forms from DHSS. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the comparison form contained any type of breakdown of all the various different waivers and programs and how they are applied to the various cities of what sizes. Representative Brice said something similar was included in the comparison, but he was hoping for something more specific. Number 239 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS suggested it would be helpful if the sponsor of the legislation would orally go over the changes, comparison and the rationale. Number 274 KIM DUKE, House Researcher for Representative Mark Hanley, summarized the changes for the CS. In Sections 2 through 3, the assistance to minors with children provision was adopted from the Governor's bill, HB 235. This requires that teen parents under the age of 18 live at home or in an adult-supervised home in order to receive benefits. MS. DUKE said Section 4 changes the project areas for the workfare project and the three other projects that were adopted. Ms. Duke said she would discuss those three other projects momentarily. The section requires that four areas be set out by the department. One of them would have a population over 25,000, one would have a population under 25,000, and one would have a population under 5,000. Therefore, there would be a minimum of four project areas. The department would be required to operate at least one each of the demonstration projects. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for clarification. Ms. Duke said one project would be in a population area over 25,000, one would be in an area under 25,000, and one would be in an area under 5,000. He said that was only three projects. MS. DUKE said the last project would be at the department's discretion. There would be four projects, with the bill stipulating the population of the areas for the first three. Number 382 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON understood from the last meeting on HB 78 that it would still be up to the department whether it would wanted to implement the projects across the state, in all communities. MS. DUKE said the department would have the discretion of doing one of the projects in more than one area. MS. DUKE said some of the language from the community work pilot project had been adopted into the workfare project. This basically included some more expansive language to allow more community work for the workfare project. It also took out the exemption in which jobs participants were made exempt from this project. The department requested it be able to put people in the jobs project into the workfare project. MS. DUKE continued that three programs had been adopted from the Governor's bill, HB 235. These include the unemployed parent project, which is working to employ two-parent families. This has the family sign a three-year contract with a plan for the family to get off welfare within three years. Also included is the self- employment project, which allows welfare recipients to set up small businesses. Finally, the diversion project gives cash grants to people that hopefully will not end up on welfare. This is allowed for three months. Number 493 MS. DUKE said further language changes were adopted which were basically from the Governor's bill. The definitions allow the department immunity from liability. The last change made was the withdrawal of the reduction of 1.7 percent on the Adult Public Assistance (APA) program. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE summarized that the waivers will be applicable across the state. The Workfare Program will be applicable to at least one site. The unemployed parent project will be applicable to at least one other site. The self-employment project will be one more site. The diversion project will be one or more areas in the site. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE then said however, on the last page concerning project areas not specified by project, there are at least four separate projects in four areas of the site. There is at least one project in each municipality with a population above 25,000, between 5,000 and 25,000, then below 5,000. This is why Representative Brice wanted a graph as to where is what going to be applied. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked where the earned income, the 100-hour rule and the automobile allowance were going to be applied. Number 631 MS. DUKE said those would be allowed in three of the projects. They are not included in the diversion projects because it basically does not apply. The bill is trying to help people not sign up for welfare. Therefore, those provisions would not apply. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if therefore, maybe in the unemployed parent projects, the self-employed project and the workfare project those provisions would apply. MS. DUKE said those provisions would apply for the people in the project groups. The people in the control group would not have those benefits. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said therefore, there are four or five different projects. In each of those projects there will be a control group and a test group. The people in the test group will get the waivers and the people in the control group will not. That is what Representative Brice wanted to get clear. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if anything in the four projects, those being the workfare, self-employed, unemployed parent and diversion projects, that say those have to be spread out across the state. MS. DUKE said no. There must be at least one of each of the projects in four areas of the state. The department has the discretion to choose those areas in the population parameters that are set out by the bill. Number 731 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked the DHSS to comment. Co-Chair Bunde assumed that, allowing the department some discretion, it will take the opportunity to make this a valid and wide study. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he has full faith the department will do just that, however, he is concerned. He wondered if there are going to be any restraints to make sure that programs are going to be placed in the appropriate settings. In other words, he is concerned that the self-employed project would not necessarily be as helpful in Kotzebue, Nome, or Bethel than in Juneau, Anchorage or Fairbanks. CO-CHAIR BUNDE disagreed only in Representative Brice's choice of examples. Perhaps Kotzebue would be O.K., but not Akiak or a smaller rural area. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE was concerned about where the highest level of opportunity lies. There has not been a lot of discussion as to the barriers to getting off welfare. The bill has a lot of projects that look pretty good. Representative Brice said he is concerned that those projects be used in appropriate settings. Number 837 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if a representative from the DHSS would address the concerns of Representative Brice. CURT LOMAS, Program Officer, Division of Public Assistance, DHSS, said neither bill, HB 78 or HB 235, specifies exactly where the projects will be implemented. There is simply some language that defines the size of communities where the projects will operate. As Mr. Lomas reads HB 78 in its current form, there is nothing that precludes the department from taking any or all of the projects and operating them statewide given sufficient funding to do so. MR. LOMAS was reluctant to name specific areas because those decisions have not been made. In the costing of both HB 78 and HB 235, some assumptions had to be made. The department certainly sees some of the projects are much more promising in urban areas. Others have more promise in rural areas. Specifically, Representative Brice is speaking of the self-employment project. MR. LOMAS explained that in the fiscal notes in the Governor's bill (and he believed they would end up in the fiscal notes for HB 78 as well), the intent is to make the self-employment project a statewide project but to limit the number of individuals who could participate at any given time. It is very experimental, and it is not something that the department would want to open up across the board. Therefore, the department would like to retain some discretion to keep the numbers within a reasonable limit. The Governor's bill calls for a maximum of 50 families at any given time. Number 936 CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed that there is an ongoing challenge to "walk the tightrope," and make sure things get done but to not micromanage. Co-Chair Bunde is going to take what Mr. Lomas said as an assurance the department will make this project as widespread and workable as possible within fiscal constraints. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE remembered in the discussions on this type of bill last year that there was a lot of discussion about trying to privatize some of these programs. There were provisions in the original HB 78 to do that. Representative Brice did not see those provisions in the current bill. He asked if the projects were going to be state-run. He asked if there were projects in which it may be more appropriate for private entities to take over. CO-CHAIR BUNDE advised that privatization has not been placed into CS HB 78, and he would like to keep the discussions to the current bill. MS. DUKE noted that such provisions are in the bill. In Section 6 under subsection (b), the state can contract out. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE just wanted to make sure that was still in the bill. Number 1042 JIM NORDLUND, Director, Division of Public Assistance, DHSS, wanted to re-emphasize that the whole idea of waivers under the federal law is still a good idea. All projects are experimental in nature, and no one knows if they are going to work. No one knows for sure if they are going to effectively serve the people, and if they are going to achieve cost savings. That is a point that Mr. Nordlund keeps trying to make to the Senate HESS Committee as they make forward to their bill. The Senate HESS Committee wants to try to apply its projects more on a statewide basis. MR. NORDLUND stressed the projects need to be looked at as experimental projects that are set up in an experimental way. There must be a control group and an experimental group to test how these projects work. If the projects are working in the early stages, the department can look at expanding them to statewide within the limits of the state and federal law. MR. NORDLUND noted with federal welfare reform, all the rules could be thrown out. In that case, the state still will want to move forward cautiously with these new ideas toward welfare reform. If the projects work, they will be applied statewide. Number 1111 CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed that existing federal regulations require this experimental nature. Therefore, this bill must move forward based on existing law, not on conjecture over what might happen. Number 1128 SHERRIE GOLL, Lobbyist, Alaska Women's Lobby, applauded the sponsor of the bill. This bill is the most well-thought out piece of direction regarding welfare reform that has been considered by either body. The Women's Lobby still has concerns, however, but only about two sections of the bill. Those sections pertain to the rateable reductions and the teen parent project. Ms. Goll would like to speak on the rateable reductions at a later time. MS. GOLL said she has raised some issues before on the teen parent project. Although it is in the Governor's bill, and it has been in each piece of legislation, it still causes concern. She again reminded HESS Committee members that those provisions concern the 141 pregnant teenagers on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). There are 141 teenagers on AFDC out of all the pregnant teenagers in the state. MS. GOLL said even with the exemptions in the bill, half of those girls would most assuredly be exempted because of abusive situations or runaway situations. Therefore, the bill speaks of a pilot project that is going to affect, at most, 70 girls. If the project is in one location, not all of those 70 girls are going to be in that one location. Number 1209 MS. GOLL wanted to raise another issue that she has recently learned about. That has to do with the barriers that battered women face when they attempt to become independent and self- sufficient. This information comes from some studies she read from shelters and shelter programs all around the country. Ms. Goll was quite surprised to learn that very often when women are in abusive situations and they try to get out of the situation by applying themselves to training programs and work experience, such as is found in the bill. Their spouses often increase the violence. MS. GOLL explained women in this situation often cannot show up for a test after they have been in a training program because they have been beaten the night before. Sometimes they cannot show up regularly to work because this kind of situation happens. It is not an issue that has been previously raised, because Ms. Goll just recently found out about it herself. However, that must be taken into consideration as another kind of exemption or a good cause excuse. MS. GOLL certainly thought women who are in violent relationships need that kind of self-sufficiency help that a workfare or community work program can give them. But some direction should be given to the department, so it can make that determination in some cases where the training may increase the incidence of violence. Number 1311 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that he has taught women at the community college level who have been in abusive situations. He agrees abuse is about power and control. Any job, education or skill reduces the abusers control and would be resisted mightily. In order for someone to function in these programs, they probably are going to have to leave the abusive situation for their own protection. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said putting the exemption in the bill is saying to the woman, you can stay in the situation because we will not touch you. Number 1350 MS. GOLL said she was having a conversation to that effect out in the hall. This is new information to Ms. Goll. But when she read these studies, she was horrified that this is happening to women and that people who are administering work programs have seen this to be the case. Ms. Goll thought that in light of Co-Chair Toohey's comment, maybe an exemption is not the right cure. However, such situations should be considered. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said his personal goal is to do anything possible to encourage people to leave abusive situations. MS. GOLL knows that, when dealing with two parent families who depend on AFDC, sometimes this is going to be a situation. Ms. Goll does not know if counseling or some other option would be best. She just wants HESS Committee members to keep that in mind. CO-CHAIR BUNDE assured her that her concerns have been taken into account. Number 1412 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noted that quite often when women leave abusive relationships and go into a shelter to re-establish their own home, they must go through counseling, apply for AFDC and get food stamps just to get settled into a new home before they go out and start working. Representative Robinson had drafted some language that may not eliminate the problem. However, the language would enable the department to determine if a woman's safety is going to be jeopardized while she is on AFDC and food stamps and perhaps act accordingly. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said many women who come out of shelters and start a new life are not on AFDC and welfare for a long period of time. However, there may be a short period of time in which it may be good to give the department an option to determine if the woman is not in a safe situation to go out and get workfare and other kinds of programs at that point. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON was not only speaking of battered women at that point. Quite often women have had to leave the home because their children are being sexually abused by the partner (father/stepfather) in the home. Number 1482 MS. GOLL added that when a person has left an abusive situation, the person does not always manage to leave everything behind. That is why there are stalking laws and other laws. When the woman has left the abusive situation and gone to the shelter in order to survive with her children apart from the abusive spouse, she still may not be safe. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked to start through the proposed amendments. He closed public testimony, although he asked those testifying to remain present to answer questions. Public testimony would be opened again after the amendments have been either rejected or adopted. At that point the HESS Committee would be working with CS HB 78 as amended. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noted that amendments 8 and 9 are her amendments, but her name is not on them. Number 1544 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved Amendment 1. There was an objection for purposes of discussion. Representative Brice said there had been some discussion at the subcommittee and committee level about what happens if, at some point, Congress throws out all the rules relating to welfare. In such a case, the state would no longer need to have all the studies that are being paid for through the rateable reduction. Representative Brice asked if that would allow for the rateables to be reinstated at the level they were when the reduction was passed. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said basically, when the waivers are implemented, the rateables are implemented. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said this topic has been discussed previously with the sponsor, and the sponsor indicated a need for up-front dollars. That is why the rateable was in the bill. Representative Davis would, therefore, assume that would be the argument against the amendment. Number 1625 MS. DUKE said there is a need for up front money. The waiver process itself is a cost to the department. Ms. Duke does not have exact figures of what that would be. Page 3, Section 4, subsection (2) gives the department the ability to let legislators know if the project is not going to be a fiscally responsible project in light of changes in federal statutes or regulations. Therefore, the department does have the ability to inform the legislature that because of federal changes, the reduction is not going to cover the cost, etc. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE suggested that the Section (2) that is referenced is not helpful. The DHSS can report to the legislature all it wants. Representative Brice has a stack of reports in his office up to the ceiling. That does not necessarily mean the legislature will act on reports. If the service or program is not implemented, Representative Brice did not think it was appropriate to implement the rateables until the programs are established. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted that if this amendment were adopted, there would be additional straight general fund dollars needed to begin implementing the program. There is definitely a basic philosophy difference about how the program should be paid for. The governor's bill would be paid for different than HB 78. It is clear the programs in HB 78 will be paid for by the rateables. He said the decision is a policy call. Number 1721 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said funds cannot be dedicated. The rateables in this bill do nothing to pay for the programs. Those are the facts as stated by the Constitution of the State of Alaska. There is not connection between the rateables and the programs in HB 78. The savings from the rateables in the general fund will allow the legislature to make an appropriation. Therefore, Representative Brice does not think the savings from the rateable can or should be directly tied to the program. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the rateables and the programs are unrelated. One cuts benefits, and the other is to reduce program load. CO-CHAIR BUNDE agreed there are two issues. If Amendment 1 was adopted, additional general fund dollars would have to be requested at this time when the state is making large cuts. Therefore, Co- Chair Bunde would oppose this amendment. In addition, Co-Chair Bunde feels the general public is telling the legislature there should be rateable reductions even if these projects are not implemented. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked to hear from the DHSS. She understood in the meetings that the department felt this was a good amendment. Number 1806 MR. NORDLUND said the DHSS has gone on the record as opposing the rateable reduction in HB 78. Therefore, the department would support this amendment. MR. NORDLUND said Representative Brice makes a very good point. The state can say it pays for the programs through the reduction, however, it does not work that way. The approach of the department is to pay for these projects through additional child support enforcement. There are bills currently going through the legislative process that will bring in enough money and then some to pay for these projects. CO-CHAIR BUNDE then followed on Representative Brice's point by noting that the funds from additional child support enforcement would also not be dedicated, they would also go into the general fund. MR. NORDLUND noted that both the rateable reduction and child support enforcement will be able to decrease the amount of money spent in the upcoming fiscal year for assistance payments. Number 1855 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE noted that the prime sponsor of the bill recognized in the Finance subcommittee the connection between eligibility determination and fraud detection. There are real savings associated with those types of expenditures. CO-CHAIR BUNDE called for the vote on the amendment. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representative Brice and Representative Robinson. Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, Representative Davis and Representative Rokeberg. Amendment 1 failed. Number 1889 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved Amendment 2. An objection was made for discussion purposes. Representative Brice said basically, this amendment creates an incentive for the department to take a more active and involved role in getting paternity established. He does not think it is appropriate for someone to be set on workfare if the department has not done everything it can to establish paternity. MS. DUKE said the amendment seems to allow mothers who have cooperated with the agency to be exempted from the workfare provision. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE added, "if the department has not been successful in establishing paternity." CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if someone does not want to be put into the workfare program, all they have to do it tell the department the name of their child(ren)'s father. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said absolutely not. The amendment says that the parent has done everything she can to get paternity established, but the department has not yet been willing to establish paternity. Number 1969 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG said perhaps the amendment is in the wrong spot in the bill. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said no, the amendment is under exemptions to workfare. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the amendment means if mothers have cooperated with the department, they are exempt from workfare. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE explained that in this case, the department for one reason or another has not been able to establish paternity. What needs to be done is to make sure the department is doing everything it can to get paternity established. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was someone from the DHSS to speak to this amendment. Co-Chair Toohey was under the impression that paternity is established before AFDC is awarded. Number 2018 MR. NORDLUND believed that currently, the department is required to establish paternity. The applicant who does not cooperate is not eligible for benefits. CO-CHAIR BUNDE summarized the amendment. He said the point is that the mother has cooperated, but the department has not yet established paternity. Co-Chair Bunde wondered at what point it is decided the department has done everything it can. MR. NORDLUND said the DHSS does not establish paternity. The Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) establishes paternity. CO-CHAIR BUNDE again asked at what point is it decided the division has done all it can. MR. NORDLUND said sometimes there are circumstances beyond the control of the DHSS and the CSED, that do not allow paternity to be established. Number 2000 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if currently, if paternity is not established, the person is exempt. MR. NORDLUND answered no. If the applicant does not cooperate in the establishment of paternity under the AFDC Program, they are not eligible for AFDC. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that some women could easily get through that loophole by saying perhaps they were unconscious at the time of conception, and they do not know who the father of the child is. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that there are a few things that may be going on that should be kept in mind. First, Representative Robinson knows of a case in which a girl was raped by five men. This girl was the foster child of Representative Robinson's sister. The attack took place down in Utah, after the girl left Juneau. However, in the attempt to establish paternity, each man had to be tested, and this was torture for the poor girl. Finally, by the time they were testing the fourth man, she jumped off a balcony. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON urged HESS Committee members to remember there are more than just simple cases in which a woman goes to bed with one man and she knows he is the father of her child. Representative Robinson does not even know how this might work for a person who adopts a child and then needs to go onto AFDC. She does not know if they would be exempt. That is a situation in which the paternity of a child may not be known. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said it may take sometimes up to two years to establish paternity. HESS Committee members may wish and hope mothers have only slept with one person, but that may not necessarily be the case. The woman may not know who the father is. Number 2123 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said Representative Robinson was helping make his point. Simply saying, "The department has done all it can do," is not good enough. The state must have a guideline concerning how much the department can and should do. There is always something else that can be done, but at what point would a reasonable person say enough has been done. MR. NORDLUND added the Governor has introduced a bill that will speed the process of establishing paternity. Basically, all these determinations are being backlogged in the court. When the court finally has time to deal with the cases, there is basically a rubber stamp of an administrative decision. The Governor's bill will take the court out of the process and allow administrative paternity establishment. This way, paternity can be established sooner. MR. NORDLUND said it would also help achieve what Representative Brice is after. It would also help ease the entire process of collecting AFDC payments. Number 2171 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he was not sure Representative Brice's amendment is the way to get to that point. Co-Chair Bunde supports increased child support enforcement. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the question is whether or not a single parent should be made to participate in workfare if the department has not done what it was supposed to do as far as establishing paternity. There are those examples where that might be the case. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY feels the department does a better job than that. The legislature tried to assist paternity establishment through Representative Bettye Davis' bill last year. That practice is working. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE noted that if DHSS is doing a good job, it would do no harm to pass his amendment. Number 2212 MS. DUKE felt in a way, the amendment would almost discriminate against these women. They would not be able to benefit from the earned income disregard, the auto allowance and the other provisions they would have access to under the demonstration project. CO-CHAIR BUNDE called for a vote. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representative Brice and Representative Robinson. Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, Representative Davis and Representative Rokeberg. Amendment 2 failed. Number 2244 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved Amendment 3. An objection was made, and he spoke to the amendment. He said the purpose of the amendment is to exempt a person who would otherwise be ineligible for AFDC if they were receiving child support. It is very important to recognize the fact that a lot of the people on welfare would not be on welfare if they were getting the money owed to them. Representative Brice asked for unanimous consent on this amendment. CO-CHAIR BUNDE did not disagree with the premise of the amendment, however, he was unsure if this bill was the correct vehicle to use. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the point is there has not been yet a strong discussion about the purpose behind workfare. Until HESS Committee members get a definitive answer that workfare has a specific goal, Representative Brice is assuming workfare is a punitive measure. Under that assumption, and until workfare is clarified, it is only appropriate that a single parent who is owed child support be exempt. The state has not been aggressive and successful in getting that child support paid. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE continued that it is not appropriate to punish a single parent. TAPE 95-32, SIDE B Number 000 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she did not consider workfare a punishment. She considers the whole bill a way to help turn the tide on welfare. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked how workfare does that. Co-Chair Toohey said she would not spend the committee's time discussing workfare's benefits. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that earlier, Ms. Duke said women who are not getting child support should not receive a "double whammy" by not being able to participate in demonstration projects either. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said those women can participate in the unemployed parents project, the self-employment project and the diversion project. And they still get the waivers. He said there has been no testimony that workfare is anything but punitive. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that is plenty enough reason to have it. Number 081 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noted all the testimony she has heard says that part of the concept behind workfare is punitive. It is to try to make people on AFDC work because the state wants them to have better work ethics. Representative Robinson felt Representative Brice was trying to say there may be situations in which parents are trying to better their lives. If they were receiving child support payments, they would not even be on AFDC. They are only on AFDC because the non-custodial parent is not paying child support. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON understood what Representative Brice was saying. The custodial parents still get all the other benefits under the program. But the amendment would make it so the state would not penalize the custodial parent because the non-custodial parent is not paying. Representative Robinson feels workfare is punitive. The people exempt under this amendment have not done anything wrong, their ex-partner is simply not supporting the child(ren). CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the state cannot assume that every person on AFDC is only there because they do not get child support. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON agreed most people on AFDC are not in that circumstance. However, the amendment aims to exempt people under the particular circumstances which Representative Brice identified. Number 223 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the state was then to ask the department to decide what people are worthy and which ones are not. Representative Brice seemed to indicate in his earlier amendment that DHSS has not been doing their complete job. Therefore, Co- Chair Bunde did not think the state should give them more work. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said the CSED clearly has a list of parents in arrears, especially the parents who are largely in debt to the custodial parent. There are cases in which women are owed up to $25,000 in back child support. Representative Robinson feels if that support was paid, those women would not be on AFDC. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he is not willing to accept that guarantee. He also noted that Representative Robinson's figures are too low. Last year, HESS Committee members were presented with a list of 100 worst case scenarios, and all those on the list owed at least $100,000. Many of those people were from rural Alaska. Number 304 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented that if in fact offering work to a person who needs help is punitive, welfare reform and this bill are 180 degrees off. Representative Rokeberg does not agree with that, and that is not what the legislature is trying to accomplish with this project. The legislature is not trying to punish. He believes HESS Committee members are trying to provide a plan in which a mother can have dignity coming home at the end of a work day. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said there is a new head of the CSED, and that person is getting good results. Co-Chair Toohey would like to give that person a fair chance to show what she can do. MS. DUKE wanted to comment that the intent of the bill is not punitive. The intent of the bill is to remove disincentives that are inherently in the Welfare Program as it is currently set up. HB 78 seeks to then test incentive programs to find out what will be most helpful in encouraging people and allowing them more resources with which to work. The DHSS study proved that the majority of AFDC recipients want the ability to work. Number 406 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said most of the bill contains good measures. However, she is not happy with the reduction in benefits to the recipient. Certainly everyone can have a different philosophy on workfare. However, workfare requires someone to go out and work in a volunteer program for no money. Instead of assisting them in getting a job that pays well so the person can get off welfare, workfare is basically requiring them even to leave their young children to participate in workfare. Clearly, through everything Representative Robinson has heard, workfare is a punitive measure. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON was curious about the feelings of the DHSS regarding the workfare concept. MR. NORDLUND said in order for him to comment, he must back away from this bill and this particular amendment. The Governor basically has a community work project in his approach. He believes these kind of work projects are good. However, what is different about the Governor's approach is that workfare is looked at as providing the opportunity for people to go to work. What the state needs to do is back up and make sure it is providing job readiness and job training. MR. NORDLUND continued therefore, when the time comes and people are under a time limit to get off benefits, they are prepared to move into the private sector and take a job, assuming the job is there. MR. NORDLUND said it even goes higher than that in that the Governor, himself, has taken an obligation to make sure jobs are available, not only for all Alaskans but for AFDC recipients. Therefore, the DHSS wants welfare reform to be a genuine opportunity for a genuine job. To the extent the bill provides for pilot projects that help achieve that, the Division of Public Assistance in support of that. It does not see those measures as punitive. MR. NORDLUND conceded that if workfare is simply viewed as work projects that do not lead to long term employment, his opinion is that the project would be punitive. Therefore, the Governor's approach for workfare does work if it is looked at within context. Number 576 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said many of these "back-to-work" programs he has read about involve people for whom going to work is not a normal course of life. These people have to be taught to get up on time, to be at work on time and dress appropriately. Workfare teaches that sort of thing. It certainly teaches the next generation to break the welfare cycle. Functioning in this world does not involve not having schedules and responsibility. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE stated the fact of the matter is there is no component within the Workfare Program being proposed that leads to long-term employment. It does not do much more than demean people. If it created long-term employment opportunities, Representative Brice would "jump up and down and say `Yee-haw'." However, when the bill tries to put people into jobs stuffing envelopes, there is no training there. There are already jobs programs in which monthly reports show these programs take people off AFDC and put people to work. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE stressed that is the important thing. HESS Committee members must be certain what they are getting with workfare. First of all, a person who signs up for eligibility must start community service. What kind of training currently takes place in the non-profit agencies where people will be put to work? More importantly, what kind of training is going to be provided for the workfare participant? Those factors are not addressed here, and Representative Brice is concerned. Number 730 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the only thing his amendment does is make sure the child support payments are being pushed to the point they should be. It comes down to a policy question. What the amendment attempts to do is make people responsible for their children. CO-CHAIR BUNDE completely agreed with Representative Brice's last comment. A roll call vote was taken. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representative Brice and Representative Robinson. Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, Representative Davis and Representative Rokeberg. Amendment 3 failed. Number 784 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved Amendment 4. An objection was made for purposes of discussion, and Representative Brice spoke to the amendment. He said a lot of the discussion that should be taking place around this legislation is how to break down the barriers to employment. The two biggest barriers to employment are longer-term day care and longer-term medical assistance. That is all Amendment 4 does. It extends those types of transitional benefits from 12 months to 24 months. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that as this would double the expense, he facetiously assumed Representative Brice would support doubling the rateable reduction. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE countered he would consider that if this amendment passes. CO-CHAIR BUNDE called for a roll call vote. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representative Brice and Representative Robinson. Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, Representative Davis and Representative Rokeberg. Amendment 4 failed. Number 930 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved Amendment 5. An objection was made for purposes of discussion. Representative Brice said concern has been expressed by HESS Committee members. The key question is how to get people off welfare and into the job market. He believes one of the biggest deficiencies in workfare is there is no establishment that will work to get people off welfare. It provides that it is OK for the state to pay for long-term volunteers in the community. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE felt that was a bad message to be sending. HESS Committee members need to make sure the DHSS establishes long- term self-sufficiency case management for welfare recipients to get them working and off assistance. Since the representatives have been very concerned about making sure people are put into good paying jobs, Representative Brice would appreciate HESS Committee members' support for this amendment. Number 946 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that would cost quite a bit. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE disagreed. He asked if the department representatives would comment. MR. NORDLUND expressed full support for the amendment. It is the intent of the department to make sure these workfare projects actually do give people the skills to get long-term jobs. Considering that the bill contains pilot projects, he feels this amendment is a good idea. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said studies have shown that any type of employment is beneficial to getting people into long-term employment. Even McDonald's provides a good start. The pay there might not be very good, but the whole atmosphere of working in a clean place, dealing with the public is good training. Anytime there is a person in a work program, whether it is to the person's liking for a long-range career does not matter. It is a start. This type of amendment will eliminate that start. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY read under the subsection of the amendment: "Only if the activity will help the person achieve a long-term self- sufficiency." Co-Chair Toohey interprets that to mean this job will be something the person wants forever. Number 1025 MR. NORDLUND said the amendment seems to be attempting to recognize that any long-term employment is a series of steps. First you may be doing volunteer activities, which are intended by the Governor's approach and the workfare approach. As long as that volunteer job has a relationship to an eventual "real job" a person could get, it is all a part of a plan. It is a step on the way. The amendment seeks to help the individual chart that course. It holds the department to task to make sure the activities the person does will eventually lead them to that job. It is actually a good plan. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked what happens if there is no job at McDonald's and the person has to sweep the streets? MR. NORDLUND said perhaps street sweeping would eventually get the person a decent maintenance job working for the municipality of Anchorage. It must be looked at on a case-by-case basis. These self-sufficiency plans should be tailored for the individual client. Number 1085 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said perhaps a person wants to, for example, work in a shelter as a counselor or social worker. A good placement for them would be as a volunteer somewhere that would give them the training and education so they become a better citizen. It is important to not just throw people out to do any kind of work just because the state wants them to be volunteering 21 hours a week. If these people have four or five children, this is not moving them forward. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON continued that however, if job placement is investigated that will benefit the person in the long-term, volunteer job placement could be found to promote that. If the person wants to be a nurse, they could first be placed as a candy- striper, helping other nurses. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said it is important to not simply find any kind of volunteer job for a person just so they are doing 21 hours a week of work to punish them. The state should assist them in a volunteer job placement that is going to further their education and move them off the welfare lines down the road. Number 1155 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS felt the amendment spelled out intent. The federal government must approve the demonstration project. It says in Section 4 of the bill, page 3, "To the extent that the federal government approves the necessary waivers the department shall implement the project. The purposes of the projects are to promote personal responsibility and self-sufficiency." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS concluded the federal government must approve the project as far as specifying that the department may assign a person, there must be some statistics being kept to show the benefits of these projects. Those will also be required by the federal government before they approve the project. Therefore, the provisions of the amendment are already inherent in the legislation. The amendment is simply specifying some details. Certainly the aim of the bill is for "long-term self-sufficiency." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said hopefully, someone will be doing such a good job volunteering that, for example, if someone quits, the position will be offered to the volunteer. They will then be off welfare and on payroll. That is the ideal situation in this demonstration project. The provisions of the amendment are already in the bill. Representative Davis asked to hear from the department. It seems to him that this is already the way the bill is planned to be run. This is how success will be checked. Number 1241 MR. NORDLUND said the department plans to perform that action whether the language is in the bill or not. However, it does not hurt to have the language in. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said putting the language in there would increase the fiscal note and the bureaucracy. Long-term self-sufficiency is not achieved by having a personal keeper telling the person on welfare where to work. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if the bill's sponsor had seen the amendment. MS. DUKE said there was nothing in the bill that would prohibit the department from doing that. It is certainly the intent of the project. However, she did not know if the department wanted to evaluate every single situation from the very beginning to determine if it would end up in long-term self-sufficiency. Number 1302 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY was concerned about wording in the amendment. The plan had to be developed in consultation with the person in the program. What if a person did not want to work anywhere available. If that was the case, under the amendment the person would be out of the program. According to the amendment, the potential worker must concur with the employment plan. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that is a very important point. The fact of the matter is workfare is not taking into account the most important element. The people are the most important element. Representative Brice thinks it is very important that the people be consulted so there is some level of self-determination. That is what the amendment is about. MR. NORDLUND stated that the fiscal note already anticipates this type of case management. The DHSS sees this as very critical to making workfare function effectively. Number 1353 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if she could therefore assume if someone said they did not want to perform a particular job, they would not have to. MR. NORDLUND said assuming they do not participate in workfare, sanctions will be imposed. A person cannot simply decline. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS commended the amendment for using the word "may." That permissive language is good. But is also says, "activity under this subsection only if the activity will help the person...." That is narrowing some of the intent. In addition, the definition of long-term self-sufficiency also reads of "only." That is nebulous. Representative Davis noted Mr. Nordlund mentioned that is the intent of the department but it would always be helpful to have that language in the bill. However, Representative Davis thinks perhaps it would hurt the bill to have it in. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said therefore, perhaps some of the wording in the amendment could be changed. Number 1420 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE felt that when discussing the amendment, HESS Committee members should keep in mind that long-term self- sufficiency is a series of steps to employment. A person usually does not go straight from AFDC to being an advertising executive. That is the naivete of the workfare program as it is currently written. It is very important to recognize that small steps must first be taken. As Co-Chair Bunde noted, people quite often do need employment skills such as being on time and working on a schedule. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE continued that those people must then understand that employment is good. Any type of employment is good, even working at a convenience store. At that point, the person can continue to develop and work. Representative Brice is concerned that if the bill does not speak of long-term self- sufficiency, there is nothing that is going to state that these programs will continue after the person is employed at the convenience store. The state must continue to get people into better jobs. This is not just a case of reducing benefits as income increases. The person must be completely removed from benefits. That is the very important aspect. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE wants to insure that those people are not back on assistance after two years after going through workfare. Number 1513 MS. DUKE noted that workfare is a five-year project. She does not know if Representative Brice's goals are feasible in that amount of time. She does not know if it can be assured that everything they are going to be doing is going to result in long-term self- sufficiency in a five-year demonstration project. In addition, there are a number of activities that are allowed under this section that are not work. They are culturally relevant subsistence activities such as high school completion and community work. MS. DUKE was not sure those activities, which were included from the Governor's bill, would fit under the amendment. She thinks the amendment could be very limiting. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said this amendment would perhaps be mandating a large increase in caseworkers. Number 1562 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE wrapped up the discussion. He does not think the amendment mandates an increase in caseworkers at all. It will, however, insure that if someone is going to participate in some of these other related activities, the client will be included to some extent in what those activities will be. This is in contrast to the state "telling" the person what they will do if they want their next benefit check. MS. DUKE reminded HESS Committee members that the department is already intending to do just that. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE stated legislators are always complaining that statutes are not tight enough. This amendment is trying to tighten up the language. CO-CHAIR BUNDE called for a vote. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representative Brice and Representative Robinson. Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, Representative Davis and Representative Rokeberg. Amendment 5 failed. Number 1618 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved Amendment 6. An objection was made for purposes of discussion. Representative Brice said this amendment insures there is some focus for workfare. He wanted to make sure the state was not simply telling people when to show up where for how long. He wanted the department to acknowledge that long-term employability is important in addressing the AFDC and welfare problems. CO-CHAIR BUNDE felt that discussion on a similar topic had just occurred. He called for the vote. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representative Brice and Representative Robinson. Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, Representative Davis and Representative Rokeberg. Amendment 6 failed. Number 1683 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved Amendment 7. An objection was made and he spoke to the amendment. He had started off his amendments by saying the rateables should not be introduced until the programs were set up. He feels that was a mistake, because the consensus is that would cause an increase in funding. His concern, however, is that the rateables will be reinstated if, at some point in time in the near future, the federal government lifts all restrictions. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE suggested that if the bill and the rateables go through and are implemented, the waivers are acquired and all projects are put into place, everything would be made meaningless by a change in the federal law. Everybody in the state would then be able to participate in those types of programs. Representative Brice feels it would be appropriate at that point in time, when there is no longer expense associated with programs, for those rateables to be reinstated. Number 1746 MS. DUKE did not feel this amendment was necessary. Section 4 says the department's ability to implement the projects is dependent on changes in the federal government. Again, in subsection (1) of section C, the department has the ability to discontinue the project under the waivers that were implemented before the federal change occurred. The department can discontinue the projects if it is not going to be fiscally responsible in light of the federal changes in statutes and regulations. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said in any case, the workfare is a five-year project, and it would go away in five years. This includes the rateable reductions. MS. DUKE concurred that the date of repeal is for the entire bill, rateable included. Number 1796 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he appreciated Ms. Duke's comments, but they were not applicable because the projects, not the rateables will be repealed. If HESS Committee members are so bent on associating the rateables with the projects, it would be appropriate that when there are no more expenses associated with those projects, the rateables be reinstated at that time. That is what the amendment does. It makes sure that once the projects are repealed, the rateables automatically go back to where they were. CO-CHAIR BUNDE called for a vote. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representative Brice and Representative Robinson. Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, Representative Davis and Representative Rokeberg. Amendment 7 failed. Number 1832 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved Amendment 8. An objection was made for discussion purposes. Representative Robinson said under the current regulation, a minor who is a parent and who lives with her parents would be ineligible for AFDC. Under this bill, unless the minor's parents were eligible for AFDC, and since the minor parent's income is counted as income for the purpose of determining this eligibility, most of them would not be able to receive AFDC. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said her amendment allows children to stay in the homes with their parents and still be able to receive AFDC dollars for assistance. This is especially applicable for those families in which the parental income is right on the edge of the assistance level. Representative Robinson knows of situations in which single mothers have three children and then one of their daughters gets pregnant. It is clearly in the best interest of the minor to stay at home. The mother can support and help the daughter and the baby. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said the mother is not on AFDC, and she is barely making it. The baby could add too much of a financial strain on the mother to the point where it is better to have the daughter live on her own. This, then, allows for the income of parents to be taken out of the determination for AFDC. Only the income of the teenager is counted. Therefore, the teen qualifies for AFDC. It helps her become self-sufficient and she is not going to be kicked out of the house for financial reasons. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON believes this is in the best interest of all involved. She had thought the sponsor of the bill was strongly considering taking the teen parent provisions out of the bill altogether because there are many reasons why a child cannot move out. As Representative Robinson understood her conversations with Representative Hanley, the intent of his bill is to do whatever is possible to assist young single mothers in staying in a supportive environment. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON felt her amendment will assist them even further. She does not think it will cost more money, because if parents have money, they will not make their child apply for AFDC. This will only affect those parents in which the situation is right at the edge. This will prevent young mothers from leaving home in order to get help. The job of HESS Committee members is to make sure these children are supported. Number 1976 MS. DUKE felt there was a possibility this amendment could increase the fiscal note. There is no way of knowing how many teens living at home now would become eligible for AFDC once this bill passed with this amendment. Ms. Duke did not think the department could estimate that number. MR. NORDLUND said currently, the issue the amendment addresses is in state law. It does not require a waiver. Changing eligibility requirements would require a waiver from the federal government. There would be some fiscal impact for that. He certainly appreciates the intent of Representative Robinson's amendment. However, this amendment could not be implemented without applying for a waiver. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if it could not be wrapped up with all the waivers that are going to be submitted. MR. NORDLUND said it certainly could be placed with the other waivers. However, it would still be an additional aspect. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Mr. Nordlund to speak to the philosophy behind the amendment. MR. NORDLUND agreed with the philosophy behind the amendment. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if he felt it would be in the best interest of teen mothers to stay home, and that by staying home teen mothers could cause their families to end up in the welfare lines. MR. NORDLUND agreed. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON concluded that either way, there could be cost somewhere down the road. Number 2068 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG was not sure he understood the total ramifications of the amendment. He feels Representative Robinson has solid ground on which to bring the amendment forward. However, he is uncertain whether the HESS Committee members can consider the entire ramifications of this today. He commented that he would buy into the amendment but he would like some tighter language. He asked for the clear intent of the amendment, and the term "or living arrangements." REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said in other words, the teen may be living with an aunt, grandparent, or other relative or guardian. As she understands it, this would apply to the living arrangement the teen was currently in. That may not necessarily be with mother and father. Again, that is another situation that is not unusual. When Representative Robinson was growing up, it was not uncommon for parents to send their young, unwed, pregnant daughters off to another town. If the grandparents took in the girl, they may be on a fixed income. If the teen could get some assistance, that would be a benefit. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON explained the teen would benefit because she will be able to remain in a supportive, safe environment. She will not have to find her way on her own because that is the only way she can receive assistance. Number 2140 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said if, in fact, "or other living arrangements" is a term of art in the sector of public assistance, and this term is drafting nomenclature, it would be appropriate. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said her staff just told her it is clearly in the bill already, and that is the language that is being used. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE considered what the department just stated, and offered a friendly amendment to Amendment 8. He asked to strike page 2, line 30 and insert page 4, line 20, and insert a new subsection to read, (4): When determining for and the amount of assistance in the case of a minor, a parent who is required to live in a household or living arrangement under Section 2 of this bill, the department shall disregard the income and resources of the adults in the household or living arrangement. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said in other words, he seeks to make the amendment not part of the teen parents section of the bill, but to make it part of the waiver process for the department. He felt that was the appropriate place for the amendment. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked him to please draft another amendment rather than rewrite Representative Robinson's. Number 2211 MR. LOMAS interjected that in fact, the law only holds a parent responsible for a child. Therefore, the department never imputes the availability of income from the other adult with whom the child is living unless that adult also applies for AFDC on their own behalf. The amendment language could be greatly simplified to include a situation in which the minor parent is required to live with his/her own parent. The language may say, "The department shall disregard the income and resources of the parent." That is really the only situation where this amendment would come into account. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Representative Robinson would like to withdraw her amendment and have it rewritten with the aid of Mr. Lomas. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if he could quickly draft such language with her staff, and he agreed. She withdrew her amendment. Number 2272 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved Amendment 9. An objection was made for discussion purposes. Representative Robinson said this amendment should clearly make and save money down the road. Currently, when a teen mother who applies for AFDC, she must give the name of the child's father to CSED, so the father can offset the cost of child support. The father cannot usually pay much... TAPE 95-33, SIDE A Number 001 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON continued...because he may not be working. If he is working, he is not making much money. Normally, the minimal amount of child support would be $50. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stated therefore, since this bill calls for the parent of the teen mother to assume responsibility for their daughter, it is only fair the parents of the teenage father be required to also assume responsibility. This amendment changes court rule 90.03 so the income of the teenage father's parents can be counted in determining the amount of child support to be awarded and make the teen father's parents responsible for payment of child support. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noted this responsibility would only take place until the teen father was 18 years old, married or emancipated. Representative Robinson said she does not have any daughters. She has a son. Therefore, she is not trying to go after parents. However, she believes that if the legislature is trying to make everyone responsible, fathers should be included. Right now, the responsibility is placed completely with the young woman and her parents. Number 106 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said therefore, this amendment stipulates that if a "Bob", who is in high school and only makes $50 a week, gets "Mary Lou" pregnant and they do not get married, it makes sense that Bob's parents, who make $100,000 a year, can help pick up the support of this child. A little bit of the burden is being shifted here to the parents of the boys. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON really believes that if the teen mother's parents have money, it is also their responsibility to help take care of the child. This amendment makes everyone responsible. MR. NORDLUND said this is an amendment that affects child support. He declined, therefore, to speak for the Administration. However, he personally supported the amendment. It meets with the intent of the Governor's approach to make teen pregnancy the responsibility of more than just the pregnant teen. If the state is going to make teen mothers live at home, there will also be an obligation placed on the teen mothers' parents. Therefore, there should also be an equal amount of responsibility placed on the teen father's parents. MS. DUKE said she does not have a problem with the amendment and the idea behind it. However, she did think this was something that belongs in child support legislation, and not in a welfare reform bill. The amendment does not address situations in which the teen father's parents are receiving AFDC. This is really the only way the state could try to get support from a father in welfare reform legislation. This is something that would require a different type of bill. Number 307 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY agreed with Ms. Duke. She felt HB 78 was an inappropriate vehicle for this topic. Co-Chair Toohey felt this topic is so very important it actually needs a vehicle of its own. CO-CHAIR BUNDE volunteered to co-sponsor any legislation Representative Robinson would make regarding this issue. However, he also expressed concern about the fit of the amendment with the bill. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she was told by the drafter of the amendment that the amendment would fit and there would be no problem. The Department of Law told Representative Robinson this amendment would fit with this bill. She said this is the vehicle that is moving, however, she would like to get the provision into the bill before the committee. This is clearly a cost savings. This provision would allow for the further collection of child support from teen father's parents. That is the direction this legislature should be going. CO-CHAIR BUNDE was in complete agreement with the goal Representative Robinson was trying to achieve. He only has a question with a vehicle. He asked her not to take his disagreement with the vehicle as disagreement with the goal. Number 411 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wanted to make it clear the drafters of the amendment said it would fit into this bill. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said if each and every section of HB 78 could be broken out and ran as a separate piece of legislation, it is the prerogative and duty of this committee to address the amendments to this bill. Amendment 9 does the appropriate, necessary, legal actions of changing the title, which is completely within the purview of the committee, and implementing the necessary sections. There is not a single subject problem according to legal advice from the Department of Law. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said there is no prohibition against this committee expanding the title considering it is the House's piece of legislation. The only purpose of not supporting this amendment is saying HESS Committee members do not support appropriate responsibility on the part of the teen father and his parents. Number 516 CO-CHAIR BUNDE disagreed with what he felt was a stretch of the HESS Committee's purview. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG was concerned about the scope of the amendment as a grandparent. However, the draftsmanship seems in order at first glance. He is concerned about the rights and obligations of grandparents and how they fit into the scheme of things. Conceptually he supports this idea. However, there would be a large scope to this provision. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced a five minute at ease at 4:52 p.m. He called the meeting back to order at 4:01 p.m. A roll call vote was taken on Amendment 9. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representative Brice and Representative Robinson. Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, Representative Davis and Representative Rokeberg. Amendment 9 failed. Number 633 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved Amendment 10. There was an objection and he spoke to his amendment. He said this suggested change would mandate that any recipient approved for assistance under Section 2 would be required to go to school. He hoped this would not be a waiver situation. He has had a number of conversations with Major Bob Anderson of the Booth Memorial Home for pregnant teenagers and he is a strong advocate of this situation. He provides maybe one of the only, if not the largest assistive living situations for pregnant teens in the state with educational opportunities in his program. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked for approval if the sponsor would accept this amendment. MR. NORDLUND said this would require a waiver. This is a unique situation in that the AFDC federal law allows the state to require children to be at home to receive assistance. There is a window. That is why this section of the bill does not require a waiver in the first place. When additional requirements are added, most likely a waiver will be needed. Existing federal AFDC rules are being changed. Representative Rokeberg is suggesting basically a "learnfare" type of program. MR. NORDLUND said there is a section like this in Senator Green's bill, and a fiscal note is being worked up on that currently. This amendment would definitely require a waiver, however. Number 786 MR. NORDLUND also felt if Representative Rokeberg wanted to pursue this amendment he would need to clarify some things. Mr. Nordlund would assume there are minors who are already high school graduates. That is conceivable. Representative Rokeberg would probably also want to allow for someone who is pursuing a Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED) to be included in the provision. In other words, the person does not have to be in school to be covered. MS. DUKE did not think Representative Hanley would have a problem with the idea of the amendment. However, he would probably want to address whether to put another waiver project in the bill in the next committee. Ms. Duke had not realized this amendment would require a waiver. Number 827 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON had two suggestions. The first was to add "certified education program," so if the person is in some kind of training, they will not be considered "not in school." Second, this is the type of provision that should affect teenage fathers also. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG decided to withdraw his amendment with the hope it would be reinserted with the proper ornamentation drafted around it to be workable. He asked that the bill's sponsor consider notwithstanding the fact the amendment may require a waiver in either accepting or rejecting the amendment to the bill at the next stage of the committee process. There were no objections, and Amendment 10 was withdrawn. Number 920 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he would see that Representative Rokeberg's message goes to the bill's sponsor and the next committee of referral. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved Amendment 11. There was an objection. Representative Robinson said this regards victims of domestic violence and/or women who have had to leave their homes because of sexual abuse on them or their children from a father/stepfather. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said all this amendment does is add another level in which the department can determine a person's physical and emotional health and safety would be jeopardized by participating in a project. For example, a woman may already be receiving AFDC. The District Attorney's Office may have these women staying at a shelter until trial, especially if it is a child sexual assault case. This gives the department the option to not require the women to participate. Number 990 MR. NORDLUND said by all means this would be done as a matter of course. MR. LOMAS said this provision is essentially covered in the last two lines on page 5. There is an exemption for participation in workfare for people who are in the jobs program. This is one of the number of exemptions that apply already. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON hoped the department was sure her amendment was already covered. Since they gave her an assurance, she withdrew Amendment 11. There were no objections. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved Amendment 12, which is the new Amendment 8 which she previously withdrew. There was an objection for discussion purposes. MR. LOMAS said the intention of the original version of this amendment was to not create a situation in which minor parents who are required to live at home lose eligibility for AFDC because they are living at home and an adult's income and assets affect their eligibility. In fact, under the law only a parent is held responsible for a child. Therefore, the language has just been redrafted to eliminate that particular problem. Additional language is also thrown in. MR. LOMAS explained that in essence, the amendment now requires the child to live at home but he/she is still eligible for AFDC. Number 1145 MS. DUKE again voiced concern about the potential unknown cost of this amendment which prevents her from accepting the amendment. It is not known how many teen parents living at home currently with parents supporting them would become eligible for AFDC if this bill passes. She is concerned about the fiscal impact. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said Ms. Duke is well-qualified. If other members of the committee are concerned, she would like to revisit this amendment in the next committee of referral, the Judiciary Committee. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE felt it was a real concern because the socio- economic background of these folks is usually of the lower classes. Therefore, this could place a real burden on the family and possibly make the family less viable. Representative Brice felt it was terribly important that this amendment be considered. Number 1229 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said the facts are she does not have a problem with teen mothers who stay home with their parents. It is a good thing to have the support of their parents. There are also plenty of provisions in the bill which account for cases of abuse and other reasons why a child cannot and does not have to stay at home. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON also knows of circumstances where a pregnant daughter would be a large hardship on the family. If most parents do not have to have their child sign up for AFDC they are not going to do it. Co-Chair Toohey has a bill, and if it passes more responsibility will be taken by teen fathers. However, this amendment really helps teen parents and their families. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stressed that in many of these situations, the daughters of single mothers are having babies. This is a provision that will help every body out. Number 1287 CO-CHAIR BUNDE called for a vote. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representative Brice and Representative Robinson. Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, Representative Davis and Representative Rokeberg. Amendment 12 failed. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that CSHB 78(HES) was now before the committee. He called for public comment. Number 1350 MS. GOLL reminded HESS Committee members that there are many sections of HB 78 which her organization supports. She agrees with efforts to reform the system. Apparently, that is the way the nation is feeling about welfare. Some changes need to be made in the way the system is run. However, she urged HESS Committee members to consider the general idea of holding back on the passage of legislation this year, so the state can see what kind of changes are going to be made by the federal government. MS. GOLL said the federal government is apparently gearing up to make some changes. The state does not know whether those changes are going to look like HB 78, or the Senate welfare reform bill, or if it will take away the entitlement status of AFDC altogether. If that happens, and the entitlement status of AFDC takes place on the federal level and block grants are given to the state, the state is going to have to start at ground zero and rework the current system. MS. GOLL said this is because the state will not be operating under the rules the federal government has laid out. Ms. Goll believes most of the parts of this bill besides the teen parent project and the rateable reductions are things that perhaps everyone can agree should be included in the new welfare system. MS. GOLL continued that the budget the House is about to prepare for the floor includes funding for a welfare reform task force. Ms. Goll believes the public needs to be involved in the redesign of the system. She knows, of course, that the legislature is going to want to be very involved in setting that policy in statute. She hopes that, as legislators, each HESS Committee member will consider the idea of not acting on welfare reform this year but waiting to see what kind of changes are going to happen. MS. GOLL said the welfare reform task force can have legislators and members of the public on it. The system can then be debated. This may require changing the system to include time limits for temporary assistance for those who should not make a lifestyle of welfare, and protect those who are going to continue to need welfare. She urged HESS Committee members to keep that in mind as the bill moves forward. Number 1487 MS. GOLL said the Women's Lobby is opposed to reducing welfare payments any more than they have already been reduced. She has often heard these rateables referred to as the little rateables because they are so much smaller than the federal floor and the cuts that were proposed in other legislation. She asked HESS Committee members to keep in mind the fact sheet they were given at a previous meeting. That fact sheet shows how a family on AFDC who does not have subsidized housing is already "in the hole." MS. GOLL said this bill will make that family be $15 dollars more in the hole. That morning, Ms. Goll listened to a debate on a completely different bill that had to do with the registration of cars. Legislators were saying that if a sticker is not placed on a car and the car is stopped by police, an extra $75 is fined. The legislators noted that was a lot of money. MS. GOLL agreed that is a lot of money, especially to people who are already living below the poverty level. That is the reason the Women's Lobby is opposed to the rateable reductions in the bill. Number 1552 MS. GOLL said she has already described to HESS Committee members the number of people who could be affected by the teen parents project. There has been plenty of discussion today about amendments that need to be attached to this bill because the bill requires teen parents to live at home. There would be no need for some of those amendments if that section of the bill were eliminated. In Ms. Goll's discussions with the sponsor of the bill concerning amendments on the income of the teen parent's family, he did suggest to Ms. Goll that maybe it would be better to delete that section of the bill. MS. GOLL understands that the sponsor has been busy with very important things this week, and she hopes he will take another look at the suggestion he made when the bill is in the Finance Committee. Number 1593 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said since Representative Hanley is Co-Chair of the Finance Committee, there is a good chance the bill will be changed there. Co-Chair Bunde conceded that not knowing what may or may not happen at the federal level is problematic. HESS Committee members are aiming at a type of moving target. However, knowing the gestation period involved in legislation, the HESS Committee members will move forward. Co-Chair Bunde understood her concern, however. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for the pleasure of the committee. Co-Chair Toohey moved that CSHB 78(HES) be moved from committee with individual recommendations. Representative Brice objected and a roll call vote was taken. Voting "no" were Representative Brice and Representative Robinson. Voting "yes" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co- Chair Toohey, Representative Davis and Representative Rokeberg. The bill passed to the next committee of referral. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON expressed a hope now that HB 78 has been heard, the HESS Committee will calendar the Governor's bills (HB 242 and HB 244). They clearly talk about paternity establishment and interstate collections. HB 62 concerns the licensing ban of child support arrearages. All three bills are in the HESS Committee. Representative Robinson believes this bill is not going to be as effective without the other bills. At this late date, it is more important than ever to hear and move those bills. HB 202 - JUVENILE DELINQUENCY PROCEEDINGS Number 1690 LAURIE OTTO, Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Law, said the Governor is very thankful to the HESS Committee for hearing this bill. She said HB 202 was introduced by the Governor as a way of getting parents more involved in cases where their children have been charged with acts of delinquency. After having been a prosecutor for several years, the first time Ms. Otto appeared in a juvenile delinquency case was in 1982. She was shocked that the parents of the child were not there, and indeed they were not required to be there. The case involved a 13-year- old child. MS. OTTO said this has been a problem in statutes for some time. If the state cannot even get the parents to a court hearing, the ability to affect the child's behavior goes down dramatically. Number 1739 MS. OTTO explained the main part of the bill is in Section 2. Section 1 is a technical provision to which she will later refer. Section 2 of the bill begins on page 3, line 3. The first thing the bill does is require parents to be present at all juvenile delinquency hearings unless there is a good cause they can show to the court why they cannot be there. During the planning of this bill, the Governor had asked the Department of Law (DOL) to speak to police, educators and people who work with delinquent children to see where they felt the biggest gaps in the system were. MS. OTTO said this area, without exception, was one of the biggest holes identified. Those groups felt there was a need to require parents to participate in the process. The second item identified is what is contained in Section (B)(1). This addresses children who become delinquent because their parents do not have good parenting skills. They do not pay attention to what their kids are doing, and they do not supervise them. MS. OTTO continued that the courts have become very frustrated over the years because they cannot require, under the current laws, parents to participate in treatment along with children. Therefore, that is the second point the bill covers. Likewise, it would allow the court to order parents to monitor their children's behavior and to assist the court in getting the children to comply with the conditions of probation set by the court. Number 1808 MS. OTTO noted if the parents are required to participate by the court, the bill says the parents must first use their own insurance and/or resources if they can afford to pay. If they cannot afford to pay, their permanent fund dividends (PFDs) can be used to pay for the cost of treatment. MS. OTTO said Section 1 of the bill provides a streamlined mechanism for the department to be able to go in and get the PFDs to pay for the cost of treatment for the children and their parents. Number 1832 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if this would presuppose or require the parent apply for their PFD, and he suggested the bill does not allow for that money to simply be transferred from the earnings reserve. MS. OTTO said that is her understanding. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY counted seven fiscal notes, all equalling zero. She asked if there would be no cost to this bill. The state is assuming most of these parents have the finances to go to treatment. That treatment is very expensive. Treatment can include psychology and psychiatry. Co-Chair Toohey cannot imagine there are seven fiscal notes included with the bill and no cost. Number 1880 MS. OTTO understands that, for the most part, either the parents can pay or they have insurance to cover the cost. Right now the treatment of children is paid for by the department. These are children who are convicted or adjudicated delinquent for crimes. That is already something the state is currently paying for. Many parents have insurance or resources. Of the parents that do not, those parents are MedicAid eligible and MedicAid would pay for that treatment. MS. OTTO said there is a very small percentage of people that do not have the resources and do not have MedicAid. The state is going after the PFDs of that small group of people. In addition, the bill does not limit PFD confiscation to a single year. The state can continue to retrieve the parent's PFDs. When the department looked at the number of children and parents who would fall into this category, it was found to be a very small number -- less than 50. Number 1935 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked what kind of protection is offered to the parent of a hard-core juvenile delinquent with severe emotional problems. Representative Brice was speaking of a child who currently is not in a youth facility, yet there is not much a parent can do to stop that child from wreaking havoc on the community. MS. OTTO said that provision is the next part of the bill, concerning restitution. She has an amendment to offer which addresses that issue. This committee previously worked out such an amendment to a bill that Co-Chair Bunde had introduced. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS responded to Co-Chair Toohey's question about the fiscal note. He said the bill should probably have a negative fiscal note because all the provisions of the bill have already taken place without any compensation to the state. Number 1993 MS. OTTO spoke on the next section of the bill, which begins on page 5, line 8. This requires the minor's parent, as well as the minor to be responsible for restitution. The DOL views this as an extension of a bill which has already passed the House. That bill would allow parents to be assessed fines in civil cases. However, it was the feeling of the DOL that an adjudication is more appropriately addressed in the context of a criminal case, particularly if the state is then requiring the parents to participate in the hearing rather than requiring the victim to get a lawyer and file a separate civil action. That is very costly to the victim and is somewhat adding insult to injury. MS. OTTO said this does raise the issue that Representative Brice just brought up. In addition, she knew the HESS Committee has spent much time, both this year and in previous years, debating where to draw the lines between out of control kids and parents who were not trying. MS. OTTO therefore, presented an amendment that exactly tracks the language of Co-Chair Bunde's bill on a similar subject. The DOL agrees that if a child has run away and the parent has reported the child as a runaway, it is appropriate the parent should not be held responsible for paying restitution for the acts of their child for that period of time. Number 2067 CO-CHAIR BUNDE made a correction. The bill to which Ms. Otto keeps referring was given to another legislator and has now passed the House. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the amendment only deals with runaways. He asked about children who have not run away, but they are out of control. A parent may come home at 5:00 p.m., and his/her child is gone from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. During that time, the child has created havoc. MS. OTTO said that is a line that must be drawn. It is the Governor's and the DOL's feeling that parents need to be responsible for the acts of their children. The state cannot solve everyone's problem and be responsible for everybody. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE agreed. However, he said he had just met with people up in Fairbanks with children who have severe emotional problems such as pyromania and severe sexual disturbances. The parents feel there is nothing the law has to offer. The parents feel they can do nothing to keep their children from going out and raising havoc. Number 2163 MS. OTTO answered by presenting an example of a child out of control. That child damages the property of a next door neighbor. She asked, who should bear the loss, the parent or the neighbor? HB 202 says the parent should bear the loss, not the neighbor. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that is not the argument he is presenting. He asked what is going to be done to help the child, and keep the child from creating the loss. He then removed his objection, and the Amendment 1 passed. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced now before the HESS Committee was CS HB 202, or HB 202 as amended. Number 2200 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noted that Alaska requires parents to go to court with their children if their child has committed a traffic violation. She has no problem with the intent of this bill. She thinks quite often parents are frustrated. If the child and the parent can be in the same room together, it gives the state a better idea of how to assist that family. Representative Robinson is a firm believer that a child cannot be helped without the parent's recognition that they all must work on the problem together. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON was amazed that parents must be with their children for traffic tickets, yet in this type of situation parental attendance is not required. This is obviously a lot more important than a speeding ticket. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that parental attendance may remind them of responsibilities. Number 2248 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said Representative Brice's concern is a typical issue seen in most legislation. Many amendments on the last bill were similar. They dealt with somebody who is going to get caught somewhere. If there is a psychotic child and the parents have no means or capacity to get that child into an institution, which is probably where they should be, these children can cause a lot of problems. They can easily cause $100,000 worth of damage. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS agrees with Ms. Otto's opinion on who should pay for damages. If responsibility must be borne, it should be borne by the parents. At times, however, that cannot be addressed because there are 200 to 300 other instances that need special considerations. However, Representative Davis can easily see where this can really be a problem. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said what is going to happen is that with HB 202, maybe some parents will be more willing to institutionalize some of those children. This will cost a lot of money. If the cost cannot be afforded, he feared parents might try more drastic measures, such as home imprisonment. TAPE 95-33, SIDE B Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS felt this bill was the right thing to do, but he recognized it is difficult to cover all situations. CO-CHAIR BUNDE stipulated that the state must be supportive of the greatest number of people possible, and the process is not perfect. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY believed that somewhere in the law books are provisions for parents who cannot control their children. She is not sure whether that includes out of control children. She feels there is something that can be done, including turning them over to a juvenile detention center. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said while working on the bill he gave away, he discovered there is a mechanism for people to emancipate themselves from their child. If the child is out of control, the parents can essentially divorce their child in order to simplify the process. Some parents need protection from malicious children. That happens rarely, but it does happen. CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony on the bill and asked for the wish of the committee. Number 116 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved HB 202 as amended with individual recommendations and with accompanying fiscal notes. There were no objections and the bill passed. HB 171 - COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION SERVES AT BOARD'S PLEASURE Number 245 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the HESS Committee has previously heard this bill. An amendment was brought forward, and those concerns were taken back to the bill's sponsor. Co-Chair Bunde asked that the bill and the amendment be addressed again. REPRESENTATIVE TERRY MARTIN, sponsor of HB 171, said the major concern addressed in the bill was to somehow get control of the system of appointment by governors. Governor Cooper did it, so did Hickel and Governor Knowles. The whole system of appointment is being disregarded in the sense of continuity for officers. In some areas, this continuity is needed. Some commissions need people with one, two or five years experience. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said those commissioners are paid well, and they should be paid well for their expertise. Representative Martin has become very concerned. In the most recent case, the Commissioner of Education was paid very well in his contract, and he was paid very well to resign. This is a misuse of the system and a misuse of public money. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said if the person appointed was well qualified and worthy of special compensation, they should be allowed to serve the full four or five years of their appointment. It is not right for a new Governor to be elected and call for all resignations, and then pay the people to resign. Usually, these people receive a "$75,000 handshake" to leave the contract. That is a complete misuse of the system. Number 360 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said the amendment seeks to defer the problem. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked a question about the bill. He said it currently reads, "The commissioner serves at the pleasure of the board and may not be appointed by the board for a term of office." REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN realized that did not sound right. He said he has been reviewing that statement. A term of office is a term of office. Representative Martin meant for it to mean that the commissioner of education would complete his or her term. The term could not be cut off by a new governor. Only the board, in this particular case, should decide who is the executive director. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said he then found out that did not solve the problem. He then inquired how many people in the past have been paid off to resign early. He asked if people felt multi-year terms were a good idea in order to continue consistency throughout the terms of gubernatorial administrations. The Alaska Housing and Finance Corporation (AHFC) is currently in a large mess. In three governors, the AHFC has seen three boards. There has also been four commissioners in the last two years. This is ridiculous. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN asked if the HESS Committee could devise a permanent plan. One of the incentives in getting a commissioner to leave is to pay them $160,000 or some other amount to bow out of their contract. That completely destroys the legislators' efforts and, in most cases, the intent of statutes which offset years of service. Number 497 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said the bill strictly deals with the Department of Education. He felt, however, that all the commissioners should be protected. Governor Knowles will get his chance in the last two or three years. However, some of the people appointed recently who are just getting the hang of their job are wiped out. A new person is then appointed. CO-CHAIR BUNDE again read, "The commissioner of serves at the pleasure of the board and may not be appointed by the board for a term of office." He asked if that meant if the board wanted a commissioner to serve from one governor's administration to another, the board could do that. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said he would like, in this particular case, to have the law follow as much as possible for the appointment to be by the board. The constitutional convention made it very clear it wanted the board and the executive director to not be political pawns. Number 580 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if therefore, the sentence in question should be changed to "The commissioner serves at the pleasure of the board and may not be removed by the board until his term is completed." REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said he was after something like that. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked what was a term. He suggested the sentence be shortened to "serves at the pleasure of the board." That way, the board could have the commissioner work for a week or for ten years. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN asked if the new board should be able to get rid of the old appointee who just got appointed with a new contract. He asked if the state wants the Board of Education to be independent of the governor. There is a normal changeover of those directors every three, four or five years so there is continuity. It that is true, the board will then elect their own executive director. A new governor coming in cannot get rid of them. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said again, to pay someone to resign is a misuse of government money. Number 670 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if a commissioner is appointed by the current governor, does the governor also appoint the board. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said there are only two cases where constitutionally the commissioner or the director is appointed by the board. Those two cases are the Department of Education and the Department of Fish and Game. Therefore, the Governor, indirectly (through his new board), can appoint someone. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if the Governor appoints a whole new board when the commissioner comes on. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said that is part of the trouble now. As with other agencies, it completely destroys the continuity of offices. It would be better to rotate the board, perhaps by appointing two new members every year. If a new governor erases the board, it may be that some members of the board have only completed five or six months in their position. Number 739 CO-CHAIR BUNDE pointed out that what happened this year is the commissioner refused to leave. The Governor appointed a new board. The commissioner serves at the pleasure of the board, and he was paid to leave. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said that was her point. If Representative Martin does not want to make political appointments, that is fine as long as the board is not politically appointed also. If the board is rotated through different appointments and different governors, that is fine. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said one way to stop it is that people will not voluntarily resign until they are given a large amount of money and a sweet job. Number 756 TOM ANDERSON, Legislative Assistant, Representative Terry Martin's Office, said the idea is that the state has a governor turnover every four years. There is also a turnover of the board. But currently, the law (which is being deleted in this bill) stipulates the Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Education appointments are not to exceed five years. Therefore, the appointment "runs over" into another governor's term. MR. ANDERSON said HB 171 stipulates that as the state gets a new governor, it gets a new Board of Education which has the right to dismiss the commissioner without a contract. Therefore, the commissioner serves at the pleasure of the board. The board would then pick the commissioner and may not be appointed by the board for a term of office. Therefore, the commissioner would not be bound by this potential to have up to a five year service. MR. ANDERSON said it is confusing, but it does work. Legal Services believes it works. That would prevent the "$75,000 handshake" from ever occurring again. Number 857 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked to discuss the main bill before the amendment was addressed. Number 872 MARY HALLORAN, Legal Administrator, Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law, said basically the Governor has offered similar legislation in HB 174, also in the HESS Committee. Everybody is concerned that the Commissioner of Education, under current statute, is a contractual employee as opposed to being someone who serves at the pleasure of either the board or the Governor. MS. HALLORAN said HB 171 clearly changes that status to make the Commissioner of Education like other commissioners who serve at the pleasure of someone. In this case, the state does not end up in a situation where the commissioner does not meet the requirements of the Governor or the board and cannot be dismissed. The current statute requires the commissioner can only be dismissed for causes very difficult to prove. MS. HALLORAN said where there is a case where removal is necessary for whatever reason, it almost always will cost the state more in litigation than to just simply buy out the contract. HB 171 also repeals the requirement that the commissioner can only be removed for cause. That makes the removal possible for pleasure. The DOL supports this. It increases the accountability of that public official. Number 955 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked about his possible change, which would make the bill read, "The commissioner of education serves at the pleasure of the board." MS. HALLORAN agreed that the words "...and may not be appointed by the board for a term of office" is additional language that is not needed. People who serve at the pleasure of the board are not allowed to have contracts. Therefore, that language takes the bill where the sponsor wants it to be. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY understood that the Governor's bill is exactly the opposite. His says the commissioner may serve at the pleasure of the Governor. MS. HALLORAN said of course it does, but the DOL is also happy with that approach. The DOL would like to get the fundamental problem resolved. Number 1007 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked because the Governor appoints the Board of Education, it might delay the change but it will not prevent the change. MS. HALLORAN said he was right. She then asked to respond to Co- Chair Toohey's question. The board is composed of seven voting members. Only four of them can be of the same political party as the Governor. That is meant to keep the board as a-political as possible in a very political world. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if the board resigns upon the inauguration of a new governor. MS. HALLORAN said the Governor may request their resignations if he decides to do so. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said in the most current case, one person was held over, and six new people were appointed. Number 1070 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON felt this was kind of a "toss up." The board is going to be appointed by the Governor. She therefore didn't care which direction the bill went, but she somewhat felt it makes it cleaner by having the commissioner serve at the pleasure of the governor. She was curious why Representative Martin felt it would be better if the commissioner served at the pleasure of the board. The Governor is clearly going to ask the old board to leave and appoint new board members. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON realized the board was responsible for taking the recommendation to the Governor. She felt perhaps that was the reason behind Representative Martin's choice. She felt, however, that the commissioner could easily serve at the pleasure of either the Governor or the board. CO-CHAIR BUNDE felt Representative Martin's choice makes the appointment a little less political. In addition, the board feels a little bit more involved in the process by doing the appointing. They are doing the recommendations, and Co-Chair Bunde would suspect the Governor would be inclined to accept their recommendation. Number 1160 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY did not think anyone would have a problem with either this bill or the Governor's. However, the reference to severance pay and the high cost of getting rid of unwanted commissioners must be addressed. She feels this bill addresses that. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said if the commissioner serves at the pleasure of someone, that will get rid of severance pay regarding the Commissioner of Education. Number 1197 SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Education, said the State Board is very concerned about this issue also. Their primary concern is getting rid of the "cause" phrase, and getting rid of the term of office. The Department of Education would like to see the legislature address this issue to allow some flexibility as to who the commissioner is. MS. PETERSON said the State Board of Education represents the whole state. The members need to be from different judicial districts, and they must be from different political parties. Therefore, currently the statute is written to provide a cross-section of people on the board to represent the general public. The board strongly urges the legislature to act on this legislation. Number 1236 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if there has been a lot of discussion on this. One of the main reasons the original law was set up and passed was to try to take the appointment out of the political process. The whole concept was there would be a commissioner who would continue to serve and a board that would continue to serve. The education was supposed to be separate. Representative Robinson felt the bottom line is that the appointment is political and all the state is doing is causing more problems. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered if the board talked about the philosophy of the bill and what this change truly means. It means this bill clearly changes the philosophy of how the state hoped education was going to be managed in this state. Number 1273 MS. PETERSON did not think the current board feels they are a "parrot" for the Governor. They feel they are very independent individuals. They present and work through problems as individuals. The recent appointment of the commissioner was completely at the direction of the board. The board made the selection independent of any advice from the Governor. MS. PETERSON believes this is how they will respond to their commissioner. Governor Knowles is not getting involved, and Ms. Peterson does not believe he will get involved. People who are on the State Board of Education take that as a serious opportunity to represent the public. They are very interested in education. They will look at the commissioner in that light to make decisions concerning the commissioner. Number 1321 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if the commissioner signs a contract. MS. HALLORAN answered that under HB 171, the commissioner would not sign a contract. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY thought the whole purpose of this legislation is to have the commissioner agree that his/her term is limited, and he/she can be removed at the will of the board at any time and without severance pay. She asked if the commissioner was therefore paid by the month. MS. HALLORAN said Co-Chair Toohey was correct on all points. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY then asked if she was correct that the commissioner is under no obligation to stay longer than the board. MS. HALLORAN again said Co-Chair Toohey was correct. Number 1359 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if there had to be a cause for the commissioner to be terminated by the board. MS. HALLORAN said under current statute, he/she can only be removed for cause. HB 171 deletes that provision. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for discussion on Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said the whole idea is that other problems arose with the introduction of HB 171. People asked him about departments other than Education, departments not addressed in HB 171 as it now reads. Representative Martin asked people if other problems with payoff occurred in state agencies other than the Department of Education. He found there were payoffs to make people resign, and that is a misuse of government money. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked HESS Committee members to notice the amendment changes the title and broadens the scope of this bill significantly. Co-Chair Bunde asked that Representative Martin speak again to the amendment, and then public testimony would be taken. Number 1432 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said if it would simplify what Ms. Halloran said about the Board of Education, the amendment could be made into a separate bill. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it would be the preference of the chair to make the amendment a separate bill. He proposed HB 171, line 5 to read, "The commissioner serves at the pleasure of the board." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if the bill was going to address who appoints the commissioner, or is that going to be assumed. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE concurred if the bill says he/she serves at the pleasure of the board, that does not say he/she is appointed by the board. MS. HALLORAN said in other sections of AS 14.07.145 it provides for the appointment of the commissioner of Education by the Board of Education subject to the approval of the Governor. Number 1499 CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony on HB 171 and asked for the pleasure of the committee. Representative Davis moved HB 171 as amended with attached fiscal notes and individual recommendations. There were no objections, and the bill passed. REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN asked the committee to entertain a committee bill consisting of Representative Martin's original amendment to HB 171. Co-Chair Bunde said such a bill would be considered. Number 1549 ADJOURNMENT CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the meeting at 5:08 p.m.