Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/13/1996 03:07 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
          HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                          
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                       February 13, 1996                                       
                           3:07 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                                                      
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 HOUSE BILL NO. 371                                                            
 "An Act relating to the rights of terminally ill persons."                    
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 465                                                          
 "An Act relating to employment of teachers and school                         
 administrators and to public school collective bargaining."                   
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 373                                                          
 "An Act relating to educational benefits for family members of                
 deceased members of the armed services."                                      
      - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB 371                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: RIGHTS OF TERMINALLY ILL PERSONS                                 
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BROWN,TOOHEY,Finkelstein,Davies                 
 JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                ACTION                                      
 12/29/95      2363    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/08/96      2363    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/08/96      2363    (H)   HES, STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY                     
 02/06/96              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 02/06/96              (H)   MINUTES                                           
 02/13/96              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 BILL:  HB 465                                                                
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) IVAN                                            
 JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                ACTION                                      
 02/02/96      2606    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/02/96      2606    (H)   HEALTH,EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES              
 02/13/96              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 JAMES O. BURRIS                                                               
 115 Granite Creek Road                                                        
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-8167                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 TERI LUNDY                                                                    
 1311 Sawmill Creek Road                                                       
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-8138                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 371                                      
 CLOTHILDE BAHOVEC                                                             
 627 DeGroff Street                                                            
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-8185                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 BRUCE GORDON                                                                  
 P.O. Box 80046                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99708                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 479-6988                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 CHUCK BOOTH                                                                   
 P.O. Box 102                                                                  
 Seward, Alaska  99664                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 224-5751                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 BEVERLY DUNHAM                                                                
 P.O. Box 27                                                                   
 Seward, Alaska  99664                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 224-5623                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 APRIL WOLFE                                                                   
 P.O. Box 7202                                                                 
 Bethel, Alaska  99559                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 479-6988                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 ELAINE ROSE                                                                   
 Box 384                                                                       
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-8915                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 MARY SOLTIS                                                                   
 405 Verstovia Street                                                          
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-5624                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 HELEN CRAIG                                                                   
 613 DeGroff Street                                                            
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-5917                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 RON SHEEHAN                                                                   
 P.O. Box 521747                                                               
 Big Lake, Alaska  99652                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 892-8994                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 VESTA LEIGH                                                                   
 P.O. Box 905                                                                  
 Kenai, Alaska  99611                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 283-4518                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 LORI BROWN                                                                    
 P.O. Box 3943                                                                 
 Soldotna, Alaska  99669                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 262-2398                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 371                                      
 SUE KELLY                                                                     
 P.O. Box 3564                                                                 
 Soldotna, Alaska  99669                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 262-6587                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 ELEANOR VIERECK                                                               
 1707 Red Fox Drive                                                            
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99709                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 479-2879                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 FATHER MICHAEL KANIECKI                                                       
 1316 Peger Road                                                               
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99709                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 474-9540                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 JOHN COGHILL, JR.                                                             
 P.O. Box 58003                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99711                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 488-7886                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 DEBORAH VAN VELDHUIZEN                                                        
 P.O. Box 82593                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99708                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 479-8449                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 SANDI DOYLE                                                                   
 P.O. Box 81183                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99708                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 479-9751                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 DR. FREDERICK HILLMAN                                                         
 1685 Stanton Avenue                                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 562-7161                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 PEGGY BURGIN                                                                  
 1530 West 11th Avenue                                                         
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 278-2102                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 SHIRLEEN RANNALS                                                              
 1751 Westview Circle                                                          
 Anchorage, Alaska  99504                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 333-9425                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 ANITA SYREN                                                                   
 7027 Lake Otis Parkway                                                        
 Anchorage, Alaska  99507                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 349-5966                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 BERT SHAW                                                                     
 332 Shaw Circle                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska  99508                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 337-3807                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 WILLIE LOGAN                                                                  
 4130 Endeavor Circle                                                          
 Anchorage, Alaska  99515                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 349-7446                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 371                           
 THERESE SYREN                                                                 
 7027 Lake Otis Parkway                                                        
 Anchorage, Alaska  99507                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 349-5966                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 PATRICIA SENNE, Executive Director                                            
 Alaska Nurses Association                                                     
 237 East Third, No. 3                                                         
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 274-0827                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 CORALYN OINES                                                                 
 2414 Halibut Point Road                                                       
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-6732                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 JOLEE CARNEY                                                                  
 1412 Kinnikinnick, No. A                                                      
 Anchorage, Alaska  99508                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 277-2479                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 371                        
 JACK MCGEE, Attorney                                                          
 445 Nelson                                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-2548                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 371                                      
 TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Aide                                                  
 Representative Ivan Ivan                                                      
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 503                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4942                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave sponsor statement for HB 465                        
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN                                                      
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 503                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4942                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime sponsor of HB 465                                  
 TOM RICHARDS                                                                  
 580 Steele Creek Road                                                         
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99712                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 457-8052                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 VINCE SPERANGE                                                                
 2801 West International                                                       
 Anchorage, Alaska  99502                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 243-3108                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 BILL MUNROE, President                                                        
 Classified Employees Association                                              
 Mat-Su Borough School District                                                
 2950 Marianns Place                                                           
 Wasilla, Alaska  99654                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 376-4269                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 DAVE PARSONS                                                                  
 P.O. Box 80467                                                                
 Fairbanks, alaska  99708                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 456-5671                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 LELA AYRES, Teacher                                                           
 523 Quicksilver Circle                                                        
 Palmer, Alaska  99645                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 745-0103                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 LUCY HOPE                                                                     
 P.O. Box 870887                                                               
 Wasilla, Alaska  99687                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 376-4796                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 GAYLE PIERCE                                                                  
 2310 Patterson Lane                                                           
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99711                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 488-2199                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 RICHARD I. MAUER, Member                                                      
 Delta-Greely School District                                                  
 P.O. Box 1302                                                                 
 Delta Junction, Alaska  99737                                                 
 Telephone:  (907) 895-4956                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 DEB GERMANO, Member                                                           
 Kenai Peninsula School Board                                                  
 P.O. Box 1511                                                                 
 Homer, Alaska  99603                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 235-2538                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 MARILYN LEEHY, President                                                      
 Valdez School Board                                                           
 Box 689                                                                       
 Valdez, alaska  99686                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 835-7801                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 KIMBERLY HOMME, Special Assistant                                             
 Office of the Commissioner                                                    
 801 West 10th Street, Suite 200                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2803                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 CARL ROSE, Executive Director                                                 
 Association of Alaska School Boards                                           
 316 W. 11th Street                                                            
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 789-7930                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 STEVE McPHETRES, Executive Director                                           
 Alaska Council of School Administrators                                       
 364 4th Street, Suite 404                                                     
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-9702                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 465                                      
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 96-10, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 The House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee            
 was called to order by Co-Chair Toohey at 3:07 p.m.  Members                  
 present at the call to order were Representatives Davis, Rokeberg,            
 Robinson, Brice and Toohey.  Representatives absent were Bunde and            
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY announced the calendar for the meeting was HB 371,            
 Rights of the Terminally Ill and HB 465 Teachers Employment Public            
 School Bargaining.  She opened public testimony at the Sitka                  
 teleconference site.                                                          
 HB 371 - RIGHTS OF TERMINALLY ILL PERSONS                                   
 Number 196                                                                    
 JAMES O. BURRIS testified via teleconference from Sitka that he               
 wanted to lend his complete support to the provisions of this                 
 legislation.  He felt this was a bill that should be passed so                
 people who are terminally ill can die with the degree of dignity              
 they are entitled to.  Terminally ill people should not be                    
 subjected to weeks and months of medication and pain.                         
 Number 274                                                                    
 TERI LUNDY testified via teleconference from Sitka.  She began her            
 testimony by asking what the DNR identification is and if it was              
 going to become a mandatory form that needed to be filled out and             
 signed when being registered into a pioneer's home or a hospital              
 before major surgery?  She asked if the living will is a mandatory            
 document at this time?  What is the medication or medications that            
 will be used by the physician for the physician assisted suicide?             
 She referred to Section 2, AS 18.20.005 (a) "The legislature finds            
 that the people of the state have a fundamental right to make their           
 own end-of-life decisions.  The right should include...."  She                
 asked if the other choices were suicide by hanging, suicide using             
 a firearm, suicide by cutting one's wrists.  She said the proper              
 term for "dignified" is euthanasia.  Regarding Section 3 (a) (1) -            
 (4), she expressed concern that there is an option for the                    
 requester not to notify the next of kin of their decision or they             
 may not have any next of kin to notify.  She questioned who these             
 people are that are given the authority to witness and sign the               
 Request for Medication, but are not required to give their                    
 residence address.  She referenced page 3, line 18, and asked why             
 an individual had to be over 18 years of age to complete the                  
 Request for Medication.  Additionally, line 29 pushes                         
 responsibility on the physician to write the prescription thereby             
 becoming the messenger of death.  She asked what the meaning was              
 regarding the language on page 4, line 13.  She inquired as to the            
 types of identification that would be required for the witnesses.             
 In conclusion, Ms. Lundy said she was not pleased with the drafting           
 of HB 371 or its presentation to the public.                                  
 Number 580                                                                    
 CLOTHILDE BAHOVEC testified from Sitka via teleconference that the            
 time for people to die with dignity has long past; it should have             
 been law years ago.  She discussed the high cost of medical care              
 and didn't feel that a terminally ill person should be forced to              
 have medication and life-support equipment to keep them alive.  She           
 believes the decision to end your life should be a private matter             
 between the physician and the patient.  She concluded that inasmuch           
 as this is a voluntary decision, she doesn't understand why people            
 should be upset about it.                                                     
 Number 654                                                                    
 BRUCE GORDON testified from Fairbanks urging the committee's                  
 support of HB 371.  His wife died about 1 l/2 years ago after                 
 suffering over 15 years from Parkinson's disease, which is always             
 progressive and at present there is no cure.  The symptoms include            
 deterioration of muscle control spreading over the entire body.               
 Her X-rays and biopsy of lung tissue resulted in a diagnosis of               
 lymphoma and in 1991 she experienced a cardiac arrest while in the            
 hospital.  When her Parkinson's disease suddenly accelerated in               
 September 1994, she knew the final stage was near.  She had signed            
 a living will, durable power of attorney and a Do Not Resuscitate             
 order in 1992, all of which were witnessed by disinterested                   
 parties.  She hoped for another heart attack that would be the                
 final release to her constant pain.  Failing that, she was                    
 determined to end her own life while she was still able to do so              
 without any assistance from him so as not to put him at risk for              
 criminal prosecution.  She finally found a nonviolent means and               
 died peacefully in her bed, as she had wanted.  He commented that             
 he and his wife had been members of groups for several years that             
 supported the right to die with dignity and the freedom to choose             
 the time and the circumstance.  House Bill 371 provides this                  
 freedom with the necessary and appropriate safeguards.  He urged              
 the committee to pass HB 371.                                                 
 Number 773                                                                    
 CHUCK BOOTH testified from Seward in opposition to the legislation.           
 Number 786                                                                    
 BEVERLY DUNHAM testified from Seward that at the age of 12, she               
 watched her father die of cancer.  She saw this magnificent 225               
 pound man turn into nothing but a vegetable who was in great pain             
 and would have done anything to have been alleviated of that pain.            
 She commented that she has asthma and has seriously considered not            
 taking her doctors advice about getting a pneumonia shot because              
 thankfully her father died from pneumonia a few days earlier than             
 he would have otherwise.  She has always known that if the time               
 came when one of her loved ones asked for her help in ending their            
 life she would do it regardless if she had to go to prison.  She              
 commented that churches and many people don't want laws except when           
 it comes to issues like the right to die or having the choice of              
 what happens to your own body.  Her 82-year-old brother has                   
 multiple sclerosis and they are both aware of what the future holds           
 for him.  She is hopeful that he will be able to die when he gets             
 to that stage.  She referenced the Oregon law and said even though            
 it's in court now, it has finally made the medical community                  
 realize that it has a responsibility to help people die less                  
 painfully.  There is an effort among the doctors now to begin                 
 medications that really might have some effect.  They are trying to           
 counsel patients who are dying and their families.  She concluded             
 that she favors HB 371.                                                       
 Number 938                                                                    
 APRIL WOLFE testified from Bethel that she is not supportive of               
 this legislation.  She commented that it has taken a friend of hers           
 five years to be properly diagnosed with metal toxicity which is a            
 condition that doesn't just go away, but doctors were able to find            
 a process called chelation that's beginning to draw the poisons out           
 of her body.  During this five year period, Ms. Wolfe said she                
 watched her friend's stress and emotional levels go up and down.              
 There were days when her friend was ready to give up and Ms.                  
 Wolfe's concern is that with this legislation a person might decide           
 to give it up if the timing is just right.  In her friend's case              
 there has been a major break-through in treatment.  She believes              
 this bill would destroy hope in terms of medical break throughs.              
 Number 1051                                                                   
 ELAINE ROSE testified from Sitka via teleconference that she is               
 against this bill.  She thinks that suicide is suicide, and it                
 doesn't make it right just because the doctors say it's okay.  She            
 added neither the legislature nor the federal government has a                
 right to decide on this issue; it's an individual decision.                   
 Number 1080                                                                   
 MARY SOLTIS testified from Sitka that pain is controllable with               
 modern medicine.  A person who seeks to kill him or herself to                
 avoid pain does not need legalized assisted suicide, but needs a              
 doctor who is better trained in alleviating pain.  She asked who              
 would ensure the lethal dose of medication didn't get into the                
 wrong hands.  She noted that euthanasia in the Netherlands has been           
 legal for 15 years and voluntary assisted suicide for those with a            
 terminal illness has now spread to include nonvoluntary euthanasia            
 for children born with disabilities.  Half of the killings in the             
 Netherlands are now nonvoluntary and the problems for which death             
 is now a legal solution include mental illness, permanent                     
 disability and simple old age.                                                
 Number 1161                                                                   
 HELEN CRAIG testified from Sitka that she supports HB 371 for                 
 several reasons.  First, she has seen loved ones suffer for many              
 years.  She does believe that every possible option should be                 
 pursued first, but the terminally ill who are suffering from great            
 pain that is not able to be controlled, should be allowed to go to            
 the Lord.  She noted that one of her children was born early and              
 born a vegetable.  She and her husband were faced with the                    
 difficult decision of allowing their child to suffer, be a                    
 vegetable and to have no joy in her life, or letting that child to            
 go to the Lord.  She does not believe this is a decision that                 
 should be made by everyone, but the person afflicted or the parents           
 of a child whose life will have no meaning or joy should have the             
 right to make this decision.                                                  
 Number 1265                                                                   
 RON SHEEHAN testified via teleconference that he is basically                 
 against HB 371 on the assumption that the sanctity of life is being           
 put into some variables.  He said this is a bill that, through the            
 euthanasia, could get into patricide.  He referred to a survey done           
 in Washington State in 1994 which indicated that physicians who               
 were originally for euthanasia, mainly the ontologists and                    
 hematologists who deal with the subject every day, were opposed to            
 it after some long thought.  The psychologists and the physicians             
 who are the farthest removed from the problem were for it.  He                
 commented that our doctors are almost phobic in their lack of                 
 willingness to prescribe adequate amounts of pain medication for              
 the terminally ill.  Until they get over that phobia and start                
 administering sufficient pain medication, this is not an                      
 appropriate measure.  He is concerned over whether this issue is              
 being driven by the insurance companies and their willingness to              
 sacrifice human life to stem the tide of cost (indisc.) life-saving           
 measures of people who are going through their last six months of             
 life, which is when the largest amounts of money are spent in                 
 health care.                                                                  
 Number 1357                                                                   
 VESTA LEIGH testified from Kenai that she has looked for something            
 like this since she was 30 years of age.  She watched her mother              
 die a very slow death and the doctors would administer sufficient             
 medication to ease her pain.  She asked why the individuals opposed           
 to this legislation aren't beating the drum to do away with alcohol           
 and tobacco, which kills millions of people every year.  She                  
 personally believes this bill doesn't go far enough, but it is a              
 good start.                                                                   
 Number 1420                                                                   
 LORI BROWN testified via teleconference that she is a pharmacist              
 and understood that HB 371 stated the physician would write a                 
 prescription and the pharmacist would fill it.  Currently, it is              
 not mandatory for a physician to include a diagnosis, prognosis or            
 history on prescriptions.   She feels this information would be               
 vital for pharmacists to conscientiously fill the prescription or             
 to choose not to.  Some pharmacists may be completely against                 
 aiding to end a patient's life and that option should be available            
 to them.  She expressed concern that it is not included in this               
 legislation.  She added that without knowing why the prescription             
 was written and what it is being used for, the pharmacists may put            
 themselves in a professional or morally compromising situation,               
 because they are the ones who would ultimately be dispensing the              
 medication.  She asked the committee to consider that issue.                  
 Number 1470                                                                   
 SUE KELLY testified via teleconference that she is in favor of this           
 Number 1485                                                                   
 ELEANOR VIERECK testified via teleconference from Fairbanks.  She             
 indicated she is speaking for herself, but is also the Fairbanks              
 representative for the Hemlock Society, which is an organization              
 that has the right to die as its mission.  She supports HB 371.               
 She remarked that she is also a member of the Christian Ecumenical            
 Peace with Justice Committee in Fairbanks and wanted to speak about           
 non-harming.  Non-harming is one of the major ethical tenets of all           
 world religions.  She referred to the oath taken by doctors:  They            
 do not vow in the hippocratic to refrain from assisting a person              
 who wishes to commit suicide.  They do, however, vow non-harming.             
 She referred to a poll conducted by Mark Clements, Inc., of 352               
 doctors who subscribe to Scientific American Medicine and said the          
 results indicate that 95 percent of these doctors believe a doctor            
 should be able to help a terminally ill patient die by withholding            
 life-support.  Only 73 percent of those doctors feel that a doctor            
 should be allowed to help the terminally ill person die with                  
 dignity.  She pointed out this legislation does not force any                 
 doctor who does not comply with this philosophy to do so.  Eighty             
 percent of the doctors said there is no conflict about a patient's            
 right to die and the oath taken when they became a doctor.   It is            
 her feeling that it is a compassionate, caring and ethical choice             
 to assist a terminally ill person who wants to avoid the legalized            
 torture of a prolonged terminal illness.                                      
 Number 1595                                                                   
 FATHER MICHAEL KANIECKI testified from Fairbanks that he is totally           
 opposed to HB 371.  He feels it is bad public policy and bad                  
 morals.  He said it seeks to establish a new fundamental right                
 equal to those of the U.S. Constitution; the right of people to               
 make their own end-of-life decisions.  He feels that what is being            
 proposed through soft sounding language is that suicide is as basic           
 a right as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  He thinks             
 much of this comes from the distorted view we have of freedom; the            
 root of the contradiction between the solemn affirmation of human             
 rights and their tragic denial in practice lies in a notion of                
 freedom which exalts the isolated individual in an absolute way.              
 While it is true that the taking of life in its final stages is               
 sometimes marked by a mistaken sense of altruism and human                    
 compassion, it cannot be denied that such a culture of death, taken           
 as a whole, betrays a completely individualistic concept of                   
 freedom, which ultimately becomes the freedom of the strong against           
 the weak who have no choice but to submit.  The freedom of choice             
 as popularly understood today to be freedom from all restriction,             
 has led to the breakdown of family and eroded our bonds of fidelity           
 with each other.  We have an obligation to sustain and support                
 members of our family for better or worse, in sickness and in                 
 health.  Freedom seems to be the battle cry of the proponents for             
 euthanasia or assisted suicide.  He knows that all human life is              
 valuable.  Medicine should have as its prime goal the easing of               
 pain, not the termination.  Father Kaniecki said we're trying to              
 play God.  God gives life and only God can take it away.                      
 Number 1672                                                                   
 FATHER KANIECKI remarked that in Holland, where euthanasia with               
 safeguards is the accepted practice, some 95 percent of persons in            
 nursing homes expressed a concern for their future.  They think               
 they are going to be forced into signing something that will                  
 terminate their life.  In conclusion, Father Kaniecki said at a               
 time when individual rights are universally acknowledged and                  
 upheld, the most fundamental human right, the right to life, is               
 being trampled in the name of personal freedom.  Freedom, as                  
 granted by God, is not individualistic or absolute.  Rather,                  
 freedom finds its true expression within the context of the                   
 faithfulness of each person to family and community.  Authentic               
 freedom recognizes the value of all human life and rejects the                
 current bias in favor of death that runs through society.  We                 
 affirm that life is a gift from God to be treasured, supported and            
 dealt with compassionately from its very conception until its last            
 Number 1715                                                                   
 JOHN COGHILL, JR., testified from Fairbanks that in listening to              
 the previous testimony, he appreciates the concern for people in              
 our society that are in pain and dying, but he thinks we are going            
 about it the wrong way.  The U.S. Constitution and the State                  
 Constitution show gratitude to God for the life He has given us.              
 He thinks we're trying to wipe out the tragedy by really pandering            
 to the final excesses of our society, starting with alcohol,                  
 tobacco and any other excess that we do as a society that brings us           
 to the place of pain and suffering.  And then finally to make it              
 okay, by a stroke of a legislative-policy-making-pen, for people to           
 watch other people take their life in suicide.  Our society, just             
 by virtue of the fact that this is bait, is in trouble.  Mr.                  
 Coghill suggested the committee kill the bill and watch those                 
 people who want to take care of their loved ones.  No one likes               
 suffering, but it is part of life.  Watching people die is one of             
 the most painful experiences of life, but it is also one of the               
 instruments that God has given us to allow the extremes of love               
 this side of eternity.  He said we are robbing ourselves of that by           
 allowing the government to okay suicide.  He encouraged committee             
 members to not bring the quick fix relief many people are looking             
 for, but allow us to take care of our living and dying with                   
 Number 1826                                                                   
 DEBORAH VAN VELDHUIZEN testified from Fairbanks that she is a                 
 citizen and supports this legislation.  She said if we do not                 
 respect the integrity and dignity of a person in the matter of                
 death, then she questions if people really believe in the integrity           
 and dignity in life; it is just a continuance.  She urged the                 
 committee to support HB 371.                                                  
 Number 1850                                                                   
 SANDI DOYLE testified via teleconference from Fairbanks that she              
 opposes HB 371 as an act against all human life and the right to              
 life.  She said this bill is nothing more than assisted suicide by            
 doctors who take an oath to preserve life.  All life is a gift from           
 God.  This bill, if passed, would and could lead to the killing of            
 the mentally ill and the physically handicapped.                              
 Number 1901                                                                   
 DR. FREDERICK HILLMAN testified from Anchorage that he is a retired           
 physician who practiced in Anchorage from 1958 to 1990.  He said in           
 founding this Nation, the founding fathers from the various sects             
 made it clear that the new constitutional nation would be not only            
 nonsectarian, but indeed secular.  It debated the matter and in the           
 end, they wrote the Constitution to include neither the word God              
 nor the word Christ.  In no sense, can this country be called a               
 Christian one.  The ensuing two centuries of religious liberty that           
 we have enjoyed have shown the wisdom of the founding fathers'                
 decision.  Now we find that some church leaders are using the                 
 religious argument to prevent passage of a law that has nothing to            
 do with religion.  House Bill 371 is a bill that does not infringe            
 on the religious rights of anyone.  On the other hand,                        
 spokespersons for some churches would like to impose their own                
 narrow religious views on everybody.  Their religious arguments               
 concerning purely a non-religious bill directly contravenes the               
 First Amendment of the Bill of Rights and they mock our 200 year              
 history separation of church and state.  House Bill 371 is entirely           
 voluntary and permissive.  It allows an individual to escape                  
 needless suffering if the person chooses; it does not require                 
 action by anyone.  It is not about killing, but it is about a                 
 person's own personal decision of whether to continue to endure               
 one's own needless suffering.  It contains safeguards to prevent              
 such a decision being made in haste, without thought, under                   
 pressure or for financial reasons.  It concerns a decision that Dr.           
 Hillman may well want to make for himself some day.  As a long time           
 church member, he does not attempt to force his religious views on            
 other people and he deeply resents the attempts from other sects to           
 stand in the way of a law that may benefit him.  He suggested that            
 the committee strike from the record any testimony against HB 371             
 that is based on religious argument.                                          
 Number 2010                                                                   
 PEGGY BURGIN testified from Anchorage that she is a senior citizen            
 and has lived in Alaska for almost 50 years.  She has three very              
 personal reasons why she supports this legislation.  First, her               
 mother had a stroke which was totally debilitating.  She had been             
 an energetic, active person in the community, but when she realized           
 that her quality life was gone she wanted to die.  She did not want           
 to be a burden on her family.  She ended up in a nursing home for             
 almost three years and finally willed herself to die.  Secondly,              
 her husband contracted lung cancer several years ago.  He went                
 through an operation, chemotherapy and radiation hoping it would              
 give him some quality of life and a few more years.  But the cancer           
 spread and within 2 l/2 years he was dead, but he died in great               
 pain.  She has heard there is medication to relieve pain, but he              
 did not receive that help.  The last time she saw him in the                  
 hospital, they were using a vein in his foot because all his other            
 veins had been used.  It was very difficult to watch him die with             
 all the pain and suffering.  Her last reason is that she and her              
 sister watched the suffering of their family and made a pact that             
 if at anytime either one of them needed some help, they would try             
 to help the other to alleviate the pain and allow that person to              
 die with dignity.  Her sister was diagnosed with cancer of the                
 liver.  She sent for Ms. Burgin immediately and reminded her of               
 their agreement and said, "I want you to help me.  I don't want to            
 go on like this, I know my time is short, but I don't want to                 
 suffer."  Ms. Burgin was not able to help her; it was heartbreaking           
 to watch her suffer and to wonder why Ms. Burgin hadn't kept her              
 Number 2137                                                                   
 SHIRLEEN RANNALS testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  She            
 said there are two basic views; that God exists and that God                  
 doesn't exist.  If God exists, then people have certain (indisc.)             
 rights.  Americans are very fortunate that our country was founded            
 on the first view; that God exists.  Because of this, America is              
 not a secular nation, but an interface nation.  This recognition of           
 a Creator has and continues to have, a great impact on our country.           
 We recognize there are limits of what we can do to ourselves or               
 others.  We are always in search of what is right in a particular             
 situation.  We attempt to know what the Creator wants.  We believe            
 there is an objective right or a wrong.  Therefore, it is entirely            
 appropriate within the framework of our form of government to                 
 consider the morality of the proposed bill.  She remarked the                 
 question must always be asked of every piece of proposed                      
 legislation is it consistent with the recognition that we are the             
 created, not the Creator.  If we fail to do this, then we are                 
 acting against the nature of our foundation as a nation.  We are              
 being un-American.  We failed to do this with the issue of slavery            
 and we reaped the tragic results.  We failed to do this with the              
 issue of abortion, and we continue to reap the tragic results.  We            
 cannot afford to continue in this way.  The self-destruction we               
 have incurred is all around us.  Our nation is literally falling              
 down around us, but we can turn it around.  We must turn again to             
 the tradition of being "One Nation Under God."  We must search for            
 what is right and what the Creator wants in every situation.  Ms.             
 Rannals maintains that if we examine this bill, we will conclude              
 that it is not what the Creator wants.  Our Declaration of                    
 Independence states the Creator gives the right to life, the right            
 to liberty and the right to the pursuit of happiness; not the right           
 over life, not the right over liberty or the right over the pursuit           
 of happiness.  No one can take his or her own life or that of                 
 another.  Only the Creator gives and takes away.                              
 Number 2243                                                                   
 ANITA SYREN testified via teleconference that she has lived in                
 Alaska for 47 years, most of which have been in Anchorage.  She is            
 a widow and the mother of a deceased son.  She asked the committee            
 to vote for life and against the legalization of assisted suicide.            
 Her husband died of cancer and her son from lymphoma ten years                
 later.  Both of them died at home.  She is a nurse and could have             
 administered an overdose under the circumstances, but none of them            
 ever considered bringing about their deaths in this manner.  She              
 stated the family supported them through their suffering with the             
 best of care until their natural death.  That was truly death with            
 dignity.  Her son fought especially hard to beat his cancer.  He              
 had a wife and two small children and said over and over that he              
 didn't want to give up.  He was aware of the suffering that would             
 come to him because he had witnessed his father's death.  Her son             
 courageously rejected two extreme courses of action.  On one hand,            
 he refused further treatment that was disproportionate to any                 
 expected results.  He never considered the other extreme of                   
 suicide.  Ms. Syren said this issue is unfairly characterized as              
 compassion by those who are obviously misled, but are sincere.  She           
 finds this characterization reprehensible.                                    
 TAPE 96-10, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 017                                                                    
 BERT SHAW testified from Anchorage that he is in favor HB 371.  He            
 believes the safeguards are sufficient to avoid abuse.  He said               
 when it is his time to go, he is hopeful this is law.  His wife               
 died three years ago after a very painful year of cancer.  The                
 medical costs were approximately $200,000.  The last few weeks she            
 could barely see, could only whisper, couldn't walk or eat and                
 screamed out from the pain many times a day.  The last week of her            
 life she was in a coma most of the time.  He feels this bill is               
 reasonable and should become law.                                             
 Number 043                                                                    
 WILLIE LOGAN testified via teleconference from Anchorage in favor             
 of HB 371.                                                                    
 Number 071                                                                    
 THERESE SYREN testified from Anchorage via teleconference.  She               
 stated that committee members are being urged to accept this bill             
 by individuals who assert that objective moral norms are                      
 unattainable, while others of us are arguing that the state cannot            
 choose between different moralities but to simply guarantee maximum           
 freedom for individuals.  This argument is in direct contradiction            
 to the Declaration of Independence which states that we are endowed           
 by the Creator of our rights.  This is a basic tenet of natural               
 law.  The same law absolutely prohibits the wilful taking of                  
 innocent human life, whether one's own or another.  The abandonment           
 of natural law, again the basis for our Declaration of Independence           
 and our Constitution has already had a disastrous effect on our               
 country.  We've lost millions of lives through legalized abortion,            
 hundreds of thousands of lives in the Civil War, not to mention the           
 suffering of slaves.  This all comes as a result of the rejection             
 of the natural law.   She watched her brother die of cancer three             
 years ago and had once asked him how he coped with the gradual                
 separation from his two small children and wife.  He said, "You               
 simply let go."  He was referring to the gradual psychological                
 readiness for death that cannot be artificially rushed by suicide.            
 Number 129                                                                    
 PATRICIA SENNE, Executive Director, Alaska Nurses Association,                
 testified from Anchorage.  She stated the Alaska Nurses Association           
 is opposed to HB 371.  In discussions with Alaska's registered                
 nurses about the issue of assisted suicide, the concern that is               
 raised most frequently is that allowing assisted suicide will open            
 pandora's box.  While there may be individual patient cases that              
 are compelling, there is a high potential for abuse with assisted             
 suicide particularly with vulnerable populations such as the                  
 elderly, poor and disabled.                                                   
 Number 171                                                                    
 CORALYN OINES testified from Sitka.  She is the daughter of a woman           
 diagnosed with senility dementia and the niece of three Alzheimer             
 victims.  She acknowledged their lives have caused pressures and              
 difficulties for everyone around them, but their value in the                 
 family interaction is precious.  She would be distressed to live in           
 a state that would shorten their lives and the obvious progression            
 from willing to unwilling participation.  She is strongly opposed             
 to HB 371.                                                                    
 Number 220                                                                    
 JOLEE CARNEY testified via teleconference from Anchorage that she             
 is opposed to this bill that basically allows legal suicide.  Her             
 concern is that once it starts, we won't be able to stop it.                  
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY closed testimony via teleconference.                          
 Number 245                                                                    
 JACK MCGEE testified that he is a practicing attorney and also                
 teaches philosophy at the University of Alaska Southeast.  He had             
 a number of difficulties with the bill he wanted to point out for             
 the committee.  The first concern was with the burden it puts on              
 physicians.  If a physician wanted to execute a request for                   
 medication, this legislation requires two doctors to make a                   
 determination that the patient has made a competent decision and              
 that the patient's decision was voluntary.  How is the physician              
 supposed to make that determination?  Competency and voluntariness            
 are legal concepts that involve complex facts.  They are not the              
 kind of things that are disclosed by a medical examination.  What             
 happens if the physician is wrong?  Given the explosive growth of             
 tort litigation, sooner or later a physician is going to be sued on           
 the grounds that he or she made a negligent judgment.  He                     
 questioned whether it is fair for a physician to have this awesome            
 burden imposed on them by law.  Mr. McGee asked the committee to              
 consider this real life situation from a letter to an editor,                 
 published in the September 14, 1993, edition of the Santa Rosa              
 Press Democrat from an 84-year-old woman who had been living with           
 her daughter.  He read, "Everything went fine for many years, but             
 when I started to lose my hearing about three years ago, it                   
 irritated my daughter.  She began to question me about my financial           
 matters and apparently feels I won't have much of an estate for               
 her.  She became very rude to me.  Then suddenly one evening, my              
 daughter said very cautiously she thought it was okay for older               
 people to commit suicide if they cannot take care of themselves."             
 The woman went on the recount the number of ways in which her                 
 daughter reenforced this message.  She concluded her letter with,             
 "So, here I sit, day after day, knowing what I am expected to do              
 when I need a little help."  Mr. McGee said if an older person                
 under circumstances like these, requests assisted suicide under               
 this bill, could anyone really be comfortable in claiming that this           
 request was voluntary.                                                        
 MR. MCGEE explained that his second major problem with the                    
 legislation lies in Section 2 which creates a fundamental right to            
 suicide.  He fears this language is going to be used as a vehicle             
 to expand this right in a way beyond the scope of the bill to                 
 include all sorts of groups, with all sorts of individual problems.           
 If this right is fundamental, the argument will be that individuals           
 suffering from mental illness or depression, for example, ought to            
 be able to claim this right.  In light of the shocking rise of the            
 rates of suicide among senior citizens and teen-agers, particularly           
 now between the ages of 11 and 14, it is difficult for him to see             
 how this fundamental right language serves the public interest.               
 Mr. McGee stated this is a very profound bill and it should be                
 given very careful thought.                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY announced that House Bill 371 would be held over              
 until next Tuesday.  She turned the gavel over to Co-Chair Bunde              
 for HB 465.                                                                   
 HB 465 - TEACHER EMPLOYMENT/PUB SCHL BARGAINING                             
 Number 455                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Tom Wright, Legislative Aide to Representative           
 Ivan to present the sponsor statement for HB 465.                             
 TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Aide to Representative Ivan Ivan, read the            
 following sponsor statement:                                                  
      Representative Ivan introduced House Bill 465 to allow our               
      school districts a degree of flexibility when dealing with               
      increased costs associated with our educational system.                  
      House Bill 465 would allow school districts to lay off                   
      teachers who have acquired tenure rights, but only if the                
      school district finds it necessary to reduce the number of               
      teachers due to declining enrollment or declining revenues.              
      Qualifications for rehire purposes are also established in               
      this bill.                                                               
      The bill also increases tenure from two to three years and               
      removes the costly trial de novo portion of our statutes                 
      which allows a school district employee who, if not satisfied            
      with a district led investigation, to go to the court system             
      to begin an entirely new trial.  The district's investigation,           
      most often, must be recreated.  The deletion of the trial de             
      novo provides our educators the same protections as provided             
      to other state employees.  New procedures for appealing a                
      decision to dismiss or nonretain a tenured teacher are                   
      established in House Bill 465.  The record established during            
      the various hearings will be available for use if a suit is              
      filed in superior court.                                                 
      An extensive evaluation system and an improvement of                     
      performance plan is included in House Bill 465.  The                     
      evaluation system can be used for nonretention purposes.                 
      Should a tenured or nontenured teacher receive a less than               
      acceptable evaluation, a plan of improvement would be imposed.           
      If, after imposition of the plan of improvement, the teacher             
      receives another less than acceptable evaluation, the teacher            
      is subject to nonretention.                                              
      Sections 2 and 4 of House Bill 465 apply only to those                   
      teachers who are hired after the bill is signed into law.                
      The remaining sections of the bill dealing with loss of tenure           
      rights, evaluations, layoff and rehire and elimination of                
      trial de novo go into effect after the bill is signed and will           
      have an effect on all teachers.                                          
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Representative Ivan to join Mr. Wright at the            
 witness table.                                                                
 Number 594                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG asked Representative Ivan if he was            
 planning on or if he would prepare a comparison of the various                
 bills dealing with this issue.                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN, Prime sponsor of HB 465, responded that             
 the majority of the elements of HB 217 were incorporated in HB 465.           
 He said they also took into consideration some of the issues                  
 brought up by the task force on House Bill 217 and the position               
 statements of the Association of the Alaska School Boards.  He                
 believes this is a better bill than the bill he sponsored last                
 year.  He views it as a good tool for the various school districts,           
 villages and parents.                                                         
 Number 649                                                                    
 TOM RICHARDS testified via teleconference from Fairbanks.  He said            
 there are some good items in this bill, but some that he feels                
 totally undermine its effectiveness.  He commented on the process             
 and approach that makes teachers feel like they haven't been                  
 included in this process.  In a comparison of the Governor's bill             
 and Representative Ivan's bill, he thought the peer review had some           
 possibilities, but providing for peer review without any training             
 is not good and undermines the effectiveness of this bill.  With              
 regard to observation, he said HB 465 calls for one observation and           
 evaluation of each teacher.  There needs to be some multiple                  
 approaches to that in order to take a good look at whether the                
 teacher is effective or not.  Representative Ivan's bill offers no            
 in-service training and he felt that says something about teachers            
 in general and how the legislature feels about what they do.  In              
 fact, he thought the timing of the teleconference sent a message in           
 that the high schools are the only schools out by 3:00 p.m. and the           
 only teachers available to testify.  He referred to the reduction             
 in force issue and mentioned that Representative Ivan's bill offers           
 three criteria:  1) during the school year, the district determines           
 there will be a decrease of at least 2 percent per pupil revenue in           
 the next year.  He thought the contingency funds could certainly              
 handle a 2 percent dip and the school districts could use that as             
 a punitive measure; 2) school district's revenue has failed to keep           
 pace with inflation over the last five years.  He commented that              
 rainy day funds are for situations like this; and 3) school board             
 has determined it is unable to meet its financial obligations.  His           
 concern is this could be used to clean house and once that was                
 accomplished, the school board would find additional money.                   
 Relating to unacceptable performance, he said Representative Ivan's           
 bill contains a large paragraph concerning only one evaluation, one           
 observation and a one-year plan of improvement.  He asked the                 
 committee to consider William Demming's approach to management and            
 quality control.                                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented that Mr. Demming's approach is              
 for everyone to be happy in a win/win situation.                              
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE added that as a former teacher, he shared some of              
 Mr. Richard's frustration about teacher involvement.  However, Co-            
 Chair Bunde has been involved with this issue over the last two               
 years and has begged the teachers in his district to get involved             
 and quite frankly, the teachers that have tenure are not very                 
 concerned and have been ignoring the issue.  It is not the                    
 committee's intent to ignore teacher participation, but it was                
 vastly limited the last time this issue came before the                       
 MR. RICHARDS volunteered his telephone number and said if the                 
 committee at any time has any questions concerning secondary                  
 education, he would be happy to respond.                                      
 Number 861                                                                    
 VINCE SPERANGE testified from Anchorage that he wanted to address             
 the aspect of Representative Ivan's bill that calls for the ability           
 to terminate a tenured teacher.  Under current law, there are three           
 criteria, one of which is incompetence which is defined as the                
 inability to perform a teacher's customary duties.  He thinks that            
 an ill-considered change in the bill is the substitute that states            
 that failure to receive an evaluation that is acceptable after an             
 imposition of a plan of improvement would be grounds for                      
 termination.  His concern is the plan of improvement and the                  
 aspects of the criteria are not defined.  So a plan of improvement            
 could be drafted because of a teacher's win/lose record as a coach,           
 or because they are not volunteering enough after the work day.               
 Effectively, it would allow a person's career to be ended based on            
 a plan of improvement which the teacher had no input or is not                
 necessarily related to their performance as a teacher.  He stressed           
 this is a serious consideration; this is a person who has chosen a            
 career path in which they've invested tens of thousands of dollars            
 to achieve and must maintain a certificate to continue in that                
 career, yet this would allow a relatively arbitrary criteria to be            
 the factor determining their loss of a job.  He supports the                  
 Governor's compromise bill and believes it to be a good alternative           
 that should be considered.                                                    
 BILL MUNROE, President, Classified Employees Association, Mat-Su              
 Borough School District, testified via teleconference.  He                    
 expressed his opposition to various parts of this bill.  On page 2,           
 line 28, Section 3 (c), he said there will be a cost associated and           
 it appeared to him to be an unfunded mandate.  He asked what the              
 financial impact would be on a district of having to train people             
 to evaluate employees.  As the local association president, he has            
 had opportunity to watch people go through plans of improvement for           
 various reasons.  Some times the reasons for a plan of improvement            
 are legitimate employer concerns, but sometimes not.  There are               
 times when it is used as a tool to improve an employee's                      
 performance and sometimes not.  He has seen evaluations that have             
 been abused or ignored.  To say that a teacher can be terminated              
 because they fail to meet a plan of improvement with no other                 
 recourse, is probably giving too much power to an administrator               
 with that particular tool.  In his view, the plan of improvement              
 should be used particularly to improve an employee's performance.             
 Sometimes that is not possible, but there are ways of dealing with            
 tenured teachers, and those ways have worked when management                  
 exercised its right to evaluate employees fairly.                             
 Number 1090                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Mr. Munroe had a position on the part of              
 the bill that would involve an evaluation of administrators.                  
 MR. MUNROE said there exists ample opportunity for administration             
 evaluation.  In his school district, they have what is called                 
 (indisc.) and various other standardized policy procedures                    
 instituted by the school board that allow for evaluation of any               
 employee whether it be the superintendent or the custodian.  He               
 felt there was a viable working process in place that addressed               
 those concerns.                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT referenced Mr. Munroe's question regarding the costs               
 involved for the evaluation system and said there would be costs              
 involved in training someone to use the evaluation system no matter           
 what evaluation system is used, whether it's in HB 398, HB 217 or             
 HB 465.  He added they have not tried to figure out what the cost             
 would be for these systems; that's something the local school                 
 district would undertake.                                                     
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE questioned if there was a fiscal note reflecting               
 those costs.                                                                  
 MR. WRIGHT responded not for the local school districts.  The                 
 attached fiscal note is from the Department of Education who has              
 stated there would be no fiscal impact of the department.  This               
 impact would be undertaken by each school district.                           
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the unfunded mandate then has some validity,              
 but that would be a cost the district would have to address in                
 their budget.                                                                 
 MR. WRIGHT replied that if the evaluations suggested by the task              
 force or in any other legislation were going to be imposed, he                
 didn't think there was a way to avoid unfunded mandates in any                
 relationship between the state and districts or local government.             
 Number 1206                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY said it was his understanding that we're              
 trying to change from the current mediation/litigation procedure              
 that has a different cost to each school district to the evaluation           
 process which would be no more expensive, and hopefully less                  
 expensive, than the current process.                                          
 MR. WRIGHT said it is also their hope to improve the quality of               
 education.  He pointed out there are excellent teachers throughout            
 the system and children are receiving a good education, but there             
 are some teachers who are not up to standard with other teachers.             
 The approach under this bill would be to do the evaluation, go to             
 the plan of improvement and reevaluate again.  The goal is to                 
 improve the quality of education anyway we can.                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if the intent was the evaluation system            
 would be no more expensive or perhaps cheaper than the current                
 system of arbitration and litigation.                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said he believed that costs would still be                
 incurred in staff management in various districts.  House Bill 465            
 is trying to improve performance of teachers.  It is his                      
 understanding there are costs incurred with cases that are                    
 currently in the courts.  This legislation addresses the trial de             
 novo portion of the statute.                                                  
 Number 1362                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE asked Representative Ivan if he could                
 briefly explain the system proposed under HB 465 versus the current           
 system for nonretaining a teacher.  What are the steps leading to             
 trial de novo?                                                                
 MR. WRIGHT said the steps being proposed under HB 465 in place of             
 the trial de novo are for dismissal:  (1) a pre-termination                   
 hearing; (2) school board for a decision; (3) arbitration; and (4)            
 superior court.  For nonretention, the pre-termination hearing is             
 the school board hearing, then arbitration and superior court on              
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE verified that it's pre-termination, school               
 board, arbitration and then superior court.  He asked what the                
 current process is.                                                           
 MR. WRIGHT replied he wasn't certain if there was a pre-termination           
 hearing, but there's a hearing at the school board level, then it             
 can go to superior court.  But the problem with going to superior             
 court under the current system is a whole new record can be                   
 established.  The record established at the school board hearing is           
 not valid in superior court.                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked which record under HB 465 would be                 
 established at the superior court - the pre-termination, school               
 board or the arbitration?                                                     
 MR. WRIGHT replied the record would begin with the first hearing              
 and be carried through the process.                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE clarified that new information could be opened           
 up at each of the three levels and at no point during the three               
 step process would the findings be shut off.                                  
 MR. WRIGHT responded that was his understanding.  He added there              
 can be new findings, but the record that is established at the                
 first hearing follows through the process.  There is, however,                
 nothing to preclude someone from coming through with new findings.            
 Number 1526                                                                   
 DAVE PARSONS testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 465                 
 because he feels it has some problems.  The evaluation process                
 raises a red flag with him.  The evaluation is a relatively simple            
 process in his job as custodian because a person can come in after            
 he's done and tell whether or not he's done a good job.  He added             
 that basically any person off the street could come in and do an              
 evaluation.  However, when it involves teachers, the process gets             
 a bit more complicated.  First, a person can begin to wonder what             
 the motivations are for an evaluation; for example, if a school               
 district is having a problem meeting its financial obligations,               
 there could be an attempt to get rid of teachers that the district            
 wouldn't have been able to get rid of otherwise with these so-                
 called plans of improvement, which may or may not be realistic.               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that Representative Gail Phillips, Speaker of            
 the House, had joined the meeting.  Speaking for the school board             
 in Anchorage, Co-Chair Bunde said they were highly motivated and              
 jealously guard their powers and he doubted if they would accept              
 anyone off the street to make any decisions for them.                         
 Number 1692                                                                   
 LELA AYRES testified from Anchorage that she is a third grade                 
 teacher and one of her concerns is the plan of improvement.  She              
 was part of the Mat-Su committee that developed an evaluation                 
 process for the district.  The committee consisting of central                
 office administrators, principals from every level and teachers,              
 worked for over two years to refine the evaluation process they are           
 now working with.  A plan of improvement was one part of that                 
 process; it was a tool to be used when the principal saw the need.            
 She feels HB 465 reduces the plan of improvement to a weapon that             
 principals might be reluctant to use.  It is too open-ended and               
 ill-defined.  She urged the committee to support the Governor's               
 compromise bill.  There was time and effort spent by all aspects of           
 the community to develop that bill and it addresses everything that           
 is of concern to the committee.                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed that unfortunately the Governor's                     
 compromise bill did not involve all aspects of the community.  He             
 didn't believe it involved any legislators and that might have been           
 a useful inclusion.                                                           
 Number 1770                                                                   
 LUCY HOPE testified from Anchorage that she is concerned with the             
 provisions of HB 465 regarding the imposition of a plan of                    
 improvement.  She said when we, as teachers, develop an individual            
 education plan or an individual discipline plan for a student, the            
 student or the parents of the student are always involved in the              
 process.  In fact, the law requires they be involved in the                   
 development process.  It seems that teachers who are in need of an            
 individualized plan of improvement need to have involvement in that           
 process and in evaluating their progress.  Plans of improvement               
 need to be stated in measurable terms and require ongoing                     
 monitoring.  There are no provisions for any of those in this bill.           
 It is her feeling that a teacher could fail to meet a plan of                 
 improvement because the plan is too vague, the time limits were not           
 specified or the goals could be impossible to achieve.  If plans of           
 improvement are to be part of the law, it seems that the concerns             
 also need to be addressed just as they are for the student plans              
 that are currently in the law.                                                
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE advised Ms. Hope that her concerns had been noted by           
 Representative Ivan's staff.                                                  
 Number 1872                                                                   
 GAYLE PIERCE testified from Fairbanks regarding the removal of the            
 trial de novo.  She said she was having difficulty understanding              
 the provisions of the bill and wanted to ask some questions of                
 Representative Ivan.  She wanted to know who does the advisory                
 arbitration award advise.  It was her understanding that the                  
 advisory arbitrator's decision would provide advice to the school             
 board.  As far as she can tell, it is only the school board that is           
 (indisc.) to make the decision about the retention or nonretention            
 of the teacher.  She asked if that was a correct understanding or             
 does the advisory arbitration advise the court.  She added that               
 didn't make sense to her because changing to a judicial review from           
 a trial de nova suggests that it is only a procedural review.  It             
 was her understanding from reading the bill that by removing the              
 trial de novo or by not going by a binding arbitrator's report, it            
 removes any independent or neutral third party decision making.               
 She referred to the layoff provision and asked if it wasn't true              
 that given the funding in the last several years, every district              
 right now meets the test of not keeping pace with inflation.  It's            
 her understanding that if this bill was enacted, every district               
 would immediately qualify for decisions with regard to tenured                
 teacher layoff.                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT referred to page 6, line 30, which states "If the school           
 board sustains the dismissal or nonretention, the teacher is                  
 entitled to mandatory advisory arbitration conducted by a neutral             
 third party."  The feeling is that if it will strengthen the                  
 teacher's case, they are entitled to it.  It certainly is not                 
 something the teacher has to undergo; they can go to superior court           
 from the school board decision, if so desired.  In regards to Ms.             
 Pierce's second question, Mr. Wright said he didn't know if every             
 school district would meet the test of not keeping pace with                  
 inflation, but thinks there are some that definitely meet that.               
 Number 2085                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if inflation was calculated into the            
 MR. WRIGHT asked what Representative Rokeberg meant by calculated.            
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the witness testified that inflation             
 would cause a triple (indisc.) in terms of the layoff provisions.             
 MR. WRIGHT directed the committee's attention to page 4, line 23,             
 "the school board has determined that the district revenue averaged           
 over the past five school years has failed to keep pace, for the              
 same period, with inflation or the cost of changes in the                     
 requirements imposed on the district by state and state law;".                
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE speculated that the majority of districts in Alaska            
 have not kept pace with inflation, certainly not the last four                
 years when there has been flat funding.                                       
 MR. WRIGHT added that it's conceivable that every school district             
 probably could make that statement.                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if this was something that was                  
 borrowed from the Governor's bill.                                            
 MR. WRIGHT said no.                                                           
 TAPE 96-11, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 007                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON inquired if a list of those districts           
 that have kept pace with inflation, if there is any, could be                 
 obtained through the department or the sponsor.                               
 MR. WRIGHT added he thought they were trying to come up with an               
 interpretation of a financial emergency, rather than leaving it               
 vague as it is in HB 217 and HB 398.                                          
 Number 100                                                                    
 RICHARD MAUER, Member, Delta/Greely School District, testified in             
 the capacity of legislative liaison for his school board.  He                 
 believes HB 465 contains many excellent tools that are going to               
 help in the Delta/Greely district.  Specifically, he wanted to                
 address the provision for layoffs based on declining student                  
 enrollment.  He said in his school district, there is a military              
 base that has been placed on the base realignment and closure list.           
 Between now and the year 2001, the base will be nearly closed down            
 completely.  The impact on the district's student enrollment is               
 dramatic.  Currently, they have 890 students and by the year 2001,            
 they are forecasting less than 500 students.  Under current law, if           
 teaching staff is reduced they have to nonretain and then go by               
 their negotiated agreement for seniority as far as what staff is              
 kept after they've gotten rid of the nontenured staff.  Under the             
 provisions of HB 465, it would give them, as a district, the                  
 opportunity to implement a plan to maintain their programs.  He               
 said an example is the district's science program where their                 
 chemistry teacher has no seniority; she has just gained tenure.  As           
 they reduce their students and the district has to nonretain, those           
 teachers with low seniority are the ones who will be going out the            
 door along with their science program.  Under the provisions of               
 this legislation, the district's plan could be implemented as to              
 which programs they want to keep and then institute layoff.  It is            
 helpful for the kids, but it also helps the teaching staff because            
 they are not nonretaining teaching staff.  If there is an economic            
 increase which brings the student population back up, these                   
 teachers could be brought back on.                                            
 Number 365                                                                    
 DEB GERMANO, Member, Kenai Peninsula School Board, testified she is           
 newly elected and is serving as the legislative liaison for the               
 board.  She referenced the previous comments regarding an emergency           
 situation of a district, and said it needed to be understood that             
 school boards want to do what is best for the children.  There are            
 37 sites in the Kenai Peninsula School District.  An emergency                
 situation of laying off is not something they anticipate; they are            
 always looking to increase staff not decrease it.  She said it                
 would be nice for them to have the flexibility to layoff staff in             
 the emergency situations, but the intent is not there for the Kenai           
 Peninsula School District or for that matter any other district, to           
 look at laying off people to gain money for other things.  With               
 reference to the evaluation process, she thought there was some               
 compromise or adjustments that needed to be made.  She believes it            
 is very important and needed to ensure that the staff is the best             
 they could have for the children.  A quality education is what we             
 all want for our children and this gives the school boards local              
 control to address the needs of the children locally.  The school             
 boards are the people who are looking at the kids.                            
 Number 559                                                                    
 MARILYN LEEHY, President, Valdez School District, testified this is           
 an important piece of legislation for the Valdez School District              
 both in terms of the layoff provision and the professional                    
 standards they would like to be able to establish and maintain in             
 their schools.  She mentioned that concern had been expressed about           
 what those standards are, but as elected officials, it is their               
 obligation, job and duty to ensure that professionals are up to               
 those professional standards.  She commented the Valdez School                
 District has those standards in place now, but they aren't                    
 necessarily enforced because whether or not they are applied                  
 doesn't affect the schools.  She said, "We'd like to have the                 
 opportunity to make sure that if these standards are in place, that           
 they mean something and that we can do more than determine which              
 teachers are incompetent, but also have some way of determining               
 whether or not they are actually performing to an adequate                    
 standard; at least a satisfactory standard and there's a big                  
 difference which I think this bill addresses between whether or not           
 a teacher is incompetent, which is cause for removal at the moment,           
 as to whether or not that person can be retained in the district              
 because their performance satisfies the standards that have been              
 MS. LEEHY addressed the issue of process for removal and said it              
 was important for committee members to know that when the school              
 board meets to review this issue, they meet as a quasi-judicial               
 body and they are bound by rules of law.  They put together a full            
 legal process and after that legal process is complete, after the             
 rules of law have been established, they have to do it again.  This           
 legislation provides that once that record has been established -             
 the conditions have been met for making sure the rights of the                
 individual have been maintained, then that individual has the right           
 to go on from there and review the school board's work in superior            
 court to make sure the board did what they were supposed to do in             
 the proper way, but not to start all over again from ground zero.             
 The effect of that is to make it very difficult for school boards             
 to afford the process of enforcing the standards they like to see.            
 Number 727                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Leehy's reaction to the notion of this               
 being an unfunded mandate and school districts having to spend some           
 time and money establishing an evaluation procedure.                          
 MS. LEEHY said she thought the assumption was that the school                 
 districts were not already doing that.  She believes this could be            
 used to improve the evaluation process and it may indeed cause some           
 problems in the smaller districts for organizing the access to put            
 together the plan.  It is not to say the districts aren't already             
 evaluating or don't already have instruments in place.  It's part             
 of the operating expenses and part of what is already done.                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Leehy as a school board member, to                   
 conceptualize how an evaluation team might be put together.                   
 MS. LEEHY replied there were professionals to do that.  They employ           
 a staff who are highly paid and well-trained.  This bill provides             
 for input and she didn't think their obligations should be pushed             
 off onto people who don't have the training.  She thinks this bill            
 also provides that if the school board does it wrong, they are                
 accountable for it.  If these standards are not applied properly,             
 it will come back on her on election day.                                     
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Leehy if she anticipated a problem                   
 establishing the peer review portion of the legislation.                      
 MS. LEEHY responded she did.  She thinks it is unfair to ask                  
 teachers to comment on another teacher's adequacy for employment.             
 She feels that's what the school board gets paid to do and they               
 establish the standards.  There is a great deal of opportunity for            
 personal perspectives to color the judgment of one teacher to                 
 another.  The principals and administrators are the ones who see              
 the overall view of the school and are best suited to accomplish              
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Leehy if she thought teachers were                   
 professionals and able to judge competent teaching.                           
 MS. LEEHY said she thinks teachers are professionals, but she hopes           
 their entire orientation is looking for the best in the people                
 around them and try to encourage and magnify that.                            
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if Valdez had a teacher mentoring                  
 program instead of a teacher review process.                                  
 MS. LEEHY responded they didn't, but she thinks it is an excellent            
 idea, but it would involve some money.                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG referenced Ms. Leehy's previous statement             
 regarding the issue of incompetency as a cause for nonretention and           
 remarked that HB 465 replaces that with the plan of improvement.              
 He asked if that would take a tool away from the school board and             
 create a situation where a teacher would not be able to be removed            
 for one year, because the plan of improvement in HB 465 allows for            
 an entire year of evaluation.                                                 
 MS. LEEHY said she wasn't worried about that because they don't               
 hire incompetent teachers.  She added that after the evaluation               
 period, there is no reason why they should have an incompetent                
 teacher.  If something has happened to a teacher that is causing              
 them to not perform at the standard, she wants to be able to work             
 with that teacher.  The school district has invested a great deal             
 in their professionals and the stability of the district and the              
 staff is of importance to them.                                               
 Number 1030                                                                   
 KIMBERLY HOMME, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner,                
 Department of Education, said the department recognizes the hard              
 work that Representative Ivan has devoted to these difficult issues           
 both last year and again this year.  This bill, HB 465, does                  
 incorporate the "subject areas" contained also in the Governor's              
 compromise bill, but deals with the subject areas in a different              
 way.  She said the Department of Education agrees these five issues           
 can be addressed in legislation this year:  Lengthening the teacher           
 probationary period; improving the teacher evaluation process;                
 increasing public information in the collective bargaining process;           
 eliminating the trial de novo, which has been an expense to school            
 districts; and increase the school district's ability to determine            
 how and when teachers are laid off.  The department believes that             
 a bill amending these items needs to be carefully crafted so the              
 best information and the broadest consensus is available.                     
 MS. HOMME stated this Administration's bill contained all of these            
 issues, as well.  Each one of these issues can be addressed in a              
 bill the Administration can support.  The department is willing to            
 work with Representative Ivan, the HESS Committee and others.                 
 Commissioner Holloway has met with Representative Ivan and has                
 requested his cooperation in this endeavor.  Representative Ivan              
 has agreed to meet to discuss possible changes.  The department               
 would like to work through the unacceptable provisions of the                 
 legislation and explore possible changes with him.                            
 MS. HOMME presented a brief history of the various bills.  The                
 Governor vetoed HB 217 last year because it was felt that it didn't           
 adequately address the real issues of the education system.  The              
 Governor promised to work on the problems that face the rural                 
 school boards especially and asked Commissioner Holloway to form a            
 group of people to work on the issues and take a fresh approach to            
 studying the contentious issues of HB 217.  Thus, the development             
 of HB 398 which the department thinks will promote excellence in              
 education.  Involved in that group were a variety of people, not              
 legislators as Representative Bunde duly noted, but parents,                  
 teachers, school board members, the State Board of Education,                 
 school administrators and the university.  All of the issues in HB
 217 were contained in HB 398.                                                 
 MS. HOMME advised that HB 465 would be acceptable to the department           
 if it contained provisions that need to be made to better reflect             
 the compromise piece of legislation.  As it is written, it is                 
 divisive in the education community.  She noted that committee                
 members had been provided a packet which included a list of                   
 resolutions that came from all the different varieties of education           
 community groups; i.e., Association of School Boards, elementary              
 principals, secondary principals, et cetera.  In summary, Ms. Homme           
 said these different groups felt these issues could be addressed              
 this year.  The department believes they can work with the sponsor            
 to deal with some of the potentially divisive issues in HB 465.               
 Number 1284                                                                   
 CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Association of Alaska School Boards,           
 summarized that he made an attempt to try to address HB 465 from              
 the standpoint of quality, performance, fairness and                          
 accountability.  If there are measures in this piece of legislation           
 that's threatening, he really wants to discuss them.  He said he              
 was willing to work with anyone to address those issues and added             
 there were a number of things that have been of concern to school             
 board members.  As everyone is aware, they are elected officials;             
 they are held accountable and are responsible for the oversight of            
 the school districts.  They are asking for the authority to do some           
 things that affect the quality of education.  Unfortunately, the              
 school boards may get those tools as a result of financial                    
 emergency.  The Association of Alaska School Boards thinks these              
 tools should be in place for their use currently.  They need the              
 money to operate the schools.  In the absence of that and if the              
 school has an emergency, the tools are needed to ensure that the              
 programs that are provided or the qualifications that are going to            
 be determined are not negotiable, but determined by local elected             
 officials.  He would like the opportunity to discuss that issue               
 with committee members.                                                       
 Number 1350                                                                   
 STEVE McPHETRES, Executive Director, Alaska Council of School                 
 Administrators, asked that the record reflect their concern with              
 the section of the bill that deals with the dismissal of the                  
 administrator if the responsibilities of the evaluation process are           
 not carried out.  He noted the Alaska Council of School                       
 Administrators has submitted some substitute language to the                  
 sponsor, which he understood is a friendly amendment being                    
 considered by Representative Ivan.  He added the council had other            
 comments regarding the rest of the bill which he would like the               
 opportunity to discuss at a later time.                                       
 Number 1391                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced the HESS Committee would hear HB 465 again           
 at the request of the sponsor.  He understood there would be                  
 additional work done on the bill, so rather than give a date                  
 certain, it will be heard again at the request of the sponsor.  The           
 hearing will be noticed and additional time allotted for testimony.           
 Number 1404                                                                   
 CAREN ROBINSON said she would like to have a comparison of the                
 different bills that deal with this issue.  She expressed her                 
 desire to sit down in a working group and come up with a bill that            
 could be supported by all HESS committee members.  She appreciates            
 all the work done by the sponsor and has made her concerns known to           
 the department that it was an unfortunate mistake not to include              
 Representative Ivan in the group.  She commented the perspectives             
 which come from the rural areas are very different from the urban             
 areas and she is hopeful that in looking at this issue, they can be           
 sensitive to those different perspectives.                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that HB 373, Education for Family of                 
 Deceased Military would be held over until Thursday, February 15.             
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the meeting of the HESS Committee at 5:07            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects