Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/28/1996 02:05 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE March 28, 1996 2:05 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 None COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 529 "An Act giving notice of and approving the entry into, and the issuance of certificates of participation in, a lease-purchase agreement for a centralized public health laboratory." - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 535 "An Act relating to postsecondary education." - PASSED CSHB 535(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 435 "An Act relating to employment contributions and to making the state training and employment program a permanent state program; and providing for an effective date." - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE * HOUSE BILL NO. 384 "An Act relating to payment requirements for retention in the Pioneers' Home; and providing for an effective date." - PASSED CSHB 384(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 348 "An Act requiring that all official interviews with children who are alleged to have been abused or neglected be videotaped or audiotaped." - PASSED CSHB 348(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 159(HES) am "An Act relating to advance directives for mental health treatment." - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 529 SHORT TITLE: APPROVE CENTRALIZED PUBLIC HEALTH LAB SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG DATE 02/28/96 2912 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/28/96 2912 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/14/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/14/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/19/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/19/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/21/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/21/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/26/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/28/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 535 SHORT TITLE: POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG DATE 02/29/96 2962 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/29/96 2962 (H) HES 03/05/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/05/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/07/96 (H) HES AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 106 03/14/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/14/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/19/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/19/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/26/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/26/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/28/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 435 SHORT TITLE: STATE TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/19/96 2488 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/19/96 2488 (H) LABOR & COMMERCE, HES, STA, FINANCE 01/19/96 2488 (H) 3 FISCAL NOTES (2-DCRA, LABOR) 01/19/96 2488 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 02/07/96 (H) L&C AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 17 02/07/96 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 02/14/96 (H) L&C AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 17 02/14/96 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 02/15/96 2772 (H) L&C RPT 2DP 3NR 02/15/96 2773 (H) DP: ELTON, KOTT 02/15/96 2773 (H) NR: ROKEBERG, KUBINA, PORTER 02/15/96 2773 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (GOV) 02/15/96 2773 (H) 3 FNS (2-DCRA,LABOR) 1/19/96 03/21/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/21/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/26/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/26/96 (H) MINUTE(HES) BILL: HB 384 SHORT TITLE: PIONEERS' HOME - INABILITY TO PAY SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ROKEBERG JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 12/29/95 2366 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/08/96 2367 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/08/96 2367 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, HES, FINANCE 02/15/96 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/15/96 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/21/96 2827 (H) STA RPT CS(STA) 3DP 1NR 3AM 02/21/96 2828 (H) DP: JAMES, OGAN, PORTER 02/21/96 2828 (H) NR: IVAN 02/21/96 2828 (H) AM: WILLIS, ROBINSON, GREEN 02/21/96 2828 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (ADM) 03/28/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 348 SHORT TITLE: VIDEO/AUDIOTAPE INTERVIEW OF ABUSED MINOR SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) JAMES,Therriault,Kelly,Toohey JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 05/13/95 2173 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 05/13/95 2174 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, HES, JUD, FINANCE 08/26/95 (H) STA AT 1:00 PM 08/26/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 01/08/96 2383 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KELLY, TOOHEY 01/23/96 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 01/23/96 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/10/96 (H) STA AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 102 02/10/96 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/07/96 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/07/96 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/09/96 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/09/96 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/13/96 3108 (H) STA RPT CS(STA) NT 3DP 2NR 03/13/96 3109 (H) DP: JAMES, PORTER, ROBINSON 03/13/96 3109 (H) NR: GREEN, IVAN 03/13/96 3109 (H) 2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DHSS, DPS) 03/28/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: SB 159 SHORT TITLE: MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT DECLARATIONS SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) RIEGER, Ellis, Taylor, Salo, Duncan, Zharoff, Lincoln; REPRESENTATIVE(S) Toohey JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 04/13/95 1026 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/13/95 1026 (S) HES, JUD 02/14/96 (S) HES AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 02/14/96 (S) MINUTE(HES) 02/14/96 (S) MINUTE(HES) 02/15/96 2444 (S) HES CS 4DP 1NR SAME TITLE 02/15/96 2444 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DHSS) 02/15/96 2447 (S) COSPONSOR(S): ELLIS 03/13/96 (S) JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 03/13/96 (S) MINUTE(JUD) 03/14/96 2734 (S) JUD RPT 5DP (HES)CS 03/14/96 2734 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DHSS) 03/18/96 (S) RLS AT 12:20 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 03/20/96 2806 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR 3/20/96 03/20/96 2809 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 03/20/96 2809 (S) HES CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 03/20/96 2809 (S) AM NO 1 ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 03/20/96 2809 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 03/20/96 2809 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 159(HES) AM 03/20/96 2809 (S) COSPONSORS: TAYLOR, SALO, DUNCAN, 03/20/96 2809 (S) ZHAROFF, LINCOLN 03/20/96 2810 (S) PASSED Y20 N- 03/20/96 2817 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 03/21/96 3233 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/21/96 3233 (H) HES 03/21/96 3260 (H) CROSS SPONSOR(S): TOOHEY 03/28/96 (H) HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106 WITNESS REGISTER DIANE BARRANS, Executive Director Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education; and Executive Officer, Alaska Student Loan Corporation 3030 Vintage Boulevard Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-2113 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 535 TERESA WILLIAMS, Assistant Attorney General Fair Business Practices Section Department of Law 1031 West 4th Avenue, Suite 200 Anchorage, Alaska 99501-1994 Telephone: (907) 269-5100 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 535 MIKE FORD, Attorney Legislative Legal and Research Services 130 Seward Street, Suite 409 Juneau, Alaska 99801-2105 Telephone: (907) 465-2450 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 535 KATHLEEN STRASBAUGH, Assistant Attorney General Civil Division Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 Telephone: (907) 465-3600 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 535 DWIGHT PERKINS, Special Assistant Office of the Commissioner Department of Labor P.O. Box 21149 Juneau, Alaska 99802-1149 Telephone: (907) 465-2700 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 435 JOE ALTER Box 20304 Juneau, Alaska 99082 Telephone: (907) 586-6680 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 384, but in opposition to CSHB 384(STA) ALISON ELGEE, Deputy Commissioner Department of Administration P.O. Box 110200 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0200 Telephone: (907) 465-2200 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 384 JAMES KOHN, Deputy Director Division of Senior Services Department of Administration P.O. Box 110211 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0211 Telephone: (907) 465-2159 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 384 GENE DAU, Representative American Association of Retired Persons; and Veterans of Foreign Wars Box 20995 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Telephone: (907) 586-3816 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 384 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 102 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-3743 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime sponsor of HB 348 DIANE WORLEY, Director Division of Family & Youth Services Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 1106330 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0630 Telephone: (907) 465-3191 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 348 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-34, SIDE A Number 001 The House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee was called to order by Co-Chair Con Bunde at 2:05 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde, Toohey, Davis, Rokeberg and Vezey. Members absent were Representatives Brice and Robinson. A quorum was present to conduct business. HB 529 - APPROVE CENTRALIZED PUBLIC HEALTH LAB CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced the first order of business to come before the committee was HB 529, "An Act giving notice of and approving the entry into, and the issuance of certificates of participation in, a lease-purchase agreement for a centralized public health laboratory." He noted that testimony had previously been taken and the committee had received written comments on the questions that were raised at an earlier hearing on the bill. He asked if there were any additional questions from committee members. Hearing none, he closed public testimony. Number 054 REPRESENTATIVE NORM ROKEBERG moved to pass HB 529 out of committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. CO-CHAIR CYNTHIA TOOHEY stated she hoped the Department of Health & Social Services would take into consideration the economic problems facing the state and keep the cost of the project under budget as much as possible. HB 535 - POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION Number 134 CO-CHAIR BUNDE stated this was the second hearing on HB 535 after many subcommittee meetings of the HESS Committee. The committee had a committee substitute before them. Number 219 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved to adopt CSHB 535, Work Draft 9- LS1748\K, Ford, dated 3/27/96. Hearing no objection, the committee substitute was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE arrived at 2:08 p.m. Number 241 DIANE BARRANS, Executive Director, Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education and Executive Officer, Alaska Student Loan Corporation, said she had reviewed the committee substitute and believed there were portions of the bill that support their commitment to make changes necessary for the financial success of the loan program. She pointed out the Executive Order introduced by the Governor earlier in the session and disapproved by the legislature, would have consolidated all agency functions under one board with a clear and distinct focus on the general welfare of the program and their customers. She said this legislation makes some positive changes in the way of separating the institutional authorization function by leaving it to the staff of the Department of Education, while moving the administration of the loan fund and the loan program to the Department of Revenue under the Alaska Student Loan Corporation. This legislation does however, leave unresolved the question of why two boards would continue to exist. When she was asked the question of why the institutional authorization function was not simply transferred to an already existing body within the Department of Education, the State Board of Education, she was unable to respond with any convincing or compelling reason. Under this legislation there would still be some inefficiencies of a state agency having to administer the functions of separate entities without a clear basis for why one would not suffice. By that she was referring to the fact that the Department of Education already is subject to direction by the Board of Education, a Board that is subject to legislative confirmation and that is a function they could incorporate in their existing activities already. However, having raised these concerns, she pointed out the clear benefits to some of the changes in the legislation. Number 385 MS. BARRANS said the size of the administrative body (the corporation under the bill) and the commission would be reduced from 17 to 10, with 3 ex officio members. This change would provide for some cost reductions similar to the fiscal note the ACPE attached to the Governor's Executive Order. It would also be easier to arrange meetings and to conduct Board business because of the smaller number of members and the expectation of achieving a quorum with less trouble. It does move the corporation to the Department of Revenue and consolidates all administrative activity with respect to the loan program into the one governing body. It also refines the focus on the financial basis. The legislation moves the institutional authorization function away from the loan program to be staffed by an entirely separate governmental agency. This would be part of refining the focus to eliminate the blurring between institutional authorization activities and student loan activity, which currently is a concern and does create some legal liability for the loan program, as well. It also provides cleanup to the archaic or unnecessary language that currently exists in law which was discussed previously. She was appreciative on behalf of the management team at the loan program, for the improvements over the current situation that have been attempted in this legislation. She reiterated that the Department of Education would probably have some concerns with respect to having responsibility not only for additional functions, but for overseeing the activity of another board or commission. REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON arrived at 2:12 p.m. Number 550 CO-CHAIR BUNDE referenced the institutional authorization function being transferred to an already existing body - the Board of Education, and asked if the Board of Education had ever had a role before where they authorized institutions? MS. BARRANS said to her knowledge they have not; however, it is certainly a goal of the current Commissioner of Education to look at authorizing or accrediting institutions at the elementary and the secondary level. It would be a natural next step that the board would look at the entire K-12+ spectrum of institutions within the state. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the Board of Education had been just K-12, not postsecondary education to this point? MS. BARRANS responded that was correct. Number 649 TERESA WILLIAMS, Assistant Attorney General, Fair Business Practices Section, Department of Law, said she would be available via teleconference to answer questions. She advised the committee that someone from the Attorney General's office would also be available. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that Kathleen Strasbaugh was present from the Attorney General's office as well as Mike Ford from the Division of Legislative Legal Services. He reiterated that HB 535 was an attempt to streamline the postsecondary education commission and get it to the point of reflecting reality, while still maintaining legislative oversight of the appointments to the board. He asked if there were any questions or further testimony on HB 535. Hearing none, he closed public testimony. Number 710 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked why the decision had been made to have the board confirmed by the legislature. She recalled the discussion that took place in the State Affairs Committee about what groups could be confirmed and which ones could not. It was her understanding having this board subject to confirmation would be in violation of the state Constitution. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the question was why his goal was to keep the legislature involved with the postsecondary education commission and the student loan process as much as possible. He noted that in discussions with the various attorneys, concern was expressed to ensure that we were in sync with the state Constitution. There is always a possibility of court challenges and a variety of opinions. However, the bill has been drafted so the postsecondary education corporation maintains a quasi-judicial role; that is it meets on appeals for the institutional authorization and is the ultimate court of appeals, via the executive director, for loans to students who were turned down. In Co-Chair Bunde's mind that maintains the quasi-judicial requirement that is necessary for legislative confirmation. He asked Mr. Ford if he had correctly characterized the bill. Number 843 MIKE FORD, Attorney, Legislative Legal and Research Services, said the power of the legislature to confirm flows from certain functions of the agency. Under this draft, the agency would still have a regulatory function over postsecondary institutions which is a function it currently has, so the function is being maintained for the commission. By virtue of maintaining that, the legislature has power of confirmation over the board members. He believed that in this particular draft the concept is to also have an influence over the loan program, which would be moved to the corporation. (Indisc.) the governing bodies of the corporation and the commission are the same people, that legislative connection is maintained. (Indisc.) have a power of confirmation over the members of the public corporation because they are wearing two hats in this situation; they are also the head of the commission and by virtue of the commission having regulatory functions, there is also the power of confirmation. Number 906 KATHLEEN STRASBAUGH, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Department of Law, said the two different boards do indeed have a different status under the Constitution. The loan corporation is not subject to confirmation. She noted in glancing at the latest draft, it appeared to her the postsecondary commission is similar to the status quo and has a variety of functions including regulatory activity. There is a potential argument that the regulatory activity might subject this board to confirmation, but it has never been confirmed and it has been the opinion of the Department of Law since 1977 that it should not be. She believed the history had to do with that regulation is only a part of what they do. She pointed out that governors of both parties have tolerated legislative membership on the commission and in the loan corporation, even though it's not constitutional because it didn't spend a lot of time performing its regulatory function. That approach had to do with the fact that it was not subject to confirmation and the trade-off was there were two legislators to observe and participate. Consequently, the history is that this board is not subject to confirmation. In her view there would only be a strong argument for confirmation if the function was solely regulatory. She disagreed with the statement that the loan application function presents a regulatory or quasi-judicial function sufficient to bring the board under Article 3, Section 26 of the Constitution which states what boards are to be confirmed. The processing of loans and taking appeals is incidental to the main function which is to raise the money and to make sure the program operates. She commented there is a fairly substantial amount of case law which supports the notion that the public corporations, as Mr. Ford said, are not subject to confirmation and in particular, public corporations that float loans. She thought there was a fundamental difference as to what would happen if this were to be argued, but no one has yet argued it, so that institutional dispute which has always been there would remain if this legislation was passed. Number 1060 MS. STRASBAUGH said there have been boards with dual functions before, so she couldn't say that a board couldn't wear two hats. She noted that was previously done with the Personnel Board and the Labor Relations Agency before they were split, but in both those cases they were clearly regulatory and quasi-judicial. At any rate, she thought it would remain a substantially up in the air question with respect to the postsecondary as it is drafted in the committee substitute. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for Ms. Williams' comments. Number 1094 MS. WILLIAMS said she would defer the question of confirmations to Kathleen Strasbaugh as that was her area of expertise. REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY noted there was legislative confirmation of the PERS and TERS Boards. MS. STRASBAUGH said the appeals that come before those boards are really substantial. She represents the administrator in those appeals and they are full trial type proceedings with evidence being presented and it is one of their chief functions. She said there was some difference, at least in how much time they spent on it. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY agreed there was some difference, but asked if their duties weren't almost the same. MS. STRASBAUGH said they might occupy the same number of pages in the statute books, although she thought it might even be shorter, but one of their central functions is to hear those appeals. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked what the disadvantage would be of having legislative confirmation? MS. STRASBAUGH replied because it's not constitutional. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said, "You can't tell me that the duties, if you don't quantify them just list them, you can't tell me the duties of this new board doesn't look very similar to dozens of other boards with legislative confirmation." MS. STRASBAUGH disagreed with Representative Vezey. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the past policy of the postsecondary education commission sitting as a quasi-judicial body was to hear, with some inconsistency granted, student appeals on loans from people who were having problems with their loans. MS. STRASBAUGH said that was correct. MS. WILLIAMS said that is not a quasi-judicial role, as quasi- judicial roles are viewed as more of a role of a lender making decisions on what sort of leeway that lender is going to give under the law. It's not an APA hearing, for example. It's a real distinction if the institution authorization (indisc.) clearly APA and you're sitting with a quasi-judicial body determining what kind of institutions will remain open. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Williams to take it to the next step which would be if an institution did not receive authorization and wished to appeal to the board, would that be quasi-judicial in her opinion? MS. WILLIAMS responded yes, because they are sitting as the agency under the APA that makes the ultimate decision of whether or not that institution is going to stay open. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Barrans if people who have had problems with their authorizations in the past have come to the board and asked for an appeal. MS. BARRANS said she believed in the last five years, which is what she could address with certainty, there had been one such appeal. MS. STRASBAUGH asked to make a correction for the record that the three members on the PERS are the Personnel Board, which makes personnel rules and conducts hearings under the Personnel Act. Number 1327 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked why the student was a nonvoting member? CO-CHAIR BUNDE said one of the goals in reducing the membership of the commission was to eliminate designated seats. He has heard that students have been assured that a student would be appointed to the board, but we can't always depend on future executives being as enlightened as this Governor. He added it wasn't that he didn't want a student, but the concern was that if a student had a seat on the board, other people would lobby heavily for a seat as well and the board would begin to grow. MS. BARRANS referred to page 2, line 19, and said one of the issues they had requested was that the loan origination fees be deposited into the origination fee account. She pointed out this is the Alaska Student Loan reference, and the same language is in Section 30 of the committee substitute with reference to the Memorial Scholarship Loan. She said the language in Section 30, has the preferred reference where it simply indicates a direct deposit of origination fees into the origination fee account, without the subject to appropriation language. CO-CHAIR BUNDE questioned what her intended goal was. MS. BARRANS responded the goal is to have consistent language with respect to the treatment of the origination fee in both the Memorial Scholarship Loan Fund and the Alaska Student Loan Fund. She thought it may have just been an oversight. Number 1458 MR. FORD said it is the belief of the Legislative Legal Services staff that the Section 22 language should remain because the amounts are subject to appropriation. To delete it was, while not constitutionally significant, of some instruction to the public and to the legislature. With regard to the language in Section 30, he didn't know why that hadn't been changed, but thought perhaps it should be changed as well. Number 1515 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the committee members would be comfortable with considering this as a conceptual amendment for technical cleanup. MR. FORD stated he thought the language should be consistent. MS. BARRANS informed the committee that the bond counsel to the corporation would have an opinion on whether or not these fees would be subject to appropriation. She suggested getting advice from the corporation's bond counsel on the appropriate language, which would be conveyed to Mr. Ford. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Ford if he had sufficient guidance from the committee to make the language consistent. MR. FORD said he could phrase the question to make sure it was clear to everyone: The question is whether these fees are subject to appropriation by the legislature? He said legally they are, that's why the language was included originally. He added that he would be glad to review it if the commission had a different opinion. CO-CHAIR BUNDE thought it was something that needed to be looked at. He referred to the last sentence on page 5 and the first sentence on page 6, and said he thought it had been duplicated. Co-Chair Bunde mentioned it is very likely there will be a fiscal note which meant the bill would end up in the Finance Committee so these issues could be addressed in Finance. Number 1599 MS. WILLIAMS suggested that "program" be changed to "programs" on page 4, line 21. MS. STRASBAUGH referred to page 4, line 29, and said it needed to be clear that under the procurement act and in general, that all legal counsel is subject to the approval of the attorney general. It doesn't mean that private counsel won't be retained from time- to-time, but ultimately those contracts require the approval of the attorney general. The language in the committee substitute creates some confusion because there are procurement code sections relative to that. She suggested that it might be better to leave out subsection (b) and have it track with existing legislation. MR. FORD said he had no problem with that suggestion. MS. BARRANS believed the language on page 3, line 6, should read, "...a person representing the Department of Education..." MR. FORD pointed out "department" is defined as the Department of Education in the Definitions Section of the bill. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that since the bill would definitely go to the Finance Committee because of the fiscal note, he would like the question reviewed about the appropriation and then it could be addressed in the Finance Committee. Number 1702 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved to pass CSHB 535(HES) to the next committee of referral with individual recommendations and no fiscal note. MS. BARRANS said that a fiscal note from both the Alaska Postsecondary Education Commission and the Department of Education would be available on Monday, April 1. CO-CHAIR BUNDE made a friendly amendment to the motion to include "anticipated fiscal notes." Hearing no objection, CSHB 535(HES) moved from the House HESS Committee. HB 435 - STATE TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM Number 1778 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON commented she had contacted Greens Creek to find out what kind of involvement they planned to have in this program. She received a letter in response from the lobbyist representing Greens Creek which indicated their definite plans to participate with the university in this program, in addition to training of the individuals they plan to hire in the future. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Dwight Perkins of the Department of Labor to briefly address the concerns raised by committee members in the last hearing on HB 435. Number 1806 DWIGHT PERKINS, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Labor, directed committee members' attention to his letter to Representative Rokeberg which addressed the question concerning how the distribution of State Training & Employment Program (STEP) funds is determined and what communities were located within each state delivery area (SDA). In response to Representative Rokeberg's request earlier that day about numbers of people for each area, Mr. Perkins said he had the total numbers, but apologized for not having it broken down by area. He did however have the State Training & Employment Program subgrants by service delivery area, which included statewide, Anchorage-Mat/Su and Fairbanks SDA. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY inquired as to Representative Rokeberg's reason for the question; had he heard of anyone in Anchorage being denied training by STEP? REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the nature of his question was based on the idea that all the state workers throughout the state pay for this, and his concerns were in regard to the methodology used in applying these monies. Therefore, he had asked the department to supply information as to the numbers and dollars put into specific communities and locales. He didn't think it was unfair to ask the department how much money goes to specific areas when they are spending $3.5 million to $4 million. Additionally, he was curious about the formula used. For example, the city of Wrangell is experiencing substantial unemployment because of the closure of the mill and he wondered if there was anything in the formula that would accommodate additional job training in a situation like that. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she could appreciate Representative Rokeberg's thoughts, but asked how would people be trained in a profession that is not ongoing in their community. Number 1986 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said it was her understanding that through the university system, the mining industry for example has contributed equipment and money to a small mine outside of Juneau. When the underground mining training is offered in Juneau, there are individuals that come from all over the state and when they have completed the training they go work in other mines or fill existing jobs in Juneau. Therefore, it may not necessarily be a program that's offered in a specific community to address a specific job need, but it brings people from all over the state who get training and go to work in that field. Number 2053 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said there was nothing in the formula mentioned in Mr. Perkins' letter that indicates general employment and wondered if unemployed parents inferred that unemployment is a major portion of the statistical formula for the allocation. MR. PERKINS said as was mentioned in his March 28 letter, the formula was updated annually using labor market statistics. Pertinent statistics, by service delivery area, include the number of the six factors listed in his letter. He said we're going after a work force of people who are out of work, people who are looking to upgrade their training skills, or workers making less than the average annual wage. He referenced Representative Rokeberg's concern about whether people were being trained in an industry where there are no jobs, for example the mining industry, and said yes, people have been trained and have gone to work in mines in other parts of the state. Number 2132 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG expressed disappointment that the department wasn't able to furnish a better breakdown as to where the money was going. MR. PERKINS noted that he had provided an extensive package of information last week. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the information contained the areawide SDA, the Anchorage SDA and the Fairbanks SDA, but it didn't have the names of individual programs. MR. PERKINS pointed out there was a breakdown in committee packets that showed the FY 95 actual statewide service delivery area grant line items. The total was footed through the breakdown of the different names of businesses and training groups that had received the amounts, the locations, and the total amount. Unfortunately, it didn't indicate the exact number of people, except for the Fairbanks service delivery area which specified the names of the people, how much was spent, the industry specific on-the-job training, participants at UAF for training, upgrading skills, etc. Mr. Perkins offered to provide Representative Rokeberg with the information to his liking if Representative Rokeberg would let him know exactly what information he was seeking. Number 2254 CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony. Number 2259 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved HB 435 out of committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes to the next committee of referral. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record there were corrected fiscal notes. Fiscal notes 3 and 4, and a new fiscal note from the Department of Community & Regional Affairs dated 3/18/96 were the corrected fiscal notes. HB 384 - PIONEERS' HOME - INABILITY TO PAY Number 2297 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG, Sponsor, said House Bill 384 provides a statutory protection for the residents of the state's Pioneers' Homes. It has always been the policy of the state of Alaska not to evict a resident if they did not have the resources or the money to pay. Currently, 86 of the approximately 600 residents of the Pioneers' Homes in the state do not pay the full rent. He expressed concern that when the Governor, with the concurrence of the Senior Commission in the state, advised and agreed to raise significantly the rents in the Pioneers' Homes this year, the residents of the homes became very fearful of what was going to happen to them. He became aware of this because his mother is a resident of the Anchorage Pioneer Home in the first level of basic assisted living. He noted for the record that his mother is fully capable and has sufficient net worth to withstand any increase in the rates, so that's not why he's interested in this bill. TAPE 96-34, SIDE B Number 001 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented that he has made many friends in the Pioneers' Homes and his interest stems from the fear and concern he has seen in the eyes of those residents of the homes. These people have extraordinary concerns because they know they don't have the ability to meet the new rate schedules. They are fearful to this day because they don't understand how politics work and the way the world works. All they know is that the rates are going up, they don't have the money to pay for it and are fearful of being thrown out in the street. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said it was kind of ironic that he first became aware of the legal circumstance and the lack of any statutory protection for the residents when Representative Davis, Representative Robinson and he were on a subcommittee last year and there was testimony by Director Connie Sipe as to the fact that there was no statutory authority. It's just something that all residents of the state of Alaska truly believe because it has been the policy since 1913 that no one would be thrown out due to their inability to pay. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said HB 435 memorializes the state policy in statute. He said normally most legislators are concerned about the fiscal notes attached to their bills, but he felt he could take the fiscal note and the footnote to the fiscal note and make it his sponsor statement for this legislation. The administration is fully supportive of this bill. It has a zero fiscal note as it will not have any fiscal impact on the state because of the existing state policy. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG directed the attention of the committee to the Ombudsman Office report, specifically area 4 which states, "The legislature should insist by either enacting statute or adopting a resolution that the state agencies unwritten policies be set out either in statute, regulation or departmental policy and procedures manuals so that the affected members of the public are informed of the policies and procedures that apply to them when dealing with state agencies." He said it has been the unwritten state policy never to throw anyone out of a Pioneers' Home, and it needs to be given statutory authority. He referred to the memorandum in the committee packets dated March 13, 1996, addressed to him from James Kohn, Deputy Director of the Division of Senior Services and said his mother's rate for the basic assisting living was $860 per month. He noted that had been increased twice in the last two fiscal years; this year there was no increase because they were anticipating another raise. In any event, it's been raised 10 percent in the two fiscal years it was raised. Starting July 1, 1996, her rent will go up 50 percent to $1289, and there will be a one-seventh increment each succeeding fiscal year. In FY 98, it will raise to $1718 which is about a 33 percent increase from the current rate; $2147 in FY 99 which is a 25 percent raise, and so on up to $3,862 in just seven years. He said there is no question this is a bargain. He thought the committee should guard against discussing the entire philosophy of the Pioneers' Homes, but on the other hand the nature of these homes should be addressed which is to provide a place of care. Number 174 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG noted this bill had a hearing before the State Affairs Committee where committee members expressed concern about the future fiscal realities of the state and the ability of the Pioneers' Homes to exist. Therefore, they insisted that a change be made in the language to indicate that as of the effective date of this bill, only those people who were presently residents of the Pioneers' Homes would be protected as far as being evicted. Thus, any future resident could potentially be evicted if they did not have the money to pay. Representative Rokeberg said he agreed to the amendment only to move the bill along in the process, but as the bill stands now with the State Affairs committee substitute, he would withdraw the bill unless it was amended in the HESS committee. He noted that he had prepared an amendment. CO-CHAIR BUNDE referred to the memorandum regarding the rate increase and said obviously the Administration's goal was to raise the rate in 2003 to the level of the estimated monthly cost, but that's the monthly cost in 1996. Using the basic assisted living as an example, he pointed out that presently the cost to provide the service is $3,000 more per month than the rent. He questioned when the cost to provide the service reaches $3,862 a month in the year 2003 how will that relate to the actual cost? REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said that Mr. Kohn was available to respond but he wanted to comment that those are the costs of the state running an operation. He said to him, that doesn't necessarily mean what the private sector costs are and he believes there are ways that monies can be saved even with the existing program. In other words, he believes that efficiencies could be implemented to offset any inflationary costs (indisc.-paper shuffling). Number 303 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he appreciated the amendment and agreed wholeheartedly that segregating the new residents from existing residents was wrong. He also suggested that perhaps the logic behind the State Affairs Committee was that the future fiscal impact was faulty by not having this language in the bill. Number 344 JOE ALTER testified that he had a deep interest in Pioneers' Homes. He is currently serving as chairperson for a volunteer board made up of representatives from each of the geographic areas where Pioneers' Homes are located. He noted that once a year the entire board visits each Pioneers' Home for the purpose of holding a public hearing in which the residents, family members and community persons may participate. He said that last fall the board visited each of the homes, which is what led him to testify in opposition to CSHB 384, but in support of the original HB 384. He advised that in the hearings throughout the state, there was fear expressed that the rates would be raised in the Pioneers' Homes to help close the fiscal gap and residents were concerned about what would happen if they were unable to pay the rate. The board debated these issues, but the board in its knowledge of the need to close the fiscal gap and its need to make the payments more fair for each of the residents, particularly those who could pay more than what they have been paying, adopted a recommendation. The recommendation was made to the Governor in letter form dated October 9, 1995, that recovery of the full cost of care be made over about a seven year time period, with the idea the board was doing their part in trying to cooperate in meeting the fiscal gap and yet dealing with people in a humane way. He said the residents expressed concern, even more than before, about what would happen to them when they were unable to pay their rent. He noted the third paragraph of the October 9 letter, states these are crossroads times in which we need to define public policy in relation to the Pioneers' Homes. He said particularly it needs to be defined for the comfort and the ability to live a healthy life for those people who are now living in the Pioneers' Homes as well as future residents. MR. ALTER stated with those thoughts in the background, he had no other recourse than to say he supports the original bill. He felt that if the State Affairs committee substitute was adopted, a mixed public policy message would be sent in that one group of residents would be treated differently than the other residents. He asked what would happen to people if they were thrown out and who pays the bill? In his opinion, it would be the same person that's paying when they can't afford to pay, whether they're in a Pioneers' Home or outside of the Pioneers' Home. MR. ALTER said that since most of the people in Pioneers' Homes are suffering from Alzheimer's or related dementia, and currently there isn't any other place for them to go other than the Pioneers' Home, unless they were sent to a mental hospital where the cost is significantly more. Number 543 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY noted there is no mental hospital that accepts Alzheimer's patients. The Alaska Psychiatric Institute does not take Alzheimer's and Harborview is being closed. She referred to a letter dated December 15, 1994, from Connie Sipe, Director of Senior Services, which states, "The new rates will be effective beginning February 1, 1995. If you have income or assets, you must pay the rate charged. If you do have sufficient income or assets, please talk to the social worker or a business office staff member for assistance. No one who is unable to pay the full rate will be asked to leave the Home or be discriminated against in any way." She asked Mr. Alter if anyone has ever led him to believe there is any other plan that would cause people not to believe the letter? MR. ALTER responded that question comes up repeatedly from the residents in the Pioneers' Homes. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked him if the residents were not made aware of the letter. MR. ALTER said yes, but generally when people address the issue with the residents of the homes, it is usually prefaced with "It has been the policy to do this, but we don't know what the policy is going to be in the future." He added that based on the past 80 years, the policy has been not to throw people out. CO-CHAIR BUNDE made reference to the Board's proposal to the Governor that residents pay gradually up to the cost, and the memorandum from Deputy Director Kohn that indicates the cost in 2003 will be the same as the cost is now and said he didn't think people were getting the full information. MR. ALTER said Co-Chair Bunde's point was well taken. The Board was under the impression that the estimated cost for the year 2003 is estimated to be the full cost of care at that time for the type of service that the homes are rendering. He added that the homes are gradually zeroing in on not being everything to everybody, but focusing on where the greatest need can be met for the greatest number of people. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said if mixed messages were being sent to the public, it needed to be stopped. Number 682 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON thought some of the fears stem from the residents hearing about government downsizing, budget cutting, privatizing and not quite understanding how politics work. For many of them receiving a letter from the government indicating there will not be a problem if they are unable to pay their rent is not enough security for them. Number 735 ALISON ELGEE, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Administration, testified that Co-Chair Bunde was correct in talking about the potential for people to be misled about what the full cost of care will be in the year 2003, but it is the department's intent to be at full cost of care by dividing by the remaining number of years, each year as the rate adjustments are done. She said, "The concern we had in trying to project what that cost of care would be is that, when we look at the historical patterns of the Pioneers' Homes, in fact we are appropriating less money today for the Pioneers' Home operations than we were three or four years ago because the nature of the business has changed." She emphasized that the department would do everything they could to hold the cost down in providing these services. She commented that rather than using some projected inflationary cost to demonstrate what that rate would be, the department was basing it on today's full cost of care. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he takes comfort that the department is working toward an undetermined but real number at some time and people would be kept informed. He questioned the zero fiscal note and asked if there was a fiscal note somewhere that reflected the cost of the Pioneers' Homes? MS. ELGEE responded the Pioneers' Home budget is a part of the Department of Administration budget and the proposal for FY 97 reflected an increase in the designated receipts that come from residents based on this plan to raise rates effective July 1. Number 817 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked how diligent the department was in following up on residents' assets and incomes? MS. ELGEE replied the department was currently in the process of drafting new regulations for the (indisc.-paper shuffling) rate increases and the existing regulations will be substantially modified to more closely correspond to the spousal impoverishment statutes for Medicaid, so people are not put in a position of one family member living in a Pioneers' Home and another family member still living in a private residence. The department does not want to jeopardize that kind of environment. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if the department tracked the other assets. She said it is very clear that an individual cannot live in a Pioneers' Home and then go to their empty home on the weekend. She was personally aware of cases in Anchorage where that was happening. She objected to that because there were people trying to get into the Pioneers' Home who don't have the money and qualify for the original intent of the Pioneers' Home, which was to help indigent Alaskans. Her concern was if the department was not following up on this, then the services are not being provided to the people who really need the service of the Pioneers' Home. In her opinion, this bill was not really needed because there is assurance that people are not going to be kicked out of the Pioneers' Home because of their inability to pay. MS. ELGEE stated that just one of the outcomes of the announcement that rates were going to be raised, is that those individuals who don't really need the services of the Pioneers' Home are in fact relocating out of the Pioneers' Home. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Co-Chair Toohey if there was an amendment to the bill that would require enforcement of regulations. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY thought the best thing to do was to review the entire program. She reiterated she just did not see the need for this legislation. MS. ELGEE said as the department has gone into this regulation development process, their attorneys have advised them that the existing statute is being stretched to put into regulation the statement that admission will not be disallowed based on ability to pay or kick people out. The attorneys would be more comfortable if this policy statement was set in statute, and it would be helpful to the department in that respect. It has always been the policy, and it is the department's intent to continue the policy, but they would be on firmer ground if it was in statute. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented he is a member of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee and if Co-Chair Toohey felt the regulations were not being judiciously applied, he would be happy to investigate and precipitate an audit. Number 1021 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Ms. Elgee to respond to the statement under number 3, reasons for termination of contract of the Pioneers' Home Assisted Living Contract which reads, "for violation of the terms of the residential services contract, including failure to pay costs incurred under the contract." MS. ELGEE asked Mr. Kohn, Deputy Director of the Division of Senior Services to respond. Number 1070 JAMES KOHN, Deputy Director, Division of Senior Services, Department of Administration, said the department is moving toward implementing the assisted living legislation that was passed last year and all the Pioneers' Homes will be assisted living facilities, which require under that legislation, that contracts be drawn up between the resident and the Pioneers' Homes. The contract in the committee packets is a draft of the contract and changes have since been made. For example, a parenthetical statement has been added following the statement referred to by Representative Rokeberg which indicates it is based on the resident's ability to pay and advises residents of their rights under the Administrative Code to apply for the stipend. He pointed out that couldn't pay and won't pay are two different things; there have been people who could pay, but wouldn't pay and then there have been residents who can't pay. The department requires a full disclosure of assets and income for residents who can't pay and then the department determines what they are able to pay. The amount the individual is unable to pay is maintained in a ledger as a debt to the state and if there is an estate at the time of the resident's death, the department applies to the estate for the indebtedness. Often times there is nothing in the estate. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY commented that often times there is a spouse living in the original residence which she believes should certainly continue. She questioned if the state has the ability to apply to the estate at the time of the spouse's death. MR. KOHN said the department's regulations at the present time are unclear about that; however, they have attempted to put a lien on the estate at the time of the resident's death so the estate couldn't be transferred without payment of the lien. The department has done that at times; however, it is few and fairly far between because usually when the resident gets to that point there are not many assets left. He reiterated that regulations are being rewritten and will focus on the aspect of spousal impoverishment. Number 1260 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked where and when the department would have the ability to collect Medicare? MR. KOHN said that Medicare is for hospital care. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY interjected Medicaid, SSI or any help for people who are unable to pay. MR. KOHN said he would not say never; however, he thought that with certain changes at the federal and state level there is a possibility that in the next few years something like that could happen. He hastened to point out that if the federal government caps the amount of money given to the state, it isn't really going to help the state because it's not new money. It appeared to him that it would be better to get the new money from the residents who can pay and decrease the dependence of the Pioneers' Homes on general fund monies by, they predict, 50 percent over the next seven years rather than go after federal funds that most likely won't be there. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the spend down requirement included the residents' permanent fund dividend? MR. KOHN replied it included all income to the resident. He noted the spend down requirement was not the same as it was for Medicaid. The department requires residents to spend their assets to pay for their rent, for their care and for their expenses. However, in the case of a spouse living in the original residence, the state does not require the house to be sold; a lien is placed on it later on. He added the department will probably place a lien sooner rather than waiting until the resident dies. He pointed out the regulations are fairly old and have been changed in bits and pieces. He emphasized the whole Pioneer's Home system was built on the premise that the resident is indigent; that's how it got started and it was that way until 1990 when the legislature changed from giving preference to indigents to allowing people to come in as their name came up on the list. He informed the committee the statute written for Pioneers' Homes is based on indigency, but for about the last six years the program has been operating not based on indigency. He felt that was another reason to support this legislation. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Mr. Kohn felt there was a need for an entire legislative cleanup of the statutes? MR. KOHN replied absolutely. He explained that the statute still reflects a 15-year residency before getting on the waiting list for the Pioneers' Homes, the levels of care in the statute are not reflective of what is being done, the focus of the program has changed and there are a number of things that are not longer applicable. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the department had any way of tracking the average length of residency in Alaska. MR. KOHN replied that 95 percent of people presently on the active waiting list have been in the state in excess of 15 years. Five percent of people on the waiting list have been in the state for less than 15 years and the average of that is about 7 1/2 years. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked what the department's time frame was for revising the statutes? MR. KOHN commented it is a very big job and the department is trying to start from the inside out. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she didn't even want to consider legislation that would jeopardize that process in any way. She commented that she personally would like to see this bill stay in the HESS Committee until it is really needed. Number 1546 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said it appears that the time is approaching where we are differing public policy as it relates to the Pioneers' Homes and he felt that Mr. Alter's argument for not accepting the committee substitute was that it is different public policy. The wording in the committee substitute was fine with him in that it didn't restrict the department from establishing an eviction policy if that's what was needed in the near or far future and it assures current residents that they won't be evicted. Number 1660 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE didn't think there was anything that would stop the legislature from revisiting the statutes associated with the Pioneers' Homes if the need existed. He felt it was the prerogative of the HESS Committee and this legislature to move on this bill. He added it addresses the needs now as well as the needs of the future. He moved the amendment presented by Representative Rokeberg. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if there was further public testimony. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said there was no one else signed up to testify. GENE DAU, Representative for the American Association of Retired Persons and Veterans of Foreign Wars, indicated he would like to testify. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE withdrew his motion. Number 1730 MR. DAU referred to Co-Chair Toohey's comment that residents of the Pioneers' Homes do not need to be concerned about the rate increase because the state will pay it and remarked that many of the residents do not understand politics nor do they know who the legislators are. However, he felt it would be a sense of security for residents if the current policy was placed in statute. Number 1837 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved to adopt Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS objected. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE referred to the memorandum from Terri Lauterbach dated February 26, 1996, and said he believed the argument was made that CSHB 384(STA) establishes some shaky constitutional questions relating to the Pioneers' Homes. He believed the Pioneers' Homes and its administration had been in the courts enough and it was better to error on the side of safety with respect to this issue. He remarked there was no need to differentiate between the current residents of the Pioneers' Homes and those individuals who will be there arbitrarily the day after this bill is signed into law. He doesn't believe the fiscal impact is going to be associated with whether or not someone can be evicted, but rather people will pay what they can pay which is the whole nature of the Pioneers' Home. He said it's a community, not a nursing home. In his opinion the amendment goes a long way toward bringing the Pioneers' Home back to the ideal of a community. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he didn't understand what the amendment did. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the committee substitute states the provisions of this bill only apply to the people currently in the Pioneers' Homes and future residents could be evicted. The amendment removes that and provides that all residents be treated the same. Number 2025 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said he felt there was ample opportunity to discuss with the department the impacts of this as it relates to future policy. He understood the intent and said he could pursue this later, so he withdrew his objection. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY maintained the objection. He asked if the intent was to go back to the language in the original bill? REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG explained there was a slight change in the wording with regard to income and assets. He added that it does take it back to the original bill in concept. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY sought clarification that the committee substitute allowed an exemption only for current residents of the Pioneers' Homes. CO-CHAIR BUNDE further explained that the amendment removes that. He asked if there was further objection to the amendment. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY replied yes. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said it's clear that we can discriminate in certain instances, but usually between different classes of people. All the residents of the Pioneers' Homes are of the same class, therefore, their constitutional grounds and equal protection clause would be a lead pipe (indisc.), citing Vest and Zobel. TAPE 96-35, SIDE A Number 017 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON spoke in strong support of the amendment. She did not support the change made to the bill in the State Affairs Committee and commented there was nothing to lose by setting this policy in statute. She discussed the security it would provide to the residents of the Pioneers' Homes to know they would not be subject to eviction if there were rate increases and were not longer able to pay the full rate. She urged committee members to support the amendment. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for a roll call vote. Voting to adopt Amendment 1 were Representatives Brice, Robinson, Vezey, Davis, Rokeberg, Toohey and Bunde. Number 145 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved to pass CSHB 384(HES) out of committee with individual recommendations and accompanying zero fiscal note. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. HB 348 - VIDEO/AUDIOTAPE INTERVIEW OF ABUSED MINOR Number 291 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, Prime sponsor, said she had introduced a bill in the Eighteenth Legislature which required mandatory videotaping of all interviews in suspected abuse cases. That bill was hotly contested and had a large fiscal note. However, this year she thought a good compromise had been worked out by deciding what they were hoping to accomplish, and that issue was accountability. The Department of Health & Social Services admitted they wanted to establish accountability and understood they were having a problem in that area, but they were willing to do whatever needed to be done. As a result, this legislation was put together that doesn't make anything really mandatory, but it sets up a criteria for the establishment of a working group between the Departments of Public Safety, Education, Law and Health & Social Services to establish a most effective method of interviewing children that might include videotaping, audiotaping, team interviews, note taking, documentation and enforcing the file content standards which has been a big complaint in that enough information has not been left behind after an interview has been conducted. One of her complaints about the interviews and why she supported videotaping of interviews is that she thinks it is unnecessary to put children through multiple interviews. Also, she felt it was important to cause as little stress as possible on the families. She said frankly, the people who wanted her to file the original bill, hate this piece of legislation and don't think she has done anything. She agrees this legislation is a far cry from what they asked for and wanted; however, she feels it's a step in the right direction. She noted it doesn't have a fiscal note although she would liked to have had some funds for training and equipment, but the department is willing to let it go forward without a fiscal note because they believe it is an important tool. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said the State Affairs Committee had worked hard on the bill and felt the language was about as good as it could be. She added the departments are being asked to put together some policies which will be made available to the public for comment. If there are some valid concerns raised, the departments would have the ability to change the policy. She noted there is a bill similar to her original bill currently in the Senate, but she didn't know the status of it. The bottom line of her interest is that HB 348 will make some difference. It won't be an overnight fix, but she felt it was very important that children be treated kindly and when there is a suspected abuse or neglect, not to make the child a victim twice nor make the family a victim if they are not a victim. There have been cases of suspected abuse in which the staff of the department have been very ardent in their duties to find the problem, when in fact the problem hasn't been there. There have been numerous discussions with the departments involved on these issues and she is convinced at this point in time that this will be a good thing to move in the direction of accountability and more respect for family unity. She said the only concern she has heard is that this legislation calls for a work group of four people. Originally, there were five which included two people from the Department of Health & Social Services; one from the department and definitely one from the Division of Family & Youth Services. Concern was expressed that the group was overloaded with Health & Social Services people. Also, there had been discussions about a public member being included in the working group but they couldn't figure out how that person would get chosen and who that person should be. Number 710 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY expressed concern that there was no mental health directive in this group. She felt that good mental health directives were vital when dealing with traumatic children, and she wondered which department would direct that. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said it would be the Department of Health & Social Services. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY felt it was important to have input from a child psychologist. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES responded that she would have liked five people instead of four making the policy, but there was a problem in the State Affairs Committee in deciding who that fifth person should be. Number 787 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON believed this bill had come around to be an excellent piece of legislation. She felt it definitely set out accountability and she was not concerned with the number of people in the work group. She suggested that language could be added that these four people shall work with all their existing divisions which would address Co-Chair Toohey's concern. She was confident the commissioners of the departments involved would ensure the people participating in the work group would be the working advisors for their respective department. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that Diane Worley was present to testify and asked her to come forward. Number 897 DIANE WORLEY, Director, Division of Family & Youth Services, Department of Health & Social Services, testified the department supports HB 348 and extended the department's sincere thanks to Representative James and her staff for their hard work on this legislation. She noted the department was extremely distressed with the mandatory aspect of the first legislation Representative James had introduced. She stated this is the direction the department wants to be moving. In fact she is already moving in this direction with better training for her staff, particularly in the area of interviewing, working jointly with the Department of Public Safety in doing joint interviews, looking at when it is appropriate to use videotaping and moving in the direction of audiotaping, whenever possible. Based on Co-Chair Toohey's comments, she recommended that perhaps two people from the department could participate in the work group; one from the Division of Mental Health and one from the Division of Family & Youth Services. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY interjected as long as the mental health person is qualified. For example, there are people involved with mental health for geriatrics who are not qualified for pediatrics. She indicated she would like to see that included in the bill. Number 986 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said, "It appears the thrust of this group is from a legal aspect, documenting and legal and I don't know exactly what the file would contain - the purpose of all this. But it seems to me as indicated already, there's a psychological aspect and I would think there would also be a medical aspect." REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said the file referred to in the legislation is the file that is kept by the person interviewing the child. She noted that the problem experienced in the past was that notes were taken when an interview took place and it turned out to be a suspected case not a valid case, so when the Ombudsman's Office went to investigate, there was no record of what took place. That's what is being addressed by setting a standard of what kinds of things should be contained in the file to back up the action taken. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she understood what Representative James was saying, but on page 1, lines 7 and 8 state, "The interagency work group to increase agency accountability for and to improve methods of interviewing minors..." She said there is a certain way to ask questions of these children and if they are asked the wrong way, you'll get a different answer. She felt that aspect was very important. CO-CHAIR BUNDE referred to Ms. Worley's suggestion of changing the composition of the work group and asked if this required an amendment? The response is inaudible due to more than one person speaking at the same time. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said it would change the number of representatives from four to five representatives. Two would be from the Department of Health & Social Services; one from children's mental health and one from the Division of Family & Youth Services. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if changing the make up of the work group from four to five would still maintain zero fiscal impact? MS. WORLEY nodded in the affirmative. Number 1128 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said Yvonne Chase who is the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health & Social Services is one of the most knowledge people in the world; hence, she would rather it be left to read two people from the department and as far as the rest of the participants, she was certain the commissioner would determine who the most qualified person was to participate in the group. She would like to leave the designation of the two participants in Health & Social Services to the commissioner. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for Ms. Worley's reaction. Number 1190 MS. WORLEY felt there was validity in both arguments. She understood Co-Chair Toohey's comments regarding children's mental health, which is a big concern during the interview process and also something the department deals with. On the other hand, she understood Representative Robinson's comments and concerns as well. She didn't think the department would have a problem either way. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said since it is the family and youth services and children's mental health issues we want to address, she would feel more comfortable if it was so stated. She added this is designed to be revamped with a new administration, so while we may be comfortable with the individual now making the decision, she felt it might be wise to state exactly what we want rather than leaving it open to interpretation. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the amendment would change the language on page 1, line 12, to read, "two people from the department, one from the Division of Family & Youth Services and one from the area of Children's Mental Health" and on page 1, line 9, delete "four" and insert "five". Number 1261 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved to adopt Amendment 1. Hearing no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. Number 1274 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved to pass CSHB 348(STA) am out of committee with individual recommendations and zero fiscal notes. Hearing no objection, CSHB 348(HES) moved out of committee. CSSB 159(HES) am - MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT DECLARATIONS Number 1300 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the next item before the committee was CSSB 159(HES) amended, which was virtually identical to HB 318 that was heard in the HESS Committee earlier and was now in the House Rules Committee. Number 1309 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY commented HB 318 passed out of committee with five "Do Pass" and one "Do Not Pass." This bill allows the mental health directives. She noted that her bill, HB 318, and Senator Reiger's bill, SB 159 came to the exact same place at the exact same time. It was her agreement that he could certainly carry the bill. Number 1334 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved to pass CSSB 159(HES) amended out of committee. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. ADJOURNMENT CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the House Health, Education & Social Services Committee at 4:01 p.m.