Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/16/1996 03:07 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
          HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                          
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                         April 16, 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                                                                
                                                                               
 None                                                                          
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 522                                                            
                                                                               
 "An Act relating to employer drug and alcohol testing programs."              
                                                                               
      - SUBCOMMITTEE APPOINTED                                                 
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 134 am                                                        
                                                                               
 "An Act establishing an endowment for the Robert B. Atwood                    
 journalism chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage; and                   
 providing for an effective date."                                             
                                                                               
      - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
                                                                               
 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 25                                           
                                                                               
 Relating to supporting home schooling and establishing Alaska Home            
 Education Week.                                                               
                                                                               
      - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
                                                                               
 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 50                                                 
                                                                               
 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska             
 relating to freedom of conscience.                                            
                                                                               
      - FAILED TO PASS OUT OF COMMITTEE                                        
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 522                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: EMPLOYER DRUG TESTING PROGRAM                                    
 SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE BY REQUEST                                       
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/19/96      2804    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/19/96      2804    (H)   HES, LABOR & COMMERCE, FINANCE                    
 04/16/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  SB 134                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: ATWOOD CHAIR OF JOURNALISM AT U OF AA                            
 SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) KELLY, Halford, Pearce, Leman, Taylor,                 
 Rieger, R.Phillips                                                            
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 03/17/95       665    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/17/95       665    (S)   HES, FIN                                          
 03/27/95              (S)   HES AT 10:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/27/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 04/07/95              (S)   HES AT  9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 04/07/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 04/07/95       914    (S)   HES RPT  2DP 2NR                                  
 04/07/95       914    (S)   FISCAL NOTE (UA)                                  
 02/22/96              (S)   FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 02/22/96              (S)   MINUTE(FIN)                                       
 02/23/96      2511    (S)   FIN RPT  5DP 2NR                                  
 02/23/96      2512    (S)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (S.FIN/UA)                       
 02/26/96              (S)   RLS AT 12:45 PM FAHRENKMAP RM 203                 
 02/26/96              (S)   MINUTE(RLS)                                       
 02/28/96              (S)   RLS AT 12:50 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                 
 02/28/96              (S)   MINUTE(RLS)                                       
 02/29/96              (S)   RLS AT  9:00 AM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 03/11/96      2686    (S)   RULES TO CALENDAR AND 1NR   3/11/90               
 03/11/96      2687    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 03/11/96      2687    (S)   AM NO  1     ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                 
 03/11/96      2687    (S)   COSPONSOR(S):HALFORD, PEARCE, LEMAN               
 03/11/96      2687    (S)   TAYLOR, RIEGER, PHILLIPS                          
 03/11/96      2687    (S)   ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN                    
                             CONSENT                                           
 03/11/96      2687    (S)   READ THE THIRD TIME  SB 134 AM                    
 03/11/96      2687    (S)   RETURN TO SECOND FOR AM 2  UNAN                   
                             CONSENT                                           
 03/11/96      2688    (S)   AM NO  2     ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                 
 03/11/96      2688    (S)   AUTOMATICALLY IN THIRD READING                    
 03/11/96      2688    (S)   PASSED Y17 N1 E2                                  
 03/11/96      2688    (S)   EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                 
 03/11/96      2688    (S)   DUNCAN  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                 
 03/12/96      2718    (S)   RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING                 
 03/12/96      2719    (S)   PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y17 N1 E2               
 03/12/96      2719    (S)   EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                 
 03/12/96      2719    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                
 03/13/96      3107    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/13/96      3107    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                      
 04/16/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  SCR 25                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: ALASKA HOME EDUCATION WEEK                                       
 SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) MILLER, Halford, R.Phillips, Pearce, Taylor,           
 Leman, Sharp, Frank, Torgerson, Green, Donley                                 
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/12/96      2381    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/12/96      2381    (S)   HES                                               
 03/13/96              (S)   HES AT  8:30 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/14/96      2733    (S)   HES RPT  2DP 2NR                                  
 03/14/96      2733    (S)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE   (DOE)                          
 03/18/96              (S)   RLS AT 12:20 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                 
 03/18/96              (S)   MINUTE(RLS)                                       
 03/25/96      2864    (S)   RULES TO CALENDAR  3/25/96                        
 03/25/96      2884    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 03/25/96      2884    (S)   COSPONSOR(S): HALFORD, PHILLIPS,                  
                             PEARCE, TAYLOR, LEMAN, SHARP, FRANK               
                             TORGERSON, GREEN, DONLEY                          
 03/25/96      2885    (S)   PASSED Y20 N-                                     
 03/25/96      2886    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                
 03/26/96      3360    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/26/96      3360    (H)   HES                                               
 04/16/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HJR 50                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE - BILL OF RIGHTS                           
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN,Green                                    
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 12/29/95      2357    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/08/96      2357    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/08/96      2358    (H)   HES, STA, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                      
 01/10/96      2404    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): GREEN                               
 04/02/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 04/02/96              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 04/04/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 04/04/96              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 04/16/96              (H)   HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 GEORGE DOZIER, Legislative Assistant                                          
   to Representative Pete Kott                                                 
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 432                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3306                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented sponsor statement for HB 522                   
                                                                               
 MATTHEW FAGNANI, President                                                    
 Allvest Laboratories                                                          
 611 East 12th Avenue                                                          
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 274-6662                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 522                                      
                                                                               
 LYNN STIMLER, Executive Director                                              
 American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska                                      
 P.O. Box 201844                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska  99520                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 258-0044                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 522                        
                                                                               
 AVA GOODMAN, Owner                                                            
 Goodman Builders                                                              
 1240 Friendly Lane                                                            
 Anchorage, Alaska  99504                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 333-2410                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 522                                      
                                                                               
 HELEN CRAIG                                                                   
 613 DeGroff Street                                                            
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-5917                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 522                                      
                                                                               
 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 on HB 522                                      
                                                                               
 SHERMAN ERNOUF, Legislative Assistant                                         
   to Senator Tim Kelly                                                        
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 101                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3822                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented sponsor statement for SB 134                   
                                                                               
 MARYLOU BURTON, Director of Statewide Budget                                  
 University of Alaska                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 463-3086                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 134 am                                   
                                                                               
 JOY BUNDE                                                                     
 3919 Turnagain, Number 10                                                     
 Anchorage, Alaska                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 243-5210                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 134 am                        
                                                                               
 SHARON CLARK, Legislative Assistant                                           
   to Senator Mike Miller                                                      
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 125                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4892                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented sponsor statement for SCR 25                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TERRY MARTIN                                                   
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 502                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3783                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime sponsor of HJR 50                                  
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-41, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 The House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee            
 was called to order by CO-CHAIR CON BUNDE at 3:07 p.m.  Members               
 present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde, Toohey,              
 Davis, Rokeberg, Brice and Robinson.  Members absent were                     
 Representative Vezey.  He announced the calendar was HB 522, "An              
 Act relating to employer drug and alcohol testing programs"; SB 134           
 "An Act establishing an endowment for the Robert B. Atwood                    
 journalism chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage; and                   
 providing for an effective date"; SCR 25, Relating to supporting              
 home schooling and establishing Alaska Home Education Week; and HJR           
 50, Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of                
 Alaska relating to freedom of conscience.                                     
                                                                               
 HB 522 - EMPLOYER DRUG TESTING PROGRAM                                      
                                                                               
 Number 130                                                                    
                                                                               
 GEORGE DOZIER, Legislative Assistant to Representative Pete Kott,             
 said HB 522 was sponsored by the House Labor & Commerce Committee             
 and is based on the premise that employers, employees and the                 
 general public have a strong interest in workplace safety and                 
 productivity.  This bill was filed with the intention of promoting            
 productivity and safety by authorizing employers to institute                 
 mandatory drug and alcohol testing programs.  It is recognized that           
 although employees have certain privacy rights that may be impacted           
 by mandatory alcohol and drug testing, these rights are outweighed            
 by the interest of employers in promoting workplace safety and                
 productivity.  This is especially the case where the programs                 
 themselves are well advertised, people are aware of them and the              
 testing is done reasonably contemporaneously with the employee's              
 schedule of work hours.                                                       
                                                                               
 MR. DOZIER said HB 522 grants immunity to employers that institute            
 a drug and alcohol testing program.  Generally, where the employer            
 acts in good faith based upon the results of a test, the employer             
 would not be subject to civil liability for actions taken against             
 employees.  House Bill 522 sets requirements for the programs,                
 principally it is required that the program be articulated in a               
 written policy and published to the employees and prospective                 
 employees.  It establishes certain standards of confidentiality of            
 results; generally, the results may not be communicated to anyone             
 except the employer or a designated agent of the employer, which              
 would be a person that has been designated as responsible for                 
 gathering the results, to the employee and as a result of a court             
 order or subpoena.  The written policy must be advertised and                 
 published to the employees so they have fair notice.                          
                                                                               
 MR. DOZIER stated that HB 522 also establishes certain minimal                
 standards for testing procedures.  Already, the federal government            
 and the state of Alaska require approximately 53,000 workers to               
 undergo mandatory drug and alcohol testing.  He added that other              
 states are starting to move in this line and as a point of fact, HB           
 522 was modeled directly on a statute this is now law in Arizona,             
 he believed.  Representative Kott, given these trends in the law,             
 believes it is time to get the issue on the table and for dialogue            
 to occur in Alaska.  It is recognized that HB 522 is just a first             
 step, a beginning step and as a result of what is presented in                
 testimony, certain adjustments may become desirable.  He offered to           
 answer any questions the committee may have.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 418                                                                    
                                                                               
 MATTHEW FAGNANI, President, Allvest Laboratories, said Allvest                
 Laboratories is a provider of drug and alcohol testing services to            
 more than 1300 Alaskan companies.  He said this type of legislation           
 is extremely important to many of those companies.  Currently, as             
 Mr. Dozier stated, this legislation is in effect in the state of              
 Utah, which is where it originated from, it is in the state of                
 Florida and most recently, in the state of Arizona where Allvest              
 Laboratories was able to obtain a copy of their legislation and               
 pass it on to Representative Kott.                                            
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said allowing an employer to be protected from                    
 litigation would create an environment that tells Alaskan                     
 businesses that Alaska is a state which recognizes that illegal               
 drugs and alcohol are not welcome in the workplace.  Drug testing             
 is a workplace safety issue and assists management in improving               
 productivity and job efficiency.  In Alaska today, there are more             
 than 53,000 Alaskans that are now part of mandatory federally                 
 required drug testing programs.  These are industries of aviation,            
 truckers, pipeline-regulated employees and over 1,000 commercial              
 driver license (CDL) holders in the state of Alaska.  This                    
 represents approximately 20 percent of the state's employed                   
 population or 8 percent of the state population.  If a person takes           
 into consideration that there are also companies who choose to                
 test, but are not federally mandated to test, the statistics would            
 probably double.  For example, many of the major hospitals and ski            
 resorts are testing already.  He asked why is this type of                    
 legislation necessary?  It requires employers to have a written               
 policy.  Keeping in mind, that those companies not regulated to               
 test by a federal agency, do not need any type of written policy or           
 procedures that they follow.  The federal regulation clearly                  
 outlines that companies regulated by the federal Department of                
 Transportation have a written policy.  It would require employers             
 to inform employees about their policy, such as what types of tests           
 are required, methods of sample collections, consequences of                  
 refusal to test and what happens if an employee tests positive.               
 These are all things not currently made known to employees if the             
 company is not mandated to test by federal regulation because                 
 Alaska does not any have any type of statute that requires an                 
 employer to communicate that information.  This would also allow              
 for standardized collection procedures, which are very important in           
 the collection of these samples, using testing procedures that                
 require an approved or certified lab which utilizes standard cutoff           
 procedures; use of alternative or a different chemical process to             
 confirm those samples that test positive, specifically gas                    
 chromatography and mass spectrometry which is the goal standard for           
 the industry; and explain to employees what happens if they test              
 positive.  These are all things that should be included in a policy           
 that are not currently there.  He noted this legislation is                   
 extended to those mandated by federal legislation, and employers              
 that choose to test voluntarily under the non-regulated testing               
 industry.  In other words, this would be expanded to those                    
 industries that are presently mandated to test.                               
                                                                               
 Number 639                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said this legislation is also an employee protection              
 bill.  He explained that today an employer can use almost any type            
 of method they choose, regardless of scientific principles, the               
 employer can use any type of collection procedures they deem fit,             
 and the employer may not have a policy that informs employees what            
 is required of them.  This legislation offers a win/win situation             
 to both employees and employers.  By setting state standards for              
 effective workplace drug and alcohol testing, the workplace will be           
 a safer, more productive and more efficient workplace.  He urged              
 the committee to pass HB 522.  He further added that HB 522 is                
 supported by the support industry group, Alliance, which represents           
 over 340 Alaskan businesses, primarily in the oil field, the state            
 of Alaska Trucking Association, and most recently, the Anchorage              
 Chamber of Commerce, which just passed a resolution.  In addition,            
 he was aware that Representative Kott's office had received over              
 130 responses from people serviced by Allvest who felt this was an            
 important piece of legislation.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 770                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY observed that hair had been used to test for a long           
 history of drug abuse and asked Mr. Fagnani how long abuse could be           
 detected through hair.                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said it depended on the length of the hair in that it             
 goes through the whole duration that an individual has been growing           
 that hair.  It was his understanding that hair testing goes in                
 centimeters and each centimeter represents a period of time in a              
 person's life that is recorded.  He noted that hair testing is not            
 very prevalent in Alaska; it is primarily used in the banking                 
 industry, gold mining industry and casino industry.  He added that            
 hair testing is not one of the recommended treatments for workplace           
 drug testing.  It does, however, show a much longer window of time.           
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she is very much concerned that we are a very            
 forgiving society and treatment programs are included in contracts            
 for health care, which she believes are valid.  She remarked our              
 whole society is permeated with this, and we must allow this                  
 treatment to continue.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 866                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed that an individual going through drug                 
 treatment could get a hair cut and the evidence would go away.                
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said he knew that hair testing was not being done in              
 Alaska at any prevalent rate.  As far as rehabilitation is                    
 concerned, it is important to keep in mind that this bill is not to           
 keep people from treatment; as a matter of fact, it speaks to                 
 treatment.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) comes into              
 effect once a person is rehabilitated.  He explained that once a              
 person is rehabilitated for a prior drug problem, that person is              
 now protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act as a                  
 disabled American.  That has another whole set of provisions which            
 allows an employer to test based on that federal law.  That is                
 another personnel policy that human resource persons have available           
 to them.   He pointed out that an employee cannot be denied                   
 employment because he/she tested positive in the past and has                 
 corrected that problem by seeking treatment.  The Americans with              
 Disabilities Act protects that American and allows them not to be             
 discriminated against.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 955                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY recollected there were a number of drugs on the               
 market used to control seizures, depression, and other conditions             
 and asked Mr. Fagnani how those drugs are handled in the drug                 
 testing process.                                                              
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI stated the drug program is designed to work around an             
 employer's perceived need of what they feel is needed to be tested.           
 Currently, the prevalent drugs in the workplace are limited to                
 five:  Marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and PCP.  None of            
 those have anything to do with seizures and any type of medication            
 that is issued by a physician is considered legal drug use and is             
 allowed in the workplace.                                                     
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if poppyseeds in a muffin would show up in a            
 drug test.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI responded that it could show up.  Currently, there are            
 discussions in the federal Department of Transportation to raise              
 the screening level to over 3,000 nanograms to eliminate those                
 positive poppyseeds for opiates.  Presently, a case would be                  
 reviewed by a physician where poppyseeds resulted in a positive               
 test.  He reiterated the importance of employer policies because if           
 a person is working for a company not regulated, there may not be             
 a medical review officer or a physician to review the test result             
 and help the employee determine what caused the positive test                 
 result.                                                                       
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was a great problem in Alaska?                 
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said they see about a 6 percent pre-employment positive           
 rate.  These are people who know they have to pass a drug test to             
 get a job.  He noted they are only tracking the federally regulated           
 industries currently.  He feels that is a pretty high rate.  He               
 said once the programs are going and people are into the programs,            
 they see less than 1 percent in the random programs and even less             
 in the post-accident and reasonable cause.  With regard to Co-Chair           
 Toohey's question, the Anchorage Daily News just pointed out in the           
 Sunday edition that crack cocaine was the drug of choice on the               
 street, so he felt there was a problem in Alaska, but Alaska was              
 pretty fortunate compared to other states.                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked it's also the drug for young people who               
 aren't in jobs involved in this program.                                      
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said that's true, and added that one of the latest                
 reports released by the Partnership for Drug Free America, shows              
 that according to a 1995 survey, marijuana use is on the rise in              
 youth and youth have changed their perception from "marijuana is              
 bad" to now "marijuana is okay."                                              
                                                                               
 Number 1100                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY advised that mothers of 16 percent of newborn                 
 babies tested positive for drugs at the two hospitals in Anchorage.           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Mr. Fagnani to explain the references           
 in the employer's policy regarding confidentiality on page 3, lines           
 29-31.  He said, "There's a stipulation here in this prospective              
 statute that there be a statement regarding the confidentiality,              
 but that's merely a statement of what they're going to do with the            
 results of the test.  There's no guarantee of confidentiality or is           
 there any direction here about what to do with -- if you find a               
 positive test."                                                               
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said the committee needed to keep in mind that this               
 document could easily be 40 pages long with "to do's", so he                  
 thought it needed to be reviewed as a shell and each employer would           
 be given the opportunity to put in what they feel is necessary.               
 His interpretation of "the right of an employee, on the employee's            
 request, to explain in a confidential setting, a positive result;"            
 is for example, an employer wouldn't announce on a factory floor or           
 announce it over the public announcement system that a particular             
 employee had a positive drug test, but would call the employee into           
 a private setting and discuss the new found information.  With                
 regard to the statement of the employer's policy regarding                    
 confidentiality, he felt the policy needed to say that if a                   
 positive test were to occur, an employee would be brought into a              
 private setting to discuss the test results and the options                   
 available according to company policy.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1199                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG as a follow-up, asked about the disposition           
 of the information after the meeting takes place.                             
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said the Recordkeeping Act then comes into play, which            
 requires that drug test results be kept just like medical records.            
 He explained currently, medical records are kept in a separate file           
 away from regular human resource records because more people have             
 access to those records.  Medical records on the other hand, are              
 already kept in a separate file in accordance with a federal law,             
 so the drug test results would be part of that file record keeping.           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented that normally a firm is hired to            
 conduct the tests for a business, so there wouldn't be any                    
 doctor/patient relationship that's privileged information under the           
 law.  He asked if there was any safeguard other than the federal              
 statute regarding the release or dissemination of this information.           
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI clarified that Allvest closed their laboratory several            
 years ago due to liability costs and they now refer everything to             
 a certified laboratory outside Alaska; there are no labs in Alaska            
 doing this work.   He went on to explain that the certified                   
 laboratory would send the test result either via a secure modem or            
 fax line established between the company and the laboratory, or it            
 would come directly to Allvest and they would advise the company of           
 a forthcoming facsimile message.  This is common practice being               
 used today in order to assure confidentiality or that the message             
 was sent and received by the people who need to have knowledge of             
 that information.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 1300                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said his question actually related to the             
 disposition of the information after it was received by the company           
 and asked if it was kept in a repository of medical reports in a              
 company file.                                                                 
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI replied that currently the result is kept as long as              
 the employee's personnel records are kept.  He added that if                  
 Allvest was setting up a program for a company, they would advise             
 the company to follow the federal guidelines already tested by the            
 Supreme Court which means the positive results would be retained              
 for five years, the record would be kept independent from the                 
 personnel record and stay in a locked file in a secure area.                  
                                                                               
 Number 1345                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS inquired why there was a need for this              
 legislation when he knew of companies that were already doing this.           
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said this bill is not intended to address the right to            
 test, but rather eliminate the risk of a lawsuit based on a                   
 disgruntled employee who is part of the 6 percent minority                    
 mentioned previously that didn't pass the drug test, and hires an             
 attorney to dispute the drug test because he/she didn't get the               
 job.  He told the story of a company that spent upward of five                
 digits on attorney fees in a case that never even went to court -             
 the paper was never even filed to go to court - but the attorney              
 felt that because the company was large enough, they would settle             
 out of court.  That's why this legislation is needed.                         
                                                                               
 Number 1410                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted the bill includes the allowance to test            
 blood and asked how that would stand up constitutionally.                     
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said if he was rewriting the legislation, he would                
 remove that language and leave urine as the true method for                   
 testing.  Urine testing is the recognized method and the standard             
 in the industry; blood is used for an alcohol draw.  He noted that            
 hair testing could be left in because it is FDA approved and is a             
 standardized procedure.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1443                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON referred to page 3, lines 2-4, and asked              
 how this fits into the federal drug-free workplace program?  Also,            
 she was curious why a person whose career was impacted because of             
 a positive test result due to poppyseeds for example, but was truly           
 not impaired on drugs and alcohol, shouldn't have some recourse               
 under this section.                                                           
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said there are two types of federal workplace policies.           
 The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, which addresses companies with           
 $25,000 or more in federal contracts, must have a drug free                   
 workplace statement attesting to a drug free workplace and of                 
 course, you really can't attest to it unless you are testing.  He             
 further stated with regard to the federal Department of                       
 Transportation standards, this type of legislation is not impacted            
 at all because it doesn't affect their policy.  If anything, the              
 federal workplace policy goes more in detail as far as what a                 
 company will do and sets standards that X, Y and Z will be followed           
 when collections are done.  This legislation does not set it out as           
 that strict of a standard; it just indicates that a standardized              
 collection process will be used, which they would attest would be             
 the federal workplace drug collection procedures.  He added if                
 anything, this allows the federal employers that are now federal              
 private employers who are testing to be protected, which they are             
 not currently.  He noted the company he had referred to earlier was           
 a federally mandated test and even though the person had tested               
 positive twice, he was able to find an attorney to represent him.             
 Regarding the poppyseed issue and ruining someone's life, he                  
 commented that Allvest tested over 30,000 samples last year from              
 Alaskans and in Fairbanks there were seven people on one job site             
 that tested positive for poppyseeds in three consecutive days; they           
 haven't had a poppyseed positive test since that time.  He pointed            
 out one of the problems with poppyseeds is that it cannot be                  
 determined which poppyseed is going to cause a positive test, but             
 it's the green immature poppyseed, not the cooked poppyseed.  He              
 said if there is some concern about that, then adding the language            
 that positive opiates must be reviewed by a physician to rule out             
 poppyseeds would be a way to assure that a person was not                     
 wrongfully accused of an opiate use.  The medical review officer              
 who is a licensed physician, would contact the laboratory and have            
 a copy of the quantitative reading of the gas chromatograph.  The             
 gas chromatograph would indicate nanograms and anything less than             
 3,000 nanograms would be a poppyseed, anything over 3,000 would be            
 a type of opiate family drug.  In the six years that Allvest has              
 been testing, they have not had a case where a poppyseed ruined               
 someone's job.                                                                
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Lynn Stimler to present her testimony from               
 Anchorage.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1670                                                                   
                                                                               
 LYNN STIMLER, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union of           
 Alaska (ACLU), testified the ACLU recognizes this bill as a first             
 step and wished to offer some suggestions.  First, the ACLU really            
 supports Section 23.10.620(e) because it will assure uniform                  
 applicability.  It will give managers the incentive to make sure              
 the tests are conducted properly.  She went on to state some of the           
 ACLU's concerns.  This Act would permit the adoption of an                    
 employer's policy that prohibits all use of alcohol by all                    
 employees even during their off duty hours.  So, an employer would            
 be protected from firing someone who had a few beers at a softball            
 game where the employer observed them.  That may not be the intent            
 of the legislation, but that could happen in application.  The ACLU           
 is also concerned about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)             
 for the same reasons that were previously mentioned.  The ACLU is             
 concerned that a disability under the ADA and someone tested for              
 use of alcohol might be entitled to a reasonable accommodation                
 before receiving any discipline.  She referred to Section                     
 23.10.600(b) and said the ACLU feels that imposes an impossibly               
 high burden of proof on the employee.  She said the language "knew            
 or clearly should have" and "reckless or malicious disregard for              
 the truth" underline 6 to 8, when looked at in point of fact, an              
 employer could intentionally choose to use a testing facility that            
 did shoddy work and was known to have a high false positive rate              
 and a high rate of contaminating samples.  Even so, it would be               
 impossible for the employee to prove that the employer knew that              
 any one particular result was in error because even the worst lab             
 will be right sometimes.  She added that most employees don't have            
 enough money after being fired to go out and get their own drug               
 test.  She pointed out that Section 23.10.610, page 2, line 20, is            
 unnecessary.  Employers are already protected when giving job                 
 references as long as they have a good faith belief in the truth of           
 what they say.  Other than telling a prospective employer that the            
 employee tested positive for drugs or alcohol, there is no reason             
 why the employer should be allowed to give out this information.              
 Another concern the ACLU has is that because actions for defamation           
 are limited under provisions of the bill, the subject of the                  
 defamation - the employee - could have a false positive drug test             
 and then if the person tested positive for marijuana, an employer             
 could disclose that the employee tested positive for cocaine and              
 still be protected from liability.  In addition, the legislation              
 appears to leave open the possibility that the disclosure of a                
 false positive could be made intentionally and be protected.  She             
 didn't believe this was the intent of the legislation, but she                
 thinks it is a hole that the legislation as written, flies through.           
 Also, the ACLU thinks that 23.10.610 and 23.10.660 contradict each            
 other; the bill would provide for safe (indisc.) of search and                
 seizures.                                                                     
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it appears that some work is needed on the                
 legislation and the committee will undoubtedly hold it over until             
 Thursday at which time a committee substitute would be introduced             
 in an attempt to address some of the concerns that were raised.  He           
 asked her to conclude her testimony.                                          
                                                                               
 MS. STIMLER said she would fax a line-by-line analysis of the bill            
 from the ACLU for the committee's consideration.                              
                                                                               
 Number 1904                                                                   
                                                                               
 AVA GOODMAN, Owner, Goodman Builders, testified that she and her              
 husband operate Goodman Builders and their business has pre-                  
 employment testing for their seasonal crew, but for fear of                   
 litigation they do not have a random drug screening program.  She             
 said since instituting pre-employment testing, their accident and             
 workers' compensation claims have been reduced.  The (indisc.)                
 requires that any accident involving company equipment be post-               
 accident tested.  In these cases, the random program could have               
 prevented some accidents from occurring at all.  This bill before             
 the committee could provide the necessary protection for her and              
 her business, as well as provide security for all employees that              
 their understanding of a drug screen policy is beneficial for them            
 as well.  She urged the committee to support HB 522 and take the              
 steps necessary to help all Alaskan entrepreneurs continue to                 
 operate their businesses in a safe and successful manner.  She                
 thanked the committee for allowing her to testify.                            
                                                                               
 Number 1940                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if her company owned or operated any               
 commercial vehicles?                                                          
                                                                               
 MS. GOODMAN said no, they do not employ any commercial driver                 
 license holders.  They are a company that provides remodel and high           
 quality finishing work.  She noted that part of the reason they               
 want to do drug testing is because they want to make sure their               
 employees show up for work.  It is a seasonal business and she                
 wasn't implying the construction industry had a high prevalence for           
 drugs, but it was their way of letting employees know they won't              
 tolerate this type of activity.                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if she was aware that as of this year,             
 if a company has one commercial vehicle, the entire company has to            
 comply with the federal drug testing program.                                 
                                                                               
 MS. GOODMAN was aware of that, but their company doesn't operate              
 any heavy equipment; they are strictly a small finishing business             
 whose reputation demands they have high quality employees.                    
                                                                               
 Number 1995                                                                   
                                                                               
 HELEN CRAIG testified via teleconference from Sitka that she had a            
 few concerns about HB 522 that she wanted to express to the                   
 committee.  She said the bill seems to address the issue of drugs             
 and alcohol in the workplace, which is good.  However, it needs to            
 be recognized that if a person has a cold or flu, they will not be            
 able to take any type of medication if they intend to work that               
 day.  The same thing is true for people with allergies and those              
 who take medication prescribed by doctors.  She said that some                
 employers do not recognize this.  She noted there are drivers in              
 her workplace that are required to periodic random testing, but               
 everyone in the company gets tested.  She suggested there should be           
 differing degrees of medication depending on the type of job.  She            
 also suggested inserting on page 7, lines 14 and 15, a listing and            
 the amounts that are not acceptable.  She also expressed concern              
 that under this legislation an employer cannot be sued for                    
 defamation of character.                                                      
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Fagnani if he was aware of any non-                  
 prescription, over-the-counter cold medicines that would cause a              
 positive test.                                                                
                                                                               
 MR. FAGNANI said over-the-counter medications do not interfere with           
 the drug test, but this is where cutoff levels are critical.  He              
 noted that you fall out of the modern curve when quantitative                 
 levels are set in statute.  For instance, the federal Department of           
 Transportation just changed the marijuana rate from 100 nanograms             
 to 50 nanograms, which is more sensitive.  Allvest found they got             
 one-third more positives by doing that.  He said it would be better           
 to state that drug testing levels would meet the federal cutoff               
 levels, which would allow the federal government to change their              
 levels.  He commented that the previous speaker may have been                 
 referring to the list produced and distributed by Allvest of over-            
 the-counter medications that contain alcohol.  Part of the federal            
 requirement for commercial driver license holders and pilots is an            
 abstinence rule before they report to work.  The federal                      
 government, under the CDL law states that any CDL holder reporting            
 for work to operate a commercial rig cannot consume any alcoholic             
 beverage four hours prior to duty.  They did not quantify alcohol;            
 alcohol is alcohol whether it comes in a Nyquil bottle or Scope.              
 He thought that may be the list the previous speaker was referring            
 to.                                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 2224                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY offered the example of the young woman who              
 won the gold metal in the Olympics without her asthma medication as           
 a way of staying healthy without consuming medications containing             
 alcohol.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 2244                                                                   
                                                                               
 DWIGHT PERKINS, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner,                
 Department of Labor, said the department had some concern with a              
 couple of sections of HB 522 regarding the employment security.  He           
 read the following language for the record:                                   
                                                                               
      "Section 2 of the bill would amend the Employment Security Act           
      at AS 23.20.379(a) to deny unemployment insurance (UI)                   
      benefits to any worker who fails to pass or refuses to take              
      a drug or alcohol test which meets the standards in Sec. 1 of            
      the bill.  A worker discharged for this reason would be deemed           
      discharged for misconduct connected with the work.  This                 
      section would affect all private employment, but would not               
      add any significant cost to the claim adjudication process.              
      It would, however, change the current standards for                      
      adjudicating discharge cases where an employee fails or                  
      refuses to take a drug test.                                             
                                                                               
      "Under AS 23.20.379(a), the department has disqualified                  
      workers who fail or refuse a test if there is some indication            
      that the worker is impaired or using drugs on the job, or if             
      the hazards of the job make it mandatory that the employer               
      control even off-duty usage.  But all off-duty use, even if              
      illegal, is not necessarily misconduct connected with work.              
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS said it was his understanding that alcohol stays in the           
 system for 72 hours.  Mr. Perkins continued reading his statement:            
                                                                               
      "Drug-impairment or using drugs on the job is clearly                    
      work-connected misconduct.  Many discharge cases, however,               
      involve off-duty use, as shown by a positive drug test.  In              
      deciding if off-duty use is work-connected, the department               
      determines whether the drug use had a direct adverse impact on           
      the employer's interest or made the worker unfit to perform              
      the job.                                                                 
                                                                               
      "If an employer's rule prohibits off-duty use and is                     
      reasonably necessary for safety reasons or required by law,              
      then off-duty use is misconduct, because it adversely affects            
      the employer's interest.  Simple off-duty use with no                    
      impairment on the job and no other adverse affect on the                 
      employer's interest is not currently treated as work-connected           
      misconduct.                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-41, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS continued reading his statement:                                  
                                                                               
      "The bill would impose a blanket disqualification on all                 
      employees, regardless of the conditions of the work or the               
      employer's interest in regulating off-duty conduct.  It would            
      disqualify workers in industries and occupations in which                
      their off-duty conduct did not pose any significant risk to              
      their fellow workers or their employer's interest.  In fact,             
      one of the standards for the testing procedure is that all               
      employees are subjected to the same test, regardless of job              
      duties.  The bill blurs the distinction between on-duty and              
      off-duty behavior and does not allow the department to                   
      determine whether the behavior actually harmed the employer's            
      interest.                                                                
                                                                               
      "Section 3 of the bill adds the same `fail or refuse' language           
      to the UI extended benefits provision in AS 23.20.406(h).                
      This section is redundant.  It is unnecessary to include any             
      misconduct disqualification standards in AS 23.20.406(h),                
      because it already disqualifies any extended benefit claimant            
      who was previously disqualified under AS 23.20.379.  The                 
      language in Sec. 2 of the bill is sufficient to insure the               
      reach of the disqualification to both regular and extended               
      benefit claimants."                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 061                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS said the department's suggestion to help make this a              
 better bill would be to delete Sections 2 and 3.  He offered to               
 answer any questions from the committee and announced that Ron                
 Torgerson from the Department of Labor was also available for any             
 technical questions.                                                          
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he was assigning this bill to a subcommittee              
 comprised of Co-Chair Toohey, Representative Kott, Mr. Perkins and            
 Mr. Fagnani to craft a committee substitute that could be brought             
 before the full committee on Thursday, April 18.                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Mr. Perkins if the department was               
 concerned about a legal standard or other standards, because                  
 Representative Rokeberg deduced from his testimony that                       
 Commissioner Cashen condones off-duty drug use and did not want to            
 become involved in looking into that or any ripple effect it could            
 have.                                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS assured Representative Rokeberg that Commissioner                 
 Cashen does not condone the use of illegal drugs, but the concern             
 is are we stepping beyond the threshold of allowing an individual             
 who employs another individual to be able to manage the employee's            
 weekends whether it is drinking beer or using illegal drug                    
 substances.                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she also had a concern with this; an illegal             
 behavior is an illegal behavior whether it's heroin use, cocaine              
 use, sexual abuse of a minor or rape -  all are illegal and not               
 okay to do on a weekend.                                                      
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said while he doesn't condone illegal drug use, he             
 didn't think it was appropriate to write into legislation that                
 enforcement of that activity is something an employer should do.              
 He announced the committee would have a committee substitute on               
 Thursday.                                                                     
                                                                               
 SB 134 am - ATWOOD CHAIR OF JOURNALISM AT U OF AA                           
                                                                               
 Number 220                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced the next order of business was SB 134                
 amended.  He asked Sherman Ernouf to present the bill.                        
                                                                               
 Number 234                                                                    
                                                                               
 SHERMAN ERNOUF, Legislative Assistant to Senator Tim Kelly, said SB           
 134 acknowledges Bob Atwood's contributions to the state of Alaska,           
 which everyone knows his contributions to the community and the               
 state are immense.  Senate Bill 134 honors Bob Atwood by                      
 establishing an endowment for the Robert Atwood journalism chair at           
 the University of Alaska Anchorage.  This chair is nationally                 
 recognized and has been in existence for the past 15 years, due  in           
 part by generous contributions by Mr. Atwood, himself.  In fact,              
 Mr. Atwood's contributions to date total in excess of $1 million              
 and SB 134 would establish an endowment or perpetual trust which is           
 basically a mechanism set up so that public and private entities              
 could match contributions made by Mr. Atwood to permanently fund              
 this chair.  He commented this bill did have a fiscal note on the             
 Senate side, in which the state would have matched Mr. Atwood's               
 contributions to fund the chair, but it was stripped.  Even though            
 the bill has been stripped of its fiscal impact, placing this in              
 statute would allow entities to put money into the trust or the               
 legislature to appropriate funds at some time in the future, if so            
 desired.  He offered to answer any questions from committee                   
 members.                                                                      
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE surmised this was an empty vessel waiting to be                
 fulfilled.                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked why a statute was needed to establish an           
 endowment at the university?                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. ERNOUF said it was his understanding that it wasn't needed to             
 establish an endowment, but it is needed so that it is a legally              
 recognized endowment that at some point the legislature, other                
 public entities or other private entities could donate.                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY commented the state has trust laws that                  
 accomplish this and he knew the university had a program for                  
 establishing endowments, trusts and scholarships.  He inquired what           
 the advantage would be to place this in statute.                              
                                                                               
 MR. ERNOUF pointed out he was not a trust attorney, but he thought            
 what happened was just as Co-Chair Bunde said, there was a vessel             
 that was full of cargo, but it was stripped of all its money.  If             
 this is put in statute now, the state could appropriate money to              
 the endowment at any point in the future.                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if his assumption was correct that at              
 one time there was money that went with this bill?                            
                                                                               
 MR. ERNOUF responded affirmatively.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 370                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS commented it would appear from the discussion            
 that the university would be utilizing these funds.  He asked if              
 there would ever need to be annual legislative approval for program           
 receipts.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 389                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARYLOU BURTON, Director of Statewide Budget, University of Alaska,           
 said in response to Representative Davis' question, they would need           
 an annual appropriation for university receipts, which would be               
 entered through the normal budget process.  At this point in time,            
 she thought they would have sufficient authority in their FY 97               
 budget, if these funds were to materialize.                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY commented the university currently has                   
 endowments and inquired if they come to the legislature for                   
 authorization to spend that money.                                            
                                                                               
 MS. BURTON responded no.  She thought Representative Vezey's point            
 was valid in that the legislation per se is not necessary for the             
 university to continue the program they currently have.  The intent           
 is to focus attention on the chair and to leave the door open for             
 opportunities.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 446                                                                    
                                                                               
 JOY BUNDE testified in favor of SB 134 amended.  She obtained her             
 journalism degree at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and during           
 that course she participated in the Atwood classes.  Based on her             
 experience, she felt the endowment allowed the university to bring            
 working journalists who excelled in their fields into the                     
 journalism department.  She thought the ideas brought into the                
 classroom by these professors were filled with real-life                      
 experiences, fresh and on the competitive edge, unlike the stale,             
 outdated material some professors use to teach students about this            
 rapidly changing business.  She concluded that this endowment                 
 greatly benefits the state by providing graduates who are qualified           
 to go to work in local communities.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 503                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were any questions or additional                
 individuals to testify.  Hearing none, he closed public testimony             
 on SB 134 amended.                                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented he was first personally                     
 acquainted with Mr. Atwood in the early 1950s and has had an                  
 acquaintance with him since.  He made a motion to pass SB 134 am              
 with accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations.                
 Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                                      
                                                                               
 SCR 25 - ALASKA HOME EDUCATION WEEK                                         
                                                                               
 Number 546                                                                    
                                                                               
 SHARON CLARK, Legislative Assistant to Senator Mike Miller, read              
 the following sponsor statement:                                              
                                                                               
      "I would like to thank the committee for allowing me to                  
      introduce Senate Concurrent Resolution 25, which would                   
      recognize and support home schooling and establish Alaska                
      Home Education Week.                                                     
                                                                               
      "In 1987 the Alaska Private and Home Education Association               
      (APHEA) was founded to represent home educators throughout               
      the state and to promote excellence in private sector home               
      education.  Each year the association has held annual                    
      conventions and promoted the development of two local                    
      support networks for home educators throughout Alaska.  In               
      addition, the association has sponsored public information               
      seminars, worked to protect parents' rights to home educate              
      their children, and cooperated with state education officials            
      to ensure a broad range of educational choices for Alaska                
      families.  Currently, the association has more than 300                  
      (583 as of today) member families, and it is affiliated                  
      with the National Center for Home Education.                             
                                                                               
      "In 1993 Governor Hickel issued a Proclamation recognizing               
      the contributions of home educators to Alaska society,                   
      initiating a process whereby the Alaska legislature can                  
      also recognize this important segment of Alaska's                        
      educational infrastructure.                                              
                                                                               
      "I would further like to recognize this valuable and                     
      important group and ask your support of SCR 25.  This                    
      resolution would request the Governor to take whatever                   
      steps are necessary to direct the Department of Education                
      and all other pertinent educational agencies not to                      
      unnecessarily interfere with parents exercising their                    
      right to home school their children and to establish                     
      the week of October 13-19, 1996, as Alaska Home Education                
      Week.                                                                    
                                                                               
      "This resolution has a zero fiscal note."                                
                                                                               
 MS. CLARK said the Department of Education has no position on this            
 resolution, but is not opposed to it.  From a personal viewpoint,             
 Senator Miller is an advocate of home schooling.  He and his wife,            
 Susan, have taught their two daughters for seven years.  She                  
 directed the committee's attention to the letters of support                  
 contained in the committee packet and distributed a memorandum from           
 the Department of Education.                                                  
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY remarked that her first child was a home schooler,            
 however, her second child would not have been because he'd still be           
 in school at the age of 32.  The point is that it depends on the              
 child and the willingness of the parent to accept the                         
 responsibility.  She wholeheartedly supported the Resolution.                 
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were any questions of Ms. Clark.                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if the Alaska Private and Home Education           
 Association had any statistics available that indicated how many              
 home school children are considered enrolled in the public school             
 system?                                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. CLARK said not that she was aware of, but offered to pursue it.           
                                                                               
 Number 738                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said as he understood it, the Matanuska-Susitna                
 School District has a home school program and those students are              
 counted as enrolles.  There were some questions raised about the              
 legitimacy of that when it comes to the foundation formula.  As far           
 as he knew,  the vast majority of the others are considered central           
 correspondence students and not considered as enrolles for the                
 foundation formula calculation.                                               
                                                                               
 MS. CLARK pointed out the memorandum from the Department of                   
 Education she had just distributed more or less sets out the                  
 criteria for home schooling and may address the question.                     
                                                                               
 Number 778                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony and inquired as to the wish            
 of the committee.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 782                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY made a motion to move SCR 25 to the next committee            
 of referral with zero fiscal notes.  Hearing no objection, it was             
 so ordered.                                                                   
                                                                               
 HJR 50 - FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE - BILL OF RIGHTS                             
                                                                               
 Number 828                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented this bill had more referrals than           
 a hooker in Subic Bay.                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TERRY MARTIN, Sponsor of HJR 50, said people may be            
 wondering why there was a need to address the constitutional right            
 of freedom of conscience.  Ironically, Alaska is one of the few               
 state constitutions that does not guarantee freedom of conscience.            
 Most constitutions from the very beginning of the revolution                  
 (indisc.) England, especially the Mayflower Compact was very clear            
 that freedom of conscience was a higher inalienable right than                
 freedom of religion.  The freedom of conscience, the freedom of               
 religion and the exercise thereof can be found in most                        
 constitutions.  Even though Alaska is one of the newer states, the            
 element of the freedom of conscience was not included in the state            
 constitution.   Members of the Constitutional Convention in 1955-             
 1956 have said they just did not think of it because they thought             
 it was a basic right and thought freedom of religion was the                  
 priority.  He commented that Russia under Stalin, guaranteed                  
 freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but people were not            
 free to exercise either one.                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said it is important today because of a                 
 couple of things that have happened in Alaska.  About five years              
 ago, a bill was introduced which basically stated that freedom of             
 conscience would not be used as a way of not providing services to            
 people that want medical help in different aspects of life.  More             
 recently, there have been two judges who would not force a                    
 physician or a pharmacist to give drugs to individuals who wanted             
 to terminate their life.  The drugs had to be prescribed by a                 
 doctor or a hospital.  There were individuals who felt their                  
 conscience would not allow this, especially since an individual               
 could probably take their life any time they wished.  He noted that           
 for a long time in America we have allowed freedom of conscience as           
 a reason for not participating in wars, but an individual could do            
 something else to help their Nation such as public health service.            
 He noted there were a number of medics who were conscientious                 
 objectors in the Marine Corps that went to the front line and                 
 worked strictly in medical care.                                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said he did not believe this was a light                
 matter; he felt it was superior to freedom of religion and a                  
 person's conscience allows them to choose a religion or no                    
 religion.  He noted there were a lot of people with no religious              
 affiliation but are very moral in their behavior and it is their              
 conscience that guides them.  He believes it is important to insert           
 this in the state constitution as an inalienable right.                       
                                                                               
 Number 1054                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he thought that medics in the Marine             
 Corps were Navy corpsmen.                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said most of them were Navy/Marine Corps, but           
 there were also Marines that were medics.                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked what the effect of this would be if             
 there was a reinstitution of the national draft?                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said, "You can have your national draft, but            
 they honor the freedom of conscience of the individuals who then              
 had the choice.  A lot of people had the choice of the peace corps            
 rather than the VietNam War or the Korean War.  So, there are many            
 options in serving your country if society said that this was                 
 important that everyone serves their country some way, we're not              
 going to force you on the front lines where you kill someone as a             
 conscientious objector, but you can help your country in many other           
 ways."                                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the catalyst of this happened to             
 be a case that came out of the Palmer District Court regarding                
 physicians in the Matanuska Valley hospital?                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said that was something that has come up                
 twice and it is currently in the courts.  The judge ruled about a             
 year and a half ago that providers of medical services cannot use             
 conscientious objection as a reason for refusing abortion services.           
 He said there is an Alaskan law, but if a judge rules that the law            
 is unconstitutional, the next step is to make this an unalienable             
 right.  There are a lot of nurses in the Palmer hospital who do not           
 want to be forced into providing or participating in abortion                 
 services.                                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the decision was based on                    
 constitutional grounds?                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said he didn't know for sure, but he knew the           
 attorneys were fighting it based on constitutional inalienable                
 rights.   He said they bring up the law, but laws can be made one             
 day and changed later by another legislature.  However, once an               
 inalienable right is put in the constitution it is a lot harder to            
 change.  He added it's a higher level that the courts will                    
 recognize rather than state statute.                                          
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked what other states have this in their state               
 constitution.                                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said Massachusetts, Minnesota, plus others.             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted the Alaska Constitution speaks to                  
 freedom of religion and many of the examples provided for the                 
 committee are under freedom of religion and explain in more detail            
 what that is; that's where their freedom of conscience comes in.              
 He said it would appear that if there was a dissertation on the               
 shaping of the Alaska Constitution, freedom of conscience could               
 very well possibly fit in under the freedom of religion section.              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said yes, and that's a long drawn out                   
 process.  He said that one of the first freedoms that individuals             
 were fighting for once they began thinking of democracy was the               
 freedom of conscience.  The Revolution writings in the age of                 
 enlightment mostly talk about freedom of conscience first.  He                
 noted that part of the reason England busted up was because they              
 had only one religion and there were segments of the population               
 that did not believe that way.  Consequently, they left and went to           
 Holland or other countries, and from Holland they came to America.            
                                                                               
 Number 1354                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if there was any other state that had freedom            
 of conscience as a separate item in their constitution.                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said there were a number states.                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if Representative Martin agreed that it            
 could already be a part of our constitution, but just not expressly           
 indicated.                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said it could be.  He said as it is now, it             
 is in law and it has been upheld at least three different times               
 that freedom on conscience in the law would be recognized.  Now we            
 see that being challenged by the courts and by the legislators,               
 themselves in the past.  Mostly, as Judge Fabe (indisc.) said that            
 because medical people (doctors and hospitals) accept federal and             
 state monies, they must provide services for the individuals.  He             
 said, "Palmer was the first one that everyone seemed to be picking            
 on, although the bigger hospitals don't provide it either; that's             
 where the challenge was and it was the nurses more than anything              
 else.  It's not that they cannot get nurses; they have been able to           
 get nurses from other areas when in this case, abortion services              
 were required.  Then the judge changed her opinion and said that we           
 did not mean the person directly responsible, but anyone who                  
 assists and it's the nurses who have to assist and they don't want            
 to.  They are fighting this on freedom of conscience."  He                    
 commented he had introduced this bill before that incident.                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY was curious as to why Representative Martin              
 thought the problem couldn't be addressed by statute rather than              
 constitutional amendment.                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said because right now it is being challenged           
 by the judge, herself.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1522                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said any hospital that accepts federal funds must             
 perform what is deemed legal.  Speaking as a nurse, she said there            
 has never been a time when a nurse has been asked to perform a                
 duty, such as an abortion or be part of an abortion clinic unless             
 the nurse wants to be.  That decision is respected by the                     
 hospitals, doctors and nurses.  The Palmer Hospital will respect              
 the nurses' wishes not to participate in abortions if that is their           
 choice.  The hospital will have to get other nurses, but there are            
 many nurses who believe it is a woman's right to have an abortion.            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said, "We did bring in the case that did go             
 (indisc.) the attorneys at law who are defending the nurse and                
 hospital on that abortion case by Judge Fabe, and they do talk                
 about that the law evidently used to be upheld and most judges in             
 the past did not go beyond that; that the law protected the nurses            
 rights of freedom of conscience.  Now, we see that because of                 
 federal and state monies as Judge Fabe says, they cannot use that             
 as a reason for refusing to provide service."   He commented the              
 latest development in the Lower 48 is that judges are refusing to             
 tell a doctor or a even pharmacist in a couple of cases that they             
 will provide the prescription to terminate someone's life.                    
                                                                               
 Number 1686                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said, "Given that there's a high level of                
 sensitivity, I guess, towards the ideas that you're talking about             
 with a conscientious objection, and given that what we've seen in             
 Montana with the Freemen Movement and that type of stuff, where               
 people feel that their objections to rule under a sovereign state             
 is basically saying that they're not party to those laws, I would             
 see this as basically validating their actions and allowing them to           
 ...Well, let's put it in very basic terms, BP, Exxon and ARCO say,            
 you know, I conscientiously object to paying taxes any longer.                
 According to this, although you do say individual and they might be           
 considered something else, how is that going to work into this?               
 How do we deal with the idea of society, and being a member of that           
 society and being required to act within certain parameters, if               
 we're going to participate in that society versus, you know just              
 basically willy nilly going off spinning out into some type of void           
 claiming conscientious objection."                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said this is the thing that is always the               
 challenge through an open society like ours that you will                     
 constantly come into one person's feeling that his/her conscience             
 allows them to terminate the life of their child.  He said the next           
 step is when you come into conflict with another individual's                 
 rights.  He said, "Your right to freedom to swing your hands and              
 your arms ends at my nose."                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that is not the issue he was raising.               
 The issue being raised is as a member of society, there are certain           
 rules that we all have to follow.  There are only two things                  
 guaranteed in this life:  Taxes and death.  He questioned as a                
 property taxpayer of a municipal ordinance, could he be granted               
 immunity from prosecution under the passage of this resolution if             
 he did not pay property taxes.  In other words, he conscientiously            
 objects to the concept of property taxes and refuses to pay them.             
 He noted that's what this legislation says.                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN noted there have been many people throughout            
 the history of America that have refused to pay taxes or                      
 participate in government.  There are society limitations on what             
 one's individual conscience can be, especially in relation to                 
 depriving another individual of their rights and freedom to talk              
 and sing, among other things; also, of how an individual                      
 participates within society itself.  That is why we have courts.              
 The courts say it is evenly applied to all citizens to pay for                
 services that government offers.  You have a right to argue with              
 local government that the tax is too high or too low, etc.                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE interjected that Section 25 of HJR 25                    
 specifically grants him the right not to pay those taxes.                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noted that much of the discussion had                 
 centered on medical procedures and she was curious about a                    
 situation where there could be one doctor and one nurse in a rural            
 area, and someone's life is dependent upon those two individuals,             
 yet one of those individuals does not believe in that procedure.              
 She asked if it was Representative Martin's belief that one of                
 those people could make the decision not to perform a lifesaving              
 procedure because they don't agree with the procedure?                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said this is what every doctor and nurse goes           
 through all the time.  He noted that as time goes on more and more            
 hospitals will choose to specialize in certain areas such as death            
 with dignity and there will be doctors, nurses and other providers            
 who will be allowed to give those prescriptions.   That is a                  
 conscience decision.  Most individuals in Juneau go to Tacoma for             
 abortion services.  He didn't know if it was the choice of the                
 hospital or the doctors in Juneau not to perform that procedure.              
 He didn't know how it was worked out with the individuals in the              
 smaller communities.                                                          
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-42, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he was not anxious to address constitutional              
 amendments without a lot of study and discussion, but noted there             
 were a number of committee referrals.                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS believed the comments about the Freemen were             
 good as they relate to this issue and he personally felt this could           
 open up pandora's box.  In his opinion, the founders of the state             
 Constitution were right in phrasing it like they did.                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN thanked the committee for hearing this bill.            
 He commented this was the first time in six or eight years that a             
 committee even had courage enough to bring it up for discussion.              
                                                                               
 Number 119                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony.  He asked for the wish of             
 the committee.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 127                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY made a motion to move HJR 50 from committee              
 with individual recommendations.  Co-Chair Toohey objected.                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted that he would vote to move HJR 50 out of           
 committee only because it generates a lot of interesting and                  
 important discussion.                                                         
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for a roll call vote.  Voting in favor of the            
 motion were Representatives Davis, Vezey and Bunde.  Voting against           
 the motion were Representatives Brice, Robinson and Toohey.                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN asked if the committee would reconsider the             
 motion when Representative Rokeberg returned.                                 
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said Representative Martin could discuss it with               
 Representative Rokeberg and if he cared to bring it up for                    
 reconsideration, Co-chair Bunde would entertain the motion.                   
                                                                               
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the meeting of the House Health, Education           
 and Social Services Committee at 4:43 p.m.                                    
                                                                               
                                                                               

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