Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/27/1996 03:06 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE April 27, 1996 3:06 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Representative Con Bunde, Co-Chair Representative Gary Davis Representative Norman Rokeberg Representative Caren Robinson Representative Tom Brice MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Al Vezey COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 98(RLS) "An Act making changes related to the aid to families with dependent children program (AFDC); relating to the duties of the Department of Health and Social Services; establishing a workfare pilot project for AFDC recipients; establishing a diversion program for AFDC applicants; directing the Department of Health and Social Services to seek waivers of applicable federal laws; establishing and relating to the Alaska temporary assistance program and repealing the AFDC and job opportunity and basic skills programs upon the establishment of federal welfare reform; relating to work activities required under the Alaska temporary assistance program; authorizing qualified entities to contract with the state to administer all or part of the Alaska temporary assistance program; relating to child support; relating to certain licenses and applications for a license for persons who are not in substantial compliance with orders, judgments, or payment schedules for child support; relating to an exemption to the State Procurement Code for certain services and contracts under the Alaska temporary assistance program; relating to disclosure of information that relates to day care assistance and the Alaska temporary assistance program; relating to eligibility for day care benefits administered by the Department of Community and Regional Affairs; amending Rule 90.3(c) and (h)(2), Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure; and providing for an effective date." - PASSED HCS CSSB 98(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: SB 98 SHORT TITLE: WELFARE REFORM: TEMPORARY ASSIST. PROGRAM SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/23/95 385 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/23/95 385 (S) HES, FIN 03/08/95 (S) HES AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/08/95 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/10/95 (S) HES AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/10/95 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/13/95 (S) HES AT 10:00 AM ANCHORAGE LIO 03/13/95 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/15/95 (S) HES AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/15/95 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/17/95 (S) HES AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/17/95 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/22/95 (S) HES AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/22/95 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/24/95 (S) HES AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/24/95 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/25/95 (S) HES AT 1:00 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/25/95 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/27/95 (S) HES AT 10:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/27/95 (S) MINUTE(HES) 03/28/95 809 (S) HES RPT CS 3DP NEW TITLE 03/28/95 809 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (S.HES) 04/06/95 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/11/95 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/11/95 (S) FIN AT 2:30 PM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/12/95 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/12/95 (S) FIN AT 2:30 PM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/04/96 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/09/96 (S) FIN AT 10:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/11/96 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/12/96 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/13/96 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/14/96 (S) FIN AT 3:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/15/96 (S) FIN AT 8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/16/96 (S) FIN AT 9:30 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/17/96 (S) FIN AT 5:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/18/96 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/22/96 3406 (S) FIN RPT CS 5DP 2NR NEW TITLE 04/22/96 3407 (S) FISCAL NOTES TO CS (REV, DOE, LABOR-2, 04/22/96 3407 (S) DPS, DCED-3, F&G-2, DHSS-13 04/22/96 3407 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LABOR, DHSS-2) 04/24/96 (S) RLS AT 10:30 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 04/24/96 3490 (S) RLS RPT CS & CALENDAR 4/24 NEW TITLE 04/24/96 3491 (S) PREVIOUS FNS (REV, DOE, LABOR-2, DPS, 04/24/96 3491 (S) DCED-3, F&G-2, DHSS-13) 04/24/96 3491 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FNS (LABOR, DHSS-2) 04/25/96 3552 (S) ZERO FN TO RLS CS (F&G) 04/24/96 3521 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 04/24/96 3522 (S) RLS CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 04/24/96 3522 (S) AM NO 1 FAILED Y9 N11 04/24/96 3522 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 04/24/96 3522 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 98(RLS) 04/24/96 3523 (S) PASSED Y19 N1 04/24/96 3524 (S) EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE 04/24/96 3524 (S) COURT RULE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE 04/24/96 3524 (S) R.Phillips NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 04/25/96 3578 (S) RECONSIDERATION NOT TAKEN UP 04/25/96 3580 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 04/26/96 4033 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/26/96 4034 (H) HES, FINANCE, MAJORITY LEADER'S DESK 04/27/96 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 WITNESS REGISTER SENATOR LYDA GREEN Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 423 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-6600 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of CSSB 98(RLS) JIM NORDLUND, Director Division of Public Assistance Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110640 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0640 Telephone: (907) 465-3347 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSSB 98(RLS) CURT LOMAS Welfare Reform Program Division of Public Assistance Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110640 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0640 Telephone: (907) 465-3382 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on CSSB 98(RLS) DON SHIRCEL, Director Family Services Tanana Chiefs Conference 122 1st Avenue, Suite 600 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Telephone: (907) 452-8251 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSSB 98(RLS) HEIDI DRYGAS P.O. Box 70167 Fairbanks, Alaska 99707 Telephone: (907) 488-6001 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSSB 98(RLS) JULIE CHANG 1500 Carr Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 Telephone: (907) 456-7466 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSSB 98(RLS) GLENDA STRAUBE, Director Child Support Enforcement Division Department of Revenue 550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 310 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 269-6804 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSSB 98(RLS) MIKE TIBBLES, Legislative Assistant to Senator Lyda Green Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 423 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-3762 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on CSSB 98(RLS) KRISTEN BOMENGEN, Assistant Attorney General Civil Division Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 Telephone: (907) 465-3600 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on CSSB 98(RLS) KAREN PERDUE, Commissioner Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110601 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0601 Telephone: (907) 465-3030 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided comments on CSSB 98(RLS) LOUISE CHARLES Tanana Chiefs Conference 122 1st Avenue, Suite 600 Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Telephone: (907) 452-8251 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSSB 98(RLS) ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-47, SIDE A Number 001 The House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee was called to order by CO-CHAIR CON BUNDE at 3:06 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde, Toohey, G. Davis, Robinson and Brice. SB 98 - WELFARE REFORM: TEMPORARY ASSIST. PROGRAM Number 037 SENATOR LYDA GREEN, Sponsor of CSSB 98(RLS), said the metamorphoses version of SB 98(FIN) came through quite a process and there had been a number of work sessions in the Senate. Earlier in the legislative session, discussions took place with the Department of Health & Social Services who requested there be a combination comprehensive waiver bill. Work began on that, but the department came back and indicated that probably wouldn't work because the Welfare Reform Act was not going to pass. They came back later and said it was going to pass and they wanted the comprehensive and the waiver package together. She directed the committee's attention to the graph and said many of the provisions under the column marked "In HB 78" were in the legislation last year; also, some of the language in the Governor's bill was usurped and included in the waiver portion of the legislation and some of the penalties were applied to the comprehensive portion of CSSB 98(RLS). She explained that the check marks in the far right hand column indicated the sections of the bill that provided savings; perhaps not this year, but next year. SENATOR GREEN pointed out that some of language in the waiver portion of the bill was repeated in the comprehensive section to the extent possible. She began her sectional analysis saying that Section 1 is simply the waiver application and the workfare project. Only one control is required this year and three experimental groups, which was at the request of the Department of Health & Social Services. That basically sets up the workfare program. SENATOR GREEN said Section 47.25.302 is the earned income disregard, waiver of the 100 hour rule and the increase in the amount of the value of the auto which was all taken directly from HB 78. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY inquired as to the make-up of the three groups. SENATOR GREEN thought it was population areas. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if it was the same as HB 78. SENATOR GREEN responded that it was basically the same. She directed the committee's attention to page 2, lines 17-23, which speaks to the make-up of the experimental groups. The requirements for people to be in the workfare program begin on page 3 and continue on page 4. The diversion program begins on page 6, which is sort of an emergency status. For example, if a person is ready to begin a job but doesn't have everything in place and has a need for some temporary assistance, that person could earn the equivalent of two months benefits but the person forgoes the right to come back and apply for long-term benefits. If they do however, what has been paid to them is prorated as a deduction over the next 12 months. Number 457 CO-CHAIR BUNDE inquired if the person who applied for a lump-sum forgoes the right to come back for a year. SENATOR GREEN confirmed that. She explained the thinking behind that was a person may need some assistance to get them into the job very quickly, but doesn't have enough money to get their family through to the first paycheck. SENATOR GREEN continued her analysis with Section 2, Ineligibility for Assistance. She said the first revision on disqualification for welfare fraud was similar to HB 78, however, there was a permanent disqualification for welfare fraud in HB 78 and that particular waiver had not been approved nationwide. The legislation was redrafted so for the first disqualification there is 6 months, 12 months for the second disqualification and permanently for the third disqualification. She pointed out this applies to people who are convicted of welfare fraud. She didn't think there were a lot of people convicted, but at least this is a standard for the department. Number 553 SENATOR GREEN said one of the things that had been added that she had a lot of trouble with was an annual income check. For example, individuals who work seasonally or have a profitable job for a few months out of the year, choose not to work anymore, stash the money and/or assets and apply for assistance later on because they don't have a job, are not held responsible for the large sum of money earned earlier in the year. She noted this seems to be a rather cumbersome and difficult thing to do. Although the person is questioned and has to attest to income earned and assets held, this legislation includes language that if anyone knowingly and intentionally transfers their assets to another, that individual will be disqualified with penalties. She explained the job quit penalties apply to an individual who quits a job without good cause and are one month for the first refusal or separation without good cause, six months for the second refusal or separation without good cause, and 12 months for the third and subsequent refusal or separation without good cause. SENATOR GREEN referred to page 9, line 15, Assistance to Minors with Children, and said this goes back to the language in HB 78, the Governor's bill and the original SB 98 and is the language where minor parents would be required to live in approved adult settings; preferably with their own family, but if not, there are alternates and choices. She pointed out that if a minor had lived apart from their parents for a year prior to the pregnancy, this requirement can be waived. She added that a provision on page 10, line 12, states the department can waive the requirements if the department otherwise determines under regulations that there is good cause. For example, if a minor is nearly 18 years of age, they would not have to move back in with an adult. Number 720 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if emancipated children were taken into consideration? SENATOR GREEN responded they were included. CO-CHAIR BUNDE informed individuals standing by on teleconference that testimony would be heard after Senator Green concluded her briefing. He asked if the above section included a provision for those situations when it was in the best interest of the child not to go back to the adult living situation. SENATOR GREEN confirmed that and added there were many alternate choices given. REPRESENTATIVE NORM ROKEBERG arrived at 3:17 p.m. SENATOR GREEN said the department had brought up the issue of accumulated benefits, where a person had gone to every agency and taken advantage of every possible benefit. She noted there are shelter allowances, utility provisions, etc. At this point, an individual on benefits can get housing assistance, utility assistance or other types of assistance and get the same amount of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) as the individual who is getting no other types of assistance. She explained that with certain provisions for the shelter allowance built in, this legislation says that the shelter allowance will be deducted. There will be a substantial savings once this is implemented by the department. Number 923 SENATOR GREEN referred to page 11, line 11, which states in part, "the department shall, for the months of July, August, and September, reduce by 50 percent the maximum assistance for which the family is otherwise eligible for assistance if the family's eligibility for assistance is based on the unemployment of the family's principal wage earner." This deals with the two-parent family and the assumption is that there are more job opportunities as well as opportunities to hunt, fish or whatever, to make the total amount of money necessary for existence during that time. She commented there are less expenses in most of Alaska and more job opportunities to two-parent families during that time period. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that the commissioner may decide that is not warranted. SENATOR GREEN said there is some "wiggle room" and it has to do with temporary economic conditions. For example, if for some reason there was a temporary, unexpected economic condition, the commissioner may decide that it was not feasible to fully implement this provision. SENATOR GREEN said under the Time Limits on Benefits section, a family is not eligible for more than 24 months of assistance during any 60 consecutive months that occur after the effective date of this section. Number 1025 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the two-year time limit included individuals who participate in the workfare or jobs program, as well as individuals who do not participate. SENATOR GREEN responded it is to participants in the waivers to the workfare and the jobs program. She noted this was under the waiver portion, but it applied to all in the comprehensive portion. She added, "When I say all, that's with a certain number of waivers available." There are waivers in this section on the top of page 12 for people who would not be required to go off from assistance after 24 months and include: (1) an individual who is a caretaker or spouse of a caretaker of a dependent child or who is a pregnant woman and is determined to be physically or mentally unable to perform a gainful activity or a parent who is providing care for a child who is experiencing a disability; (2) an individual who has cooperated in every way, but has failed to meet the requirements or has a temporary and verified physical condition that prohibits them from attaining and maintaining employment, etc. She said there is enough room for exceptions. CO-CHAIR BUNDE referred to page 12, line 8, and asked under what circumstances would an individual fall into this category of having cooperated with the department. SENATOR GREEN replied it could be someone who has been required to go to school or a training activity. CO-CHAIR BUNDE referenced page 12, line 19, and said it was his understanding that a person has to earn approximately $15 per hour to equal the benefits from assistance. He questioned if page 12, lines 22-25, implied that a person making less than $15 per hour could stay on assistance. SENATOR GREEN deferred that question to the Department of Health & Social Services. Number 1190 JIM NORDLUND, Director, Division of Public Assistance, Department of Health & Social Services, said basically that's a provision that applies in situations where there are no employment opportunities available. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented the way he read it was "or if there was an employment opportunity where an individual would make less than what they would make on assistance." MR. NORDLUND responded that's correct, but he thought Co-Chair Bunde was incorrect in his assumption that $15 an hour is the level of assistance paid in this state. He thought perhaps Co-Chair Bunde was referring to the Cato study released earlier in the year that indicated that Alaska's equivalent benefit level equals $15 an hour. He said that is not accurate. The department has done a response to that report pointing out the flawed methodology that exists in the report and according to the department's calculations, the benefit levels would be more on the order of $6 an hour. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that an individual who doesn't make more than $6 per hour would then probably fall under the provision. Number 1285 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked for a copy of the department's response to that report. MR. NORDLUND responded he would make that available for the committee. CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked that assistance is similar throughout the state, so geographic differences wouldn't matter. REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE pointed out that it depends on the size of the family, as well. CO-CHAIR BUNDE offered the larger the family, the larger the wage before falling out of compliance. MR. NORDLUND said this would not be employed in a situation where it would be an either/or. It would be a situation in which there might be some earned income that's available to the family that could help supplement the benefit and with the earned income disregard provisions that would take effect in this bill, there are situations in which a family will be allowed to save more of their earned income without seeing a reduction in their benefit to a certain level. He added that's one of the primary incentives in this legislation for encouraging individuals to go to work. He said, "I don't believe this provision would ever be employed in a situation in which an individual say for example, could earn $4 an hour on a job wouldn't be required to take that job just because it didn't earn whatever you think the benefit level would be worth, for example $6 an hour." But the benefit would supplement to make up the difference for the person working in a $4 an hour job. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he supported the provision that allowed an individual to keep more of the wages earned. He asked Mr. Nordlund if it was his understanding that people would be working at whatever work was available. MR. NORDLUND replied that was right and if there was simply no work available, there is a provision that allows for them to not come under this section. Mr. Nordlund asked Curt Lomas to join him at the witness table. Number 1403 CURT LOMAS, Welfare Reform Program, Division of Public Assistance, Department of Health & Social Services, verified that what Mr. Nordlund and Senator Green had said was essentially correct. He noted there is another section of the bill that ties in with this which requires people to accept a job if it is available to them and there is a penalty if they do not. The department expects to have a number of people in their caseload that are working but not earning enough to earn their way out of the caseload. He commented this provision adds an incentive for people to continue to cooperate and to try to achieve employment that will eventually allow them to leave the caseload without penalizing them for accepting whatever is available. If a person is working full time at a minimum wage job, their assistance may be extended as long as they play by the rules. There is a requirement tied to this on page 12, line 8, so essentially there is a clause for families where the adults play by the rules and do whatever is required of them under the work programs, but they are still unable to earn a wage that would support their family at the level of the AFDC grant. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said, "Again, just for the record, this is in your view allowing people -- requiring people to work at what work is available and then allowing benefits to supplement what they earn and this is not at all to be viewed as someone, say, who turned down a job, can be eligible for benefits because the job would not pay as much or more as benefits." MR. LOMAS said, "No, there are other provisions that disqualify someone from turning down a job without good cause. The fact that the wage is not sufficient really wouldn't be good cause under these provisions and the supplement of the AFDC grant would be available to them. As Mr. Nordlund pointed out, the increased earned income disregards would allow them to retain more of their earnings, so we would expect that under the regulations that were established that if someone could only find part-time work or full time work that wasn't sufficient, they would be expected to remain in the job." CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that was his understanding and he certainly supports what is trying to be achieved. He added that he wanted it clear on the record so that some time in the future an individual wouldn't say the job didn't pay enough so he/she wished to remain on assistance. Number 1536 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG expressed concern with the language because there is a clear recitation of the words "total net income and equal to the level of income." He asked if this wouldn't require the department to have an ongoing formula in place to make that judgment? MR. NORDLUND said the department already does that with current recipients who have some earned income. He explained there is a calculation currently that causes a certain reduction in the benefit to account for that earned income. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG confirmed that it was already in place and would not be a burden on the department. MR. NORDLUND said with the provisions in this bill, the department would have to reprogram that formula so it allows individuals to keep a little bit more. MR. LOMAS interjected that currently people in the caseload who are working are required to submit verification of income. Basically, a person has to submit all of their pay stubs, so the department has ready access to that information. MR. NORDLUND added there are quite a few system changes that are a result of this entire welfare reform effort that have been reflected both in the department's budget request this year and in the fiscal note on the legislation. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG assumed that apparently there was a threshold number that could have an impact on benefits. Number 1608 SENATOR GREEN said the next section was on school attendance. A system was worked on last year whereby parents would be held responsible for their children to be in school. That seemed to be kind of a hassle to work through, so this year it was modified to be the teen parents (indisc.) in school and there will be mandatory school attendance, as defined in regulations of the department. She added the department feels they can regulate and monitor that with the primary concern being first the child and that the minor parent finish their education which would be high school at a minimum. Number 1653 SENATOR GREEN pointed out that Section 7 begins the comprehensive reform provisions and includes part of the Governor's bill. The Senate, in reviewing the Governor's bill, had some trouble with some of the provisions so they were dropped; however, they had tried to take the most important issues from the Governor's bill. This section is called the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program. The first section describes the duties of the department as they start to put the program into place. Number 1693 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS brought up the issue of school attendance as opposed to school enrollment. To him, attendance is interpreted as attending but he noted there is home schooling and under the GED program a student can study at home and just go in and take the tests. SENATOR GREEN said discussions had taken place and added that enrollment might be a better word. The idea is not to have someone enrolled only, but working toward the high school diploma whether in a school building, in the home, or with a tutor, and the progress be shared with the department who would be the determining factor. If the student is not continuing with their education, the benefits for the student would be disregarded but the benefits for the infant would continue. MR. NORDLUND said their attorney from the Department of Law looked at this language and indicated that school attendance in this bill is interpreted broadly to not necessarily mean physical attendance in the building, but also included individuals pursuing a GED or doing home schooling. SENATOR GREEN referred to page 14, line 17, Disqualifying Conditions, and said that a family may not receive assistance for more than five cumulative years; a family is ineligible if determined to be fleeing to avoid prosecution; and a family is ineligible 120 months following conviction for fraudulently misrepresenting their state of residency. She commented those are some of the situations for which a person would not be allowed to be eligible. There are other reasons why a person would not be eligible such as leaving employment without good cause, transferring of assets with the intention of qualifying for benefits, and other fraud cases. In each of those cases, there is a set penalty. SENATOR GREEN continued that the Application and Requirements for Assistance on page 16, beginning on line 6, is basically procedural for the department and outlines what is required. She directed the committee's attention to the family self-sufficiency plan, which is new. She commented that hopefully, this will be developed between case managers and the applicants for assistance. It will be very specific, setting benchmarks and time lines. This gives the department the ability to set more finely tuned goals for an individual and get away from the "one size fits all" operation. She noted there had been concern expressed on the Senate floor about people in rural areas and added there might be a different set of self-sufficiency plans for someone in an urban area versus someone in a rural area. The goal is that it will be more individually based. Number 1908 SENATOR GREEN said the Family Assistance Section, taken from HB 78, basically sets out the amounts. She referred to page 17, line 23, and said this is where the 50 percent maximum assistance comes in for July, August and September. She noted that it was a little less than a 50 percent deduct because not all of it is considered for deduction. MR. LOMAS interjected that in essence, it is capped at 50 percent of the maximum during the other months. Therefore, it would be 50 percent for some cases, but something less for others. SENATOR GREEN said again, there is the shelter cost provision deduction so people wouldn't get two kinds of benefits instead of just the one. She said the diversion payment is included where a person is job ready, but needs some assistance and can stay off the long-term program by getting some temporary help. Again, there is the Assistance to Minors Section relating to teen parents. She thought the language was very much the same as it was in the Waiver Program Section of the legislation. Page 20, line 19, Family Self- sufficiency Plan, sets out the steps taken to develop and sign a family self-sufficiency plan. Page 21 indicates what the plan will do, and the time period may not provide for any more than a total of 60 months of assistance under this program, which is basically a person's life-time total. The time period for receiving assistance may not exceed a cumulative total of 24 months unless the person meets the exclusions set out on page 21, lines 9-14. SENATOR GREEN said there is a work requirement under the Participation in Work Activities Section. After receiving a cumulative total of 24 months of assistance, the participant in the temporary assistance program shall participate in work activities as assigned by the department in order to continue to receive assistance or services from the department under the Alaska temporary assistance program, unless the participant is exempt from the work participation requirements under the exemptions listed in Section 47.27.035(b)-(d). REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Senator Green to explain the provision on page 17, line 21. SENATOR GREEN said generally, under the program only an adult with a child is qualified for this particular kind of assistance, but this provision is for an eligible, pregnant woman who may not already have a child. MR. LOMAS said the current program provides for assistance in the last trimester of pregnancy for a woman who has no other children. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted the use of the word "family." SENATOR GREEN responded she, the pregnant woman, is the family. MR. LOMAS commented that it is a woman with child. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS clarified that she is not with her family; she is the family. SENATOR GREEN responded that was correct. Number 2074 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he was curious about the stipulated dollar amounts of benefits and the relationship to current schedules, future schedules or adjustments and asked if there was anything else provided for that in the bill. MR. NORDLUND said there was a provision toward the end of the bill which he would comment on later. He noted this pretty much adopts the existing benefit structure. MR. LOMAS interjected there was one major exception. He explained the current payment increment for the second adult in a two-parent family is eliminated unless the second parent is somehow incapacitated. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked what the present circumstance is for that situation? MR. LOMAS said the present circumstance is that if there is a two- parent family, both parents' needs are included in the grant. In the increment for the second parent it is $102 more than if there was only one parent in the family. The change is that all families would receive the same amount of benefits if there was one or two parents and based on the number of children in the family, with the single exception that if the second parent had a medical incapacity, there would be a payment increment for the second parent. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired if it would be like a developmentally disabled parent. MR. LOMAS said the incapacity tests are not quite as strict as the Social Security definition. Basically, people who meet that definition are in another program and would not have their needs covered under the AFDC program. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired if there would be a savings effect. MR. LOMAS said it would be substantial. He added the department has about 2,000 families a month that fall into the category that would have the payment increment. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said all things being equal, they would lose about $102 a month from existing benefits. MR. LOMAS said that was right. Number 2159 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if the need was based on poverty level? MR. LOMAS said it was based on a number of tests related to assets and income. SENATOR GREEN said the Participation in Work Activities Section on page 21 sets the 24 month time limit that a person would (indisc.). Number 2191 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said, "Under the diversion payment with the 60-month total assistance -- a person gets for the diversion project, a two month benefit handed out to them and they are not eligible for another year, does that two month benefit count towards one year in checking off for the life-time benefit?" SENATOR GREEN said the total amount would be the same. MR. NORDLUND said, "The one year is that you're not eligible for another diversion payment for another year." REPRESENTATIVE BRICE inquired if the two months only would be counted. MR. NORDLUND responded the person would get two months worth of benefits as a diversion payment. That is counted against the person basically, if the person needs to come back onto the program. If the person does come back on the program, that two months of payments is prorated over a three month period, so essentially the program is back to even. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented so it's almost as if the person didn't use that against their 60-month total. SENATOR GREEN referred to the Participation in Work Activities Section again and said after 24 months of assistance, people will be in work activities and there are some exemptions. For example, a person who has a child under 12 months of age, if a person is taking care of a person with a disability, medical reasons with medical documentation, an unreasonable hardship on the family, if a person demonstrates an inability to obtain needed child care for a child under 6 years of age and if the parent is the sole custodial parent for a child under 6 years of age. Again, if everything is in line for a participant who chooses not to participate in the work activity, that person loses eligibility. SENATOR GREEN explained that under the Assignment of Support Rights; Cooperation with Child Support Enforcement Agency Section, if a person receives any child support rights while on benefits, those benefits go into the child support. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if it would be added or subtracted. SENATOR GREEN said it would go in as a repayment. SENATOR GREEN noted that one of the things worked on last year was the establishment of paternity. TAPE 96-47, SIDE B Number 001 SENATOR GREEN pointed out this legislation stresses that establishment of paternity is important in trying to find the rightful person to assist with the support of the children. If information is provided which helps with the identification of that person, the department may distribute to an Alaska temporary assistance program participant $50 per month from a monthly child support payment, or the amount of the child support payment if it is less than $50, received by the child support enforcement agency for the support of a child. She explained that if regular payments are made through the Child Support Enforcement Agency to the mother by the father of the child, they would get an extra $50 a month. SENATOR GREEN referred to the Grants and Contracts for Services Section on page 23, beginning on line 16, and said it is not anticipated that state agencies will be doing every function, but there would be grants and contracts for these programs. Number 043 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked what happens when there is noncooperation of the teen mother as to the identity of the father. MR. LOMAS said this mirrors what is currently in law. In effect, when an individual is not cooperating with the Child Support Enforcement Agency, and paternity establishment is one element under Child Support Enforcement, it is a penalty against the grant. Basically, the needs of the noncooperating individual are removed from the grant which amounts to about a 50 percent reduction in assistance until they cooperate. REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON sought clarification regarding good cause for noncooperation; for example a victim of sexual abuse would not be forced to cooperate. MR. LOMAS said there are provisions in current law that allow for good cause exemptions for situations where either the mother or the child's life or health would be endangered because of cooperation. The department would intend to continue a similar policy. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to page 23, lines 8-12, and asked if a father is making child support payments of $50 a month or less, the participant of the temporary assistance would receive an additional $50? SENATOR GREEN said only the amount that is paid. She added there was a general provision that when the noncustodial parent was regularly paying the child support, there would be a bonus to the custodial parent of $50 per month. There are times when the child support is less than $50 per month; therefore, there is no guarantee of receiving a $50 bonus, but it would be no more than the amount paid if it is less than $50. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY inquired if that amount would be deducted from any arrearages. MR. LOMAS responded this currently happens under existing law; this merely authorizes it under the new program. In effect, whenever a collection is made against a current obligation, the custodial parent is allowed to retain the first $50 of the payment against current obligations. Collections against arrearages generally would not fall under this provision. SENATOR GREEN continued with her analysis that municipalities, other political subdivisions of the state, nonprofit corporations, churches, and incorporated and unincorporated businesses operating within the state that meet the requirements established by the department could be included under the Grants and Contracts For Services Section. She explained there are many communities in Alaska where local agency representatives are not available and this provision allows the opportunity for communities to provide those services. Number 190 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said there had been some discussions in the legislature to get tribal sovereignty and IRA organizations qualified for grants to become incorporated under state law. SENATOR GREEN noted the language in this section had been designed to include incorporated and unincorporated businesses operating within the state that meet the requirements. She thought this was in current statute. SENATOR GREEN said the Agency Collaboration Section basically states the Department of Health & Social Services will operate with other departments in using programs that are available so services are not duplicated. SENATOR GREEN stated the Alaska Native Organizations' Family Assistance Programs Section was structured to include the 13 recognized regional corporations. The first 12 listed are incorporated; the Metlakatla Indian Community is accepted only if the community waives any claim to sovereign immunity with respect to matters involved with the family assistance program. She pointed out that Section 47.27.070(b) states, "The department may cooperate with the Alaska Native organizations named in (a) of this section to propose program criteria to the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services in order to promote programs comparable to the state program in the same area." Section 47.27.070(c) further states, "Notwithstanding other provisions of this section, the department may coordinate with an Alaskan Native organization under (a) of this section only if, for purposes of this chapter, the Alaska Native organization incorporates a nonprofit entity under state law and the nonprofit entity is active and in good standing, as determined by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development." She commented this language was drafted to address the concerns expressed by Representative Rokeberg. She remarked the department needs to have the ability to move forward in working with the 13 regional corporations and their nonprofit entities to develop programs if federal welfare reform is passed. Under the federal welfare program, there would be the opportunity for the money to go directly to any of the regional corporations, but only 50 percent of what they now receive because it would be minus the state match. She thought the commissioner would rather see this coordinated and be a statewide program through which the department is involved and has the ability to work with the regional corporations to have a consistent program throughout the state. Number 297 SENATOR GREEN referred to the Emergency Account Established and said it is anticipated that at times there will be extra monies coming through from the federal government that may not be expended in the fiscal year for which they were appropriated. This section allows that money to be set aside. SENATOR GREEN remarked that the Appeals; Dispute Resolution Section is under existing law. The Sanctions; Recovery of Costs Section is the repayment and recovery of cost if a person fails to heed and work in the Work Activities or Self-sufficiency Plan. Subsection (b) establishes the penalties for applicants who fail to cooperate with establishment of paternity. Subsection (c) allows the department to recover assistance and services that were paid to participants who were not entitled to receive them. She commented this basically restates some of the language in existing law. Number 415 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE referred to the language under the Sanctions Section on page 26, line 23, "fails to comply with a condition of the family self-sufficiency plan" and said that appears to be inflexible in the sense that it doesn't take into consideration the weight of the condition in the plan as a whole. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY pointed out the language reads "without good cause." REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if that was unnecessarily rigid? SENATOR GREEN noted that the applicant would be involved in developing their self-sufficiency plan. She anticipated there would be a method by which at some point the applicant could amend the self-sufficiency plan, with the idea being that there are still time frames for waiver provisions and exemptions. She thought this would apply to the person who refuses to meet the conditions of the plan. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY thought there was flexibility in the wording "without good cause." MR. NORDLUND pointed out the family self-sufficiency plan is developed in a collaborative way between the recipient and the case worker to set a course of action that is truly achievable. He added the plan is available to being amended if the circumstances of the individual change. The department believes, however, there needs to be some sanctions for an individual who is unwilling to cooperate. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said his concern was for the individual who may want to amend their plan with respect to changing curriculum from an associates degree to a bachelors degree, for example. MR. LOMAS remarked the department views the self-sufficiency plan as a living document that can be amended if circumstances change and the department recognizes that not everything is going to work out exactly according to the plan. He added that before an individual was declared out of compliance, the department would give that person the opportunity to respond to a noncompliance notice and allow the person to negotiate an amendment to the plan. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked the individuals standing by on teleconference if they wished to testify on a section of the legislation that Senator Green had addressed. Number 573 DON SHIRCEL, Director of Family Services, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), said that prior to the debate on welfare reform and even before the Alaska Native Commission report which calls for fundamental changes in programs which foster dependency, TCC area tribes initiated the first regionwide program to require all recipients of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) general assistance to work for the benefits they receive, allowing reasonable exemptions for only those individuals who were disabled or infirmed. When the administration was transferred from the BIA to TCC, the program went from 100 percent recipients receiving a monthly check to 98 percent of all recipients participating in work that needed to done in their village. This transfer occurred with no additional administrative costs to the BIA and after the third year of operation, the program reported a 5 percent reduction in cost without reducing household benefits. The program helps get everybody to work and helps get things done in the villages at a lesser cost than when the BIA merely doled out monthly checks. He said tribally-administered job programs, the jobs opportunity and basic skills programs around the state have successfully provided families on welfare with training and support, thereby moving tribal families off welfare and into jobs. MR. SHIRCEL said TCC wishes to support the efforts put forward by the legislature and by the Administration in crafting state welfare reform legislation. There remains, however, four major issues that TCC feels need to be addressed before they can fully support SB 98. First and foremost is the issue of tribally operated assistance programs. He stated that page 25, line 26, calls for the department to cooperate with the Alaska Native organizations named to propose program criteria to the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services in order to promote programs comparable to the state program in the state area. Under the anticipated federal law, tribes through these Alaska Native organizations named will receive 50 percent of the funding currently paid to eligible households. He noted that is the federal share, as was mentioned. Without assurances in this legislation that the state will transfer matching funds, it would be impossible for the Native organizations to provide the services that would promote programs comparable to the state program in the same area, as stated in CSSB 98(RLS). For that reason, TCC recommends that line 26 be changed from "may" to "shall" and insert "and is authorized to transfer state matching funds" on line 28 following Department of Health and Human Services. Therefore, Section 47.27.070(b) would read as follows: "The department shall cooperate with the Alaska Native organizations named in (a) of this section to propose program criteria to the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and is authorized to transfer state matching funds in order to promote programs comparable to the state program in the same area." CO-CHAIR TOOHEY stated she appreciated the proposed language offered, but she would make no comment until it had been reviewed by the Department of Health & Social Services or by the Legal Services Division to make sure the language was compatible or that it hadn't already been addressed. MR. SHIRCEL continued TCC's second area of concern deals with Section 44 which amends current law to hold natural and adoptive grandparents responsible for child support in cases where the child's parents are minors. Tanana Chiefs Conference supports the position of the National Association of Social Workers on this issue and recommends that Section 44 be deleted entirely from the legislation. He remarked that in some rural communities, grandparents have already adopted their grandchildren because they have been orphaned or the parents have relinquished their parental rights. In such cases, under this bill as written, great grandparents could be responsible for child support payments of their great grandchildren. Likewise, this section of the bill as written, would discourage potential adoptive parties from considering teen-age children who are difficult to adopt, given the increased liability created under this section. In general, the assumption that parents can regulate the sexual activity of adolescent children is without basis and TCC suggests deleting that particular section until further thought is given to the issue. Number 829 MR. SHIRCEL said TCC's third issue deals with confidentiality. Tanana Chiefs Conference supports the position of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers which recommends that Section 35 and 36 be deleted and TCC shares their concern that to allow legislators access to an actual list of names of (indisc.) assistance beneficiaries is an undue infringement by the government on an individual's privacy. MR. SHIRCEL stated TCC's final concern was Section 3, page 11, particularly the waiver dealing with two-parent households that would have their benefits decreased by 50 percent, and asked that it be reconsidered and the word "and" be deleted and "or" be inserted on line 17 to allow for greater flexibility on behalf of the commissioner to deal with situations that were previously mentioned. He commented the legislation already includes adequate incentives for the commissioner to keep all waivers to a minimum or risk having to implement ratable reductions across the board. This suggested change would assure that no Alaskan families or children truly in need, especially as the children are getting ready to go to school, would have to fend for themselves and it would maintain the overall integrity of the bill to assure that the commissioner would not make undue waivers. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked Mr. Shircel to hold further testimony until Senator Green had completed her sectional analysis because he was expressing concern with portions of the bill that had not yet been addressed. She inquired if any of the other individuals had testimony relating to any of the sections already covered by Senator Green's sectional analysis. HEIDI DRYGAS testified from Fairbanks via teleconference. She referenced page 11, lines 11-19, regarding the 50 percent reduction for two-parent households in July, August and September and said it didn't make sense that a family's income should be reduced just because it's the summer months. She commented the assumption that a person won't need as much income if they find a job is inappropriate. She added that available jobs may be filled with other members of the village. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said the discussion had been that subsistence and jobs were plentiful, less heat was required, child care was available because school was out, and basically there was just an overall reduction in needs for a family during the summer months. MS. DRYGAS understood that jobs were available during the summer months, but they are taken by other people looking for a job also. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Julie Chang wished to testify at this time. Number 1032 JULIE CHANG testified from Fairbanks also addressing the 50 percent reduction for two-parent households. She noted that Co-Chair Toohey had spoken about subsistence and less heat being required in the summer, but that didn't support the children's needs of shoes and/or clothing. She commented there may be more jobs available in the summer but if a person travels to another area for a job, they have to pay for housing, etc. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY thanked Ms. Chang for her testimony and asked Senator Green to continue with the sectional analysis. SENATOR GREEN resumed her sectional analysis explaining there were several pages of definitions. She pointed out that every reference to AFDC and aid had been changed to assistance and to the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program. She continued that Section 12, Rate of Interest, states there will be rate of reduction from 12 percent to 6 percent a year or a lesser rate when the amount is being collected for arrearages. She noted this was requested by the Child Support Enforcement Division. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if that was simply not "getting blood out of a turnip?" SENATOR GREEN thought the interest rates were much higher when that provision was initially established. She noted that the Child Support Enforcement Division could do this on their own, but they really wanted it in statute so it wouldn't fluctuate up to a higher rate. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired as to what the interest was being charged for. SENATOR GREEN responded for arrearages on child support payments. SENATOR GREEN said Sections 14 and 15 were basically technical changes for the new program. She directed the committee's attention to Section 22, Relief from Administrative Order and said this section allows CSED to administratively vacate an order based on a default amount upon the motion of an obligor. Upon the motion of an obligator, the agency may, at any time, vacate an administrative support order that was based upon a default amount rather than on the obligor's actual ability to pay. She said, "There are established amounts for any individual in the state, we'll call it amount X and if someone has not come forward with their payroll stub or given them the information about the amount of money they make, they base this money on -- say it's $1,000 a month -- that's what you're going to owe, but if that person comes forward later and says you miscalculated what I owe, even though I wasn't willing to come in and talk to you about the situation, but I only got $600 a month, they could recalculate and lower or fix the amount." She noted this had been changed in the Senate to "upon the motion of an obligor." Previously, the agency, the obligor or the obligee could do this. She added this can now be done by the division but questioned Glenda Straube if the division had to go to court? GLENDA STRAUBE, Director, Child Support Enforcement Division, Department of Revenue, responded yes. SENATOR GREEN said this has been presented by CSED as an obligor's dream. There are some individuals in the Senate who doubt this alleged description and asked Ms. Straube to address that. MS. STRAUBE said the division is carrying about $110 million in arrears that are based on default judgments. She hastened to correct that the division has over $300 million in arrearages, but approximately one-third are based on default judgments. The obligor broke the law by not letting CSED know how much they made, and the division recognizes that. She commented the division doesn't want to be seen as rewarding people, but at the same time the division recognizes that when people see a document that is too overwhelming it may end up getting thrown away, ignored or whatever they do with it, but in any case, no one is benefitting because when the delinquencies reach $50,000, $60,000 or $80,000 people don't pay anything at all. She noted the court already has the right to do this, but CSED would like to have an aggressive program to encourage people to meet with the division, to fix the meeting and to begin paying on the delinquencies. She added the division really wants to get the amounts down to represent what those people really made during that period of time. CO-CHAIR BUNDE recalled a fact sheet circulating around regarding the 99 worst defaulters or "deadbeats" and the amounts were all over $100,000. He asked if that was still an accurate assessment of individuals who have not paid their child support? MS. STRAUBE said there were numerous cases over $100,000. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Ms. Straube was saying that some of those cases were over $100,000 not because of what they actually made, but because someone decided that is what they should pay? MS. STRAUBE said many of them are. She added that less than half represent people who live in rural and Bush Alaska, but approximately one-half of the money owed is by rural and Bush Alaskans. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it puzzled him to hear about no work or no jobs, but yet the majority of the money owed is from rural Alaska. He questioned why there were such huge amounts of arrearages. MS. STRAUBE replied because people don't read the division's forms or just throw them away. She said the division is actually more lenient than the courts, who often set the amount of the support at $1,000 per month. CO-CHAIR BUNDE surmised the amount had to be based on some assumption of income. MS. STRAUBE said if that's the maximum for one child and it's a default, it's almost like the courts have held it as a punishment. In other words, if the person won't talk and cooperate, the court will default the person with that amount. She noted the division has finally taken a look at the Department of Labor's Alaska average wage standard, but that may still be much higher than some people's wages. She said the problem comes down to what do you do when people won't talk to you? The division is torn by this, but they think in the long run it will be good for the children and the division will not have to carry the caseload they've been trying to collect on which any business would have written off years ago. There was discussion regarding time schedules for committee members. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON mentioned she had three amendments to address. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented he would like to address three of the four issues brought up by the Tanana Chiefs Conference. SENATOR GREEN said with respect to the first concern expressed by TCC, Mr. Shircel is indeed right; they can go directly to the federal government and get the 50 percent. She noted this concerns the state because it is hoped that the standards and the system developed through this plan will be implemented statewide and there will not be a multitude of different standards working on essentially 50 percent of what they would have now. Otherwise, the Native organizations will have to work with the department to implement the state match. They would have a self-sufficiency plan or a similar system approved by the department before it is implemented. She noted it is imperative this section stay as it is currently written. She understood TCC's facility and program is wonderful; however, there are concerns that with a 50 percent budget, about August or September there will be needs that will not be met. She emphasized the importance of a unified statewide plan. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE recalled the second suggestion by the Tanana Chiefs Conference was changing "and" to "or" on page 11, line 17. The sentence would read, "However, if the commissioner determines that temporary economic conditions have resulted in decreased employment opportunities during those months or a reduction in assistance would impose an undue hardship on a family, the department may waive application of this paragraph with respect to that family." In other words, there would be two conditions that would have to be met: (1) temporary economic conditions; or 2) a reduction in assistance would impose an undue hardship on a family during the months of July, August and September. Those two conditions would have to be met before the commissioner would have the ability to waive the application of this paragraph. Tanana Chiefs Conference is asking that either one or the other condition is able to be met. SENATOR GREEN explained the trigger is the reduction in decreased employment opportunities. She explained this program is designed where there are two healthy adults in the family; one of whom can render child care and assistance, while the other is free to work. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the section being addressed was the AFDC UP Program or was it straight AFDC program? He expressed confusion because there was no enumeration for shelter costs or costs of utilities, etc., nor was there any mention of two-parent families. Number 1917 MIKE TIBBLES, Legislative Assistant to Senator Lyda Green, pointed out that language had been added on page 11, line 13, to ensure that this section would apply to only two-parent families. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE noted that the principal wage earner in a family could be a single parent with two children. MR. LOMAS commented this language is straight from existing federal law which defines eligibility for two-parent families in terms of the unemployment of a principal wage earner. Given this is an amendment under waivers to the existing AFDC program, the department would read it as only applying to two-parent families. There is a similar provision in the comprehensive provisions under the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program which does not use that term because it would no longer be a term of art under the new federal law which quite specifically points toward two-parent families. In effect, this language points only toward the AFDC UP program. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE suggested maybe AFDC two-parent families should be specified to avoid confusion. MR. LOMAS thought that should be avoided because we don't want this to apply to two-parent families in which the second parent is medically incapacitated. Part of the reason the language reads as such is to imply only those families where there are two able bodied parents. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Representative Brice wanted to propose an amendment? REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he wanted to know if the committee feels comfortable leaving the language vague in this area. TAPE 96-48, SIDE A Number 026 SENATOR GREEN said that Kristen Bomengen from the Department of Law could review the issue. She didn't mind referring to a statute, but she didn't want it to be all encompassing of all two-parent families, it would have to be very specific. She noted she would not agree to the language change from "and" to "or", because that was very carefully crafted to be designed to do exactly what it is doing. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the other issue raised by the Tanana Chiefs Conference related to confidentiality. SENATOR GREEN said this section was designed because of concerns expressed by various legislators after being contacted by constituents about their individual case or the management of their case and the legislators were unable to get any information regarding the case. She added that particularly happens in the case of a minor who runs away, then qualifies and gets assistance for Medicaid. The parent then gets the bill from CSED and doesn't know why the child should be qualified for anything, but the parent is unable to get any information from AFDC because of confidentiality. The legislation is drafted so that with proper safeguards and to the extent that the legislature is held to very high standards, this would be a very specific request about a very specific person the legislator had been asked to check on. She said, "Another one is on behalf of fraud. As we implement the information designed to highlight fraud, how can we be kept abreast, to a very high level of confidentiality. You can be charged - you can be put in jail - you can have a misdemeanor -- I don't know what all the other things are -- if you violate that." REPRESENTATIVE BRICE inquired if under this section, he as a legislator could request names and addresses of all people in his district for the purpose of mailing. SENATOR GREEN responded no. MR. NORDLUND said he would feel more comfortable if this issue was addressed by the representative from the Department of Law. Number 326 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said, "The way this is worded and because it relates to another section - Section 36, Disclosures to Legislators, and that is (indisc.-coughing) talks about the confidentiality, and to me it's a bit reversed where unless it specifically said that it's not confidential (indisc.-coughing) confidential and can be disclosed, I think it should be automatically confidential and then if you want to disclose it, come back and unclassify it. You can do it both ways, but I want to make sure that things are confidential unless it... There's more of a problem of something being disclosed without an indication of it being confidential than there is if it is automatically confidential, then you have to come back, there's less of a chance of a mistake I think in that fashion as opposed to the way it's stated here." KRISTEN BOMENGEN, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Department of Law, agreed this was a very troublesome section. She noted this language was a conceptual amendment and in fact, it does in a sense undermine the confidentiality protections that were put in the previous sections. She thought the Department of Law would prefer to see this changed so it doesn't work in this kind of inverse way that Representative Davis identified. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to page 31, line 27, Relief from Administrative Order Section, and said he agreed with that. He said if the department is able to do it, there is a high likelihood of reducing the court's docket which he felt was a positive step. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY called for an at-ease at 4:45 p.m. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY called the meeting back to order at 4:49 p.m. She asked Ms. Bomengen to continue with her testimony. MS. BOMENGEN said in response to Representative Brice's previous question about the request of lists from the department, some language that had appeared in previous versions of the bill suggested that the circumstance he described could happen, but the current language limits itself to financial information concerning an eligibility determination of a person applying for or receiving assistance. She thought it anticipates that someone would be providing the name and then getting information in response to that name being provided. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if there was any other statute that allowed legislators the right to receive information of such a confidential nature? MS. BOMENGEN didn't know of any other circumstance specifically. She knew that under some limited circumstances for confidential tax information, there were agreements that could be signed by legislators in order to receive information. As far as personal information that would affect an individual, this is probably a very unusual provision. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if it would be strictly for information regarding the finances? MS. BOMENGEN said yes, it was discussed before another committee that there really is a great deal of other information contained in a personal file; e.g., medical information, child abuse reports, and things of that nature. She added that isn't to minimize the importance of the privacy interest in financial information, because that is certainly important to an individual as well. However, it was intended to specifically include any medical- related matters or other matters of a sensitive nature. Number 660 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON commented she had never had any problem trying to work out a problem on behalf of a constituent when there had been a misunderstanding or lack of communication. If there was a problem however, she thought it might be okay if the constituent could sign a waiver granting the legislator the right to talk with the department. She asked if that was correct? MS. BOMENGEN confirmed that. She added that presently a legislator who was sought out by a constituent to help them with a problem, could get a waiver and receive any of the information necessary to follow up on that case. This does raise a circumstance in which a constituent could report a neighbor and the legislator would potentially be seeking information concerning a constituent's neighbor. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked how that would be tracked. MS. BOMENGEN said currently, information is very much limited under federal law. In fact, under current federal law this provision would not be allowed at all. Currently, a legislator can receive any information that a constituent would like a legislator to receive by securing a waiver from the constituent and then inquire into the case and receive information from the department under that circumstance. The circumstance also allowed by the provision in this legislation, is for a constituent to call about a neighbor and the legislator could inquire into that circumstance. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Ms. Bomengen really thought that would happen? MS. BOMENGEN responded, that in fact, was explicitly one of the interests that was expressed. The inadvertent result has to be that that information would remain confidential; therefore, the legislator would be able to get access to that information but would not be able to disclose it to the constituent. That could leave a legislator in an awkward set of circumstances. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY commented that legislators have that provision currently. For example, a constituent could call to advise that a neighbor who is on AFDC had just bought a new car. MS. BOMENGEN responded she didn't believe a legislator would necessarily be able to find out any information about the neighbor. While it would be appropriate to report it, the department could investigate it, but the legislator couldn't look into specifically. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she now understood the difference. MS. BOMENGEN remarked this would be a departure from current practice. Number 869 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to Ms. Bomengen's remark that this language is not in compliance to federal law and asked if the language wouldn't be unconstitutional? MS. BOMENGEN said it is not in compliance with the current federal restrictions that explicitly require safeguards to prohibit the disclosure of identifying information to a legislative body. That is current law; this provision appears in the new law and the current federal law provision will go away and a new one comes into place that says that we have to assure that all reasonable steps necessary are taken to assure the confidentiality of the information because the specific guidelines are looser under the new law. This provision only takes effect if we look at the effective date provisions under the new Welfare Reform Act. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked how the department felt about this and how they handle a specific request by a legislator under current law. Number 940 MR. NORDLUND said the department opposes the provision that allows legislators to have access to this information largely because a legislator is not in a position to effectuate any remedy. The legislator can only have information for their own knowledge, but can't do anything about it. It is really up to the department to pursue a fraud investigation or take whatever action is necessary to alleviate the problem that had been called to the department's attention. He remarked the department always looks out for the privacy interests of recipients in a program and they feel the disclosure of this information does not merit the advantage it may have to a legislator. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the salaries of all other state employees were public information? He noted the salaries of legislators are public information. The response was inaudible. CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked so it is only welfare recipients that get privacy, but the salaries of people working for a living are available to the public. Number 1011 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she understood this was basically getting a person's financial information. She added one thing to keep in mind is that if a constituent signs a waiver, the legislator can get all the information. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked again why this language was inserted in the bill. SENATOR GREEN responded the ability to get information from the department was discussed a great deal in the Senate and frustration was expressed. The feeling was that if the legislature is supposed to be responsible for a program with respect to funding, there should be some way that information could be obtained. She added it is basically to follow up on inquiries; it is not a witch hunt. She didn't think it was unreasonable for a legislator to be able to follow up on complaints and inquiries. She emphasized the level to which a legislator is held on doing anything with the information is very high; it can't be shared, it can't be published, etc. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for verification that if a constituent comes to a legislator regarding a problem with the welfare department and provides information, that is a doable situation currently. This section would allow a legislator to go to the department and get a copy of the constituent's file to see if the information is accurate. SENATOR GREEN replied no, because she didn't think anyone would want a copy of the constituent's file. She thought it was more in the line of what the constituent qualified for or why the qualification wasn't met. She added that several legislators had made inquiries to the department that they did not feel were adequately answered and wanted access to the information. Number 1205 CO-CHAIR BUNDE agreed that free flow of information was important; however, he surmised that the information being sought as to someone's personal finances and how much money they made last year would be germane if a person is applying for welfare, but he didn't know if that information was necessary to determine if they were treated fairly by the department. SENATOR GREEN thought it was not so much to do with the financial history, but rather the benefit the person was receiving now. CO-CHAIR BUNDE replied his initial reaction was that it was state money and how much money was being paid to a recipient. He wasn't sure about the sacredness of the benefit amount, but added that a person is certainly entitled to privacy relating to their personal finances. Number 1484 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY remarked that there wasn't a great deal of personal income, other than what the state was contributing, for a family on welfare so she didn't think there would be a plethora of information. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY announced that she would like to continue with the sectional analysis and then take up the amendments. Number 1304 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented that as far as what people are receiving in AFDC benefits, the maximum amount was established in statute. His concern was this leaves a certain doorway open for legislators that may be more appropriate for the fraud unit in the Public Assistance Division to be involved with as opposed to bringing legislators into the picture. He felt it would be more appropriate for a legislator to call the fraud unit if neighbor A is calling to report that neighbor B who is on welfare is driving a new car. SENATOR GREEN agreed and added there was nothing to prevent the neighbor from contacting the fraud unit. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE remarked it comes back to the question of whether this is really necessary. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY personally didn't think there would be a whole lot of abuse of this. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Mr. Nordlund to explain how under current law he would handle a call from her reporting that neighbor X said neighbor Y was doing thus and such. MR. NORDLUND said he would thank Representative Robinson for her inquiry, advise her that the fraud unit would follow up on it and that action would be taken if appropriate. He noted that it would be public knowledge if there was a criminal investigation. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY thought it would more apt to be people calling and saying they were not being treated fairly by AFDC or the department. In other words, people would want her to intercede between them and the department. MS. BOMENGEN said this section does not create that anew. Currently, any legislator could act on behalf of a constituent and receive the information necessary as long as the constituent consented to that information going to the legislator without any of the changes in Section 33, 35 or 36. SENATOR GREEN commented she would like the assurance that she could find out if there had been action taken or if there had been some follow up to a fraud report or investigation. She felt that if legislators were going to be responsible for writing legislation for the programs, they need to be able to get the information that assures the programs were being administered like the legislature wanted them to be. Number 1500 SENATOR GREEN continued her sectional analysis and said Section 23, Adverse Action Against Delinquent Obligator's Occupational License, was in last year's HB 78. This is a CSED provision that people who have been in noncompliance and held to be in default would receive notice that their license to certain activities would be either suspended, revoked or nonissued. There are time frames established for notice, response and for action to be taken. This also applies to a delinquent obligor's driver license. This section is basically to address people who are not contacting the department or not talking to them. This has been found to be a great deterrent in other states. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if this section includes nurses, doctors, lawyers, etc.? SENATOR GREEN responded affirmatively. She added that people who receive a regular paycheck are fairly easy to find and impact. Individuals who are self-employed or have other types of arrangements are more difficult to impact. SENATOR GREEN said Section 54, Redetermination of Assistance Levels, was the next major section following all the repeals and reference changes to the program. She remarked they have been trying to find an equitable, fair and just method to address the rates paid in Alaska that are set in statute. Other states are making up to 26 or 27 percent reductions in payments and this has not been met with a great deal of cooperation in Alaska. She said futuristically, we are trying to find a way that gets and encourages the desired effect from the changes being implemented through this bill; that being the caseload begins to drop and the net amount spent on benefits each year will tend to fall off. There will be a baseline year used for comparison and the year 1999 will be compared to it. If, on the first day of the legislative session in the year 2000, it is determined that the total amount spent for this program in 1999 is less than the program in 1997, there will be no downward adjustment to the benefits paid out. However, if there has been incremental increases in the amount paid out in 1999 for this program based on a comparison to 1997, the decrease will compare to the increase in those two years. There is basically a sunset provision in that year and the department and those agencies involved felt this is reasonable. It is the anticipated goal that everything will have had time to be implemented, the programs will be in effect and there will start to be reductions. Number 1714 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said this doesn't take into account any increases in population that may result and asked what happens if for example, a gas pipeline or other project transpires that results in a population growth. SENATOR GREEN thought that would be the best of all worlds. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that may not necessarily be true because it could be two or three years before people go to work and there could be a big fluctuation in AFDC payments. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY commented the hope is that the federal government will have implemented their program by the year 2000 and the state waiver will be history. SENATOR GREEN pointed out this is part of the Comprehensive Plan; this is federal welfare reform. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said regardless of what the federal government does, this situation could occur without any consideration of those factors. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY interjected that if a person from another state who has been on welfare for four years comes to Alaska, that person only has one year on the program. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that is not the point. He said, "The point is when we're talking about the aggregate expenditure without any consideration of circumstances as compared to the aggregate expenditure in 1999 - the difference between 2000 and 1999..." SENATOR GREEN pointed out that under the waiver portion of the bill or the comprehensive plan, there is a two year time limit on benefits. That is anticipated to start rolling people off from 1996 to 1998; we would be beginning the final countdown qualification. It is not anticipated that number will go back up to meet that current number. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE interjected that may be true unless something happens to the population that causes a dramatic increase. Number 1860 MR. NORDLUND said this is a section, in the spirit of cooperation and compromise, the department has agreed to go along with, but it is not language they originally supported or proposed. The department does have some concerns about it. He thought Representative Brice's concern was a valid concern and said this provision does not take into account if the economy goes down in the state which results in more unemployment and a natural rise in the caseload. Also, there is no provision that will help compensate for an exceptional growth rate in the state. He noted that both those circumstances were addressed in the federal law however, and they anticipate the states will be given additional funds under the contingency that the unemployment rate goes beyond a certain threshold or if there is exceptional growth in the state. He commented this version is a bit shortsighted in that way. However, the fact that there is going to be federal money available though to the state of Alaska if we face either one of those circumstances, will help alleviate some of the budgetary impact the department would see in the program. Also, because of the availability of some federal contingency money, both for the growth and for the unemployment as well as under the federal law, if the state is able to successfully reduce the out-of-wedlock pregnancy rate for AFDC recipients, the state will be eligible for additional federal funds. He noted the department attempted to make it clear in the Senate Finance Committee that this provision when comparing the benefit levels from FY 97 to FY 99 year, only pertains to state funds. He thought it was important for the record to further clarify it is the department's understanding that it is total state operating funds, not capital funds being factored into that equation because the department is looking at hopefully a steady decreased growth of the program on the operating side; capital funds gyrate from year to year depending on the capital needs and shouldn't be included in this equation. He commented it is something the department is willing to live with and they are banking on the fact that the entire welfare reform effort will be successful and there will be a drop in the caseload. If there is a drop in the caseload, this provision will never take effect. On the other hand, if circumstances beyond anyone's control happen, as discussed by Representative Brice, then the state may be in the situation of having to employ an automatic ratable reduction to meet the budget targets suggested in the legislation. From the department's standpoint it is a bit of a gamble, but he pointed out that one thing in the operating budget that will make it easier for the department to meet those targets and to actually see a reduction in the caseload is the money the department has asked for in the operating budget for child care and job training. Without those tools, it will be very difficult for the department to see the decreased caseload that will alleviate having to do the ratable reduction. He said while that is in another vehicle and part of another debate, it is very important and the department will continue to ensure that it is on the priority list as the legislature adjourns this year. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if interest on the child support payments goes directly into the general fund? MS. STRAUBE said that one-half of the money CSED collects on an AFDC case goes to the federal government and the other half goes back into the Public Assistance Program. MR. LOMAS clarified that it goes into the general fund and then gets appropriated to the Public Assistance Program. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG referenced Section 54, page 50, line 5, which states that if the First Regular Session of the Twenty-First Alaska State Legislature does not enact a bill that adjusts the payment structure and asked if that wasn't another safety valve in case there was a positive or negative economic activity that had been mentioned previously. SENATOR GREEN assumed that was true. MR. NORDLUND said, "The discussion I had about the effect of this comparison of FY 97 to FY 99 is the default position -- is what happens if based upon the results of the needs study the department is required to do is not considered and a new law enacted that sets up a new benefit structure by the legislature - if that action isn't taken, then the default position is this -- if the amount of money in 1999 was greater than 1997, then there is that automatic ratable to bring the overall appropriation level down to the 97 level." Number 2089 SENATOR GREEN pointed out the thought was that if all the work was being done to structure a program that was supposed to work to reduce spending, reduce the caseload, and to make their work harder to begin with but more streamlined as the program goes on, there should be reductions. Number 2122 KAREN PERDUE, Commissioner, Department of Health & Social Services, said in her opinion this was one of the most important sections of the bill. She noted the legislature would need to look long term at the federal contingency requirements. There was a huge debate among states about what happens if economies go down because these are the very programs that are needed when economies are down, but the state can't afford to pay for them. There are requirements that will be placed on the department for maintenance of effort in order to tap into the millions of dollars of federal contingency monies. She thought one of the things the legislature would have to look at very carefully in 1999 is whether or not by lowering the payment rate, the state will be precluding ourselves from participating in the federal contingency funds. The second issue is child support collections. Commissioner Perdue thought the spirit of the Senate Finance Committee's provision was to not penalize the state for gathering funds, so they changed the wording from total funds to state funds. She submitted that the state needs to be careful about the issue of child support revenues as well because they are state funds. She doesn't want to see a situation where the state was penalized by creating a ratable for collecting more child support revenue. The department had originally proposed the word "general funds" as opposed to "state funds" because again, the whole spirit is to lower the state's investment, not to create disincentives to collect other revenues. Number 2200 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was a need for a change in the language? SENATOR GREEN thought that was the preferred language. COMMISSIONER PERDUE said there wasn't a lot of time for discussion in the committee, but she thought it was a very important question of whether it should be general funds or state funds because the department is trying to lower their dependence on the state budget. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY suggested that the Finance Committee may be the appropriate place to address this issue. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there were other questions from committee members. She invited Louise Charles from Fairbanks to testify at this time. Number 2238 LOUISE CHARLES from Tanana Chiefs Conference testified from Fairbanks that she administers the Job Opportunities (indisc.) Program at Tanana Chiefs. She said she supports this legislation with the changes outlined by Mr. Shircel, but she wanted to address the reinvestment fund for tribal jobs and programs that will allow continued success of the clients that her program serves, and would allow AFDC recipients to achieve self-sufficiency. She stated they have realized an increase in the caseload at TCC Jobs due to an increase in the number of referrals from the Division of Public Assistance, especially over the last four to six months. She wanted the committee to understand that tribal entities have not had matching funds. They have received a 25 percent decrease in Jobs Program funding and their grant funds for this year is $109,000 which has to be used to serve Fairbanks, 42 villages in the Interior and 9 villages on the North Slope. She pointed out some of the successes of the Jobs Program lately. In October 1995 and March 1996 they had 14 people who took certified nurses aide training. TAPE 96-48, SIDE B Number 001 MS. CHARLES continued that everyone was certified and 9 out of the 14 are now employed and in the transition period of getting off from AFDC and the others are presently searching for jobs and have some good leads. She encouraged the continued support for jobs and state matching funds. In conclusion she said that if this bill is going to do what it is supposed to, there must be education funds and training funds available to help people become self-sufficient. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was anyone else wishing to testify? Hearing none, she closed public testimony. She noted there were three amendments before the committee and asked Representative Robinson to introduce her amendment. Number 095 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 1. CO-CHAIR BUNDE objected for discussion purposes. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said Amendment 1 was a simple change to the language which deletes "and who have received" and inserts "The agency may not include an obligor on the list unless the agency has sent to the obligor, at the obligor's most recent address on file with the agency, written" on page 32, line 17. She felt the department could have some problems if they didn't know for certain that an obligor had received the notice. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that he didn't object to detailing it, but he asked Ms. Straube if notices were sent by certified mail? MS. STRAUBE said it depends on what the process is; sometimes it has to be done by certified mail, otherwise it's just by regular post. She pointed out that the language relating to occupational licenses and driver licenses states "delivered personally to the applicant or deposited in the United States mail..." She said the Child Support Enforcement Division has a number of obligors who refuse service, which has worked to the obligors' advantage. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted this amendment says the notice has to have been sent, so by sending it out, the department has made a good faith effort and the obligor's name can then be added to the list. He asked Ms. Straube if it would be a challenge for the division to prove that the obligor had actually received the notice without the amendment. MS. STRAUBE said that was correct, but many of the people simply did not pick up their mail. Number 214 CO-CHAIR BUNDE withdrew his objection. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked what Senator Green's opinion was of the amendment? SENATOR GREEN said she didn't have any great problem, but added that she didn't know how it would be received by the Senator who had originally requested the language contained in CSSB 98(RLS). REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she had attempted to contact the Senator, but was unable to discuss it with him at this point. MS. STRAUBE noted she had spoken with Senator Reiger when he added this language and she didn't have a problem with it because the division already does this; they let them know all the time that they are delinquent. Secondly, this is just to put an obligor's name on the list; they still have all the due process rights to disagree with being on the list. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there was any further objection to Amendment 1. Hearing none, Amendment 1 was adopted. She asked Representative Robinson to speak to Amendment 2. Number 269 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved to adopt Amendment 2. CO-CHAIR BUNDE objected. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said Amendment 2 was on page 45 and she felt there needed to be some real compelling reasons for the legislature to have powers that others don't have to get information on individuals receiving AFDC. She noted that currently if she is contacted by a constituent who wants her assistance in getting information, the constituent merely has to sign a waiver and she is able to get all the pertinent information from the department. Also, if a constituent expresses concern that someone is misrepresenting their financial situation and receiving benefits, a legislator can contact the department who in turn will look into the situation. She said quite frankly, she didn't know what legislators would do with the information if they did receive it because they don't have the power to do anything. She didn't know of any compelling reason why legislators should have access to the information and expressed concern about the potential abuse. Number 387 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Senator Green what her thoughts were regarding the amendment? SENATOR GREEN responded this was a very important provision to the Senate. It was part of the package and she would not like to see it removed. She thought the standard to which legislators are held is high and she didn't think it would be worth the penalty for disclosing or misusing the information. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that he didn't share Senator Green's opinion as to the high standard some legislators are held to. He remarked that in a perfect world he would vote to remove this section because he didn't see the use of it for him personally and it's information that he wouldn't want to be held responsible for. But because of the importance to other people and knowing that this bill is a long series of compromises, he maintained his objection. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON emphasized her beliefs that the legislature was over-stepping their bounds with this provision. She thought the issue would be brought up in the House Finance Committee and probably on the House floor. She recognized there had been a lot of work done on the bill and a lot of compromising, but it was presently before the House HESS Committee and there were 40 legislators on the House side that would have to explain to the public why they felt they deserved to have a special privilege of getting confidential information that no one else, except the department, is able to retrieve. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said he would object to the amendment. He had strong concerns and he personally did not envision himself utilizing any of this information. He felt legislators should listen to the public, and the one thing that a lot of legislators, including himself, hear from the public about is the welfare system. Some of the public's concerns relating not only to this department, but every department is the power of the bureaucracy and this addresses the power of the bureaucracy. This gives the legislature access to how the bureaucracy does business and how well they're doing their business. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked for a roll call vote. Voting in favor of Amendment 2 were Representatives Brice and Robinson. Voting against the amendment were Representatives Davis, Rokeberg, Toohey and Bunde. The amendment failed to be adopted. Number 552 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 3. CO-CHAIR BUNDE objected for discussion purposes. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said Amendment 3 would delete "sec. 57" and insert "sec. 61" on page 52, line 4. She understood that the two year sunset would begin upon the enactment of this legislation. This section is the occupational license and driver license section; however, occupational licensing provisions would only go into effect after the passage of the federal welfare reform. That could mean the state may not even have two years in which to try the program. The sunset date starts the day the bill goes into effect, but the occupational licensing program won't go into effect until the federal law is passed. With this amendment, the sunset clock won't start until the program goes into effect; it shifts the provisions to allow some time to see if the program is something the state wants to keep in effect. SENATOR GREEN said the legislation was written as planned; it was not an error. CO-CHAIR BUNDE verified that Senator Green wanted this to run out sooner rather than later. SENATOR GREEN said that was the intention. She said the provision goes into effect October 1 if the Federal Welfare Reform Act has not passed. If the Federal Welfare Reform Act has passed, this goes into effect. So there would be 18 months if the Act goes in place by that time. If the Federal Welfare Reform Act does not go into effect before the state legislature convenes their next session, this will have to be addressed again. She reiterated this only goes into effect if the Federal Welfare Reform Act goes into effect. It was not intended that this be two years after the Welfare Reform Act becomes effective. She believed this provision had been amended in Senate Finance. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON was of the opinion that everyone wanted a two year period in which to see if the program was going to work. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if it was a fair statement that if the Federal Welfare Reform Act does pass, then the legislature wants a clean slate rather than having their hands tied for two more years before adjustments could be made. SENATOR GREEN said that was correct. She remarked it is anticipated that it is a requirement to come back and look at it in two years from the passage of this legislation. MS. STRAUBE said with regard to the occupational and driver licenses, that was one of the parts of the federal welfare reform that had been in every bill the same way. The only difference is that the federal legislation is a little harsher than this legislation. The thought was to get the state's in effect first and then it would take a long time before we might have to change it to do what the federal government wants. She added the federal government wants recreational licenses, too. Speaking as a bureaucrat, she said there are concerns only because she knows how long it takes to get a program up and running and this one is going to be operating with numerous other agencies. She said the division didn't say much about the amendment because they wanted the bill to move and they were pretty happy with most of the bill. She was concerned that it would be hard to prove whether the program was worth anything if they only had six months or a year in which to prove it. She added no one knows how long they will have because it's all up in the air depending on when federal welfare reform passes. SENATOR GREEN said it was this language and this provision of the bill that allowed occupational licensing and driver licensing to stay in the bill. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked for a roll call vote. Voting in favor of Amendment 3 were Representatives Brice and Robinson. Voting against the amendment were Representatives Rokeberg, Davis, Toohey and Bunde. Amendment 3 failed. Number 900 CO-CHAIR BUNDE made a motion to move HCS CSSB 98(HES) from committee. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. ADJOURNMENT CO-CHAIR TOOHEY adjourned the meeting of the House Health, Education and Social Services meeting at 6:00 p.m.