Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/04/2003 03:02 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                         
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                         March 4, 2003                                                                                          
                           3:02 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Peggy Wilson, Chair                                                                                              
Representative Carl Gatto, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Kelly Wolf                                                                                                       
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Mary Kapsner                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Cheryll Heinze                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Shirley Holloway - Juneau                                                                                                  
     Richard Mauer - Delta Junction                                                                                             
     Tim Scott - Anchorage                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 8                                                                                               
Requesting the Governor to declare March 16 - 22, 2003, to be                                                                   
Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HCR 8 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Sylvia Reynolds - Soldotna                                                                                                 
     Rex Rock - Point Hope                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HCR 8                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE:INHALANTS AND POISONS AWARENESS WEEK                                                                                
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)KAPSNER                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/19/03     0246       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
02/19/03     0246       (H)        HES                                                                                          
03/04/03                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
                                                                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SHIRLEY HOLLOWAY, Ph.D., Appointee                                                                                              
to the Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  as appointee  to  the Board  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development and answered  questions from the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD MAUER, Appointee                                                                                                        
to the Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                 
Delta Junction, Alaska                                                                                                          
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  as appointee  to  the Board  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development and answered  questions from the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
TIM SCOTT, Appointee                                                                                                            
to the Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  as appointee  to  the Board  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development and answered  questions from the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ZOANN MURPHY, Health and Social Services Planner                                                                                
Community Health and Emergency Medical Services Section                                                                         
Division of Public Health                                                                                                       
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support  of HCR 8  and answered                                                               
questions from the committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SYLVIA REYNOLDS, Appointee                                                                                                      
to the Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                 
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  as appointee  to  the Board  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development and answered  questions from the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REX ROCK, Appointee                                                                                                             
to the Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                 
Point Hope, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  as appointee  to  the Board  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development and answered  questions from the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-21, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PEGGY WILSON called the  House Health, Education and Social                                                             
Services  Standing  Committee  meeting  to  order  at  3:02  p.m.                                                               
Representatives Wilson,  Gatto, Seaton, and Wolf  were present at                                                               
the call  to order.   Representatives Cissna and  Kapsner arrived                                                               
as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
confirmation  hearings  for  the   appointees  to  the  Board  of                                                               
Education  and Early  Development.   Chair Wilson  announced that                                                               
the appointees would be testifying via teleconference.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0072                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SHIRLEY HOLLOWAY, Ph.D., Appointee to  the Board of Education and                                                               
Early Development, gave a brief  history of her 40-year career in                                                               
education, 33 years of those in  Alaska.  She said that she hopes                                                               
her  experience, passion,  and  energy can  help  to continue  to                                                               
shape the best public education system for Alaska.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0174                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO   asked  if  a  new   commissioner  of  the                                                               
Department of  Education and Early  Development would  be someone                                                               
who had worked for her in the past.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DR. HOLLOWAY replied that is a distinct possibility.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  if it would be a  problem working for                                                               
someone she previously had working under her.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0243                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR. HOLLOWAY replied  that the commissioner of  the Department of                                                               
Education and  Early Development  serves at  the pleasure  of the                                                               
governor and the  Board of Education and Early  Development.  She                                                               
added that the  board is a governance and  policymaking body, not                                                               
an administrative or  management body as the department  is.  Dr.                                                               
Holloway said that  there is a distinct line  drawn between those                                                               
who manage and those who set policy.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 0294                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  made a motion to  advance the confirmation                                                               
of  Shirley Holloway,  appointee to  the Board  of Education  and                                                               
Early  Development,  to  the  joint  session  for  consideration.                                                               
There being  no objection, the  confirmation of  Shirley Holloway                                                               
was advanced.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0377                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD  MAUER, Appointee  to the  Board of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development, told  the committee he  looks forward to  serving on                                                               
the board  because he believes  the education system needs  to be                                                               
fully accountable.   Mr. Mauer said  he wants to assure  that the                                                               
state has  adequate facilities  and equitable  funding.   He told                                                               
the  committee he  sees the  new federal  legislation, "No  Child                                                               
Left  Behind Act,"  (NCLB)  as  an opportunity  to  work for  the                                                               
advancement of  the State's goals in  improving public education.                                                               
He  said  there  needs  to be  some  accommodation  for  Alaska's                                                               
uniqueness.   Mr. Mauer told  the committee he has  invested many                                                               
years in education and would like  to continue his service to the                                                               
State of Alaska.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0486                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  Mr. Mauer if he belongs  to any other                                                               
organizations that the committee would be familiar with.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAUER  replied  that  he   is  the  past  president  of  the                                                               
Association  of  Alaska School  Boards  [and  continues to  be  a                                                               
director]  and has  served on  the  local school  board in  Delta                                                               
Junction.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked if  Mr.  Mauer  sees a  conflict  in                                                               
serving  on the  Board  of Education  and  Early Development  and                                                               
still serving  as a  member of the  Association of  Alaska School                                                               
Boards.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAUER said  he sees no conflict whatsoever; in  fact, he told                                                               
the committee he believes one role complements the other.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0545                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked if there is  a specific focus he would want to                                                               
pursue  in  his service  on  the  Board  of Education  and  Early                                                               
Development.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAUER told the committee he  is very interested in the school                                                               
designator program  and efforts to  redesign it to meet  the NCLB                                                               
requirements.  He  told the committee this program  will be going                                                               
to the peer review committee  at the U.S. Department of Education                                                               
on March  12.  He  said this is  a critical element  in assisting                                                               
schools  to improve  student  achievement.   Mr.  Mauer told  the                                                               
committee he sees this program  as very constructive and he wants                                                               
to see it through.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO asked  Mr.  Mauer if  NCLB  would make  the                                                               
school designator program unnecessary.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAUER  replied that the  school designator program is  set in                                                               
state law, so the state would  be working on this program even if                                                               
there were no NCLB.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0756                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  made a motion to  advance the confirmation                                                               
of Richard Mauer,  appointee to the Board of  Education and Early                                                               
Development,  to  the joint  session  for  consideration.   There                                                               
being  no  objection,  the  confirmation  of  Richard  Mauer  was                                                               
advanced.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0842                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TIM  SCOTT,  Appointee  to  the  Board  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development,  gave   the  committee   a  brief  history   of  his                                                               
educational and  professional background.  He  told the committee                                                               
he currently is the chief  executive officer for a charter school                                                               
and has  been intimately involved  in school reform for  the past                                                               
four  years.   He said  that he  believes his  diverse background                                                               
will enable him  to meet the complex challenges  facing the state                                                               
in the implementation of the NCLB.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0926                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked  Mr. Scott at what point he  sees it necessary                                                               
to institute charter schools versus  working with the traditional                                                               
public schools to improve education.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCOTT  replied that he sees  no point where the  state should                                                               
ever stop trying  to improve public education  in the traditional                                                               
schools.    Charter  schools are  statutorily  available  and  an                                                               
outstanding  option.   The  approval  process  for instituting  a                                                               
charter  school is  a long  and involved  process.   Local school                                                               
districts  are the  sponsoring agent  and he  believes that  is a                                                               
good  thing, although  with  some  of his  peers  that  is not  a                                                               
popular view.   Mr. Scott  also said he believes  charter schools                                                               
are  helping  traditional  schools  to make  changes  to  improve                                                               
education.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1029                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked  if  he was  a  participant  in  the                                                               
creation of a charter school.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCOTT replied that he has  been involved with the creation of                                                               
Frontier Charter School in Anchorage.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked  how  many charter  schools  are  in                                                               
Anchorage not including Frontier Charter School.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCOTT replied that there are only three.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  Mr. Scott if he considers  them to be                                                               
successful.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SCOTT said  that  depends on  how success  is  defined.   If                                                               
success  is defined  by enrollment,  then the  schools have  been                                                               
successful.  He explained that  when it comes to charter schools,                                                               
they  each have  their own  flavor.   He cited  one case  where a                                                               
charter school closed  because it got into a financial  bind.  He                                                               
said  that   particular  charter   school  served   an  important                                                               
population,  had  some good  ideas,  and  did some  good  things.                                                               
However, it was unsuccessful financially.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO   asked  if  charter  schools   excel  over                                                               
traditional public schools.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCOTT replied  that he knows Family  Partnership does because                                                               
it is involved in the performance review in the district.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  how many students are  typically in a                                                               
charter school classroom.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCOTT  said that depends  on the makeup  of the charter.   He                                                               
said that Family  Partnership School serves home  school kids, so                                                               
all the school  has is four walls  and a desk.  He  said he knows                                                               
that other  charter schools in the  district tend to have  20 and                                                               
less.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked if  the charter  school Mr.  Scott is                                                               
involved with has a building.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCOTT  told the  committee the charter  school has  an office                                                               
building  in mid-town,  and  is set  up like  a  business with  a                                                               
records office and  support to parents.  He said  the children do                                                               
not meet at that location.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1198                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  made a motion to  advance the confirmation                                                               
of  Tim Scott,  appointee to  the  Board of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development,  to  the joint  session  for  consideration.   There                                                               
being no objection, the confirmation of Tim Scott was advanced.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON told the committee  the two remaining appointees are                                                               
not  on line  yet,  so  the committee  will  come  back to  their                                                               
confirmation as they are available.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HCR 8-INHALANTS AND POISONS AWARENESS WEEK                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1250                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION NO.  8, "Requesting the  Governor to                                                               
declare  March  16  -  22,  2003, to  be  Inhalants  and  Poisons                                                               
Awareness Week."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1275                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER,   sponsor  of   HCR  8,   explained  the                                                               
importance  of the  resolution before  the committee,  which asks                                                               
the  governor to  proclaim Inhalant  and  Poison Abuse  Awareness                                                               
Week.   She told  the committee  the proclamation  would coincide                                                               
with the  national Inhalant and  Poisons Awareness Week  on March                                                               
16-22.    Representative  Kapsner  said she  knows  many  of  the                                                               
members are  aware of the  serious problem inhalant abuse  is for                                                               
Alaska;  however, she  believes  there is  a long  way  to go  in                                                               
educating Alaska  and the nation in  understanding the prevalence                                                               
of inhalant abuse and the resulting damage that can occur.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER pointed out  that inhalants are not drugs;                                                               
most of  the substances  people huff are  not contraband.   There                                                               
are over  1,400 commonly  used and  legal household,  office, and                                                               
classroom products that can be used  to get high.  Inhalant highs                                                               
are the result  of intensive penetration of  toxic chemicals into                                                               
the brain tissue, where they  are capable of causing irreversible                                                               
damage.  She  told the committee there is a  perception that this                                                               
may be a  rural problem or a  Native problem, but it is  not.  It                                                               
is  a national  epidemic.   In a  1999 nationwide  survey of  8th                                                               
graders 19.5 percent said they  had used inhalants, compared with                                                               
22 percent  who have  tried marijuana  and hashish.   The  use is                                                               
comparable.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER told  the committee  that in  addition to                                                               
brain, liver,  lung, and  bone marrow  damage, there  is evidence                                                               
that  chronic  abuse of  some  inhalants  causes chromosomal  and                                                               
fetal damage.   Inhalant abuse can occur in children  as young as                                                               
four, five,  or six  years old,  if they  are huffing  with their                                                               
older brothers  and sisters.   Inhalant abuse  is very  common in                                                               
adolescent  years, and  it is  often recognized  as a  gateway to                                                               
abuse of other illicit substances.   Seventy percent of one group                                                               
of  substance  abusers  who  were  in  treatment  indicated  they                                                               
started with inhalants.  Seventy  percent said they would go back                                                               
to  inhalants  if alcohol  was  not  available.   Many  treatment                                                               
facilities employees  use gas tank  locks for  their automobiles,                                                               
because so  many people in  treatment go  out looking for  a high                                                               
and go to their gas tanks.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER  explained that because the  chemicals and                                                               
inhalants enter the lungs in  such high concentrations, they have                                                               
a  higher toxic  profile  than other  types of  drug  abuse.   It                                                               
actually takes  four to  six weeks  to detoxify  inhalant abusers                                                               
just so they can start treatment.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said  she hopes awareness of  the signs of                                                               
use become widely known.  Some  of the common signs include paint                                                               
or  stains  on  the  body,   clothing,  rags,  or  bags;  missing                                                               
abuseable substances  from the  home; spots  or sores  around the                                                               
mouth; red or runny eyes or  nose; a chemical breath or odor, and                                                               
a  dazed, drunk,  or dizzy  appearance.   Other  signs which  may                                                               
accompany   abuse  are   nausea,  loss   of  appetite,   anxiety,                                                               
excitability,    irritability,     relentlessness,    unexplained                                                               
moodiness,  slurred  or  disoriented  speech,  and  outbursts  or                                                               
anger.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1530                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  what a common profile  of an inhalant                                                               
abuser would be.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER   replied  that  there  are   no  typical                                                               
profiles for  inhalant abusers.   She  said sniffers  and huffers                                                               
are  represented by  both sexes;  they are  urban and  rural; and                                                               
they come  from all socioeconomic  groups throughout  the country                                                               
and Alaska.   She  told the committee  inhalant abusers  range in                                                               
age from elementary and middle-school age children to adults.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO agreed that  adults use inhalants - smoking,                                                               
for  instance.   He  noted  that  perfumes  are  also a  form  of                                                               
inhalant.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1566                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  said as a  nurse, she  has worked in  the emergency                                                               
room when  an individual has come  in who has been  involved in a                                                               
chemical spill.   She said  in a  case when victims  have inhaled                                                               
fumes, they may  appear fine initially, hospital  staff watch the                                                               
victims closely because the damage  to the lungs may appear later                                                               
when  they  may start  experiencing  breathing  problems.   Chair                                                               
Wilson  asked if  inhalant abusers  experience the  same type  of                                                               
symptoms.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1599                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KAPSNER  said   she  believes   with  accidental                                                               
inhalants there may  be a delay before the  effects would appear;                                                               
however, with huffing the response is  much quicker.  There is an                                                               
instant  high,  which  is  the  reason  why  some  people  prefer                                                               
inhalants to  contraband drugs.   The  inhalant goes  through the                                                               
lungs, and  is an instant high.   In talking with  village public                                                               
safety officers [VPSO],  [she has found] they  are very concerned                                                               
about inhalant abuse.   One reason is that it  is not illegal and                                                               
it is not even a violation of  state law to huff.  Another reason                                                               
is  that  inhalants  dull  the  pain receptors.    She  told  the                                                               
committee VPSOs are only equipped with  a billy club, and even if                                                               
they are  only trying  to subdue the  victim or  inhalant abuser,                                                               
such  a  person  is  almost   unstoppable  because  his/her  pain                                                               
receptors are not working.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1672                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER told the  committee that with this limited                                                               
amount  of knowledge,  most  Alaskans do  not  know enough  about                                                               
inhalants  and  the seriousness  of  its  abuse.   She  said  her                                                               
primary concern is for the  young people who abuse inhalants, not                                                               
knowing  there  can be  irreversible  brain  damage, bone  marrow                                                               
damage, and  lung damage.   She said  young children  are setting                                                               
themselves up to have developmentally  disabled children, and the                                                               
cost to the  state is really quite exorbitant  when people become                                                               
retarded  from the  abuse.   The symptoms  are a  lot like  Fetal                                                               
Alcohol Syndrome  [FAS].  One  of the major differences  that she                                                               
has  heard from  Jim Henkelman  [Statewide Outreach  Coordinator,                                                               
Tundra    Swan     Treatment   Program, Yukon-Kuskokwim    Health                                                               
Corporation] is that FAS children  do not have a long-term memory                                                               
and do  have a lot  of childhood memories.   Most people  who are                                                               
inhalant  abusers say  that  they lost  their  memory after  they                                                               
started huffing.   They have  the long-term memory; they  just do                                                               
not have the short-term memory.   Representative Kapsner told the                                                               
committee Jim  Henkelman, who is  the state's expert  on inhalant                                                               
abuse, would  like to give  the committee a presentation  on this                                                               
subject.  Representative Kapsner said  she would like to see this                                                               
resolution  pass  and  hopes  the  governor  proclaims  March  16                                                               
through the 22 as Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1741                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER  noted  that some  statistics  that  were                                                               
provided to  the committee in  a brochure say that  children five                                                               
years and  under account for the  majority - 53 percent  - of the                                                               
exposures  to poison.    The graph  of  substances involved  like                                                               
cleaning  supplies  in household  exposures  shows  125 cases  in                                                               
people over 20 years old.   Representative Kapsner said this does                                                               
not appear to  be accidental poisoning.  It looks  more as though                                                               
huffing was involved.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1754                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  commented that  Representative  Kapsner's                                                               
statement about  the pain receptors  made her realize  what might                                                               
have happened with a foster daughter.   She told the committee as                                                               
a teen, her foster daughter was  exchanging a jar of gasoline and                                                               
huffing with a  cousin who was burned badly when  the cousin took                                                               
a drag on  a cigarette, it fell  into the jar, and  it flamed up,                                                               
melting one  side of  her face.   Representative Cissna  said she                                                               
believes impairment  of the girl's pain  receptors contributed to                                                               
this tragic  event.   In a normal  situation an  individual would                                                               
drop the  jar, but  if a  person were  huffing he/she  would have                                                               
lost that instant reaction.  She  asked if there is any record of                                                               
these kinds of accidents, and if so, how many there are.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said Jim Henkelman might know the answer.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA said  inhalant  abuse and  the effects  on                                                               
kids is  much more extraordinary than  alcohol.  It is  far worse                                                               
than can be imagined.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER  agreed and said  it is a  silent epidemic                                                               
and is claiming the lives of a lot of people nationwide.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO said that the  more volatile a substance is,                                                               
the more  valuable it is to  someone that is an  inhalant abuser.                                                               
If the substance  is volatile then it becomes a  gas very easily,                                                               
and  is  flammable  and very  hazardous.    Representative  Gatto                                                               
pointed out  that once it gets  into the lungs it  is transported                                                               
quickly  to an  individual's heart  and then  to the  brain.   It                                                               
takes  only seconds  to have  an impact  on individual's  brain -                                                               
anesthetizing  it.   He  said  inhaling  alcohol is  also  pretty                                                               
instantaneous, not  ethyl alcohol that is  normally ingested, but                                                               
wood  alcohol.   Representative Gatto  said it  is an  enormously                                                               
horrible thing  to do to  anything that  is alive.   He expressed                                                               
concern for a method of  changing abusers' behaviors, and said he                                                               
believes this resolution is a start.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER noted that there  is a zero fiscal note on                                                               
the resolution.   She shared  one more point with  the committee,                                                               
that inhalants  are the fourth most  abused substances [following                                                               
alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana] among high school students.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1952                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ZOANN  MURPHY,  Health  and Social  Services  Planner,  Community                                                               
Health  and  Emergency  Medical  Services  Section,  Division  of                                                               
Public  Health,   Department  of  Health  and   Social  Services,                                                               
testified  in support  of  HCR 8.   She  told  the committee  her                                                               
duties  include injury  prevention and  she would  like to  speak                                                               
about  the poison  prevention  portion of  the  resolution.   Ms.                                                               
Murphy [holding  up a  highlighter pen]  told the  committee this                                                               
would be  very valuable to  a teen who wanted  to huff.   All the                                                               
other substances the committee spoke  about are dangerous, but so                                                               
is a highlighter and it can be picked  up for $.99.  She told the                                                               
committee she puts together the  annual report for poison control                                                               
for the  State of Alaska.   Poisoning is the tenth  leading cause                                                               
of  injury  death  and  the eighth  leading  cause  of  non-fatal                                                               
hospitalized  injuries to  Alaskan children  ages 0-19  from 1994                                                               
through  1998  [the  most current  statistics  available].    Ms.                                                               
Murphy told the  committee the national fatal  poisoning rate for                                                               
the years  1994 through 1999  is 6.5 for  100,000.  Alaska  has a                                                               
very small population  with a very large problem.   She urged the                                                               
committee to pass HCR 8.   Ms. Murphy provided the committee with                                                               
background information on the  injury surveillance and prevention                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2092                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked about the  map on Alaska for the rate                                                               
per 100,000  [population] by  region from  1994 through  1999 and                                                               
asked if the  rate was a total  for all five years  or an average                                                               
yearly rate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MURPHY responded that it  is for the entire time period from                                                               
1994 through 1999.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  responded that  if these  rates are  for a                                                               
five-year period  and if the committee  wanted to look at  it per                                                               
year, then, for example, the total  for the "Interior (Rural)"  -                                                               
which is 51.31, divided by 5, gives a rate of 10 per year.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. MURPHY  said she does  have a chart that  shows approximately                                                               
nine children under  the age of four are  injured severely enough                                                               
to be hospitalized  [statistics  from trauma registry data].  She                                                               
told the  committee the statistics  are dated and  the department                                                               
is still working on the 2000 and 2001 data.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  if the  comparison with  the United                                                               
States that she provided was based on an annual rate.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. MURPHY replied that it was also a five-year rate.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked if there  is any substantial research                                                               
done on this  subject.  She asked where the  department gets most                                                               
of the information on kinds of incidents and prevention efforts.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2148                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MURPHY replied  that the information comes from  a variety of                                                               
sources.  The  report provided to the committee  was put together                                                               
by  the  Oregon  Poison  Center [an  organization  the  state  is                                                               
collaborating   with].     She  told   the  committee   her  rate                                                               
information  came from  the  Alaska Trauma  Registry  which is  a                                                               
registry  that  lists  all  hospitalized  patients  and  fatality                                                               
information,  which is  provided by  the Alaska  Bureau of  Vital                                                               
Statistics.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked  if there is any effort  in Alaska to                                                               
look  for  funding  sources  to do  extensive  research  on  this                                                               
subject.   She said  when Alaska  finds it is  the leader  in the                                                               
nation in some  indicator, it is important to  find solutions and                                                               
export that knowledge.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. MURPHY  responded that  the department is  in the  process of                                                               
doing that  under a federal  HRSA [Health Resources  and Services                                                               
Administration] grant.   In fact,  this is how the  poison center                                                               
collaboration effort  came about.   She said  currently education                                                               
has focused  on getting  the word  out on  the 1-800  number, but                                                               
expressed hope that the next  round of federal grant funding will                                                               
allow  the   department  to  expand  that   into  more  community                                                               
outreach.   Ms. Murphy  said she is  currently attending  as many                                                               
health fairs as possible to get the word out.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER said  she believes  the numbers  are very                                                               
low.   She asked how  the department is characterizing  fatal and                                                               
nonfatal  poisonings in  Alaska.   She  told Ms.  Murphy that  it                                                               
seems  artificially low  to find  only  20 people  in her  region                                                               
having a fatal or non-fatal poisoning during a five-year period.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2243                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MURPHY replied  the  number is  a rate  per  100,000, not  a                                                               
number of individuals.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said the figure still seems very low.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MURPHY said the numbers vary from year to year.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER  asked   if  poisonings  would  including                                                               
people who die of inhalant abuse.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. MURPHY  replied that  it would  include inhalant  deaths, but                                                               
most of the poisonings that  are reported to the poisoning center                                                               
do  not include  inhalants,  because generally  by  the time  the                                                               
victim has gotten to the  hospital the condition is classified as                                                               
a poisoning.   She said that  could change, but it  would require                                                               
going back over the numbers.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER  said a number  of years ago, five  or six                                                               
people died  in one of  the villages  because the person  who was                                                               
running the  water treatment  facility put  too much  fluoride in                                                               
the water.  Would that be classified as a poisoning?                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. MURPHY replied that it would be classified as a poisoning.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said he  does  not  think the  statistics                                                               
relate to the problem the  Kenai Peninsula is experiencing.  This                                                               
rate of  28.43 per  100,000 people for  five years  would reflect                                                               
less  than one  person per  year.   He said  if it  was just  his                                                               
district  it  might  be  plausible;   however,  there  are  three                                                               
districts on the Kenai Peninsula.   Representative Seaton said he                                                               
does  not   believe  these  statistics   reflect  the   issue  of                                                               
recreational huffing.   He said  he believes Ms.  Murphy's report                                                               
is dealing with a different problem.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2358                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA moved  to report  HCR 8  out of  committee                                                               
with individual  recommendations and a  zero fiscal note.   There                                                               
being no  objection, HCR  8 was reported  from the  House Health,                                                               
Education and Social Services Committee.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-21, SIDE B                                                                                                            
Number 2315                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON  announced  that  the  committee  would  return  to                                                               
confirmation hearings  for appointees  to the Board  of Education                                                               
and Early Development.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SYLVIA REYNOLDS,  Appointee to the  Board of Education  and Early                                                               
Development, gave the  committee a brief history of  her 24 years                                                               
of service in public education, 18  of those in Alaska.  She told                                                               
the  committee she  has served  in numerous  positions throughout                                                               
the state including  schools in Nome, Juneau, and  Soldotna.  She                                                               
said the  experience she  has provides her  with a  background of                                                               
working with students from  early education through postsecondary                                                               
education.     Ms.  Reynolds   highlighted  her   background  and                                                               
experience in teaching and administration.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2275                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF asked  if  her service  on  the board  would                                                               
prevent  her  from  continuing her  work  at  K-Beach  Elementary                                                               
School.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REYNOLDS  told  the  committee   she  has  taken  that  into                                                               
consideration and  believes that with  the help of a  young woman                                                               
who  is  doing  her  administrative  internship;  she  will  have                                                               
someone to cover for her while she attends meetings.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF told  the committee  that  Ms. Reynolds  has                                                               
done  an excellent  job as  principal  and that  he believes  she                                                               
would be an excellent choice.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2229                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON asked  if she  sees  a difference  in education  in                                                               
Alaska as opposed to other states she has worked in.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REYNOLDS  responded  that  is a  difficult  question.    She                                                               
believes the  great challenge facing  Alaska will be  meeting the                                                               
NCLB  requirements.    She  said  while  everyone  supports  that                                                               
concept, there are many paths to  achieve this goal.  She pointed                                                               
out  that some  students  need to  leave school  in  April to  go                                                               
whaling, and  she sees a  benefit to bringing that  activity into                                                               
the curriculum.   That approach  is very different  compared with                                                               
how school curriculum  is administered in Anchorage  or the Kenai                                                               
Peninsula.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  shared her  experience with  a school  system where                                                               
classes started three  weeks early so many of  the students could                                                               
go moose hunting  and build a cabin.  She  said that activity was                                                               
done in the first three weeks of school.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REYNOLDS  agreed that  anytime  there  is hands-on  learning                                                               
outside the institution, it will be beneficial.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2139                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO   asked  why  she  changed   from  being  a                                                               
principal at Soldotna High School to K-Beach Elementary School.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REYNOLDS  said she  believes  that  after  five years  in  a                                                               
leadership role a  principal needs to evaluate if  the school has                                                               
moved ahead.   She  said after  seven years  she believed  it was                                                               
time  to give  someone else  a  chance to  come in  and give  the                                                               
school  other gifts  that she  may not  have had.   She  told the                                                               
committee  both high  school and  elementary schools  are equally                                                               
challenging.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked what the "710" budget means.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REYNOLDS responded  that the  710 budget  is the  activities                                                               
budget.  She  said the funds could roll over.   Ms. Reynolds said                                                               
with budgets declining,  these funds made it possible  for her to                                                               
do things for  Soldotna High School that she  would otherwise not                                                               
be able to do.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2048                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF made a motion  to advance the confirmation of                                                               
Sylvia Reynolds,  appointee to the  Board of Education  and Early                                                               
Development,  to  the joint  session  for  consideration.   There                                                               
being  no  objection, the  confirmation  of  Sylvia Reynolds  was                                                               
advanced.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2024                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REX  ROCK,  Appointee  to  the   Board  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development, gave  the committee a  brief history of  his service                                                               
in public  education.   He told the  committee he  graduated from                                                               
high  school  in   Point  Hope  and  the   University  of  Alaska                                                               
Fairbanks.   He  said  he  has been  serving  on  the Point  Hope                                                               
Advisory Council  for the past  12 to 15  years and has  been the                                                               
basketball coach  at the Point Hope  High School.  Mr.  Rock said                                                               
he has  two children  who are currently  attending school  at the                                                               
University of  Alaska.   He said  he loves to  work for  kids and                                                               
that is his main reason for wanting to serve.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTO  asked   how  Point   Hope  is   doing  in                                                               
basketball.   He noted that Mr.  Rock was honored by  being named                                                               
State Coach of the Year.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROCK  replied that their current  record this year is  15 and                                                               
4.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1963                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF made a motion  to advance the confirmation of                                                               
Rex  Rock,  appointee  to  the   Board  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development,  to  the joint  session  for  consideration.   There                                                               
being no objection, the confirmation of Rex Rock was advanced.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1955                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee meeting                                                                
was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.                                                                                                      

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