Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/20/2004 02:15 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                                                                                     
                         April 20, 2004                                                                                         
                           2:15 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Peggy Wilson, Chair                                                                                              
Representative Carl Gatto, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Kelly Wolf                                                                                                       
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mary Kapsner                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 543                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to medical  assistance coverage for prescription                                                               
drugs; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 543(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 176                                                                                                              
"An  Act  providing  that certain  obligors  can  receive  credit                                                               
against  their  child support  obligation  for  certain types  of                                                               
noncash child support; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 176(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 373                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to residency  and internship permits  issued by                                                               
the State Medical Board; and providing for an effective date."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 373 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 179(FIN)                                                                                                 
"An  Act  relating to  criminal  history  records and  background                                                               
checks; allowing  persons to teach  in the public schools  for up                                                               
to five months  without a teaching certificate if  the person has                                                               
applied for a certificate and  the application has not been acted                                                               
upon by the Department of  Education and Early Development due to                                                               
a delay  in receiving criminal history  records; allowing teacher                                                               
certification for certain persons based on a criminal history                                                                   
background check without fingerprints; and providing for an                                                                     
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HCS CSSB179(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 543                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MEDICAID AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS                                                                                    
SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
03/25/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/25/04       (H)       HES                                                                                                    
04/01/04       (H)       HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/01/04       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/06/04       (H)       HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/06/04       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/13/04       (H)       HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/13/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/13/04       (H)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
04/20/04       (H)       HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 176                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NONCASH CHILD SUPPORT                                                                                              
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) COGHILL                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
03/07/03       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/07/03       (H)       HES, JUD                                                                                               
04/13/04       (H)       HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/13/04       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/20/04       (H)       HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 373                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PHYSICIAN INTERNS AND RESIDENTS                                                                                    
SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
03/19/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/19/04       (S)       HES                                                                                                    
03/22/04       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/22/04       (S)       Moved SB 373 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/22/04       (S)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
03/24/04       (S)       HES RPT 4DP 1NR                                                                                        
03/24/04       (S)       DP: DYSON, GREEN, WILKEN, DAVIS;                                                                       
03/24/04       (S)       NR: GUESS                                                                                              
03/26/04       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
03/26/04       (S)       VERSION: SB 373                                                                                        
03/29/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/29/04       (H)       HES                                                                                                    
04/06/04       (H)       HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/06/04       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/20/04       (H)       HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 179                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS/TEACHERS                                                                                
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) THERRIAULT                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
04/08/03       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/08/03       (S)       HES, FIN                                                                                               
04/16/03       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/16/03       (S)       Moved CSSB 179(HES) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/16/03       (S)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
05/10/03       (S)       HES RPT CS 2DP 1NR            NEW TITLE                                                                
05/10/03       (S)       DP: DYSON, WILKEN; NR: DAVIS                                                                           
05/13/03       (H)       FIN AT 8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                      
05/13/03       (S)       <Above Item Removed from Agenda>                                                                       
05/13/03       (S)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/08/04       (S)       FIN RPT CS  5DP 2NR       NEW TITLE                                                                    
03/08/04       (S)       DP: GREEN, WILKEN, DYSON, BUNDE,                                                                       
03/08/04       (S)       STEVENS B; NR: HOFFMAN, OLSON                                                                          
03/08/04       (S)       FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                      
03/08/04       (S)       Moved CSSB 179(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/08/04       (S)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/15/04       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
03/15/04       (S)       VERSION: CSSB 179(FIN)                                                                                 
03/16/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/16/04       (H)       EDU, HES, JUD                                                                                          
03/23/04       (H)       EDU AT 11:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                            
03/23/04       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/23/04       (H)       MINUTE(EDU)                                                                                            
03/24/04       (H)       EDU RPT 4DP 1NR 1AM                                                                                    
03/24/04       (H)       DP: WILSON, OGG, SEATON, GATTO;                                                                        
03/24/04       (H)       NR: KAPSNER; AM: WOLF                                                                                  
04/20/04       (H)       HES AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
RYNNIEVA MOSS, Staff                                                                                                            
to Representative John Coghill                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 176 for Representative                                                                        
Coghill, sponsor of HB 176 and answered questions from the                                                                      
members.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DIANE WENDLANDT, Chief Assistant Attorney General                                                                               
Statewide Section Supervisor                                                                                                    
Civil Division                                                                                                                  
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 176 and answered questions                                                                 
from the members.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JOHN MALLONEE, Acting Director                                                                                                  
Child Support Enforcement Division                                                                                              
Department of Revenue                                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 176 and answered questions                                                                 
from the members.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ZACK WARWICK, Staff                                                                                                             
to Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 179 for Senator Therriault,                                                                   
sponsor of SB 179.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DAVID SCHADE, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Statewide Services                                                                                                  
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 179.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Kathryn Monfreda, Chief                                                                                                         
Criminal Records                                                                                                                
Division of Statewide Services                                                                                                  
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 179.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CYNDY CURRAN, Teacher Education and Certification                                                                               
Teaching and Learning Support                                                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 179 and answered questions                                                                 
from the members.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    As  sponsor,  testified  on  SB  179  and                                                               
answered questions from the members.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PAULA HARRISON, Director                                                                                                        
Human Resources Department                                                                                                      
Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District                                                                                       
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified on SB 179  and answered questions                                                               
from the members.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-33, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PEGGY WILSON called the  House Health, Education and Social                                                             
Services  Standing  Committee  meeting  to  order  at  2:15  p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Wilson, Gatto,  Wolf, Coghill,  and Seaton  were                                                               
present at the  call to order.  Representative  Cissna arrived as                                                               
the  meeting  was  in  progress.     Representative  Kapsner  was                                                               
excused.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 543-MEDICAID AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0144                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 543,  "An  Act  relating to  medical  assistance                                                               
coverage for  prescription drugs; and providing  for an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON reminded  the members  that HB  543 has  been heard                                                               
twice before; therefore there will be no public testimony today.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0221                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE Coghill moved  to adopt HB 543, version  H, as the                                                               
working  document.   There  being  no  objection, version  H  was                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0292                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON moved to adopt  Amendment 1, [labeled 23-LS1835\H.1,                                                               
Mischel, 4/8/04] which reads as follows:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, lines 27 - 30:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Delete:  "a   preferred  drug   list  adopted   by  the                                                                    
     Department  of Health  and Social  Services before  the                                                                    
     effective  date of  this Act  may be  implemented until                                                                    
     the effective  date of  regulations adopted  under this                                                                    
     Act or  until six  months after  the effective  date of                                                                    
     this Act, whichever date occurs first"                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Insert:  "a  preferred  drug   list  initiated  by  the                                                                    
     Department  of Health  and Social  Services before  the                                                                    
     effective  date  of  this  Act  must  be  reviewed  for                                                                    
     consistency  with regulations  adopted  under this  Act                                                                    
     and may  not be  implemented before the  effective date                                                                    
     of the regulations adopted under  this Act, except that                                                                    
     a   prescription  drug   list   initiated  before   the                                                                    
     effective  date  of this  Act  may  be implemented  for                                                                    
     prescription  drug  coverage   under  the  senior  care                                                                    
     program established  under ch.  3, SLA 2004,  until the                                                                    
     effective date  of regulations  adopted under  this Act                                                                    
     or until  six months after  the effective date  of this                                                                    
     Act, whichever date first occurs"                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON began  discussion on Amendment 1  by explaining that                                                               
by deleting current language and  inserting new language it would                                                               
require that  the prescription  drug list  (PDL) be  reviewed for                                                               
consistency with  regulations that are adopted  by the Department                                                               
of Health  and Social Services.   She added that the  PDL for the                                                               
senior   care  program   which  was   initiated  prior   to  this                                                               
legislation is  exempt.  Chair  Wilson reiterated that it  is not                                                               
her  intention to  negate  what  has already  been  done, but  to                                                               
ensure that  the PDL  still be  reviewed.   The review  must take                                                               
place  within  six  months  or  by  the  effective  date  of  the                                                               
regulations, whichever date is first, she summarized.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0426                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  stated that  she believes it  is essential  to have                                                               
regulations in  place so  that if  there are  changes to  be made                                                               
there  is a  guarantee that  those  changes must  go through  the                                                               
administrative procedures process.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA said  she is objecting because HB  543 is a                                                               
very complicated bill  and she needs more time to  figure out how                                                               
this amendment affects the PDL.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  told the members  that Alaska  is one of  33 states                                                               
that  has a  PDL, and  is included  in that  list because  of the                                                               
Senior Care  program.  All  of the  states who have  PDLs, except                                                               
Ohio,  have  implemented it  through  regulation  to ensure  that                                                               
there is clarity in the parameters of the PDL.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked for the  source of the list of states                                                               
with PDLs.   She said  she would like  to know what  the programs                                                               
are like  because she  suspects they may  be very  different from                                                               
each other.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON agreed  that each state is different.   She said she                                                               
believes  this is  important  because it  is  essential that  the                                                               
department follow  through with  a consistent  regulated process.                                                               
It  is the  legislature's  duty  to ensure  this  is done,  Chair                                                               
Wilson emphasized.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0561                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  shared  that  last year  she  went  to  a                                                               
meeting in Chicago conducted by  the National Conference of State                                                               
Legislatures (NCSL).   One of  the workshops focused on  PDLs and                                                               
the  experiences of  other states,  she said.   There  is a  huge                                                               
lobby  effort  from  the  pharmaceutical  companies  and  doctors                                                               
because   it  brings   down  a   lot  of   expenditures  to   the                                                               
pharmaceutical  companies.   The  prices  of pharmaceuticals  are                                                               
going up faster than any other  sector in the health care market.                                                               
Representative  Cissna   told  the  members  that   this  is  one                                                               
reasonable way  to bring the costs  down.  She agreed  with Chair                                                               
Wilson on the importance of oversight  in this process.  She said                                                               
her only concern  is that this requirement may  make it difficult                                                               
for the department get at this as soon as is needed.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 0683                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON  commented that  the  amendment  was given  to  the                                                               
members at the last meeting.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0695                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said  that he is trying to  figure out what                                                               
the  effect of  this  would  be.   He  said  he understands  this                                                               
amendment would allow for the PDL  to go forward under the Senior                                                               
Care  program.   However, it  would prevent  that PDL  from being                                                               
applied to any other Medicaid  program until regulations could be                                                               
adopted and a new drug  list constructed in compliance with those                                                               
regulations.   What  is  the  fiscal impact  of  that change,  he                                                               
asked.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON  replied  that the  department  makes  and  changes                                                               
regulations in other  areas all the time.  That  cost is normally                                                               
absorbed in the  department's budget.  She told  the members that                                                               
there is a fiscal note in  this case and believes it was included                                                               
to stop the bill.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON clarified  that he  is not  speaking about                                                               
the fiscal  note with respect  to creating regulations.   The way                                                               
this is set out means the  PDL, the savings that were anticipated                                                               
cannot go  into effect  until regulations,  and a  new PDL  is in                                                               
place.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON  responded that  lot  depends  on how  quickly  the                                                               
department  works to  implement  the regulations  and  PDL.   She                                                               
added that it will not be $20 million.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked if there is a revised fiscal note.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON replied that there is a zero fiscal note.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0850                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A  roll  call vote  was  taken.   Representatives  Wolf,  Seaton,                                                               
Wilson,   and   Gatto   voted    in   favor   of   Amendment   1.                                                               
Representatives Cissna voted against  it.  Therefore, Amendment 1                                                               
passed by a vote of 4-1.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0932                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON moved Amendment 2, which reads as follows:                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 2:                                                                                                            
     Delete "January 1"                                                                                                         
     Insert "March 1"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  explained that  this amendment  delays the  date of                                                               
implementation of  a PDL  on mental health  drugs.   She reminded                                                               
the members  of discussions concerning  the importance  of making                                                               
sure  the PDL  is  working and  the  process is  in  place.   The                                                               
department told  the members  that its  plan was  to wait  a year                                                               
before working on mental health drugs.   This date would be about                                                               
a year  from now,  while the  legislature is  in session  and can                                                               
observe any changes, she added.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0989                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  objected   for  purposes  of  discussion.                                                               
There  is a  six-month period  for  the department  to adopt  and                                                               
implement   regulations.     This  amendment   would  create   an                                                               
additional two-month  delay, he commented.   He told  the members                                                               
that he  does not  see the point  in delaying  the implementation                                                               
another two  months unless it  is the legislature's  intention to                                                               
overturn the regulations  the department adopts.  If  that is the                                                               
case,  then  all  the  work  the department  had  done  would  be                                                               
negated, and  it would have to  start over again and  which would                                                               
mean another one-year delay would occur.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON told  the  members she  feels  strongly about  this                                                               
amendment.  The  separation of powers for checks  and balances is                                                               
essential.   She stated that she  wants the legislature to  be in                                                               
session when these changes occur so  there is an awareness of the                                                               
impact of these changes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1093                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  questioned  the purpose  of  singling  out                                                               
psychotropic drugs  for special treatment.   He said  he believes                                                               
that   any   class   of   drugs   deserves   special   treatment.                                                               
Representative   Gatto  said   he   would  like   to  hear   some                                                               
justification for this.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1112                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  explained that there  has been testimony  about the                                                               
history of mental health treatment.   At one time API was full to                                                               
capacity and  now the  new facility  is much  smaller.   Over the                                                               
years  drugs  have been  developed  that  allow individuals  with                                                               
mental illness to  lead productive lives.  She  said she believes                                                               
changing  medication on  these people  could end  up costing  the                                                               
state more  money because of  additional hospitalization.   Chair                                                               
Wilson pointed  out that many  of the  states have chosen  not to                                                               
put  mental health  drugs on  the PDL  at all.   There  have been                                                               
cases  where individuals  were taken  off of  drugs and  suicides                                                               
occurred.  She  cautioned that there needs to be  great care with                                                               
respect to these  drugs.  Chair Wilson clarified that  she is not                                                               
saying  don't include  these drugs  on  the PDL,  but to  proceed                                                               
slowly and carefully.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked how this  would proceed.  He asked if                                                               
it would  be a  case where  individual patient's  drug treatments                                                               
would  be  monitored   to  see  how  they   react  to  treatment.                                                               
Representative  Seaton  reiterated  that  the  bill  sets  out  a                                                               
program where  the department must  adopt regulations,  and there                                                               
is a  delay to ensure  implementation is working.   He questioned                                                               
what the legislature would be  monitoring because he does not see                                                               
it reviewing individual drugs for inclusion in the PDL.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON responded  that mental health patients  are far more                                                               
fragile  than  other patients.    She  said  she believes  it  is                                                               
important  to  proceed  in  a   smooth  and  careful  way.    The                                                               
department told  the committee that  it planned to wait  one year                                                               
before  reviewing  psychotropic drugs.    However,  she said  she                                                               
found out that  the department was referring to  the fiscal year,                                                               
not the calendar year.  At  the next meeting the PDL Committee is                                                               
planning on taking  up these drugs with the  intention of putting                                                               
the PDL  in place starting  July 1.   That is not  the impression                                                               
the committee was left with originally, she stated.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON maintained his objection.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1322                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  told the  members that he  believes there                                                               
is already increased scrutiny on  psychotropic drugs.  He pointed                                                               
out  that  there will  be  a  new  session  in January  when  the                                                               
legislature  can review  the  progress.   Representative  Coghill                                                               
said he is concerned about  the cost-containment issue related to                                                               
the delay.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1434                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  replied that she believes  it is important                                                               
that the legislature already be  in session when the changes take                                                               
effect.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1439                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  said he does  not think this  date change                                                               
will make any difference and opposes the amendment.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote was  taken.   Representative  Wilson voted  in                                                               
favor  of Amendment  2.   Representatives  Gatto, Wolf,  Coghill,                                                               
Seaton,  and Cissna  voted against  it.   Therefore, Amendment  2                                                               
failed to be adopted by a vote of 1-5.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1491                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  REPRESENTATIVE   moved  Amendment  3,  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     On Page 2                                                                                                                  
     Delete: Lines [2] and 4                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON explained that  this section relates to the                                                               
regulations that will be adopted  and he believes this subsection                                                               
is  inappropriate because  this appeal  refers to  "person" which                                                               
could  mean a  company,  not just  an individual.    He told  the                                                               
members that he has spoken with  some of the industry members and                                                               
agreed that  it would not  be their  intention to have  each drug                                                               
manufacturer appeal each decision which  would then slow down the                                                               
construction  of  the PDL.    Appeals  for patients  are  already                                                               
covered  in  subsection (4),  he  added.   Representative  Seaton                                                               
commented  that he  believes it  was  just a  drafting error  and                                                               
should be eliminated.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON withdrew  her objection.   There  being no  further                                                               
objection, Amendment 3 was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1588                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON directed the  members' attention to page 2,                                                               
line 9.  He asked if the  Alaska Care program only uses the terms                                                               
"medically  necessary."     He   questioned  whether   the  terms                                                               
"dispense  as written"  would  add confusion.    Using the  terms                                                               
dispense as  written does not  allude to  the fact that  there is                                                               
any  medical  necessity  in  dispensing  a  particular  drug,  he                                                               
pointed out.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1623                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved Amendment 4, as follows:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 9, After "prescription the phrase"                                                                            
     Delete "dispense as written,"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 10, After "medically necessary"                                                                               
     Delete ", or other wording with similar import"                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON told  the  members that  he believes  this                                                               
change  will eliminate  any confusion  for  doctors when  writing                                                               
prescriptions.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment 4 was adopted.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1696                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  moved to  report HB  543, as  amended, 23-                                                               
LS1835\H, out  of committee  with individual  recommendations and                                                               
the accompanying  fiscal notes.   There being no  objection, CSHB
543(HES)  was reported  out of  the House  Health, Education  and                                                               
Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 176-NONCASH CHILD SUPPORT                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1733                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  176, "An Act providing that  certain obligors can                                                               
receive  credit  against  their   child  support  obligation  for                                                               
certain  types of  noncash child  support; and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1757                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RYNNIEVA  MOSS,  Staff  to Representative  John  Coghill,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  presented HB 176 for  Representative Coghill,                                                               
sponsor of HB 176, and answered  questions from the members.  She                                                               
explained that  this bill  has come  a long way.   In  October of                                                               
2001 while attending  a child in need of aid  (CINA) workshop she                                                               
met an incredible woman by the  name of Faith Peters from Tanana.                                                               
During that  meeting Faith  told her  of the  problems associated                                                               
with CINA, and problems associated  with villages and alcoholism.                                                               
Faith  told her  of fathers  in the  villages that  would cut  an                                                               
entire  winter's worth  of firewood,  and fill  the freezer  with                                                               
moose meat, but would not get  any credit for contributing to the                                                               
support of their  children.  Ms. Moss shared  that Faith believes                                                               
there is  a self-esteem  problem that could  be addressed  if the                                                               
legislature   were  to   change   the  law   to  enable   noncash                                                               
contributions  to   be  used  with   respect  to   child  support                                                               
obligations.  Representative Coghill,  the Department of Revenue,                                                               
and  the Attorney  General's Office  have worked  collectively to                                                               
provide language  which would allow the  noncash contributions to                                                               
be considered, she said.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOSS  told the  members she has  a committee  substitute that                                                               
she would like  to present which is version H.   This morning the                                                               
Attorney  General's Office  agreed  to two  amendments which  she                                                               
will also  present for the committee's  consideration, she added.                                                               
Ms. Moss  said she believes if  a father or mother  has a noncash                                                               
way  of contributing  to his/her  children's support  then credit                                                               
should be accepted for it.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1821                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOSS read the sectional analysis into the record as follows:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section  1.    This  section  amends  AS  25.27.020(b),                                                                    
     "Duties and  responsibilities of the agency",  to allow                                                                    
     the   Child   Support   Division   to   apply   noncash                                                                    
     contributions of the noncustodial  parent to his or her                                                                    
     child  support obligation  if the  following conditions                                                                    
     exist:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     1. the custodial parent has agreed to the arrangement                                                                      
     2.  the noncash  contributions can  be for  basic food,                                                                    
     housing, and heat.                                                                                                         
     3. the agency  may by regulation give  credit for other                                                                    
     types  of noncash  contributions because  something may                                                                    
     come up that has not been thought of.                                                                                      
     4.  with  the adoption  of  the  amendment the  obligor                                                                    
     would be required to show  clear convincing evidence of                                                                    
     the noncash contribution.                                                                                                  
     5.  the   custodial  parent   or  guardian   cannot  be                                                                    
     receiving   assistance  under   the  Alaska   Temporary                                                                    
     Assistance  Program  (ATAP)   or  the  American  Indian                                                                    
     Welfare Reform Act.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1886                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked Ms. Moss to  elaborate the rationale                                                               
on the final condition.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOSS explained that if a  recipient of these programs were to                                                               
receive cash,  that amount would  be applied to  the individual's                                                               
income;  however, it  is impossible  to  put a  value on  noncash                                                               
contributions  related to  income  in determining  qualifications                                                               
for ATAP.  She added that it would add quite a fiscal note.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1916                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA commented  that there  would be  a problem                                                               
placing a value on particular items.   For instance, a fish would                                                               
be worth  a different amount depending  on the time of  year, the                                                               
part of  the state, or  the market  systems.  She  suggested that                                                               
the parents  agree on  the value  of the  items, rather  than the                                                               
division doing so.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOSS said  that the department wants the parents  to agree on                                                               
the value of the item.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1961                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked  for Ms. Moss to  clarify that these                                                               
items would  be credited for child  support enforcement purposes,                                                               
but not for income qualification for welfare purposes.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOSS replied that is correct.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1981                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DIANE  WENDLANDT,  Chief  Assistant Attorney  General,  Statewide                                                               
Section Supervisor, Civil Division,  Department of Law, testified                                                               
on HB 176 and answered questions  from the members.  She told the                                                               
members  there was  concern about  having state  agencies setting                                                               
value on noncash contributions.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL directed  attention to  page 2,  lines 14                                                               
and 15, and asked Ms. Wendlandt  to speak to the reason this bill                                                               
would not apply to those receiving public assistance or welfare.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.WENDLANDT responded  that there are  two problems.   First, in                                                               
order  to  qualify  for  public  assistance  an  individual  must                                                               
identify all sources  of income.  A noncash  contribution must be                                                               
included as income,  she emphasized.  The second  problem is that                                                               
when  a  parent  applies  for public  assistance  he/she  assigns                                                               
his/her right  to child support  to the state.   This is  done so                                                               
that  the  state  can  recover  money  it  pays  to  support  the                                                               
children.   This  system would  not work  under these  assistance                                                               
programs, she pointed out.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON referred to page  1, lines 12 and 13, which                                                               
reads as follows:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
      Notwithstanding the definition of "support order" in                                                                  
      AS 25.27.900, the agency shall reduce the amount of                                                                   
     money an obligor must pay ...                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  posed a hypothetical question  of a father                                                               
who was  making [child support]  payments, while [the  mother and                                                               
children] are  on public  assistance.  He  said he  surmises that                                                               
the father's contributions would not  count as a noncash payment.                                                               
He asked for clarification in this case.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WENDLANDT  replied   that  he  is  correct.     The  noncash                                                               
contributions are treated  the same as a direct payment.   In the                                                               
hypothetical  example  Representative   Seaton  posed,  once  the                                                               
mother  and children  go  on public  assistance,  the mother  has                                                               
assigned her  right to support to  the state.  She  does not have                                                               
the  right to  agree to  an alternative  payment or  accept child                                                               
support  since  that now  belongs  to  the state,  Ms.  Wendlandt                                                               
explained.   In  Representative Seaton's  scenario if  the father                                                               
brought moose meat to the mother at  a time when she is on public                                                               
assistance,  there would  be  no credit  given  by Child  Support                                                               
Enforcement Division (CSED) against the obligor child support.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2144                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON clarified that even if  a father goes to the trouble                                                               
of getting a moose, cutting it  up, packaging it, and then brings                                                               
it to the home, he will still  not get any credit toward his CSED                                                               
obligation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. WENDLANDT agreed that is correct.   She pointed out that once                                                               
a family  goes on public assistance  a warning letter is  sent to                                                               
the obligor that all child  support payments must be made through                                                               
CSED.  She emphasized that this should not come as a surprise.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  commented that she  does not  see the value  in the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOSS clarified that this  bill applies to individuals who are                                                               
not  on public  assistance.   Once an  individual goes  on public                                                               
assistance  the individual  gives up  his/her right  to negotiate                                                               
because the  state is supporting  the family, she explained.   In                                                               
most of  these cases  it is  a minimum support  order of  $50 per                                                               
month, she added.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON said in other words,  this bill is for the woman not                                                               
on welfare  who is receiving  payments directly from  the father.                                                               
If they  agree that a  cord of wood is  worth $50, then  he could                                                               
pay her $50 less for child support.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOSS  replied that is  correct.   She continued to  read from                                                               
the sectional analysis as follows:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2 amends AS 25.27.060, "Order of support", to                                                                      
      add a provision defining support order and to allow                                                                       
     the agency or the court to reduce the cash payment of                                                                      
     court or administrative support to reflect the payment                                                                     
     of a noncash contribution.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
       Section 3 adjusts the uncodified law language that                                                                       
        only noncash contributions made on or after the                                                                         
     effective date of HB 176 being adopted.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MOSS told  the  members that  Section 3  is  being added  to                                                               
ensure that  parents do not  come to CSED  and say "last  week he                                                               
gave me a  cord of wood."  Noncash contributions  would not apply                                                               
until the  effective date  of the  bill.   She explained  that an                                                               
uncodified law  is used  for legislative intent,  and also  for a                                                               
transitional provision  for legislation  with a  short existence.                                                               
Most legislation  that is for five  years or less is  usually put                                                               
in uncodified law, she added.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2287                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA asked  if  interest is  accruing on  child                                                               
support payments that are not paid.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MOSS replied  that is  correct.   She  directed any  further                                                               
questions to John Mallonee, Acting  Director of the Child Support                                                               
Enforcement Division, Department of Revenue.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-B, SIDE *33                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA   asked  if  there  is   an  incentive  to                                                               
noncustodial parents  to continue  being part  of the  family and                                                               
encourage contributions  to its support.   She said  there should                                                               
be some accommodation for noncash payments.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MOSS said  that she  and Representative  Coghill agree  with                                                               
Representative Cissna, but  have not been able to work  out a way                                                               
to accomplish it yet.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2273                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  MALLONEE,   Acting  Director,  Child   Support  Enforcement                                                               
Division,  Department  of  Revenue,   testified  on  HB  176  and                                                               
answered  questions  from the  members.    He responded  that  he                                                               
understands what  is being said,  but unfortunately  when dealing                                                               
with any  type of assistance;  the state  has already paid  out a                                                               
given amount  of money  for those  children for  that month.   He                                                               
pointed out that  whatever funds are paid back to  the state goes                                                               
into the general fund.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2252                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  shared  that  many years  ago  when  his                                                               
father  was  in business  with  the  Union  Oil Company  his  dad                                                               
received payments in furs from the  village people.  One time the                                                               
company was  very insistent [about  payment] so his dad  sent the                                                               
company a  mounted lynx.   The  company did not  know what  to do                                                               
with it, he  said, and he's pretty sure CSED  would not know what                                                               
to do with a hindquarter of a moose.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  noted that what is  really being discussed                                                               
is the  valuation of items such  as firewood.  He  suggested that                                                               
perhaps the  state could reduce  support for the  following month                                                               
in lieu of noncash payments.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  clarified  that  what  Mr.  Mallonee  is                                                               
saying is  that the state  is already  paying for the  support of                                                               
the children.  To try to  credit anything for child support would                                                               
mean it  would have to  go back to the  state to reduce  what has                                                               
already  been spent  for welfare.   He  questioned whether  it is                                                               
wise   to   enter   into  that   kind   of   accounting   policy.                                                               
Representative  Coghill commented  that if  a man  or woman  does                                                               
something  to benefit  his/her children  whether the  person gets                                                               
credit or  not will likely  not stop him/her  from doing it.   He                                                               
said there  are times when  receiving that credit  is appropriate                                                               
and he is looking for the best way to do that.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2186                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA said  she  believes  incentives matter  on                                                               
economic  and public  policy.   She asked  how much  impact there                                                               
would be  on the fiscal note  if the noncash payment  slowed down                                                               
or stopped the interest.   Representative Cissna told the members                                                               
that even families that are split apart need strengthening.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  said he  sees a  couple of  problems with                                                               
respect to  this.   One is  that there  are arrearages  that have                                                               
accumulated over time.  The  other problem is that the department                                                               
would be in the position of  determining the value of the noncash                                                               
contribution instead of  the obligee and obligor.  He  said he is                                                               
trying to keep the state out  of the valuation process because it                                                               
will likely  be valued for  less.   There are people  outside the                                                               
welfare system  who have  been able to  significantly add  to the                                                               
benefit  of their  children.    Representative Coghill  suggested                                                               
that the  committee continue  to work  on this  point and  find a                                                               
better mechanism to improve the system.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2125                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL moved  to  adopt  CSHB 176,  23-LS0704\H,                                                               
Mischel,  4/13/04,  as the  working  document.   There  being  no                                                               
objection, version H  was before the House  Health, Education and                                                               
Social Services Standing Committee as the working document.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL moved  Amendment 1  as follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 1:                                                                                                            
     Delete: "the agency and"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 3-4:                                                                                                          
       Delete: "from information developed by other state                                                                       
     agencies and by an agreement with"                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 3, before "the obligor"                                                                                       
     Insert and                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 13:                                                                                                           
       Delete "and its use by the obligee or the obligee                                                                        
     custodian"                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOSS explained  that Amendment 1 removes  language that would                                                               
require the state's  involvement in the agreement  and leaves the                                                               
decision between the two parents.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2054                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. WENDLANDT told  the members that CSED does not  want to be in                                                               
the business of valuing [noncash  payments].  The simplest way to                                                               
accomplish  that is  to leave  it between  the parents  to agree.                                                               
This amendment would do that.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2049                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  objected for  purposes of discussion.   He                                                               
said he believes the second  portion of the amendment that refers                                                               
to page 2, lines 3 and 4, should read page 2, lines 2 and 3.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL agreed.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MOSS referred  to the  fourth portion  of the  amendment, on                                                               
page 2,  line 13,  and told  the members  that this  language was                                                               
removed because  the Department of Law  pointed out that it  is a                                                               
little hard  to prove that someone  ate the moose after  its been                                                               
eaten.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked  what would happen if the wife  takes the meat                                                               
and then later denies that she received it.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOSS  replied that a  written agreement  would have to  be in                                                               
place prior to the meat being in her possession.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1984                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON removed  his  objection.   There being  no                                                               
further objection, Amendment  1 was adopted by  the House Health,                                                               
Education and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1947                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked if the  agreement between the parents                                                               
protect them if things turn badly.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MOSS responded  that she  does not  see any  protection, but                                                               
suggested Ms. Wendlandt might have something to add.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WENDLANDT told  the members  that  as a  general rule  under                                                               
Alaska  law  agreements with  respect  to  child support  can  be                                                               
terminated by either  parent unilaterally.  If things  go bad and                                                               
one parent no longer wants  to receive noncash contributions then                                                               
CSED would honor that request and terminate the agreement.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1870                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved Amendment  2, which reads as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 21:                                                                                                           
     Delete "agency and in"                                                                                                     
     Replace: "by"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 22, after the word "agreement":                                                                               
     Delete: "with"                                                                                                             
     Replace "between"                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 22-23                                                                                                        
     Delete: "from the information developed by other state                                                                     
     agencies,"                                                                                                                 
     Replace: and the obligor                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. MOSS told  the members that this amendment  removes the state                                                               
from the agreement and leaves it between the two parents.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1839                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  objected.    He commented  that  he  needs                                                               
additional time to review the changes.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  removed his  objection.    There being  no                                                               
further objection, Amendment  2 was adopted by  the House Health,                                                               
Education and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1801                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  moved to report  CSHB 176, version  H, as                                                               
amended,  out of  committee with  individual recommendations  and                                                               
the accompanying  fiscal notes.   There being no  objection, CSHB
176(HES)  was reported  out of  the House  Health, Education  and                                                               
Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-34, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SB 373-PHYSICIAN INTERNS AND RESIDENTS                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0050                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
SENATE  BILL  NO.   373,  "An  Act  relating   to  residency  and                                                               
internship  permits  issued  by  the  State  Medical  Board;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0060                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved  to report SB 373, version  D, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, SB 373  was reported out of  the House                                                               
Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB 179-CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS/TEACHERS                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0098                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON announced  that the  next order  of business  would                                                               
beCS FOR SENATE  BILL NO. 179(FIN), "An Act  relating to criminal                                                               
history records and background checks;  allowing persons to teach                                                               
in the  public schools for up  to five months without  a teaching                                                               
certificate if the  person has applied for a  certificate and the                                                               
application  has  not  been  acted  upon  by  the  Department  of                                                               
Education  and Early  Development  due to  a  delay in  receiving                                                               
criminal  history  records;  allowing teacher  certification  for                                                               
certain  persons based  on a  criminal  history background  check                                                               
without fingerprints; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0139                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ZACK  WARWICK, Staff  to Senator  Gene  Therriault, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented SB 179 for  Senator Therriault, sponsor of                                                               
SB 179.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF asked what version is before the committee.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WARWICK  said  that  the version  before  the  committee  is                                                               
version V; however, he understands  that the committee also wants                                                               
to  consider a  blank CS,  version W,  which is  also before  the                                                               
members.   He pointed out that  version V is the  CS which passed                                                               
out of the House Special Committee on Education.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON asked  for Mr.  Warwick to  review the  differences                                                               
between the two versions.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0246                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK  explained that  the bill  was introduced  to provide                                                               
teachers  who  do   not  have  fingerprints  an   avenue  to  get                                                               
background checks  so that they  could continue to  teach without                                                               
having  to  go through  the  fingerprinting  process every  three                                                               
months.   He told the members  that a lot teachers  have worn out                                                               
their fingerprints over time and do  not have the ability to give                                                               
adequate fingerprints.   There are currently 42  people in Alaska                                                               
that  consistently experience  this problem.   Mr.  Warwick added                                                               
that  last year  the  Department  of Law  and  the Department  of                                                               
Public  Safety pointed  out that  Alaska's statutes  were not  in                                                               
compliance with federal law  regarding criminal background checks                                                               
in all  professions including the Alaska  Bar Association, liquor                                                               
licenses, or teachers.  That  conforming language is the majority                                                               
of the bill that is before the committee, he stated.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK  said that in  addition to the  federal noncompliance                                                               
issue,  Representative  Gatto  brought  a  situation  to  Senator                                                               
Therriault's  attention  that  exists  in  the  Matanuska-Susitna                                                               
Borough School  District with  respect to  teachers who  were not                                                               
getting  their criminal  background checks  returned in  a timely                                                               
manner.    He  explained  that   teachers  have  submitted  their                                                               
fingerprints  and have  not received  the  background check  back                                                               
within the three-month period required,  so they were required to                                                               
resubmit their fingerprints.   In some cases  these teachers were                                                               
laid  off,  rehired  as  substitute   teachers,  and  lost  their                                                               
benefits  and  pay, he  added.    There  was  the hope  that  the                                                               
timeframe could be changed from three  to five months.  There was                                                               
opposition to that change from  legislators and some staff at the                                                               
Department of Education  and Early Development so  it was decided                                                               
to leave the three month  timeframe, but allow the department the                                                               
authorization to grant  another 60-day extension if  the delay in                                                               
returning  the fingerprint  was  due  to a  backlog  at the  U.S.                                                               
Department of Justice.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0361                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK explained  that the difference between  version W and                                                               
version U is  that version U has a 60-day  extension provision in                                                               
Section 8.  He said he  understands that there is some opposition                                                               
to  this provision  because some  people believe  teachers should                                                               
not be in  the classroom without a  fingerprint background check.                                                               
He told  the members that he  has letters of support  for the 60-                                                               
day  extension  from  the Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough  School                                                               
District and the Anchorage School District.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  asked how many  teachers have not  been able                                                               
to  receive  their fingerprint  background  checks  [in a  timely                                                               
manner].                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WARWICK  replied  the  Department  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development reports  that during a  nine month time  period there                                                               
were 42 teachers who had to  resubmit three sets of prints.  This                                                               
bill  would   allow  a  name-based  or   social  security  number                                                               
background  check to  done on  them to  ensure that  there is  no                                                               
criminal history.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  asked for clarification  that version  U was                                                               
approved  by  the  House Special  Committee  on  Education  which                                                               
allows the 60-day extension.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK replied that is correct.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF replied that he is  one of the members in the                                                               
House Special Committee on Education  who had concerns about this                                                               
provision.   He commented  that even through  the number  is low,                                                               
only 42  persons in the entire  education field, all it  takes is                                                               
one predator.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0555                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK  pointed out that this  bill does provide for  a name                                                               
based [or  social security number] background  check.  Currently,                                                               
these  teachers  are  in  the school  with  no  background  check                                                               
because it  is possible for  them to resubmit their  prints every                                                               
three  months.   He  suggested  that review  of  a person's  work                                                               
history is  a good  way to  verify that a  person is  suitable to                                                               
work around children.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked for Mr. Warwick  to explain if this bill would                                                               
prohibit a  teacher from being in  the school until some  kind of                                                               
background check is completed.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WARWICK responded  that he  is  not completely  sure of  her                                                               
question.   Version V  has the  federal conforming  language, the                                                               
60-day  extension, and  the section  that allows  individuals who                                                               
roll three  sets of prints to  get a background check  based upon                                                               
their name.   The Department  of Public Safety has  the technical                                                               
ability to deem  whether the fingerprints are  just poor quality,                                                               
smudged, or no  ridges for fingerprints.  Mr.  Warwick added that                                                               
staff from the Department of  Public Safety is on-line to testify                                                               
to this fact.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WARWICK   explained  that  version  W   removes  the  60-day                                                               
extension if  the U.S.  Department of Justice  has a  backlog and                                                               
cannot  get the  background checks  back within  that three-month                                                               
period.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked if teachers  are required to have a background                                                               
check before working in the classroom.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK replied that is  better answered by the Department of                                                               
Education and Early Development.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0692                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON  commented  that  she  has  serious  concerns  that                                                               
individuals could  be in  schools before  it is  ascertained that                                                               
he/she is safe to be around children.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  Mr.  Warwick to  clarify that  this                                                               
background check which  is being referred to is  the one required                                                               
by  the  Department of  Education  and  Early Development  before                                                               
issuing a teaching certificate.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK agreed that is correct.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0724                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON commented  that he does not  have a version                                                               
U in his packet.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK  corrected his  earlier statement  by saying  that it                                                               
was version V  that passed out of the House  Special Committee on                                                               
Education, not version U.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0771                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DAVID   SCHADE,  Director,   Division   of  Statewide   Services,                                                               
Department of Public Safety, testified  on SB 179.  He introduced                                                               
Kathryn  Monfreda, Chief,  Criminal  Records,  and suggested  she                                                               
provide  the committee  with some  background  information.   Mr.                                                               
Schade  told the  members that  he would  be available  to answer                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Kathryn Monfreda, Chief, Criminal  Records, Division of Statewide                                                               
Services, Department of Public Safety,  testified on SB 179.  She                                                               
asked  for clarification  on Chair  Wilson's  question about  the                                                               
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  asked for clarification  as to when  the background                                                               
check occurs.  She questioned  whether the background check would                                                               
occur  after a  school district  hires a  teacher or  when he/she                                                               
applies for a teaching certificate.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0847                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CYNDY CURRAN,  Teacher Education and Certification,  Teaching and                                                               
Learning Support, Department of  Education and Early Development,                                                               
testified  on SB  179 and  answered questions  from the  members.                                                               
She explained  that when a teacher  comes to the state  of Alaska                                                               
he/she  submits an  application for  certification.   As part  of                                                               
that  application  two sets  of  fingerprint  cards are  required                                                               
which  are  sent  to  the  Department  of  Public  Safety  for  a                                                               
background  check.    The  Department   of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development waits  for that  background check to  come back.   If                                                               
the  background  check  comes back  clear,  then  the  department                                                               
issues a  teaching certificate.  In  the past it has  taken up to                                                               
four  months, the  process has  now  been streamlined,  so it  no                                                               
longer takes that long, she added.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN  explained that when  a teacher goes to  an individual                                                               
school district and  is hired that district, in  many cases, will                                                               
also  do a  background check.    Ms. Curran  emphasized that  she                                                               
cannot speak  for every  district because she  is not  sure every                                                               
district  does  a  background  check.    She  explained  that  if                                                               
fingerprints  are returned  [because it  is unreadable]  then the                                                               
department sends  the applicant another set  of fingerprint cards                                                               
to be redone.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  asked if background checks  are returned separately                                                               
from fingerprint results or are the two returned together.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN  replied that if  nothing was found in  the background                                                               
check the department  receives a notice which says  no record was                                                               
found  for the  individual.    She explained  that  the FBI  will                                                               
occasionally return  fingerprint cards which will  be accompanied                                                               
by  a  letter  detailing  the problem  and  requesting  a  second                                                               
fingerprint card.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked if the  fingerprint check and background check                                                               
are two different things.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CURRAN responded  that  the fingerprints  are  used for  the                                                               
background check.  When the  department receives clearance for an                                                               
individual it is based on the fingerprint check.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1048                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON clarified  that  a  teacher applicant's  background                                                               
check cannot proceed  without a readable fingerprint  card.  This                                                               
bill would  provide that if  a background check is  not completed                                                               
in  a  timely way,  then  the  department  could give  a  teacher                                                               
applicant an additional 60 days.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN  responded that  she is  looking at  version H  and is                                                               
aware of the  fact that the committee is  considering a different                                                               
version.    The version  she  is  looking  at provides  that  the                                                               
department may  issue a  60-day extension  which would  allow the                                                               
applicant  to teach  another 60  days.   The department  has been                                                               
issuing a conditional certificate to  allow teachers to remain in                                                               
the  classroom, but  only when  the fingerprint  cards have  been                                                               
resubmitted.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON commented that if  a teacher applicant does not have                                                               
readable fingerprints and  only a name based  background check is                                                               
done, if the person is not  who he/she says he/she is there could                                                               
be a problem.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CURRAN  responded  that Kathryn  Monfreda  would  be  better                                                               
qualified to answer that question.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked for  clarification that what is being                                                               
discussed is not employment background checks.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN replied that is correct.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON stated  that  the  background checks  that                                                               
school districts  do when hiring teachers  is totally independent                                                               
of this background  check.  He emphasized  that these fingerprint                                                               
background checks  are done  by the department  as it  relates to                                                               
the issuance  of a permanent  teaching certificate for  the state                                                               
of  Alaska.   It certifies  that the  person has  the appropriate                                                               
educational background, and et cetera for teaching in Alaska.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN agreed with Representative Seaton statement.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked if the  school districts are notified                                                               
that  the  temporary  teaching certificate  does  not  include  a                                                               
completed background check.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CURRAN  said  that  is  correct.    The  temporary  teaching                                                               
certificate is a different color  than the permanent certificate,                                                               
and it lists the conditions of the certificate on it.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1199                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON pointed  out that  not  all school  districts do  a                                                               
background check before hiring teachers.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN responded  that she could not speak  for the districts                                                               
since each one  has its own hiring policy; however,  she said she                                                               
has seen teachers hired without background checks.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  noted  that  this bill  only  applies  to                                                               
teachers.   Version  W appears  to apply  to more  than teachers.                                                               
She  asked if  teaching positions  are  the only  ones in  school                                                               
districts where this kind of emergency provision applies.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK  replied that the  language Representative  Cissna is                                                               
referring to is language inserted in  the bill to bring the state                                                               
into  compliance with  federal  law.   He  referred  to a  letter                                                               
[dated  April 11,  2003] in  the  members' packet  from the  U.S.                                                               
Department of  Justice which  says that the  state will  lose its                                                               
authorization  to  receive  federal   background  checks  on  any                                                               
occupation in  the state unless  the state comes  into compliance                                                               
with federal law.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK  told the  members that no  one in  other occupations                                                               
has come  to Senator Therriault  about a problem  with unreadable                                                               
prints.   He said that the  Department of Public Safety  told him                                                               
that teachers  and nurses  have the  two highest  occupations for                                                               
wearing  out fingerprints.   One  comment that  was made  is that                                                               
women have softer  fingers so the ridges on the  fingers wear out                                                               
easier,  he  added.    He   suggested  that  the  people  at  the                                                               
Department of  Public Safety may  be able  to offer more  on that                                                               
point.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA surmised  that  other  occupations in  the                                                               
school system would not warrant this kind of allowance.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK  responded that  not all  school districts  allow for                                                               
every employee to get a  background check.  Teachers are required                                                               
at  the  state level.    Some  schools  such as  Valdez  requires                                                               
janitors  to get  a  background check,  he added.    Some of  the                                                               
village schools do not require anything.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1406                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON suggested  that the  members focus  on the                                                               
fact  that  obtaining  a  teacher certificate  is  not  a  hiring                                                               
policy.  He commented that it might  be a good idea to put a bill                                                               
in requiring every school districts  to go through certain hiring                                                               
procedures  before putting  employees around  children.   He told                                                               
the members he believes that it  would be a mistake to substitute                                                               
obtaining  a   teaching  certificate  for  a   hiring  mechanism.                                                               
Representative  Seaton  said that  he  believes  this bill  makes                                                               
sense by  allowing the background  check on the  applicant's name                                                               
when the fingerprints are not  readable.  He emphasized that this                                                               
bill would not  remove the school districts  responsibility to do                                                               
background checks.   All it does is allow for  a background check                                                               
for a  teacher applicant to  get a permanent certificate  [with a                                                               
name-based  background check  when fingerprints  are unreadable].                                                               
He asked  if version W and  version V could be  reviewed one more                                                               
time.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1481                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON said as she understands  it, version V has Section 8                                                               
in it, version W does not.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  questioned if that is  the only difference                                                               
between the two versions.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK said yes.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  restated that  in version V,  Section 8  allows the                                                               
department to  give a 60-day  [extension on a  temporary teaching                                                               
certificate], and version W does not.   She told the members that                                                               
she  would prefer  that  no teacher  would ever  go  back to  the                                                               
school system without a complete  background check.  Version W is                                                               
a compromise, she said.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1540                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK told  the members that the sponsor of  the bill is in                                                               
favor of  version V, but  does not  know how strongly  he opposes                                                               
version W.   He  explained that Senator  Therriault's constituent                                                               
came to him with the problem  of having no fingerprints and asked                                                               
for an  alternative route in  obtaining the  necessary background                                                               
check.  Senator  Therriault is also very concerned  that the U.S.                                                               
Department of  Justice continues to  allow Alaska to  get federal                                                               
background checks.  He  supports Representative Gatto's amendment                                                               
to the bill and believes it has merit.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  commented that  the original  bill did  not include                                                               
[the 60-day extension].                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK replied that was not discussed.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  restated the differences  between the  two versions                                                               
of  SB 179.    She  explained that  the  only difference  between                                                               
version V and  version W is that version V  offers the department                                                               
the extra 60 days  on top of the three months  that a teacher can                                                               
be in the classroom without receiving a background check.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1620                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WARWICK clarified  Chair Wilson's  statement that  version V                                                               
does not give  teachers an extra 60 days [to  be in the classroom                                                               
without  a  background  check],   it  allows  the  Department  of                                                               
Education  and Early  Development  the discretion  to extend  the                                                               
temporary teaching  certificate an  extra 60 days  if there  is a                                                               
backlog at the U.S. Department of Justice.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked Senator Therriault  if he would have a problem                                                               
if  the   committee  adopted  version  [W}   without  the  60-day                                                               
extension.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1641                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GENE  THERRIAULT, Alaska  State Legislature,  as sponsor,                                                               
testified on SB 179 and answered  questions from the members.  He                                                               
responded  that the  bill is  intended  to make  this a  workable                                                               
system.   If the U.S. Department  of Justice gets a  backlog will                                                               
the state have  the same problem because there is  no ability for                                                               
the department  to extend temporary certificates,  he questioned.                                                               
Senator Therriault told the members  that it was his thought that                                                               
if  the commissioner  of the  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development  controlled   this  extension  then  that   would  be                                                               
adequate oversight.  This is a  fail-safe for things that are out                                                               
of our control, he commented.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1672                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  reminded  the members  of  communications                                                               
from the  Anchorage School  District and  the North  Star Borough                                                               
School District  which said  it could take  between 110  days and                                                               
120 days  [to receive background  checks].  Given that  length of                                                               
time, it would  appear that giving the department  the ability to                                                               
extend to  the average time it  is taking the school  district to                                                               
receive these  background checks  makes sense.   Pulling teachers                                                               
from the  classroom because the Federal  Bureau of Investigations                                                               
(FBI)   is    backlogged   seems   disruptive,    he   commented.                                                               
Representative  Seaton said  he assumes  the department  will use                                                               
the  extension judiciously  and  only in  circumstances where  it                                                               
could not get the background  checks back.  Representative Seaton                                                               
said  he  believes it  would  be  better  to  have version  V  go                                                               
forward.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1751                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON asked  if  it accurate  to say  that  there are  42                                                               
people in the state that have not been able to get fingerprints.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN replied that is approximately correct.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  asked how many  of those 42 people  have repeatedly                                                               
submitted  fingerprints,  but  are unable  to  obtain  background                                                               
checks because the prints are unreadable.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN  responded that  there are probably  at least  a dozen                                                               
who are on their fifth submission of fingerprints.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked what will happen to those 12 people.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN explained  that the Department of  Education and Early                                                               
Development currently has  a regulation in place  that allows for                                                               
a name-based criminal history background  check if a statement is                                                               
received from a  physician saying that the person  has a physical                                                               
disability or a permanent skin  condition that makes their prints                                                               
unreadable.   She told the members  that those 12 people  are now                                                               
in the  process of  following through with  that provision.   The                                                               
provision just went into effect on [April] 16th.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON inquired about the status of the other 30 people.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CURRAN replied  that she  is not  sure.   There are  varying                                                               
degrees  of fingerprint  resubmissions.   The  FBI has  stringent                                                               
rules  on what  is necessary  for resubmissions.   She  explained                                                               
that the department  is not privy to know if  the U.S. Department                                                               
of Justice is backlogged.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON asked  for clarification  that  Ms. Curran  doesn't                                                               
know if  the FBI is  backlogged or if  some of these  people just                                                               
signed up last week and the results have not been returned yet.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1872                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN replied that the group  of people she is talking about                                                               
are those  who are between  having to be reprinted  between three                                                               
to six or  seven times for whatever reason.   There are a variety                                                               
of  reasons why  fingerprints  background checks  are not  coming                                                               
back.   For some of these  people it is because  it is impossible                                                               
to get fingerprints,  some because whoever is  doing their prints                                                               
is not doing a good job.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1901                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO told the members  that he believes this bill                                                               
is indirectly  about children.   When elementary kids have  had a                                                               
teacher in the  classroom for several months and  that teacher is                                                               
pulled for any  reason that affects the quality  of education for                                                               
those children.  He said if  a thorough background check has been                                                               
done on a teacher and the only  thing that is not complete is the                                                               
fingerprint back  ground check,  isn't that sufficient  reason to                                                               
say there  should be  a 60-day  extension.   Representative Gatto                                                               
said he believes the answer is yes.   He bases that answer on the                                                               
evidence  presented  by   the  Matanuska-Susitna  Borough  School                                                               
District which  shows that in  the course  of eight years  all of                                                               
the background  checks done have been  entirely satisfactory, not                                                               
once in  eight years has  the fingerprint background  check shown                                                               
to  them anything  other  than its  original  decision that  this                                                               
teacher was  okay to employ.   Representative Gatto said  he does                                                               
not like to think of the  number of teachers that might have been                                                               
pulled from  a classroom for lack  of a fingerprint.   These kids                                                               
in  first  and  second  grade  grow to  love  their  teachers  so                                                               
anything  that interferes  with that  relationship better  have a                                                               
solid  basis.   He  said he  does  not see  the  solid basis  and                                                               
suggested that it  is a good idea to extend  the rule because the                                                               
human resource directors are doing a good job.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1985                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  explained that the  reason she feels  strongly that                                                               
fingerprint background  checks are  so important  is that  in the                                                               
Wrangell School District  someone who should not  have been there                                                               
was found.   She commented  that she  has only lived  in Wrangell                                                               
six years.   When the  person was completing  his/her application                                                               
the person said  that he/she had not committed  any felonies, but                                                               
it  was a  lie.   This  person had  been convicted  of harming  a                                                               
child, she said.  It probably  does not happen very often, but if                                                               
it happens one time that is too much, Chair Wilson stated.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2031                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  commented  the Representative  Gatto  may                                                               
have missed earlier testimony.   He reiterated that this bill has                                                               
nothing to  do with hiring practices.   It is strictly  about the                                                               
background  checks associated  with teaching  certificates.   The                                                               
hiring  practices  of  districts  are  their  responsibility,  he                                                               
emphasized.   Janitors and administrators  are not  covered under                                                               
this bill.   If some districts do  not have the staff  or are not                                                               
capable of handling  the background checks then  perhaps it would                                                               
be  appropriate to  consolidate  some districts  to ensure  these                                                               
hiring   practices   are   addressed.     Representative   Seaton                                                               
summarized   that   this   bill,  which   deals   with   teaching                                                               
certificates, does not address the  hiring practices of districts                                                               
related  to  all the  employees  in  the  schools.   He  said  he                                                               
maintains that he believes the 60-day extension is warranted.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CURRAN clarified  that  administrators  and special  service                                                               
providers are  also required to have  certificates and background                                                               
checks.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2120                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PAULA HARRISON, Director,  Human Resources Department, Matanuska-                                                               
Susitna  Borough  School  District,   testified  on  SB  179  and                                                               
answered questions from  the members.  She told  the members that                                                               
she is  the person who  contacted Representative Gatto  about the                                                               
problem   Matanuska-Susitna    Borough   School    District   was                                                               
experiencing.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked  if  she  would  comment  on  hiring                                                               
practices, certifications,  and other issues that  a fairly large                                                               
district  must face.   He  further asked  her to  comment on  the                                                               
value of this extension.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2151                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. HARRISON commented that the  extension would be of tremendous                                                               
value.  She  explained that when hiring a teacher  it is not just                                                               
a matter of  doing fingerprints and providing  information to the                                                               
department for  teachers to get  their certificates.   Before any                                                               
teacher is hired a very thorough  background check is done on the                                                               
applicant.   She  told the  members  that the  district has  done                                                               
terminations prior  to the  fingerprint background  checks coming                                                               
back  based   on  the  information   obtain  in   the  district's                                                               
background check.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2193                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. HARRISON  told the  members that  the big  issue is  that the                                                               
fingerprint and background  checks are just not coming  back in a                                                               
timely manner.   That  really creates an  issue for  districts in                                                               
placing teachers  in classrooms.   Ms.  Harrison shared  that the                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna Borough School  District requires a fingerprint                                                               
background check of  every single employee in the  district.  The                                                               
fingerprint cards are sent out  daily from the district, however,                                                               
she knows that  elsewhere when there is a shortage  of staff some                                                               
of the  fingerprint cards  may be  batched and  sent to  the FBI.                                                               
That may be the cause of some of the backlog, she added.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON   agreed  that  Matanuska-Susitna   Borough  School                                                               
District does  an excellent job of  screening; unfortunately, not                                                               
all school districts do.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON announced  that she  will  be holding  the bill  in                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. WARWICK reminded the members that  if this bill does not pass                                                               
the  legislature  this  year  [because of  the  lack  of  federal                                                               
compliance], there  is a possibility  that Alaska will  no longer                                                               
receive criminal background checks on  anyone.  He commented that                                                               
there is one more committee of referral.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  said she  would agree with  passing version  W from                                                               
committee, but it does not appear to have support.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said he  believes it  makes sense  to give                                                               
the   Department  of   Education   and   Early  Development   the                                                               
flexibility  to  do  the  60-day extension  [as  in  version  V];                                                               
however,  if it  is a  question of  not having  any FBI  criminal                                                               
background  checks for  Alaska,  then he  said  he would  support                                                               
version W.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA commented  that something  is better  than                                                               
nothing in this case.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  reiterated that  version V  has a  60-day extension                                                               
and version W does not.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2351                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  if  version  W  provides  for  the                                                               
fingerprints to  be submitted, then  resubmit them in  another 90                                                               
days.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HARRISON replied that after  the first 90 days, the districts                                                               
can no longer keep teachers in the classroom.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-34, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2358                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HARRISON  pointed  out  that after  90  days  the  temporary                                                               
teaching certificate  is no longer in  effect.  Many times  it is                                                               
the  case that  the  fingerprint background  check  has not  come                                                               
back.   There  have been  several  times when  the Department  of                                                               
Education and Early Development  had not received the fingerprint                                                               
background  check  back,  but  Matanuska-Susitna  Borough  School                                                               
District  had  already  gotten  it  back.   She  said  she  would                                                               
appreciate the department having the flexibility.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON asked  Ms. Curran  to comment  on the  department's                                                               
regulation  related  to  those  individuals  who  could  not  get                                                               
fingerprints.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN replied that the  department is working on regulations                                                               
that would provide a name-based background check.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. HARRISON told  the committee of one employee  that worked for                                                               
the district  for three years  without certification  because she                                                               
could not provide fingerprints.  She  said she had to rewrite the                                                               
job description so that it  did not require certification to hire                                                               
this individual.   She said  she hopes that the  department could                                                               
be afforded that flexibility.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF commented that  without a background check it                                                               
is not  known what  an individual  has done.   The  Department of                                                               
Education and Early Development has  testified that if there is a                                                               
medical reason  for inability to  provide fingerprints  the state                                                               
will  waive  that  requirement and  do  a  name-based  background                                                               
check.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. HARRISON pointed out that has  not happened and the person is                                                               
still in a PERS position three years later.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2247                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN  commented that  this regulation  went into  effect on                                                               
April  16, 2004,  and  individuals who  are  having trouble  with                                                               
their fingerprints have been notified.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  if  the bill  is  passed  will  it                                                               
supercede the new regulation.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CURRAN commented  that the  department is  currently working                                                               
under that  regulation, but believes  the statute  will supercede                                                               
the department's regulation.   The bill does provide  for a name-                                                               
based background check, she added.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  clarified that would occur  only after two                                                               
failures of fingerprint submissions.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN said that is correct.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON commented that  if the fingerprints did not                                                               
come back  within the 90 days,  the department does not  have any                                                               
flexibility other than to remove the teacher from the classroom.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. CURRAN  replied that  the district  would remove  the teacher                                                               
from the classroom.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2165                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  moved to adopt HCS  CSSB 179, 23-LS0938\W,                                                               
Luckhaupt,  4/16/04, as  the working  document.   There being  no                                                               
objection, HCS  CSSB 179, version  W is before the  House Health,                                                               
Education and  Social Services Standing Committee  as the working                                                               
document.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to report  HCS CSSB 179, 23-LS0938\W,                                                               
out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                               
accompanying fiscal  notes.  There  being no objection,  HCS CSSB
179 was  reported out of  the House Health, Education  and Social                                                               
Services Standing Committee.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  made  a   motion  to  move  a  conceptual                                                               
resolution to change the title of  HCS CSSB179, version W.  There                                                               
being no objection,  the conceptual resolution was  passed by the                                                               
House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Health, Education and Social  Services Standing Committee meeting                                                               
was adjourned at 5:35 p.m.                                                                                                      

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