Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

02/26/2015 03:00 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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Audio Topic
03:03:16 PM Start
03:03:41 PM Presentation: Department of Health and Social Services Division of Public Assistance
04:17:51 PM HB59
04:55:31 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: TELECONFERENCED
Division of Public Assistance - Director Ron
Kreher & Other Invited Guests
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+= HB 59 MARIJUANA CONCENTRATES; LICENSES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
      HOUSE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                     
                       February 26, 2015                                                                                        
                           3:02 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Paul Seaton, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Liz Vazquez, Vice Chair                                                                                          
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                        
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES DIVISION                                                                 
OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 59                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to marijuana concentrates; and providing for an                                                                
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 59                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: MARIJUANA CONCENTRATES; LICENSES                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) SEATON                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
01/21/15       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/16/15                                                                               
01/21/15       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/15       (H)       HSS, JUD                                                                                               
02/03/15       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/03/15       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/03/15       (H)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
02/26/15       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
RON KREHER, Acting Director                                                                                                     
Director's Office                                                                                                               
Division of Public Assistance                                                                                                   
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented an overview of the Division of                                                                 
Public Assistance.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SHAWNDA O'BRIEN, Administrative Operations Manager                                                                              
Director's Office                                                                                                               
Division of Public Assistance                                                                                                   
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the presentation                                                               
by the Division of Public Assistance.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MARCEY BISH, Program Manager                                                                                                    
Child Care Program Office                                                                                                       
Division of Public Assistance                                                                                                   
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the presentation                                                               
by the Division of Public Assistance.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ELAINE RICH, Chief                                                                                                              
Program Integrity & Analysis                                                                                                    
Division of Public Assistance                                                                                                   
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the presentation                                                               
by the Division of Public Assistance.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TANEEKA HANSEN, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented the changes to HB 59 for the                                                                   
sponsor of the bill, Representative Seaton.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TIM HINTERBERGER, Ph.D., Chair                                                                                                  
Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified via teleconference in opposition                                                               
to HB 59.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
RACHELLE YEUNG, Legislative Analyst                                                                                             
Marijuana Policy Project                                                                                                        
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified via teleconference  in opposition                                                             
to HB 59.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ALLISON KULAS, Program Manager                                                                                                  
Tobacco Prevention and Control                                                                                                  
Division of Public Health                                                                                                       
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the discussion of HB 59.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CYNTHIA FRANKLIN, Director                                                                                                      
Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the discussion of HB 59.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:03:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  called  the  House   Health  and  Social  Services                                                             
Standing   Committee    meeting   to    order   at    3:02   p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Seaton, Talerico,  Stutes, Tarr,  and Wool  were                                                               
present  at  the call  to  order.   Representatives  Vazquez  and                                                               
Foster arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH  AND SOCIAL SERVICES DIVISION                                                             
OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE                                                                                                          
PRESENTATION: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES DIVISION                                                             
                      OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:03:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
a presentation by  the Department of Health  and Social Services,                                                               
Division of Public Assistance.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:04:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RON  KREHER,  Acting  Director, Director's  Office,  Division  of                                                               
Public  Assistance,  Department  of Health  and  Social  Services                                                               
(DHSS), provided  a PowerPoint overview of  the programs, budget,                                                               
core  services, and  service population  titled "FY2016  Division                                                               
Overview."   He  stated that  he  would also  discuss poverty  in                                                               
Alaska  and the  role  of  the division  and  its  services.   He                                                               
commented that the current budget  deficit with its corresponding                                                               
environment were "a  big test of state  priorities, and certainly                                                               
the funding  that goes with  those priorities."  He  mentioned HB                                                               
30  which asked  for priorities  to services  and programs  while                                                               
requesting  a cut  to  some of  these, as  well  as the  proposed                                                               
budget  by  the  governor.    He  noted  that  the  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature  was also  interested in  the projected  reduction of                                                               
general fund  spending.  He  asked that the committee  ponder the                                                               
question of  identifying Alaska's  most vulnerable  citizens, and                                                               
what standards should be used  to prioritize safety net services.                                                               
He  declared the  importance  of ways  that  the department,  the                                                               
division,   and   the   legislature   could   ensure   that   the                                                               
constitutional mandate for  the welfare of Alaskans was  met.  He                                                               
directed  attention to  an eight  page overview  of the  division                                                               
programs,  as well  as  the Women,  Infants,  and Children  (WIC)                                                               
program  and  the  child  care   program  [Included  in  members'                                                               
packets].   He  declared that  these  two programs  could make  a                                                               
difference for Alaskans.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:07:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  reviewed the "Division Organization  Chart", slide 2,                                                               
which showed the distribution of  the 589 staff, including the 23                                                               
positions requested  to support Medicaid Expansion.   He reported                                                               
that 75  percent of  the workforce  was dedicated  to eligibility                                                               
determinations and  benefit issuance throughout the  18 statewide                                                               
field  offices.   He stated  that  there were  also grantees  and                                                               
contractors  providing  support  for families  primarily  through                                                               
work services, WIC,  and child care.  He shared  that the mission                                                               
of the  division, slide  3, "Division  Overview," was  to promote                                                               
self-sufficiency and  safety net benefits  for families,  as well                                                               
as  administrative  management  for prudent  stewardship  of  the                                                               
state's  resources  through  the program  integrity  and  quality                                                               
assurance sections.   He  noted that  more than  155,000 Alaskans                                                               
were served  by the  Division of  Public Assistance  in November,                                                               
2014, which he  declared to be a normal  service population size,                                                               
as  it  included  child  care,  food  stamps,  and  adult  public                                                               
assistance.   He said  that, although it  could be  surprising to                                                               
consider that so  many Alaskans were low income,  in poverty, and                                                               
met the criteria  for the programs, Alaska was "in  the middle of                                                               
pack nationally,"  as the national  average was about  18 percent                                                               
and Alaska was at the 20 percent level.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:10:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  asked whether a  recipient of more  than one                                                               
program was counted once or twice.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER replied that this  was the total number of recipients,                                                               
not duplicated.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR asked if that also included the children.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  replied  that this  included  everyone,  adults  and                                                               
children.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:10:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  asked how many  personnel were related  to Medicaid                                                               
Expansion.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER   replied  that  there  were   23  people,  primarily                                                               
eligibility  technicians, as  well  as some  policy and  research                                                               
analysts.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:11:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked if the  hirings were in anticipation of                                                               
Medicaid Expansion.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER replied that the  department anticipated that Medicaid                                                               
Expansion  would occur  in  July, and  this  would include  those                                                               
individuals in "the gap group."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked if these were recent hires.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  clarified that  these  positions  had not  yet  been                                                               
hired,  but would  start after  the beginning  of the  new fiscal                                                               
year.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:12:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER   returned  attention   to  the  percentage   of  the                                                               
population receiving aid  and said that low  income Alaskans were                                                               
the  first people  to be  effected in  an economic  downturn, and                                                               
they  were  the last  ones  to  recover.    He reflected  on  the                                                               
recession  which  began  in  2008,  and  pointed  out  that  this                                                               
effected a lot of low income  families in Alaska.  He stated that                                                               
this  could  lead  to  an increased  demand  for  the  division's                                                               
services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:13:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  moved to  slide  4,  a  graph titled  "DPA  Caseload                                                               
History FY2007-2014," and reviewed the  growth in recent years of                                                               
the seven largest  programs in the division.  He  pointed out the                                                               
parallel  growth between  the Medicaid  population  and the  food                                                               
stamp caseloads over the last few years.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:13:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER addressed  slide  5, a  program  graph, "DPA  Benefit                                                               
History  FY2007-20014," that  indicated  the drops  and peaks  of                                                               
services related  to seasonal needs, such  as heating assistance,                                                               
which had received a lot  of supplemental funding from the Alaska                                                               
Affordable Heating program.  He pointed  out that the big dips in                                                               
the  food   stamp  program  (SNAP)  reflected   the  months  that                                                               
recipients  received   the  permanent  dividend  fund,   and  the                                                               
issuance of cash benefits to replace the loss of federal funds.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:14:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER, in  response  to Representative  Vazquez, helped  to                                                               
establish the order of the graph lines.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:16:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER,  slide 6,  used a  state map  of census  districts to                                                               
indicate where  public assistance  was distributed  by percentage                                                               
of  population.     He  noted   that  the  rings   reflected  the                                                               
unemployment rates in those same  areas, and he acknowledged that                                                               
there  was  a connection  between  areas  of low  employment  and                                                               
reliance on public assistance, even in the urban areas.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:17:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER   directed  attention   to  slide  7,   "DPA  Service                                                               
Population," which listed the priorities  under the results based                                                               
accountability  model.   He  said  that  the Division  of  Public                                                               
Assistance  touched  individuals  in  every stage  of  life,  and                                                               
protected  and   promoted  the  health  of   Alaskans  by  making                                                               
eligibility determinations  for Medicaid,  noting the  life cycle                                                               
chart at  the bottom  of the  slide.   The WIC  program addressed                                                               
nutritional needs for pregnant women  and young children who were                                                               
at  nutritional risk,  Medicaid provided  health care  access and                                                               
delivery, and Alaska  families were assured of  their basic needs                                                               
and supports to  keep the family together.  He  reported that the                                                               
adult  public   assistance  program  ensured  that   seniors  and                                                               
individuals with disabilities were  able to live as independently                                                               
as  possible in  their communities.   He  declared that  personal                                                               
responsibility  was  a  key  aspect  of  many  public  assistance                                                               
programs, noting that the temporary  assistance program had major                                                               
work   requirements.     He  opined   that  the   chart  provided                                                               
percentages  for  services and  ages  served,  from pre-natal  to                                                               
death.  It  also indicated that almost 60 percent  of the service                                                               
population were children under the age  of 18 or seniors over the                                                               
age of 65.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:19:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  addressed slide 8, "Individual  Recipients - November                                                               
2014,"  which  reflected  that many  Alaskans  received  multiple                                                               
benefits from multiple programs.   He pointed out that 36 percent                                                               
[55,194 people] of the total  service population of about 155,000                                                               
people,  only received  Medicaid; whereas,  food stamps  "touches                                                               
many, many  more Alaskans."  The  nature of the earnings  for the                                                               
working poor changed  dramatically in the last few  years, and it                                                               
was now  estimated that [indisc.]  million Americans  had incomes                                                               
below 200  percent of the federal  poverty rate.  He  stated that                                                               
the  vast majority  of these  people were  working.   Overall, in                                                               
Alaska, 26 percent  of people who receive food  stamps had earned                                                               
income, and were working while living at a poverty level.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER said  that slide  9, "Race,  All Programs  - November                                                               
2014,"  provided  additional demographic  information,  reporting                                                               
that 40 percent  of the division's service  population was White,                                                               
while 39 percent was Alaska Native.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:21:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR returned  to slide  8, and  asked about  the                                                               
income guidelines  for eligibility  to food stamps  and Medicaid.                                                               
She opined that everyone who  qualified for food stamps should be                                                               
qualified for Medicaid.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  explained that the  food stamp program  income limits                                                               
were lower  than the  income limits  for most  Medicaid programs.                                                               
The reality  was that  the majority of  those who  only qualified                                                               
for food stamps would not,  until Medicaid Expansion, qualify for                                                               
Medicaid.   He noted that  other individuals opted to  only apply                                                               
for services and programs that they felt "they truly need."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  mused that  these people were  eligible, but                                                               
did not apply.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER acknowledged  "there may  be some  folks who  are, in                                                               
fact, eligible for Medicaid and haven't applied."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:22:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER addressed  slide  10, and  reiterated  that the  high                                                               
percentages  of  children, when  combined  with  adults, was  the                                                               
majority  of the  service population.   He  declared that  it was                                                               
important to  note that many of  those in the adult  category had                                                               
disabilities and were also receiving adult public assistance.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:23:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  spoke  about  slide   11,  "Public  Assistance  Core                                                               
Services,"  and shared  that the  core services  in the  division                                                               
were narrowly  defined, as a "big  chunk of it is  actually doing                                                               
the eligibility determination."   He reported that  75 percent of                                                               
the  workforce were  office assistants,  eligibility technicians,                                                               
and supervisory  staff who  were handling  the intake,  doing the                                                               
renewal   applications,   and   ensuring   that   benefits   were                                                               
distributed  in a  timely manner.    He reported  that the  slide                                                               
depicted the average  monthly recipients, and noted  that some of                                                               
the services were seasonal.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  asked if  those not listed  as annual  were monthly                                                               
averages.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER stated  his  agreement.   He moved  on  to slide  12,                                                               
"Public  Assistance  Core  Services,"  which  listed  the  annual                                                               
expenditures for  these same programs.   He pointed out  that the                                                               
SNAP program (food stamps) was  not included as the division only                                                               
handled its administration, and not the funding.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES asked for  clarification on slide 11, which                                                               
listed 4,706 children receiving child care assistance.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  explained that  this was the  number of  children who                                                               
were authorized for the benefit.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  asked  about  slide 12,  which  listed  a                                                               
childcare cost of $1.7 million per month.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER replied  that this was correct, that  childcare was an                                                               
extraordinarily expensive  option for  parents.  He  relayed that                                                               
the cost  of housing  for low income  families was  enormous, and                                                               
that child  care for multiple  children could  be even more.   He                                                               
said  that  eligibility  determination and  distribution  of  the                                                               
benefits was the second part of the division's core service.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:27:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  relayed that  the childcare cost  was $369                                                               
per month per child.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON stated that $369 per month was "quite a deal."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:28:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  declared that there  were three child  care programs,                                                               
PASS  (Parents   Achieving  Self  Sufficiency)   programs,  which                                                               
included  one  for  people  on   welfare,  the  Alaska  Temporary                                                               
Assistance program;  one for people  in transition  from welfare;                                                               
and  the  third  was  for  people off  welfare,  working,  or  in                                                               
education  related to  employment.   He said  that the  subsidies                                                               
increased as a person advanced through the programs.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:28:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  moved  on  to  slide  13,  "Public  Assistance  Core                                                               
Services,"  which listed  the  monitor  beneficiary and  provider                                                               
compliance, the  areas that ensured  that Alaskans  receiving the                                                               
benefits, as  well as the  vendors, were being as  responsible as                                                               
possible.   He stated that  there had been  a lot of  outreach to                                                               
educate  the public  about  high  quality.   He  shared that  the                                                               
quality assurance  group met federal reporting  requirements, and                                                               
another  group  reviewed and  monitored  vendor  compliance.   He                                                               
declared that  all the groups  were related to ensuring  the most                                                               
effective stewardship of the state's  resources, stating that the                                                               
fraud  team  was "a  crack  unit"  and  had recovered  almost  $8                                                               
million in the past year.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:30:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  spoke  about  the   individual  and  family  support                                                               
services,  which worked  in concert  with child  care to  provide                                                               
basic services for  families, as a safety net to  help keep their                                                               
homes  and supplement  their food.   He  said that  all of  these                                                               
programs can have a positive  impact by assisting with job search                                                               
and  work activities,  employment and  self-sufficiency planning,                                                               
supportive  services,  skills   development,  job  training,  and                                                               
families first and self-sufficiency  activities.  He expounded on                                                               
the  WIC  program  and  the impact  on  people  without  adequate                                                               
nutrition.   He declared the  importance for adequate  and proper                                                               
nutrition for children, noting that  research tied poor nutrition                                                               
to "all  sorts of  behavioral challenges."   He relayed  that the                                                               
work  services programs  had work  requirements intended  to help                                                               
people get off the assistance  roles.  He acknowledged that there                                                               
were  a  significant number  of  people  with special  needs  who                                                               
cannot achieve self-sufficiency in the expected two year period.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:32:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  reviewed the  WIC program, slide  15, and  lauded the                                                               
national  award  winning   breastfeeding  promotion  and  support                                                               
program, as well  as the health and  nutrition education program.                                                               
He  directed attention  to the  additional committee  information                                                               
[Included in members' packets].                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:33:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  offered a  brief  budget  overview, slide  16,  "DPA                                                               
Budget Overview,"  declaring that this  did not include  the SNAP                                                               
benefits.   He  pointed out  that  the division  budget was  just                                                               
under  12 percent  of the  department budget,  and that  the vast                                                               
amount of the  money, 76 percent of the funding,  was paid to the                                                               
clients or  the vendors serving  the clients in  the communities.                                                               
He added  that about  $15 million  each month  were paid  in SNAP                                                               
benefits in Alaska.   He reported that  the administrative costs,                                                               
which included the personal services  to the employees, was about                                                               
24  percent of  the  budget.   He  addressed  slides  17 and  18,                                                               
"Division Overall Funding Detail," and  stated that a lot of this                                                               
expenditure was  from the  general fund and  went to  the clients                                                               
and vendors.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:34:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ asked  about  the  "other" category  that                                                               
showed 5 percent.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER deferred.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:35:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER addressed  slide 19,  "Breakdown  of General  Funds,"                                                               
which depicted the  funds by program.  The  general fund breakout                                                               
was used to  identify areas for efficiencies as  requested by the                                                               
governor, which resulted in a  $12 million total reduction, slide                                                               
20.  He listed the  cuts identified for programs, which included:                                                               
the  Alaska  Temporary  Assistance   Program,  the  Adult  Public                                                               
Assistance  Program,  the  Tribal Assistance  Programs,  and  the                                                               
Energy Assistance  Program because there were  lapsed balances in                                                               
each  of these,  and there  were  some declining  caseloads.   He                                                               
offered his belief  that, although this could work,  the big risk                                                               
was  if the  economy did  not get  moving, as  the people  on the                                                               
margins would begin  to feel even more pressure.   At that point,                                                               
he asked, would there be  the funds necessary to provide benefits                                                               
for a  growing caseload in the  future.  He stated  that the only                                                               
program with a programmatic impact  was the proposed reduction to                                                               
the senior benefits program.   This program had been under review                                                               
for termination  and the senior  population was likely  to climb.                                                               
He suggested that the big driver in  cost in the next 5 - 8 years                                                               
for  this program  would be  from the  families that  receive the                                                               
highest  payment,  $250  each  month,  as  that  segment  of  the                                                               
population  would  most  likely  grow.   He  reported  that  this                                                               
included several  thousand people who  did not receive  any other                                                               
benefits from the state.  He said  that this would result in a 20                                                               
percent reduction to benefits.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:39:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  asked if the  income limits were  also being                                                               
adjusted.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  responded  that  the  federal  poverty  limits  were                                                               
adjusted  annually, although  the  change in  the senior  benefit                                                               
levels would not happen until 2016.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR asked for clarification  that this was for FY                                                               
2016, effective July 1, 2015.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:40:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  reviewed the division's successes,  slide 21, "Recent                                                               
Successes,"   which   included   a  federal   bonus   award   for                                                               
administration of  the food stamp  program.  Although  this money                                                               
had  to be  reinvested in  the SNAP  program, there  was a  50/50                                                               
match for  it, and this $900,000  bonus would then be  worth $1.8                                                               
million if it was  used in the SNAP program.   He reported that a                                                               
plan for  use of  the money  would be  submitted in  the upcoming                                                               
week.   He spoke about  the development of a  quality improvement                                                               
system for  childcare, which was  an organized way  of assessing,                                                               
improving, and communicating the quality  of early child care and                                                               
learning programs for  families.  He pointed out  that Alaska was                                                               
one  of  the  few  states  that  did  not  have  a  full  Quality                                                               
Recognition &  Improvement System (QRIS), so  the state partnered                                                               
with thread, which was the  state's resource referral agency.  He                                                               
said  that  this  effort  would be  amplified  as  the  childcare                                                               
development fund block grant had  been renewed, but this required                                                               
a  lot of  work, some  of  which was  not funded  by the  federal                                                               
government.    He  mentioned  the   almost  $8  million  in  cost                                                               
avoidance   fraud  claims   and   direct   savings  for   program                                                               
disqualifications.  He  said that the IT system had  come on line                                                               
just as  planned, and it was  working well with the  benefits and                                                               
tracking  of WIC  recipients.   He shared  that the  division was                                                               
piloting  Hospital Presumptive  Eligibility, a  condition of  the                                                               
Patient  Protection  and  Affordable   Care  Act,  which  allowed                                                               
hospitals to presume  someone to be eligible  for Medicaid within                                                               
a  very  short period  of  time.    He  explained that  this  was                                                               
designed  for  point  of  access  for care  to  allow  for  quick                                                               
enrollment in Medicaid, an idea pushed by the hospitals.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:43:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  referenced  slide 23,  "Current  Challenges,"  which                                                               
included an  enormous backlog  of applications,  partially driven                                                               
by the overlapping of the two  systems as the new one was brought                                                               
on-line.    He  allowed  that  progress  was  being  made  toward                                                               
elimination  of the  backlog,  and  that a  lot  of overtime  had                                                               
occurred  to alieve  the desperate  situation.   He said  that 10                                                               
percent of the  workforce had volunteered to  assist field staff,                                                               
and that he  was even dealing with returned  mail and registering                                                               
applications.   He  stated that  the  goal was  to eradicate  the                                                               
backlog  before Medicaid  Expansion went  live.   He shared  that                                                               
another  challenge was  to leverage  technology, as  there was  a                                                               
desperate  need  for  electronic  document  management  in  every                                                               
division in the department.   He stated that the business process                                                               
improvements had been effective, providing  a means to stay ahead                                                               
of  the  volume of  work  when  the  food stamp  caseload  almost                                                               
doubled   from  2008   -  2010.     He   pointed  out   that  the                                                               
aforementioned technical  challenges for the new  system, as well                                                               
as  complex Medicaid  policies, overwhelmed  the division's  work                                                               
process.  He  reported that the division had applied  to use some                                                               
of the federal bonus funds to  invest in a contractor to help re-                                                               
engineer the business process, and  to find more efficiencies, as                                                               
there was no automated way to manage the flow of the workload.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:46:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  concluded the PowerPoint presentation  with slide 24,                                                               
"Moving  Forward."   He expressed  concern with  the increase  to                                                               
caseloads if the  economy remained at an ebb, as  it did not take                                                               
much to affect  the population that the division  worked with for                                                               
assistance.  The division was  looking at long range programmatic                                                               
impacts  of minimum  wage increases,  although  he surmised  that                                                               
there would  not be  much impact  in the first  year.   He stated                                                               
that  the best  way to  address poverty  was with  a good  living                                                               
wage.    He  stated  that  the  division  was  actively  pursuing                                                               
partnership work with  the Office of Children's  Services and the                                                               
Division  of  Public  Health.    He  spoke  about  the  Workforce                                                               
Innovations  and   Opportunity  Act  and  the   Alaska  Temporary                                                               
Assistance Program, and future work  with the Department of Labor                                                               
&  Workforce   Development  to  help  re-build   the  job  center                                                               
networks.  He reported that  the tribal health organizations were                                                               
also  very  important  partners,  noting that  there  were  seven                                                               
tribal assistance  programs which  were an  avenue of  access for                                                               
their clients.   He  lauded the  child care  program and  the WIC                                                               
nutrition education program.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:49:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHAWNDA  O'BRIEN, Administrative  Operations Manager,  Director's                                                               
Office, Division  of Public Assistance, Department  of Health and                                                               
Social   Services,  in   response   to  Representative   Vazquez,                                                               
explained  that  the  "other"   category  on  slide  18  included                                                               
administrative  costs  associated  through  doing  business  with                                                               
other   agencies,   reimbursable  services   agreements   (RSAs),                                                               
interagencies, and leasing costs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:50:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER pointed  out that  the division  had RSA's  with many                                                               
other state agencies.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:50:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES   directed  attention  to  slide   2,  and                                                               
compared the division organization chart  with the graph on slide                                                               
6  for  the  DPA  recipients  as  a  percentage  of  census  area                                                               
populations.   She asked  if there  was any  relationship between                                                               
the number of people working in  certain areas with the number of                                                               
clients served.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER   replied  that,  in  actuality,   the  caseload  was                                                               
universal,  explaining that  the staff  in Bethel  were not  just                                                               
serving the population in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta area.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES asked  if, although  she lived  in Kodiak,                                                               
someone in Bethel could be handling the claim.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  expressed his agreement,  as the goal was  to provide                                                               
the timeliest service for individuals.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:53:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ  referenced  slide  22,  and  noted  that                                                               
historically  an individual  could  have retroactive  eligibility                                                               
for Medicaid.  She asked  how that was different from presumptive                                                               
eligibility.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER explained  that it  was necessary  to submit  a fully                                                               
filled out  application to the  Division of Public  Assistance in                                                               
order  to receive  Medicaid, under  normal circumstances.   Under                                                               
federal  law, the  division  had 45  days  to determine  Medicaid                                                               
eligibility, although,  he shared,  the division  goal was  to do                                                               
this in less  than 30 days.   If there were any  medical costs in                                                               
the three  months prior to  the month of application,  then retro                                                               
Medicaid  would  be  awarded.   The  concept  behind  presumptive                                                               
eligibility  was to  ensure that  hospitals received  payment for                                                               
Medicaid covered services from the  day the patient entered.  The                                                               
primary difference  was the  pace with  which eligibility  can be                                                               
determined, as  there was  only one day  to make  the eligibility                                                               
determination from the hospital's checklist.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:55:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ asked  about the recourse if  there was an                                                               
error.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER explained that criteria  had been established with the                                                               
hospitals, and if  more than a certain  percentage of presumptive                                                               
eligibility errors  occurred, there  was a  corrective compliance                                                               
procedure.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ  asked  when   the  compliance  rate  was                                                               
determined.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  relayed that,  as  this  was  a new  program,  those                                                               
details were  still being worked  out, and he offered  to provide                                                               
further information.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:56:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ directed attention  to slide 23, and asked                                                               
if the block grants referenced  were state or federal grants, and                                                               
how much were they.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KREHER  replied  that  this  was a  federal  grant,  and  he                                                               
deferred for the amount.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:57:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARCEY  BISH,   Program  Manager,  Child  Care   Program  Office,                                                               
Division of  Public Assistance, Department  of Health  and Social                                                               
Services, in  response to a  question by  Representative Vazquez,                                                               
said  that  the  division  did not  currently  have  the  funding                                                               
formula from the reauthorization, and  in response to Mr. Kreher,                                                               
she estimated  that the  Child Care  and Development  Block grant                                                               
was $13  million during the  past year, offering to  research the                                                               
exact amount.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:58:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ asked  about the  number of  referrals to                                                               
the  fraud  control  unit,  how  many  cases  were  referred  for                                                               
prosecution, and the average amount of restitution.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  offered to provide further  information, pointing out                                                               
that  this  information  was  also   available  on  the  division                                                               
website.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:59:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELAINE  RICH, Chief,  Program Integrity  & Analysis,  Division of                                                               
Public Assistance,  Department of Health and  Social Services, in                                                               
response to a question from  Representative Vazquez regarding the                                                               
number  of   fraud  referrals,   explained  that   there  several                                                               
categories, and  that of  the 572  applicant referrals,  227 were                                                               
found  to  be fraudulent.    There  were 549  investigations  for                                                               
individuals currently receiving public  assistance, and of these,                                                               
158 were  found to be fraudulent.   During the Fiscal  Year 2014,                                                               
there were 17  convictions with court ordered  restitution in the                                                               
amount of $429,776.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ asked  about the  number of  referrals to                                                               
the Medicaid fraud control unit and the amount recouped.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. RICH offered to provide further information.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:01:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VAZQUEZ    asked   whether    the   Surveillance                                                               
Utilization Review Software was being used.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER replied that he did not know.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked about the relationship  between the                                                               
division and the Medicaid payment processors.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER explained  that the Division of  Public Assistance was                                                               
responsible  for the  eligibility determinations,  and once  that                                                               
information was in the system, the benefits were issued.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ asked if  the Department of Administration                                                               
(DOA) processed the payments for SNAP.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER replied that these  benefits were not processed by the                                                               
DOA,  but went  through the  food and  nutrition services  and JP                                                               
Morgan, the banking institute for electronic benefit transfers.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:02:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  directed attention  to  a  handout titled  "Senior                                                               
Benefits Program."  [Included in members' packets]                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER explained  that this provided a basic  overview of the                                                               
senior benefits  program, and in  response to Chair  Seaton, said                                                               
that it  was not on the  division website.  He  explained that it                                                               
was available  to any Alaskan over  the age of 65  who had income                                                               
falling  into one  of the  three income  brackets.   He explained                                                               
that  it required  an  income  below 75  percent  of the  federal                                                               
poverty  limit  for  benefits  of  the  highest  payment  amount;                                                               
individuals between  75 and  100 percent  of the  federal poverty                                                               
limit received  the middle benefit;  and individuals  with income                                                               
above  175 percent  of  the federal  poverty  level received  the                                                               
lowest payment.   He noted that an individual  would receive $250                                                               
per month if their income was less than $920 per month.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON asked  about  the other  two  payments, which  were                                                               
facing  a  proposed  cut  of  20 percent.    He  stated  that  an                                                               
individual  with an  income  of $1,200  per  month would  receive                                                               
about $140  per month,  and an individual  with income  of $2,146                                                               
per  month would  receive about  $100 month.   He  clarified that                                                               
this was  an income based program  prior to the deduction  of any                                                               
taxes  or   expenses.     He  asked  if   there  was   any  asset                                                               
qualification for determination.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER replied "there is no asset test."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON opined  that a person could  have significant assets                                                               
and wealth with very little income.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:06:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked if the  backlog indicated on  slide 23                                                               
was attributable to any one cause.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. KREHER  responded that this  was a  "perfect storm" due  to a                                                               
series of contributing events, one  of which was the reality that                                                               
there  was not  funding to  start up  a new  Medicaid eligibility                                                               
system until  October, 2012.   Under  the Patient  Protection and                                                               
Affordable  Care   Act,  in  order  to   maximize  federal  match                                                               
participation,  there  was  a requirement  for  functionality  of                                                               
certain aspects  of the  system by October,  2013, and  that this                                                               
had  not  started  in  Alaska  until  May  or  June,  2013.    He                                                               
acknowledged that it was understood  that it would create a drain                                                               
on the  staff resources  and a  fair number  of employees  had to                                                               
contribute time  to the  project design  and development  as they                                                               
were subject matter  experts.  He noted that during  the weeks of                                                               
design sessions,  their work was  handled by others and  when the                                                               
system did  not go live,  a contingency  manual system had  to be                                                               
utilized and Medicaid  determinations began to slow.   He pointed                                                               
out  that  account  transfers  were  pushed  from  the  federally                                                               
facilitated market place, and created a lot of extra work.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  thanked the presenters  and asked the  committee to                                                               
submit further questions.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:11:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:11:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
             HB 59-MARIJUANA CONCENTRATES; LICENSES                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 59, "An  Act relating to  marijuana concentrates;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:17:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ moved  to  adopt  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for HB 59,  labeled 29-LS0257\S, Martin, 2/24/15,                                                               
as the working draft.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:18:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON objected for discussion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:18:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TANEEKA HANSEN, Staff, Representative Paul Seaton, Alaska State                                                                 
Legislature, explained the changes contained in the proposed CS,                                                                
paraphrasing from a prepared statement, which read:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5:                                                                                                               
     Page 4, line 7 & 11                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Registration is replaced with license.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 6:                                                                                                               
     Page 4, lines 26 - page 5, line 2                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Language requiring the regulations to include                                                                              
     prohibitions on the combination of marijuana with                                                                          
     alcohol and nicotine has been deleted. Language                                                                            
     requiring the regulations to prohibit the sale of                                                                          
     marijuana in an establishment which sells alcohol has                                                                      
     also been removed.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     New language was added which states that the                                                                               
     regulations created by the board may include                                                                               
     prohibitions on combining marijuana concentrates with                                                                      
     other addictive substances or requirements that new                                                                        
     products be certified before they are available for                                                                        
     retail.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Section 12:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, lines 8 - 15                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Subsections (j), (k), and (l) have been added.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Subsection (j) allows the board by regulation to                                                                           
     create the number or type of licenses necessary for                                                                        
     implementation.  Subsection (k) prohibits the issues                                                                       
     of a license for a marijuana retail store to a person                                                                      
     who holds a license under AS 04.  Subsection (l)                                                                           
     states that a license issued to a marijuana                                                                                
     manufacturing facility does not authorize the facility                                                                     
     to combine marijuana with tobacco, nicotine, or                                                                            
     alcohol or products containing them.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Section 22                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Page 8, lines 23 -25                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
       The words 'through the use of a solvent other than                                                                       
        water' have been removed from the definition of                                                                         
     concentrates.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:22:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  removed  his objection,  therefore,  the  proposed                                                               
committee  substitute  (CS)  for   HB  59,  labeled  29-LS0257\S,                                                               
Martin, 2/24/15, was adopted as the working draft.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:22:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL objected  and, referring to page  6, line 12,                                                               
asked about the license requirement.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON relayed  that  an amendment  would  be included  to                                                               
correct that language.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES said that her  question was similar to that                                                               
of the previous  member's and offered her  understanding that the                                                               
proposed  bill did  not  prohibit a  liquor  license holder  from                                                               
holding  a license  for  the sale  of  marijuana, although  these                                                               
could not necessarily be sold in the same establishment.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. HANSEN, in response, offered  her belief that subsection (k),                                                               
as  written,  could  be  interpreted   in  that  way;  therefore,                                                               
Amendment S.1 would be proposed for clarification.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:24:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  removed  his  objection.   There  being  no                                                               
further  objection,  CSHB  59,  Version S,  was  adopted  as  the                                                               
working draft.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:25:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  moved to adopt an  amendment, labeled 29-                                                               
LS0257\S.1, Martin, 2/25/15, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 2, following "establishments;":                                                                             
          Insert "relating to alcoholic beverages and                                                                         
     marijuana;"                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, following line 3:                                                                                                  
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
         "* Sec. 2. AS 04.16 is amended by adding a new                                                                     
     section to read:                                                                                                           
          Sec. 04.16.165. Restriction on sale of marijuana                                                                    
      on licensed premises. A licensee may not sell, offer                                                                    
      for sale, furnish, or deliver marijuana on licensed                                                                       
     premises."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, lines 10 - 12:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
          "(k)  A marijuana retail store license issued                                                                         
        under this section does not authorize the sale,                                                                         
         offering for sale, furnishing, or delivery of                                                                          
     alcoholic beverages on licensed premises."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON objected for discussion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:27:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  labeled this  Amendment S.1, and  reviewed it  as a                                                               
means  for removing  the  person  and placing  the  burden on  an                                                               
establishment in  order to address  the issue  of self-medication                                                               
by individuals.  This would  prohibit individuals from purchasing                                                               
recreational marijuana in an alcohol sales establishment.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON removed his objection.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:28:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  objected,  asking  for  clarification  that                                                               
Section  12,  subsection (k)  would  not  authorize the  sale  of                                                               
alcoholic beverages  in a  marijuana retail  sale store,  or vice                                                               
versa.   He reflected  that previous  testimony by  Ms. Franklin,                                                               
[Director of the Alcoholic Beverage  Control Board] had suggested                                                               
that  licensing  that  would  allow  on  premise  consumption  of                                                               
marijuana could  occur in the future.   He asked if  the proposed                                                               
amendment only  addressed purchases or  if it also applied  to on                                                               
the premise consumption.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON explained that the  on the premise consumption would                                                               
be  allowed for  either marijuana  or alcohol,  but not  for both                                                               
products  under the  proposed bill.   The  proposed bill  did not                                                               
prevent  a  license  for  usage  or  sale  on  premise,  it  only                                                               
maintained a separation of usage in the same establishment.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  if  this was  a  concurrent issue  in                                                               
another committee.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:30:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. HANSEN  offered her  belief that SB  62 had  similar language                                                               
restricting the  sale of marijuana  in an  establishment licensed                                                               
for  alcohol  sale,  and  that  it may  be  more  restrictive  by                                                               
limiting the ownership of licenses for sales of both.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:31:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL removed his objection.  There being no                                                                      
further objection, Amendment S.1 was adopted.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:31:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ moved to adopt an amendment, labeled 29-                                                                 
LS0257\S.1, Martin, 2/25/15, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 5:                                                                                                            
          Delete "Notwithstanding any other provision of                                                                        
     law, the"                                                                                                                  
          Insert "The [NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION                                                                  
     OF LAW, THE]"                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete ", and permitted by,"                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 24:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Notwithstanding any other provision of                                                                        
     law, the"                                                                                                                  
          Insert "The [NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION                                                                  
     OF LAW, THE]"                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 25:                                                                                                           
          Delete ", and permitted by,"                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 11:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Notwithstanding any other provision of                                                                        
     law, the"                                                                                                                  
          Insert "The [NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION                                                                  
     OF LAW, THE]"                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 12:                                                                                                           
          Delete ", and permitted by,"                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON   labeled  this  Amendment   2  and   objected  for                                                               
discussion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:33:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. HANSEN explained Amendment 2,  which was primarily conforming                                                               
language  to  SB  30  dealing with  the  criminal  statutes,  and                                                               
deleting the  language for "notwithstanding any  other provisions                                                               
of law."   She noted the removal of "and  permitted by" which had                                                               
allowed a temporary  delay for the concentrates,  stating that it                                                               
was no longer  necessary with the deletion  of the aforementioned                                                               
language for notwithstanding.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:34:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON removed  his  objection.   There  being no  further                                                               
objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:35:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:36:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM HINTERBERGER,  Ph.D., Chair,  Campaign to  Regulate Marijuana                                                               
Like Alcohol in Alaska, stated opposition  to proposed HB 59.  He                                                               
pointed  out  that Ballot  Measure  2  had  been approved  by  53                                                               
percent of  Alaska voters  on November  3, and  would effectively                                                               
replace the unregulated, underground  market for marijuana with a                                                               
regulated system  of tax  paying businesses.   He noted  that the                                                               
legislature's ability  to modify  this initiative  was restricted                                                               
for  two years,  and  he expressed  confidence  in the  Alcoholic                                                               
Beverage  Control  Board for  undertaking  a  mandate to  provide                                                               
regulations under  the timelines required by  the ballot measure.                                                               
He stated that  delay of any implementation  would contradict the                                                               
will  of the  voters, declaring  that concentrates  were included                                                               
under the  definition of marijuana  in Ballot Measure 2,  and the                                                               
manufacture, sales,  and possession  of these products  should be                                                               
treated  with parity  to marijuana  flower products.   He  stated                                                               
that the  campaign maintained  the position  that proposed  HB 59                                                               
was  unconstitutional   as  currently   drafted.     He  directed                                                               
attention  to  the handout  titled  "Specific  Concerns With  the                                                               
Current Version of HB 59" [Included in members' packets].                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:38:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RACHELLE  YEUNG, Legislative  Analyst, Marijuana  Policy Project,                                                               
directed attention to the handout  titled "Specific Concerns With                                                               
the Current Version of HB  59" [Included in members' packets] and                                                               
stated  that it  was substantively  quite similar  to an  earlier                                                               
memo.   She emphasized  that the campaign  wanted to  clarify its                                                               
concerns for the  intent and the effect of HB  59, as it appeared                                                               
the intent  was not  aligned with  the will of  the voters.   She                                                               
offered  the campaign's  belief that  the proposed  bill was  not                                                               
constitutional in its intent.   She stated that concentrates were                                                               
included under the  definition of marijuana in  Ballot Measure 2,                                                               
and,  as it  was not  distinguished from  the marijuana  plant or                                                               
flower, the mandate to the  legislature was to not interfere with                                                               
or  alter  the  timeline  for  implementation  of  the  marijuana                                                               
regulations.   She declared that  neither the  proposed committee                                                               
substitute  nor these  amendments  had altered  the concerns  and                                                               
that the  bill remained inconsistent  with the  initiative passed                                                               
by  the  voters.   She  offered  support  for discussion  to  the                                                               
concerns  of potential  dangers with  production of  concentrates                                                               
and to address  the concerns in a constitutional  manner that was                                                               
consistent with Ballot Measure 2.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:42:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON closed public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:43:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  asked for an opinion  on the provision of  the bill                                                               
which separated  the combining  of nicotine  with marijuana.   He                                                               
opined that  this was the mixing  of an addictive product  with a                                                               
product  that may  have psychological  dependence and  questioned                                                               
whether a prohibition should be implemented.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALLISON KULAS,  Program Manager, Tobacco Prevention  and Control,                                                               
Division  of  Public  Health, Department  of  Health  and  Social                                                               
Services,  stated that  the division  had not  taken an  official                                                               
position, and, although they were  tracking the science, they had                                                               
not come  across anything discussing the  combination of nicotine                                                               
or tobacco or alcohol with marijuana.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:44:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked about  the combination  of cannabis                                                               
and alcohol.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KULAS replied  that,  although there  was  not any  specific                                                               
science  for the  combination of  the two,  it would  most likely                                                               
result in  greater impairment, and  that there was a  concern for                                                               
the addictive properties of marijuana.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked if Department of  Health and Social                                                               
Services had a position on the proposed bill.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. KULAS  replied that the  department did not have  a position,                                                               
at this point.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:45:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked  if there was anyone  who could provide                                                               
a response regarding the combination aspect.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KULAS  explained that the  evidence was being  considered and                                                               
the department was following the  lead of Colorado, as that state                                                               
had done an extensive literature review for marijuana addiction.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:46:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON reported  that the  proposed bill  was designed  to                                                               
address  a developing  industry.   He shared  that the  ABC Board                                                               
anticipated successful  completion of the regulations.   They had                                                               
requested additional staff, although  given the current financial                                                               
situation, authorization  was not  ensured.   The purpose  of the                                                               
proposed  bill was  to ensure  full  regulations on  cultivation,                                                               
processing, and  retail sales by  the industry.  If  necessary, a                                                               
delay  could  be  placed  on  the manufacture  and  sale  of  new                                                               
products.   He pointed out that  the delay would be  based on the                                                               
implementation  of recommendations  by  the board  and could  not                                                               
exceed the projected timeframe.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:48:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL disclosed  that he  was currently  a license                                                               
holder under  AS 04.  He  mused that these restrictions,  as they                                                               
were  not in  the  last  version of  the  bill, prompted  further                                                               
questioning.   He shared that  the ABC Board  representatives had                                                               
stated they  were prepared to write  regulations and restrictions                                                               
on marijuana use based on  their experiences with the control and                                                               
regulation for the use of alcohol.   He noted that members of the                                                               
licensing  world  also  declared  a readiness  for  these  issues                                                               
regarding systems of control and regulations.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:49:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL   asked  about  the  ABC   Board's  position                                                               
regarding the  restriction of  license holders  under AS  04 with                                                               
relationship to the potential sale of marijuana.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CYNTHIA  FRANKLIN,  Director,  Alcoholic Beverage  Control  (ABC)                                                               
Board,  in  response, explained  that  most  of the  restrictions                                                               
related to  alcohol were  centered on  a premises  based approach                                                               
with control of the area  of sales, manufacture, or delivery, and                                                               
there were  not any restrictions  on other businesses  by alcohol                                                               
licensees.    She stated  that  the  application to  qualify  for                                                               
liquor  licenses was  "a fairly  straightforward  process."   She                                                               
offered her  hope that  the regulations  for the  application and                                                               
licensing process  for obtaining a marijuana  based license would                                                               
be left  to the ABC  Board or  a newly created  marijuana control                                                               
board.  She opined that it  was difficult for the legislature "to                                                               
find  your  spot in  this  voter  initiative" and  she  expressed                                                               
appreciation  for the  effort to  allow for  additional time,  as                                                               
well  as concern  for the  constitutionality  requirements.   She                                                               
stated  that  the specifications  for  who  may  or may  not  get                                                               
marijuana  business licenses  begs  the need  for the  regulatory                                                               
agency to develop  the regulations with an  extended public input                                                               
period.      She   acknowledged  the   earlier   statements   for                                                               
consideration that  changes may occur as  the industry progresses                                                               
and  those  details  would  need   to  be  addressed  during  the                                                               
regulatory process, as statutes were  much harder to change.  She                                                               
opined that a prohibition for  certain people to obtain marijuana                                                               
licenses "might be risky business."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:53:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  clarified that the  proposed bill had  been amended                                                               
to  address   establishments  and   not  persons,  and   that  it                                                               
prohibited  the  sale  of  both   alcohol  and  marijuana  in  an                                                               
establishment.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FRANKLIN  acknowledged  the   amendment,  although  she  had                                                               
understood the  question to  be for  the simultaneous  holding of                                                               
licenses.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:54:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:55:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON stated that HB 59 would be held over.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:55:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Health and Social Services Standing Committee meeting was                                                                       
adjourned at 4:55 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
DPA Program Descriptions - All with regs and budget.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
Presentations by DHSS
Heating Assistance Program 02.05.2015 Fact Sheet.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
Presentations by DHSS
ATAP Fact Sheet 020915.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
Presentations by DHSS
WIC FNP Fact Sheet.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
Presentations by DHSS
TANF - WS NFAP Fact Sheet.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
Presentations by DHSS
Tribal TANF Fact Sheet 2.05.2015.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
Presentations by DHSS
SBP Fact Sheet (02-03-15).pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
Presentations by DHSS
Division of Public Assistance Presentation_2.25.2015.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
Presentations by DHSS
HB 59 Version S_proposed CS.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
HB 59
HB 59 Sectional Analysis_Version S.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
HB 59
HB 59 Explanation of changes_ver P to S.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
HB 59
HB 59_Legal Opinion_Does HB 59 require additional licenses.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
HB 59
HB 59 Ver S proposed amendment 1.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
HB 59
HB 59 Ver S Proposed Amendment 2.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
HB 59
HB 59 S_letter of opposition_MPP.pdf HHSS 2/26/2015 3:00:00 PM
HB 59