Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 120

03/26/2012 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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01:05:59 PM Start
01:06:28 PM HB343
02:10:28 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 343 DISCLOSURE OF CHILDREN'S RECORDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 26, 2012                                                                                         
                           1:05 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Steve Thompson, Vice Chair                                                                                       
Representative Wes Keller                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Carl Gatto, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Lindsey Holmes                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker (alternate)                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 343                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to disclosure of records of the Department of                                                                  
Health and Social Services pertaining to children in certain                                                                    
circumstances; and providing for an effective date."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 343                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: DISCLOSURE OF CHILDREN'S RECORDS                                                                                   
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MUNOZ                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
02/22/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/12       (H)       HSS, JUD                                                                                               
03/15/12       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/15/12       (H)       Moved CSHB 343(HSS) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/15/12       (H)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
03/16/12       (H)       HSS RPT CS(HSS) 3DP 3NR                                                                                
03/16/12       (H)       DP: SEATON, MILLER, KERTTULA                                                                           
03/16/12       (H)       NR: MILLETT, HERRON, KELLER                                                                            
03/26/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CATHY MUNOZ                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As the sponsor, presented HB 343.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TONY NEWMAN, Social Services Program Officer                                                                                    
Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)                                                                                              
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Assisted with the presentation of HB 343.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
STACIE  KRALY,  Chief  Assistant  Attorney  General  -  Statewide                                                               
Section Supervisor                                                                                                              
Human Services Section                                                                                                          
Civil Division (Juneau)                                                                                                         
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Answered  questions  during discussion  of                                                             
HB 343.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
QUINLAN STEINER, Director                                                                                                       
Central Office                                                                                                                  
Public Defender Agency (PDA)                                                                                                    
Department of Administration (DOA)                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns  with Sections 1 and 2 of                                                             
HB 343.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
NAOMI HARRIS, Community Relations Manager                                                                                       
Office of Children's Services (OCS)                                                                                             
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  in  support  of  HB  343,  and                                                             
answered questions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA HENJUM, Director                                                                                                        
Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)                                                                                              
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  in  support  of  HB  343,  and                                                             
answered questions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:05:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR STEVE  THOMPSON called  the House  Judiciary Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order at  [1:05]  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Thompson,  Pruitt, Gruenberg,  Lynn, and  Keller were  present at                                                               
the call to order.  Representative Gatto was excused.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
           HB 343 - DISCLOSURE OF CHILDREN'S RECORDS                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:06:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  THOMPSON announced  that the  only order  of business                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL NO. 343,  "An Act relating to  disclosure of                                                               
records  of   the  Department  of  Health   and  Social  Services                                                               
pertaining to  children in  certain circumstances;  and providing                                                               
for   an   effective   date."     [Before   the   committee   was                                                               
CSHB 343(HSS).]                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:07:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CATHY MUNOZ,  Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
explained that HB  343 would address issues first  brought to her                                                               
attention  by the  Division  of Juvenile  Justice  (DJJ) and  the                                                               
Office  of  Children's  Services  (OCS),  both  agencies  of  the                                                               
Department of  Health and Social  Services (DHSS).  The  bill has                                                               
three primary purposes:   first, to clarify that the  DJJ and the                                                               
OCS  can  exchange information  [about  their  mutual clients]  -                                                               
although   such   exchange   is  allowed   under   current   law,                                                               
misunderstanding  on that  point has  occurred; second,  to allow                                                               
individuals with a legitimate interest,  such as former clients -                                                               
or  their  parents  or  legal guardians  -  to  receive  personal                                                               
information  from the  DJJ  that could,  for  example, help  them                                                               
apply for  jobs, join  the military, or  obtain health  care; and                                                               
third, to  simplify and streamline  current law  regarding public                                                               
disclosure  of information  pertaining to  juveniles.   She noted                                                               
that  members'   packets  contain  two  flowcharts:     one  that                                                               
illustrates  the public  disclosure process  under current  law -                                                               
which  she characterized  as cumbersome,  hard  to interpret  and                                                               
implement,   and  in   need  of   streamlining;  [and   one  that                                                               
illustrates that process under the bill].                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  explained that  under the bill,  when cases                                                               
involving certain crimes - enumerated  in Section 4's proposed AS                                                               
47.12.315(a)(1)-(7) -  are petitioned to  the court  and probable                                                               
cause is established,  information about those cases  can then be                                                               
disclosed   to   the   public,  though   Section   4's   proposed                                                               
AS 47.12.315(c) stipulates  that the  only information  which may                                                               
then be  disclosed are the  name of the  minor, the name  of each                                                               
legal parent  or guardian, the  specific offense alleged  to have                                                               
been committed,  and the final  outcome of the  court proceedings                                                               
related  to  the offense.    The  crimes  listed in  Section  4's                                                               
proposed subsection (a)(1)-(7) are all  serious crimes:  a felony                                                               
offense against  a person under AS  11.41; arson in the  first or                                                               
second  degree; burglary  in the  first  degree; distribution  of                                                               
child pornography;  promoting prostitution  in the  first degree;                                                               
misconduct  involving  a  controlled   substance  in  the  first,                                                               
second,  or third  degrees involving  distribution or  possession                                                               
with intent to  deliver; and misconduct involving  weapons in the                                                               
first  through   fourth  degrees.     She  noted   that  proposed                                                               
paragraph (7)  no longer  contains a  reference to  the crime  of                                                               
misconduct  involving  weapons in  the  fifth  degree due  to  an                                                               
amendment made in the bill's prior committee of referral.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:11:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TONY  NEWMAN,  Social  Services   Program  Officer,  Division  of                                                               
Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Department  of Health and Social Services                                                               
(DHSS), remarked that improving the  ability of agencies like the                                                               
OCS and the DJJ to work together -  as Sections 1 and 2 of HB 343                                                               
would do for  the OCS and the DJJ, respectively  - is embraced by                                                               
advocacy  organizations nationwide,  including the  Child Welfare                                                               
League of  America (CWLA), the  National Council of  Juvenile and                                                               
Family  Court  Judges  (NCJFCJ),  and  the  Center  for  Juvenile                                                               
Justice Reform (CJJR).   The changes proposed by  [Sections 1 and                                                               
2], if adopted, would demonstrate  to everyone that [the DHSS] is                                                               
dedicated  to improving  services and  outcomes for  children and                                                               
families   through   collaboration.      Section   3's   proposed                                                               
AS 47.12.310(f)  will enable  the DJJ  to be  more responsive  to                                                               
requests  for  information,  particularly  requests  from  former                                                               
clients  seeking their  own information;  he  mentioned that  he,                                                               
himself,  has  received  such requests,  which,  he  added,  have                                                               
become more commonplace  for a variety of reasons,  and Section 3                                                               
will make  it easier for  the DJJ to  help its former  clients as                                                               
they pursue various ways of improving their lives.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NEWMAN  explained that  Section  4's  proposed AS  47.12.315                                                               
would  clarify when  information about  a [juvenile  offender] is                                                               
subject to  public disclosure and  when it is  not.  It  is time-                                                               
consuming  and  challenging  to interpret  current  law  on  that                                                               
point,  and the  bill's  proposed changes  will  ensure that  the                                                               
public can continue to access  information about [perpetrators of                                                               
offenses] that represent the most  serious risk to public safety,                                                               
while also  protecting the confidentiality of  juvenile offenders                                                               
who  pose little  or  no risk.   He  assured  the committee  that                                                               
HB 343 will  not change the  laws [requiring  confidentiality in]                                                               
child  abuse and  neglect  cases, or  the  laws regarding  victim                                                               
notification -  victims will continue to  receive the information                                                               
they  need  regarding their  [juvenile  perpetrators]  - and  law                                                               
enforcement agencies,  schools, foster  parents, and  others with                                                               
well-established rights  to [juvenile-offender]  information will                                                               
continue to  receive the information  they need to do  their work                                                               
effectively.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEWMAN,  in conclusion,  proffered that  HB 343  will improve                                                               
the  DJJ's ability  to manage,  exchange,  and disclose  juvenile                                                               
offender information,  while also  respecting the  state's desire                                                               
for its juvenile  justice system to both serve  public safety and                                                               
help children put their delinquent behavior behind them.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:15:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER  observed   that  HB   343  -   [via  its                                                               
Section 1's  proposed AS  47.10.093(b)(15), and  its Section  2's                                                               
proposed  AS 47.12.310(b)(2)(M)]  -  will  add stipulations  that                                                               
appropriate information regarding a case  shall be disclosed to a                                                               
state  or  municipal agency  of  Alaska  or another  jurisdiction                                                               
[responsible  for delinquent  minors,  or  responsible for  child                                                               
protection  services,  respectively].    He  characterized  [such                                                               
provision]  as  very,  very  broad,  and  expressed  interest  in                                                               
amending the bill such that  it would additionally stipulate that                                                               
any such  other jurisdictions be  ones that have what  he termed,                                                               
"similar  rules"  for  protecting   children.    To  clarify,  he                                                               
referred to several amendments included  in members' packets that                                                               
all contained  the heading,  "CONCEPTIONAL [sic]  AMENDMENT", and                                                               
ventured that  their proposed changes  will ensure that  the best                                                               
interests   of  the   children   are   being  considered;   those                                                               
amendments, additionally  labeled 27-LS1394\M.1, 27-LS1394\M.1.a,                                                               
27-LS1394\M.1.b,   [and    27-LS1394\M.2,]   respectively,   read                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
[27-LS1394\M.1,      addressing     Section      1's     existing                                                               
AS 47.10.093(b)(6)]                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, Line 9                                                                                                             
     Insert:                                                                                                                    
          (6) a law enforcement agency of this state or                                                                         
     another jurisdiction with  similar rules for protection                                                                
     as necessary  for the  protection of  any child  or for                                                                    
     actions by that agency to protect public safety;                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[27-LS1394\M.1.a,     addressing     Section     1's     proposed                                                               
AS 47.10.093(b)(15)]                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, Line 2                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          (15) a state or municipal agency of this state or                                                                   
     another  jurisdiction   with  similar  rules   and  are                                                                
     responsible for delinquent minors,  as may be necessary                                                                  
     for   the  administration   of  services,   protection,                                                                  
     rehabilitation,  or  supervision  of  a  child  or  for                                                                  
     actions by the agency to protect the public safety.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[27-LS1394\M.1.b,     addressing     Section     2's     proposed                                                               
AS 47.12.310(b)(2)(M)]                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, Line 18                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
          (M) a state or municipal agency of this state or                                                                  
     another   jurisdiction    with   similar    rules   and                                                                
     responsible for  child protection  services, as  may be                                                                  
     necessaryfor  [sic]  the  administration  of  services,                                                                  
     protection, rehabilitation,  or supervision of  a minor                                                                  
     or  for actions  by the  agency to  protect the  public                                                                  
     safety; and                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
[27-LS1394\M.2,      addressing     Section      4's     proposed                                                               
AS 47.12.315(b)(3)]                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4 [sic], Line 21                                                                                                      
     Delete all language and insert:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
          (3) the court has entered a notice of conviction                                                                      
     or received  a guilty  plea from the  defendant through                                                                    
     legal counsel.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:16:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ   relayed  that   she  has   discussed  the                                                               
amendments  additionally labeled  27-LS1394\M.1, 27-LS1394\M.1.a,                                                               
and  27-LS1394\M.1.b  with  the  Department  of  Law  (DOL),  and                                                               
indicated that  the concern  with the  changes proposed  by those                                                               
amendments is that  any investigatory process that  would have to                                                               
be undertaken  in order to  ensure that other  jurisdictions have                                                               
similar rules  will simply  become another  "bureaucratic hurdle"                                                               
to getting necessary information.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  suggested   as  an  alternative  amending                                                               
Sections 1  and 2 such  that disclosing the information  to other                                                               
jurisdictions  would be  permitted but  not mandatory.   He  then                                                               
referred  to   Section  4's  proposed  AS   47.12.315(b)(3),  and                                                               
questioned the  rationale for providing  that information  may be                                                               
disclosed to the  public if, after a petition has  been filed and                                                               
the minor  has been arraigned,  a finding of probable  cause that                                                               
the  minor committed  the crime  has been  entered by  the court.                                                               
Under Section 4 as currently written,  a court could enter such a                                                               
finding, with the  result being that information  about the minor                                                               
is  then disclosed  to  the public,  even  though ultimately  the                                                               
minor is never convicted of the crime.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:19:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE    GRUENBERG   observed    that   the    amendment                                                               
additionally  labeled  27-LS1394\M.2  -  addressing  Section  4's                                                               
proposed   AS 47.12.315(b)(3)  -   contains  an   incorrect  page                                                               
reference, and clarified that it should instead read:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, Line 21                                                                                                            
     Delete all language and insert:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
        (3) the court has entered a notice of conviction                                                                        
      or received a guilty plea from the defendant through                                                                      
     legal counsel.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER   expressed   concern   that   disclosing                                                               
information to the  public after only a mere  finding of probable                                                               
cause could  result in litigation.   He said  it seems as  if the                                                               
criterion  should  instead  be  one  of  the  minor  having  been                                                               
convicted of, or of having confessed to, the crime.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEWMAN  explained that  in the  juvenile justice  system, the                                                               
term,  "conviction"  isn't  used,   but  acknowledged  that  it's                                                               
entirely possible  that a  minor could  initially be  arraigned -                                                               
and  a finding  of  probable  cause entered  -  but  then not  be                                                               
adjudicated delinquent.   He offered his  understanding, however,                                                               
that under the  bill, current information would  be disclosed, so                                                               
in a  situation wherein the minor  wasn't adjudicated delinquent,                                                               
that point would be disclosed as well.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER  reiterated   his   concern  that   under                                                               
Section 4  as currently  written, inappropriate  disclosure could                                                               
occur.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:23:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG indicated  that he shared Representative                                                               
Keller's concerns with the bill.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NEWMAN,  in  response to  questions,  mentioned  that  under                                                               
Section  3's  proposed  AS 47.12.310(f),  the  DHSS  shall  adopt                                                               
regulations that will govern the  release of information [about a                                                               
minor  under  its  jurisdiction  to  persons  with  a  legitimate                                                               
interest, and  shall adopt standards  for identifying  what would                                                               
constitute a  legitimate interest].   He also mentioned  that the                                                               
information referenced in Section 3  has no statute of limitation                                                               
with regard to when the  information can be released, whereas the                                                               
information referenced  in Section 4  has a five-year  statute of                                                               
limitation   [as   stipulated   in  Section   4's   proposed   AS                                                               
47.12.315(f)];   furthermore,   Section   4   only   applies   to                                                               
information related to  certain types of offenses.   He said that                                                               
with  a  great  many  of the  DJJ's  clients,  their  information                                                               
doesn't fit the  criteria for public disclosure  under Section 4,                                                               
but  they,  too, would  like  to  be  able  to obtain  their  own                                                               
information, and  so could do  so under the changes  proposed via                                                               
Section 3.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG indicated favor with Section 3.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:29:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STACIE  KRALY,  Chief  Assistant  Attorney  General  -  Statewide                                                               
Section  Supervisor,  Human   Services  Section,  Civil  Division                                                               
(Juneau),  Department  of Law  (DOL),  in  response to  comments,                                                               
stated that one  of the primary purposes of HB  343 is to clarify                                                               
that the OCS and the DJJ  are allowed to share information [about                                                               
mutual  clients]; Sections  1 and  2 of  the bill  were precisely                                                               
drafted  to  address the  fact  that  existing Title  47  doesn't                                                               
expressly   authorize  those   two  agencies   to  share   client                                                               
information.   Section  1 addresses  statutes  pertaining to  the                                                               
OCS,  with  the  language  of its  proposed  AS  47.10.093(b)(15)                                                               
referencing the  DJJ - specifically  via its wording,  "agency of                                                           
this state ... responsible for  delinquent minors"; and Section 2                                                       
addresses statutes  pertaining to the  DJJ, with the  language of                                                               
its  proposed   AS  47.12.310(b)(2)(M)  referencing  the   OCS  -                                                               
specifically  via   its  wording,  "agency  of   this  state  ...                                                           
responsible  for  child  protection  services".    She  cautioned                                                           
against  unwittingly  gutting  those sections  by  adopting  [the                                                               
amendments  additionally labeled  27-LS1394\M.1, 27-LS1394\M.1.a,                                                               
and  27-LS1394\M.1.b,]  which  would  add to  Sections  1  and  2                                                               
stipulations  that   any  other  jurisdictions  that   are  being                                                               
provided information be ones with rules similar to Alaska's.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KRALY,  in  response  to  a  question,  explained  that  the                                                               
wording, "or another jurisdiction"  was intentionally included in                                                           
those  provisions of  Sections  1 and  2 in  order  to allow  the                                                               
sharing of information with sister  agencies in other states; for                                                               
example, if  the OCS in  Alaska needed to share  information with                                                               
Idaho's division of  juvenile justice, then under  Sections 1 and                                                               
2  as  currently  written, that  could  occur,  thereby  avoiding                                                               
duplication of services or previously-failed treatment.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:33:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER   -  referring  to  the   wording  in  the                                                               
amendments  additionally labeled  27-LS1394\M.1, 27-LS1394\M.1.a,                                                               
and 27-LS1394\M.1.b,  "with similar  rules" -  questioned whether                                                           
adding that  wording would enable  the DHSS to ensure  that other                                                               
jurisdictions  being  provided  information have  at  least  some                                                               
standards for protecting children similar to Alaska's standards.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. KRALY indicated that counter to  what the bill is intended to                                                               
effectuate, adding that  wording would create a bar  to quick and                                                               
efficient  disclosure of  information,  by essentially  requiring                                                               
that  a  comparative  analysis  be conducted  by  an  OCS  social                                                               
worker, his/her  managers, and  the DOL in  order to  address the                                                               
legal question  of whether a particular  jurisdiction does indeed                                                               
have sufficiently similar  standards.  She also  pointed out that                                                               
tied  to federal  funding,  federal oversight  of  both types  of                                                               
organizations  already  occurs,   thereby  providing  overarching                                                               
consistency between the states with regard to such standards.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG noted  that  the  wording, "or  another                                                           
jurisdiction" could refer to a  jurisdiction in a foreign country                                                           
- not all of which  provide children with [adequate] protection -                                                               
and suggested that the bill be  amended to give deference to what                                                               
he  termed,  "domestic"  jurisdictions, particularly  given  that                                                               
disclosure of the information would be mandatory under the bill.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER characterized  HB 343 as a  very good bill,                                                               
and acknowledged that the existing law is very confusing.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  - to address his  concern about foreign                                                               
jurisdictions, and referring to  the language that the amendments                                                               
additionally  labeled  27-LS1394\M.1,  27-LS1394\M.1.a,  and  27-                                                               
LS1394\M.1.b  were  proposing  to  add  to Sections  1  and  2  -                                                               
ventured  that perhaps  it would  suffice to  instead just  add a                                                               
stipulation  that  information  shall  be  disclosed  to  foreign                                                               
jurisdictions that  have rules for  protecting children;  in this                                                               
way,  the question  of whether  any such  rules are  sufficiently                                                               
similar to Alaska's need not be addressed.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:42:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
QUINLAN  STEINER,  Director,   Central  Office,  Public  Defender                                                               
Agency  (PDA),  Department  of  Administration  (DOA),  said  his                                                               
concern  with  HB  343  is  that in  clarifying  for  everyone  -                                                               
including the court,  which is currently addressing  the issue of                                                               
whether  the OCS  and the  DJJ are  statutorily allowed  to share                                                               
information -  that the OCS  and the DJJ shall  share information                                                               
about mutual  clients, as Sections  1 and 2 as  currently written                                                               
will do, it could result in  the child not being forthcoming with                                                               
the  OCS because  he/she would  know  that the  DJJ could  obtain                                                               
information about him/her  from the OCS and then  possibly use it                                                               
against him/her  during a DJJ  adjudication; that  knowledge that                                                               
such  sharing shall  occur could  ultimately undermine  the OCS's                                                               
efforts to help that child.   In response to a question regarding                                                               
a possible solution  to his concern about  the potential chilling                                                               
effect such knowledge could have on  how the child relates to the                                                               
OCS, he acknowledged  that perhaps a provision could  be added to                                                               
HB 353  to either require a  court order prior to  the sharing of                                                               
information,  or to  require that  notice and  an opportunity  to                                                               
object be given prior to the sharing of information.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:49:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NAOMI HARRIS,  Community Relations Manager, Office  of Children's                                                               
Services (OCS), Department of Health  and Social Services (DHSS),                                                               
said  that  the   OCS  is  in  support  of  HB   343  because  it                                                               
standardizes the  information the  OCS is  allowed to  share with                                                               
the  DJJ.   Currently, some  confusion exists,  she acknowledged,                                                               
and the  bill will address  that by clarifying for  everyone that                                                               
such sharing can  occur.  In response to questions,  she said she                                                               
does  not  agree  with  the  PDA that  HB  343  will  impact  how                                                               
forthcoming a  client is with the  OCS.  Instead, passage  of the                                                               
bill will enable the OCS and  the DJJ to work together to support                                                               
the best interests of the child and his/her rehabilitation.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  suggested that perhaps the  bill should                                                               
be amended  to require  the DJJ  and the  OCS to  provide clients                                                               
with notice that the two  agencies share information about mutual                                                               
clients with each other.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEWMAN, in response to  questions and comments, remarked that                                                               
both  the DJJ  and  the OCS  are agencies  of  the Department  of                                                               
Health  and Social  Services (DHSS),  and both  are dedicated  to                                                               
promoting the  health and wellbeing  of the children  they serve.                                                               
Both agencies already have access  to each other's databases, and                                                               
although there  might still be some  misunderstanding with regard                                                               
to the  nature of the  OCS and DJJ's  collaborative relationship,                                                               
passage of  HB 343, specifically  its Sections  1 and 2,  will be                                                               
helpful  in  both  clarifying  that point  for  everyone  and  in                                                               
ensuring that  the DJJ has the  information it needs in  order to                                                               
take the  best approach with  each of its  clients, individually,                                                               
in terms of ensuring that his/her  best interests are served.  In                                                               
response to  further questions, he  first acknowledged  that with                                                               
regard  to the  lawful  disclosure  of confidential  information,                                                               
existing law is  not yet clear on the issue  of whether an agency                                                               
lawfully  receiving such  confidential information  is then  also                                                               
required  to maintain  the confidentiality  of that  information;                                                               
and   then   provided   brief  information   regarding   existing                                                               
provisions of AS 47.10.093(b) and  AS 47.12.310((b)(2) that would                                                               
not be changed by HB 343.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:05:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA  HENJUM, Director,  Division of  Juvenile Justice  (DJJ),                                                               
Department of Health and Social  Services (DHSS), stated that the                                                               
DJJ is  very supportive  of HB  343, believing  that each  of its                                                               
three  main  components  are  necessary  to  assist  the  DJJ  in                                                               
furthering  its goals  of rehabilitating  the children  under its                                                               
care  and doing  so  in such  a  way that  is  sensitive to  each                                                               
child's particular situation  and needs.  To  address the concern                                                               
that information  obtained from the  OCS could be misused  by the                                                               
DJJ, she  pointed out that  that hasn't  been a problem  to date,                                                               
adding  that both  the  OCS and  the  DJJ have  the  same goal  -                                                               
protecting  the  children.    In   conclusion,  she  thanked  the                                                               
committee for its support of HB 343.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEWMAN, in response to  comments and a question, relayed that                                                               
he'd contacted former standing master  William D. Hitchcock, who,                                                               
until  his recent  retirement, presided  over Anchorage's  Family                                                               
CARE  (Community Assisted  Recovery Effort)  Court (FCC)  - which                                                               
specifically addresses  child in need  of aid (CINA) cases  - and                                                               
who  said he  didn't see  anything  problematic with  HB 343  and                                                               
thought it to be a  good idea, particularly the public-disclosure                                                               
streamlining the DHSS is trying to achieve with it.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  expressed  a  desire  for  Legislative                                                               
Legal  and   Research  Services  to  review   the  aforementioned                                                               
amendments  additionally labeled  27-LS1394\M.1, 27-LS1394\M.1.a,                                                               
27-LS1394\M.1.b, and 27-LS1394\M.2.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR  THOMPSON closed  public  testimony  on HB  343,  and                                                               
relayed that [CSHB 343(HSS)] would be held over.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:10:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:10 p.m.