Legislature(1999 - 2000)

05/14/1999 03:24 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
    HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                    May 14, 1999                                                                                                
                     3:24 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Norman Rokeberg, Chairman                                                                                        
Representative Andrew Halcro, Vice Chairman                                                                                     
Representative Jerry Sanders                                                                                                    
Representative Lisa Murkowski                                                                                                   
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
Representative Tom Brice                                                                                                        
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 29(RLS)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating to licensure of physicians; and providing for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 29(RLS) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 71(RLS) am                                                                                               
"An Act relating to licensure by the State Medical Board."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HCS CSSB 71(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
* HOUSE BILL NO. 239                                                                                                            
"An Act relating to the Uniform Commercial Code; relating to                                                                    
secured transactions; amending Rule 79, Alaska Rules of Civil                                                                   
Procedure; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD; ASSIGNED TO SUBCOMMITTEE                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
* HOUSE BILL NO. 130                                                                                                            
"An Act adding limited liability companies and limited liability                                                                
partnerships to the organizations that can be authorized to                                                                     
practice architecture, engineering, land surveying, and landscape                                                               
architecture; and relating to state and municipal contracts for                                                                 
architectural, engineering, land surveying, and landscape                                                                       
architectural services."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 130 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 226                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to credited service under the teachers' retirement                                                             
system for education employees on leave without pay or receiving                                                                
workers' compensation benefits because of certain on-the-job                                                                    
injuries."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 226(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
(* First public hearing)                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 29                                                                                                                     
SHORT TITLE: REQUIREMENTS FOR PHYSICIAN'S LICENSE                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) WARD                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 1/20/99        28     (S)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 1/20/99        28     (S)  L&C, FIN                                                                                            
 2/04/99               (S)  L&C AT  1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                                                                   
 2/04/99               (S)  BILL POSTPONED                                                                                      
 2/11/99               (S)  L&C AT  1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                                                                   
 2/11/99               (S)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 2/11/99               (S)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 2/25/99               (S)  L&C AT  1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                                                                   
 2/25/99               (S)  MOVED CS(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                      
 2/25/99               (S)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 2/26/99       374     (S)  L&C RPT  CS  1DP 3NR  SAME TITLE                                                                    
 2/26/99       374     (S)  NR: MACKIE, TIM KELLY, DONLEY;                                                                      
 2/26/99       374     (S)  DP: LEMAN                                                                                           
 2/26/99       374     (S)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                                                                             
 4/21/99               (S)  FIN AT  8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                  
 4/21/99               (S)  SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                             
 4/29/99               (S)  FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                  
 4/29/99               (S)  MOVED CS(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                      
 4/29/99               (S)  RLS AT 11:50 AM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                      
 4/29/99               (S)  MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                         
 4/29/99               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                         
 4/29/99      1168     (S)  FIN RPT  3DP 4NR (L&C)CS                                                                            
 4/29/99      1168     (S)  DP: TORGERSON, GREEN, PETE KELLY;                                                                   
 4/29/99      1168     (S)  NR: PHILLIPS, ADAMS, DONLEY, WILKEN                                                                 
 4/29/99      1168     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DCED)                                                                             
 5/03/99               (S)  RLS AT 12:45 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                      
 5/03/99               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                         
 5/04/99      1221     (S)  RLS TO CAL W/CS 5/4/99  SAME TITLE                                                                  
 5/04/99      1221     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DCED)                                                                             
 5/04/99      1224     (S)  READ THE SECOND TIME                                                                                
 5/04/99      1224     (S)  RLS  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                                                                        
 5/04/99      1224     (S)  ADVANCED TO THIRD READING                                                                           
 5/04/99      1224     (S)  UNAN CONSENT                                                                                        
 5/04/99      1224     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 29(RLS)                                                                   
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  PASSED Y19 N-  E1                                                                                   
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                                                                   
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  ELLIS  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                                                                    
 5/05/99      1260     (S)  RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING                                                                   
 5/05/99      1260     (S)  PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y19 N1                                                                    
 5/05/99      1261     (S)  EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                                                                   
 5/05/99      1262     (S)  TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                  
 5/06/99      1193     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 5/06/99      1193     (H)  L&C                                                                                                 
 5/10/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
 5/10/99               (H)  SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                             
 5/12/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
 5/12/99               (H)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 5/12/99               (H)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 5/14/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 71                                                                                                                     
SHORT TITLE: PHYSICIAN LICENSURE CHANGES                                                                                        
SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 2/11/99       227     (S)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 2/11/99       227     (S)  HES, L&C                                                                                            
 4/07/99               (S)  HES AT  1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                       
 4/07/99               (S)  SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                             
 4/12/99               (S)  HES AT  1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                       
 4/12/99               (S)  MOVED CS(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                      
 4/12/99               (S)  MINUTE(HES)                                                                                         
 4/13/99       899     (S)  HES RPT  CS  4DP 1NR  SAME TITLE                                                                    
 4/13/99       899     (S)  DP: MILLER, WILKEN, ELTON,                                                                          
 4/13/99       899     (S)  PETE KELLY; NR: PEARCE                                                                              
 4/27/99               (S)  L&C AT  1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                           
 4/27/99               (S)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 4/28/99      1149     (S)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                                                                             
 4/29/99               (S)  L&C AT  1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                           
 4/29/99               (S)  MOVED CS(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                      
 4/29/99               (S)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 4/30/99      1184     (S)  L&C RPT  CS  2DP 1NR  SAME TITLE                                                                    
 4/30/99      1184     (S)  DP: MACKIE, TIM KELLY; NR: DONLEY                                                                   
 4/30/99      1184     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DCED)                                                                             
 5/03/99               (S)  RLS AT 12:45 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                      
 5/03/99               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                         
 5/04/99      1222     (S)  RLS TO CAL W/CS & 1 OR 5/4 SAME TITLE                                                               
 5/04/99      1222     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DCED)                                                                             
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  READ THE SECOND TIME                                                                                
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  RLS  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                                                                        
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  ADVANCED TO THIRD READING                                                                           
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  UNAN CONSENT                                                                                        
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 71(RLS)                                                                   
 5/04/99      1226     (S)  PASSED Y18 N1  E1                                                                                   
 5/04/99      1226     (S)  MILLER  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                                                                   
 5/05/99      1261     (S)  HELD ON RECONSIDERATION TO 5/6                                                                      
 5/06/99      1279     (S)  RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING                                                                   
 5/06/99      1279     (S)  RETURN TO SECOND FOR AM 1                                                                           
 5/06/99      1279     (S)  UNAN CONSENT                                                                                        
 5/06/99      1279     (S)  AM NO 1      ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                                                                   
 5/06/99      1280     (S)  AUTOMATICALLY IN THIRD READING                                                                      
 5/06/99      1280     (S)  PASSED Y16 N-  A4                                                                                   
 5/06/99      1281     (S)  TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                  
 5/07/99      1222     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 5/07/99      1222     (H)  HES, L&C                                                                                            
 5/11/99               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
 5/11/99               (H)  <BILL POSTPONED TO 5/13>                                                                            
 5/12/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
 5/12/99               (H)  <BILL POSTPONED TO 5/14>                                                                            
 5/13/99               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
 5/13/99               (H)  <BILL POSTPONED TO 5/14>                                                                            
 5/14/99               (H)  HES AT  8:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
 5/14/99               (H)  MOVED HCS CSSB 71(HES) OUT OF                                                                       
 5/14/99               (H)  COMMITTEE                                                                                           
 5/14/99               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                                                                         
 5/14/99      1404     (H)  HES RPT HCS(HES) 5DP                                                                                
 5/14/99      1405     (H)  DP: GREEN, DYSON, WHITAKER, BRICE,                                                                  
 5/14/99      1405     (H)  COGHILL                                                                                             
 5/14/99      1405     (H)  SENATE ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                                                                      
 5/14/99      1405     (H)  4/28/99                                                                                             
 5/14/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 239                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: UCC SECURED TRANSACTIONS                                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) MURKOWSKI BY REQUEST                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 5/14/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
 5/14/99      1410     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 5/14/99      1410     (H)  L&C, JUD                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 130                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: ARCHITECTS/ENGINEERS/LAND SURVEYORS                                                                                
SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE BY REQUEST                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 3/08/99       390     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 3/08/99       390     (H)  STA, L&C                                                                                            
 5/04/99      1168     (H)  STA REFERRAL WAIVED                                                                                 
 5/14/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 226                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: CREDITED SERVICE FOR ON-THE-JOB INJURIES                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) COGHILL, Dyson, Whitaker, Morgan,                                                                
Green, Smalley                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 5/06/99      1201     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 5/06/99      1201     (H)  HES, L&C, FIN                                                                                       
 5/11/99               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
 5/11/99               (H)  MOVED CSHB 226(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                
 5/11/99               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                                                                         
 5/12/99      1358     (H)  COSPONSOR(S): WHITAKER, MORGAN,                                                                     
 5/12/99      1358     (H)  GREEN, SMALLEY                                                                                      
 5/13/99      1365     (H)  HES RPT  CS(HES) 7DP                                                                                
 5/13/99      1366     (H)  DP: GREEN, MORGAN, DYSON, COGHILL,                                                                  
 5/13/99      1366     (H)  WHITAKER, KEMPLEN, BRICE                                                                            
 5/13/99      1366     (H)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (ADM)                                                                              
 5/14/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SARAH ISTO, MD, Chair                                                                                                           
State Medical Board                                                                                                             
Division of Occupational Licensing                                                                                              
Department of Commerce and Economic Development                                                                                 
1718 Willow Drive                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 586-8992                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 29; testified in                                                                
support of SB 71.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SHARON CLARK, Legislative Assistant                                                                                             
   to Senator Mike Miller                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 119                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-3762                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 71 as aide to the Senate Health,                                                              
Education and Social Services Standing Committee, the bill sponsor.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
JANET SEITZ, Legislative Assistant                                                                                              
   to Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 24                                                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 465-4968                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 130 as aide to the House Labor                                                                
and Commerce Standing Committee, the bill sponsor.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JIM STEVENS, President, Kuskokwim Architects and Engineers                                                                      
601 West Fifth Avenue, Number 410                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 276-2176                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 130.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CATHERINE REARDON, Director                                                                                                     
Division of Occupational Licensing                                                                                              
Department of Commerce and Economic Development                                                                                 
P.O. Box 110806                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0806                                                                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 465-2536                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 130.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COGHILL, JR.                                                                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 416                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-3719                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 226.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CYR, President                                                                                                             
NEA-Alaska                                                                                                                      
114 Second Street                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 586-3090                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 226.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BILL CHURCH, Retirement Supervisor                                                                                              
Division of Retirement and Benefits                                                                                             
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
P.O. Box 110203                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 465-4460                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 226.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-59, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN NORMAN ROKEBERG called the House Labor and Commerce                                                                    
Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:24 p.m.  Members present                                                               
at the call to order were Representatives Rokeberg, Halcro,                                                                     
Murkowski and Cissna.  Representatives Sanders and Harris arrived                                                               
at 3:27 p.m.  Representative Brice arrived at 3:46 p.m.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CSSB 29(RLS) - REQUIREMENTS FOR PHYSICIAN'S LICENSE                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0161                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's first order of business                                                             
is CSSB 29(RLS), "An Act relating to licensure of physicians; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."  He invited Dr. Isto forward.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0222                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SARAH ISTO, MD, Chair, State Medical Board, Division of                                                                         
Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce and Economic                                                                     
Development, came forward to testify in support of SB 29.  She                                                                  
stated the board is very eager to see this legislation pass.  She                                                               
referred to her supporting letter previously provided to the                                                                    
committee because of her absence at the Wednesday [May 12] hearing.                                                             
As a brief overview, Dr. Isto explained that these are changes                                                                  
desired by the state medical board and were requested by some of                                                                
Senator Jerry Ward's [the bill sponsor] constituents.  These areas                                                              
were identified as problems by both groups.  This legislation deals                                                             
with the citizenship of applicants for new licenses, and the                                                                    
qualifications for graduates of non-United States or non-Canadian                                                               
accredited medical schools.  These schools are known as either                                                                  
international or foreign medical schools.  Dr. Isto explained the                                                               
two basic changes SB 29 makes.  Section 1  deletes the requirement                                                              
that an applicant [for licensure] be a U.S. citizen; there are many                                                             
well-qualified physicians who are in this country on various visas,                                                             
not always permanent resident visas.  These physicians are seeing                                                               
federal patients in Alaska but are not allowed to see non-federal                                                               
Alaskan patients.  The State Medical Board would like to make the                                                               
services of these physicians available to Alaskan patients.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0361                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR. ISTO pointed out the second important change is that new                                                                    
physician applicants who have graduated from foreign medical                                                                    
schools would be required to have three postgraduate years of                                                                   
training.  Three years is currently a standard requirement and                                                                  
international medical schools vary widely.  Dr. Isto noted the                                                                  
"London School of Medicine" is wonderful, but some schools in the                                                               
Caribbean operate out of a "store front."  The board is confident                                                               
that foreign medical school graduates who complete three years of                                                               
U.S. postgraduate training will have received good training and                                                                 
will have been monitored.  However, if these foreign graduates                                                                  
enter a three-year program and quit after one year, the board is                                                                
very nervous about their qualifications because they have quit or                                                               
may have been dismissed.  Dr. Isto indicated that it is unusual for                                                             
the board to receive applications from people with only one year of                                                             
postgraduate training.  The State Medical Board would like Alaska                                                               
to join the 43 other states that require three years because                                                                    
currently Alaska attracts people who did not complete their three                                                               
years, since it is one of seven states which allow that [from Dr.                                                               
Isto's previously mentioned letter:  "Alaska and the six other                                                                  
states which require only one year are currently at risk for                                                                    
attracting inadequately trained students who quit or were dismissed                                                             
at the end of their first post-graduate year."].  Dr. Isto informed                                                             
the committee that the other parts of SB 29 are simply items                                                                    
necessary to make that work.  She indicated permits which can be                                                                
renewed to last for three years would be needed for a foreign                                                                   
medical school graduate doing the "Alaska family practice                                                                       
residency" before that person can be licensed.  If a person is an                                                               
osteopath, he/she would also have to meet these requirements.  Dr.                                                              
Isto commented she was trying to keep her explanation brief because                                                             
she thinks the committee is probably familiar with this; she asked                                                              
if there are any questions.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0485                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed there were no questions for Dr. Isto or                                                             
further witnesses on SB 29.  There being none, he stated the public                                                             
hearing was closed.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0520                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to move CSSB 29(RLS) out of                                                                 
committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero                                                                 
fiscal note.  There being no objection, CSSB 29(RLS) moved out of                                                               
the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CSSB 71(RLS) am - PHYSICIAN LICENSURE CHANGES                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0533                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's next order of business                                                              
is CSSB 71(RLS) am, "An Act relating to licensure by the State                                                                  
Medical Board."  The chairman invited the sponsor's representative                                                              
forward.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0559                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SHARON CLARK, Legislative Assistant to Senator Mike Miller, Alaska                                                              
State Legislature, came forward to present SB 71 as aide to the                                                                 
Senate Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee                                                                 
(Senate HESS), the bill sponsor.  Ms. Clark informed the committee                                                              
SB 71 had been introduced by the Senate HESS Committee at the                                                                   
request of the State Medical Board, which fully supports this bill.                                                             
This legislation resolves licensure problems for the board, updates                                                             
the Alaska Statutes in relation to other states, and corrects                                                                   
unintended problems within the current law.  Ms. Clark noted the                                                                
members of the State Medical Board appreciate the scheduling of SB
71 before the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.  She                                                                 
indicated Dr. Sarah Isto, Chair of the State Medical Board, and Dr.                                                             
Martha Cotten [State Medical Board member], both instrumental in                                                                
bringing this legislation to the Senate HESS Committee, are                                                                     
present.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. CLARK explained the Senate version of SB 71 [CSSB 71(RLS) am]                                                               
had been heard that morning in the House HESS Committee.  A                                                                     
conceptual amendment was adopted to page 2, lines 12 and 13, of                                                                 
CSSB 71(RLS) am, and was probably in the committee members' bill                                                                
packets.  The conceptual amendment deleted the language, "; and (5)                                                             
be a citizen of the United States or be lawfully admitted for                                                                   
permanent residence" [current statute, AS 08.64.200(a)(5)].  Ms.                                                                
Clark indicated the bill sponsor had no problem with the amendment,                                                             
and she stated, "The committee substitute was adopted and the                                                                   
amendment was adopted, and it moved out of committee."  Ms. Clark                                                               
noted Dr. Isto would speak on the legislation's specifics.  Ms.                                                                 
Clark urged the committee to support the legislation; it is a good                                                              
bill, it does what the State Medical Board wants.  She informed the                                                             
committee that Catherine Reardon of the Division of Occupational                                                                
Licensing had also been behind the legislation.  Ms. Clark                                                                      
indicated all involved had worked very hard.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0709                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SARAH ISTO, MD, Chair, State Medical Board, Division of                                                                         
Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce and Economic                                                                     
Development, came forward to testify in support of SB 71.                                                                       
Indirectly referring to her previous testimony in support of SB 29                                                              
at this same committee meeting, Dr. Isto said SB 71 also addresses                                                              
the statutes which govern the State Medical Board.  The legislation                                                             
takes care of several housekeeping issues for the board.  Currently                                                             
the board cannot renew the 60-day temporary licenses for                                                                        
replacement physicians, so-called locums licenses [from "locum                                                                  
tenens"], unless a quorum of the board meets.  Gathering a quorum                                                               
together every 60 days to renew one or two licenses is awkward                                                                  
since the board meets quarterly.  This change would allow the board                                                             
to designate the staff to do renewals under a protocol.  The                                                                    
legislation would allow the board to designate staff to handle                                                                  
issues of physicians who are late in turning in their continuing                                                                
education credits.  Currently, this is supposed to be handled at a                                                              
board meeting, which is, again, an awkward issue.  The legislation                                                              
would also allow the board to consider an applicant's felony                                                                    
history.  If an applicant has a Class A or unclassified felony, the                                                             
board would be able to consider that when a person applies for                                                                  
licensure.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. ISTO described that a person who had killed his/her partner by                                                              
beating the partner to death while the partner was sleeping had                                                                 
applied for a license from prison.  This felony was not in the                                                                  
practice of medicine and Dr. Isto noted Alaska Statute currently                                                                
says "only if you commit that sort of crime during the practice of                                                              
medicine."  The State Medical Board was not allowed to consider                                                                 
that [felony] in the application.  Dr. Isto commented she is                                                                    
thankful to say this application had other deficiencies.  Finally,                                                              
Dr. Isto informed the committee that SB 71 addresses postgraduate                                                               
medical education for United States and Canadian [medical school]                                                               
graduates.  It would require new graduates - those who have                                                                     
graduated in 1995 or thereafter - to have two years of postgraduate                                                             
training.  This is because nearly all [medical] residencies are                                                                 
three to five years.  The Canadian family practice residency is two                                                             
years; the osteopathic residency is two years.  Those are the only                                                              
exceptions.  Dr. Isto commented it is standard to expect that a                                                                 
medical school graduate will complete the residency before applying                                                             
for a license.  This provides the State Medical Board some                                                                      
guarantee of the person's quality.  Physicians who graduated in                                                                 
1985 and have been practicing in the state of Washington for 10                                                                 
years are no problem for the State Medical Board; these people have                                                             
a practice history the board can rely on.  Dr. Isto indicated this                                                              
would only apply to new graduates.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0873                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI questioned if there is a requirement for                                                               
something like an FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] background                                                              
check prior to licensure of a new applicant.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. ISTO indicated there is the National Practitioner Data Bank                                                                 
(NPDB) [Health Resources and Administration, U.S. Department of                                                                 
Health and Human Services], a data bank that includes all                                                                       
malpractice actions, board disciplinary actions, medical school                                                                 
disciplinary actions, residency disciplinary actions, and negative                                                              
hospital actions.  That is the background check.  As it happens, if                                                             
an individual has committed some sort of crime, often the medical                                                               
board in another state, a hospital, or other entity, has taken                                                                  
action and so some of that information comes into it.  However,                                                                 
there is not an FBI check.  Dr. Isto indicated the board does have                                                              
fairly extensive information on applicants because it has an                                                                    
applicant's entire four-year medical school history, three years of                                                             
postgraduate training, and any work history; therefore, the board                                                               
feels it has a fairly good understanding of a person's doings for                                                               
at least the past seven years.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted previous discussion in the committee                                                             
of the case, she believes, involving a Dillingham pharmacist who                                                                
was eventually charged with giving young boys drugs in exchange for                                                             
sexual favors.  Representative Murkowski believed the pharmacist                                                                
had had a [criminal] background in another state.  She said she was                                                             
surprised to learn there is not the full FBI criminal background                                                                
check.  As a lawyer, they are checked out through that.  Therefore,                                                             
Representative Murkowski noted, unless it was a medical-related                                                                 
issue, it is not going to follow the person.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. ISTO agreed that is correct; however, in the case of a doctor,                                                              
if a doctor had some kind of conviction relating to sexual                                                                      
misconduct, a medical board would take action, and so that would                                                                
enter the practitioner data bank.  Dr. Isto said she does not know                                                              
much about pharmacy, pharmacists, and how that kind of information                                                              
is kept.  She is fairly confident that drug issues and sexual                                                                   
misconduct would appear in the National Practitioner Data Bank.                                                                 
Other sorts of things like financial crimes, et cetera, probably                                                                
would not.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1054                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted the presences of Representative John                                                                    
Coghill, Jr. and Representative Eric Croft.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted Dr. Isto's mention that the State                                                                   
Medical Board meets quarterly.  He questioned what would happen in                                                              
a case involving misconduct.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. ISTO responded the board has emergency teleconference meetings                                                              
and the board is very happy to do that.  Indicating the board is                                                                
made up of volunteers, she noted it is a little more difficult to                                                               
energize the board to meet to renew a doctor's 60-day permit at the                                                             
hospital's request when there are no problems with the person.  Dr.                                                             
Isto indicated the board considers this a non-emergency issue and                                                               
would like to make this process work more smoothly for the board.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA indicated she assumes drunken driving would                                                               
probably catch a relevant entity's attention, but she asked about                                                               
other alcohol-related items.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. ISTO answered it is a state requirement for hospitals to report                                                             
within 24 hours to the State Medical Board if they are concerned                                                                
that a physician is coming to work drunk, misusing alcohol, is                                                                  
present using alcohol in the hospital.  She thinks hospitals are                                                                
quite careful and defensive about reporting.  Dr. Isto indicated                                                                
the board does receive these reports in the required manner.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked about someone coming from another                                                                   
state, where perhaps there had been some real problems which                                                                    
reached the courts but not the hospital, [medical] board, et                                                                    
cetera.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. ISTO noted each state has its own separate licensing laws, but                                                              
there are many similarities.  She thinks there isn't any state that                                                             
does not concern itself with substance misuse.  These are emergency                                                             
issues because of the risk to patients from care by an incompetent                                                              
provider.  She thinks that most of those [cases] come to the                                                                    
attention of a board.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA questioned if there is any way of checking                                                                
the records, et cetera, of people coming from other countries.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR. ISTO responded she is hoping SB 29 will pass; SB 29 would                                                                   
require foreign medical school graduates to have been under close                                                               
observation in a residency for three years.  Dr. Isto indicated the                                                             
State Medical Board would need to depend on that three years of                                                                 
close observation as protection if something arises.  She further                                                               
indicated that if someone has a problem, things usually do appear                                                               
within three years, although not always.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1273                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred to Section 5 of HCS CSSB 71(HES).                                                             
She expressed confusion with this ability of substituting.  [HCS                                                                
CSSB 71(HES), Section 5 read:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     * Sec. 5.  AS 08.64.275(a) is amended to read:                                                                             
          (a) A member of the board or its executive secretary                                                                  
     may grant a temporary permit to a physician or osteopath                                                                   
     for the purpose of substituting for another physician or                                                                   
     osteopath licensed in this state.  The permit is valid                                                                     
     for 60 consecutive days.  If circumstances warrant, an                                                                     
     extension of the permit may be granted by the board or                                                                     
     its designee.]                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DR. ISTO explained there is a temporary license, a locums license,                                                              
which requires a person to have a clear existing license in another                                                             
state.  It is a somewhat faster licensing process but the license                                                               
is for a much shorter period.  This license would be used, for                                                                  
example, when a physician goes on vacation or becomes ill.  Under                                                               
this temporary license there must be a clinic, hospital, or                                                                     
someone, monitoring and vouching for the person's work.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI questioned if there is a maximum time                                                                  
period.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. ISTO answered it is 60 days, but it may be renewed twice upon                                                               
request of the hospital or the clinic - the supervising body - but                                                              
not at the practitioner's request.  She indicated this request from                                                             
the supervising body had to be submitted to the State Medical Board                                                             
in writing.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1356                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed there were no further questions for Dr.                                                             
Isto or further witnesses on SB 71.  Therefore, the chairman closed                                                             
the public hearing on the legislation.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1377                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to move HCS CSSB 71(HES) out of                                                             
committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero                                                                 
fiscal note.  There being no objection, HCS CSSB 71(HES) moved out                                                              
of the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1420                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called a brief at-ease at 3:46 p.m.  The                                                                      
committee came back to order at 3:48 p.m.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 239 - UCC SECURED TRANSACTIONS                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1425                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's next order of business                                                              
is HB 239, "An Act relating to the Uniform Commercial Code;                                                                     
relating to secured transactions; amending Rule 79, Alaska Rules of                                                             
Civil Procedure; and providing for an effective date."  The                                                                     
chairman indicated the committee would take up the regular business                                                             
of appointing a subcommittee for HB 239, in lieu of the committee                                                               
calendar and because the committee has just passed SB 71 [HB 239                                                                
and SB 71 were scheduled for a committee hearing the next day, May                                                              
15].  He questioned if Representative Murkowski had the bill title.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI read the bill title.  In response to the                                                               
chairman's question about the legislation's length, Representative                                                              
Murkowski responded that it is 134 pages long.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated he has some responsibility for HB 239.                                                              
The chairman appointed a subcommittee for HB 239, which he said                                                                 
would obviate the need for the next day's meeting.  The                                                                         
subcommittee on HB 239 is chaired by Representative Murkowski, with                                                             
Representative Rokeberg and Representative Cissna as additional                                                                 
members.  [HB 239 WAS HELD]                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 130 - ARCHITECTS/ENGINEERS/LAND SURVEYORS                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1506                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's next order of business                                                              
is HB 130, "An Act adding limited liability companies and limited                                                               
liability partnerships to the organizations that can be authorized                                                              
to practice architecture, engineering, land surveying, and                                                                      
landscape architecture; and relating to state and municipal                                                                     
contracts for architectural, engineering, land surveying, and                                                                   
landscape architectural services."  He invited Ms. Seitz forward to                                                             
explain the legislation.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1524                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JANET SEITZ, Legislative Assistant to Representative Norman                                                                     
Rokeberg, Alaska State Legislature, came forward to present HB 130                                                              
as aide to the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee, the                                                                 
bill sponsor.  Ms. Seitz explained HB 130 adds the business                                                                     
entities of limited liability companies (LLCs) and limited                                                                      
liability partnerships (LLPs) to the architects, engineers, and                                                                 
land surveyors licensing statutes.  She noted that the Department                                                               
of Commerce and Economic Development has been advised by the                                                                    
Department of Law that these new entities are not covered under the                                                             
current licensing statutes.  House Bill 130 would allow the State                                                               
Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors                                                             
to register LLCs and LLPs in a manner similar to corporations,                                                                  
where  an Alaskan licensee is designated as the responsible                                                                     
licensee in charge of each entity.  [The sponsor statement read:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The State Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers                                                                  
     and Land Surveyors (AELS) has the duty of licensing                                                                        
     architects, engineers, land surveyors or landscape                                                                         
     architects under the provisions of AS 08.48.011.  In                                                                       
     addition to individual licenses, the Board has                                                                             
     requirements for certain business entities (corporations)                                                                  
     to register with the AELS and these entities must receive                                                                  
     a license to practice.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     During the last several years, the Legislature has                                                                         
     authorized limited liability companies and limited                                                                         
     liability partnerships.  The Department of Law has                                                                         
     advised the Department of Commerce and Economic                                                                            
     Development that these new entities are not covered under                                                                  
     the AELS licensing laws.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Limited liability companies (LLCs) are covered in AS                                                                       
     10.50.  Alaska's law was adopted in 1994.  The entity is                                                                   
     a hybrid form of business structure that combines the tax                                                                  
     advantages of a partnership and the liability safeguards                                                                   
     of a corporation.  Limited liability partnerships (LLPs)                                                                   
     are covered in AS 32.05 and were adopted in Alaska in                                                                      
     1996.  LLPs are a type of general partnership and provide                                                                  
     a flexible form of organization for small businesses.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     HB 130 would allow the Board to register LLCs or LLPs in                                                                   
     a similar manner as corporations with the designation of                                                                   
     an Alaskan licensee as the responsible licensee in charge                                                                  
     of such an entity.  Such registration would continue to                                                                    
     provide consumer protection and licensee accountability                                                                    
     for the people of Alaska using the services of these                                                                       
     professionals.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     We would appreciate your support of this legislation.]                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the legislation simply adds LLCs and                                                                
LLPs to the architects, engineers, and land surveyors.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA referred to a piece of written material,                                                                  
noting it had been found that LLPs and LLCs were not authorized for                                                             
some reason to do this and that is why this legislation is                                                                      
required.  She would like to understand the reason these entities                                                               
are not already included.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1627                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ said that according to the letter from the Department of                                                              
Commerce and Economic Development, the Department of Law has                                                                    
determined that LLC entities are prohibited from practice under                                                                 
current authorities of AS 08.48.  There is currently no ability, as                                                             
a corporation does have, for an LLC to obtain authorization from                                                                
the board for a license.  Limited liability companies would have an                                                             
impossibility defense, as it is currently impossible for them to                                                                
become registered with the board.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed from Ms. Seitz the reason is that LLCs                                                              
and LLPs were never incorporated into the statute, and this is the                                                              
only problem.  The chairman indicated HB 130 corrects this                                                                      
omission, adding these forms of business organization to that                                                                   
chapter.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA questioned if there is anyone to testify from                                                             
the department, division, or anything like that.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG answered in the negative, but stated that, even                                                               
better, there is a consumer online.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ added the committee does have a letter [dated March 1,                                                                
1999] from Ms. Reardon [Director, Division of Occupational                                                                      
Licensing, Department of Commerce and Economic Development].  Ms.                                                               
Reardon's letter notes that the board met February 11 through 12 of                                                             
this year, voicing support for this legislation and for one other                                                               
requested change, adding landscape architecture to a part of the                                                                
statute which had been overlooked before.  Ms. Seitz indicated the                                                              
legislation contains this additional housekeeping change.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked about the practice of "lightscaping"                                                                
which is huge now in Anchorage.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented this question would be referred to Ms.                                                              
Reardon to see if "lightscaping" is under landscape architecture.                                                               
The chairman expressed that he does not think it is.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1746                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JIM STEVENS, President, Kuskokwim Architects and Engineers,                                                                     
testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support of HB 130.                                                               
Mr. Stevens said his company would like to provide A&E                                                                          
[architectural and engineering] services through a limited                                                                      
liability company in order to avoid paying taxes twice (indisc.)                                                                
the owners.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented that Mr. Stevens had brought this to                                                                
his attention.  The chairman requested that Mr. Stevens explain why                                                             
he thinks this omission should be clarified.  The chairman asked if                                                             
it is correct that Mr. Stevens' firm wants to adopt this type of                                                                
business.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. STEVENS agreed.  In the past A&E firms have been owned by the                                                               
individuals providing architectural or engineering services.                                                                    
However, more and more companies are organizing these design firms                                                              
and would rather not have to pay taxes twice on the firm's                                                                      
earnings.  Mr. Stevens noted the margins are small enough in this                                                               
business and they would like to retain more of the revenues they                                                                
generate for their services.  As the chairman mentioned earlier, it                                                             
is simply an omission in the existing law which prevents LLCs and                                                               
LLPs from providing these services.  Mr. Stevens commented that in                                                              
no way, shape, or form do they feel allowing LLPs or LLCs would                                                                 
compromise public safety or the safety of the public of (indisc.).                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed, then, it is Mr. Stevens' testimony                                                                 
that his business is presently incorporated and would change into                                                               
an LLC if allowed statutorily.  The chairman additionally confirmed                                                             
from Mr. Stevens that this would save Mr. Stevens' firm money in                                                                
taxes and limit liability.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1879                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing,                                                                
Department of Commerce and Economic Development, came forward to                                                                
address Representative Halcro's question regarding "lightscaping."                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted he is aware of a growing industry in                                                                
Anchorage, with the "City of Lights" promotion, called                                                                          
"lightscaping."  He questioned, "Some landscaping - architecture                                                                
landscaping firms do 'lightscaping' in the winter.  Does this                                                                   
incorporate them?"                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON responded she does not believe the legislation expands                                                              
those required to obtain licensure at all.  The legislation                                                                     
provides more options for how a company can legally be organized.                                                               
Ms. Reardon added that both the board and the department support                                                                
the legislation.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said he believes the question was:  Are                                                                       
"lightscapers" included under landscape architecture?                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO indicated the chairman is correct.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON replied she does not believe so, considering the                                                                    
definition of "landscape architecture."  She indicated the                                                                      
definition is fairly long and she would want to review it before                                                                
providing a definite answer.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated this was not necessary.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO agreed, noting he had simply been curious.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1923                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred to the last portion of the                                                                    
sponsor statement, noting the LLPs and LLCs would be registered in                                                              
a manner similar to the corporations ["HB 130 would allow the Board                                                             
to register LLCs or LLPs in a similar manner as corporations with                                                               
the designation of an Alaskan licensee as the responsible licensee                                                              
in charge of such entity."].  Representative Murkowski questioned                                                               
if there would be any consequence to the State Board of                                                                         
Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors for just                                                             
making this kind of corporate change.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON responded the board might need to approve the licenses                                                              
but she indicated any costs, like additional paperwork or                                                                       
correspondence, would be minimal and would be absorbed by the                                                                   
department.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted, however, in this area the state licenses                                                               
the companies, not just the individuals.  The chairman asked, then,                                                             
if there would be any impact because there is a change, indicating                                                              
he thought this had been Representative Murkowski's question.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON answered yes, in that the board will now be able to                                                                 
license businesses which are organized in this manner.  Currently                                                               
the board has to deny these businesses [licensure] if they are not                                                              
regular corporations.  This will provide more options for how the                                                               
board licenses and will probably trigger a regulation change -                                                                  
including this in the regulations as well.  However, Ms. Reardon                                                                
communicated that the board is in favor of the legislation because                                                              
it wants to allow these types of new tax organizations.  She noted                                                              
that yes, the law does require that the business actually be                                                                    
licensed, not just the individual engineer.  Ms. Reardon indicated                                                              
this is unique to a couple of the division's professions.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed there were no further questions for Ms.                                                             
Reardon.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1998                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to move HB 130 out of committee                                                             
with individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note.                                                              
There being no objection, HB 130 moved out of the House Labor and                                                               
Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 226 - CREDITED SERVICE FOR ON-THE-JOB INJURIES                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2006                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's next order of business                                                              
is HB 226, "An Act relating to credited service under the teachers'                                                             
retirement system for education employees on leave without pay or                                                               
receiving workers' compensation benefits because of certain                                                                     
on-the-job injuries."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2014                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COGHILL, JR., Alaska State Legislature, came                                                                
forward as the bill sponsor.  Representative Coghill indicated this                                                             
legislation is related to the physical assault of a teacher or                                                                  
school employee.  Currently, if a teacher or school worker is                                                                   
assaulted while performing his/her duties, he/she would receive                                                                 
workers' compensation while out for injury but no money would be                                                                
paid into the person's retirement.  In this legislation, that                                                                   
provision would be paid for by the employer if it was a physical                                                                
assault.  If a teacher or school employee is out for some other                                                                 
work-related injury, this legislation would allow the person to buy                                                             
that time for retirement.  Representative Coghill noted HB 226                                                                  
corrects a small "glitch" in helping teachers and school workers.                                                               
He indicated this came to his attention through working with                                                                    
NEA-Alaska and he had decided to carry this particular piece of                                                                 
legislation.  Representative Coghill thinks it is good for the                                                                  
teachers, is a proper piece of legislation, and he commends it to                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI commented she thinks it is a great bill.                                                               
Referring to the written April 29, 1999, testimony in the bill                                                                  
packet from Cheryl Rankin, a teacher who was injured at the Whaley                                                              
School, Representative Murkowski questioned if Representative                                                                   
Coghill had any idea how many teachers they were actually talking                                                               
about.  She asked if this was an endemic problem, noting she would                                                              
like to think not.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 2112                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL answered he has not seen any statistics on                                                               
that, but perhaps John Cyr [President, NEA-Alaska] or Mr. Church                                                                
[Retirement Supervisor, Division of Retirement and Benefits,                                                                    
Department of Administration] might be willing to answer that                                                                   
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated he would prefer to hold that testimony.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS commented this was not adding a fiscal note                                                               
for the Department of Education or the retirement and benefits                                                                  
program, but he asked if the legislation would have an implied cost                                                             
to individual public school systems.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL replied he thinks it probably will.  He                                                                  
indicated they were asking the employer, the local municipality or                                                              
whoever is in charge of hiring the teacher or school employee, to                                                               
pay.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS questioned if Representative Coghill had any                                                              
numbers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL noted these were being written down as he                                                                
spoke.  The average absence is five days; $360 would be an entire                                                               
month's worth.  He noted this was per employee.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred to the language specifying that                                                               
the assault occur while on the job.  However, she pointed out that                                                              
does not necessarily mean on school grounds.  She questioned that                                                               
a teacher out on a field trip would still be covered under this.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL answered in the affirmative.  He indicated,                                                              
in response to the chairman's comment, that Mr. Cyr could answer                                                                
questions regarding the amount of people this would affect or who                                                               
have been injured.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG invited Mr. Cyr forward and indicated                                                                         
Representative Coghill should remain with the committee at the                                                                  
table.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2247                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CYR, President, NEA-Alaska, came forward to testify in support                                                             
of HB 226.  He expressed his appreciation for the assistance of                                                                 
Representative Coghill and Representative Coghill's staff, Rynnieva                                                             
Moss.  Mr. Cyr indicated NEA-Alaska feels this is really pretty                                                                 
simple.  Workers' compensation ["workers' comp"] is a non-pay                                                                   
status; the person is no longer drawing a paycheck from the                                                                     
[school] district.  Therefore, if a person is assaulted on the job                                                              
and is hurt badly enough to go on workers' compensation, the                                                                    
individual loses his/her retirement benefit for that period of                                                                  
time.  According to their research, the average cost for TRS                                                                    
[Teachers' Retirement System] or PERS [Public Employees' Retirement                                                             
System] is $360 per month for someone making $50,000 annually.                                                                  
They do not have any figures for length of injury caused by                                                                     
physical assault, but five days is the average length of time a                                                                 
person is on workers' compensation for regular on-the-job injuries.                                                             
At $18 per day, that is an average of $90 to cover this.  Mr. Cyr                                                               
pointed out this is an average.  Regarding the number of people, he                                                             
has found one person in the last three years who has been affected:                                                             
Cheryl Rankin, a teacher at the Whaley Center in Anchorage.                                                                     
NEA-Alaska frankly hopes that no one has to use this.  Mr. Cyr                                                                  
indicated he has some other research which shows there are a number                                                             
of teachers and school employees assaulted on the job, but not at                                                               
a level where they draw workers' compensation.  They might be out                                                               
for a day or two, in which case they would draw sick leave.  It                                                                 
would be an extraordinary case where this would affect someone.                                                                 
However, NEA-Alaska does think it is important.  When a person goes                                                             
on workers' compensation, his/her salary is an average of the last                                                              
three years; therefore, he/she could lose money there and would                                                                 
lose retirement.  The person is being caught on both sides because                                                              
of his/her profession.  Mr. Cyr reiterated NEA-Alaska's support for                                                             
the legislation.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2339                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked for a review of the numbers Mr. Cyr had                                                                 
provided.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. CYR responded that if a person is making $50,000 per year, the                                                              
school district's contribution to TRS, the TRS premium, would be                                                                
$360 per month.  Mr. Cyr added in response to the chairman's                                                                    
request for clarification, "It's the employee premium ... that's                                                                
how much the employee would be contributing per month, and so five                                                              
days of that ....  It is gonna cost districts something, but ...                                                                
it's a real small price to pay to have people feel like they're                                                                 
protected.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS questioned that the five-day average only                                                                
included workers' compensation, not the one or two-day absences                                                                 
mentioned later.  He indicated the average would then drop way                                                                  
down.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. CYR confirmed those one and two days are covered by sick leave                                                              
and are not being counted.  He noted those are not covered in this                                                              
legislation at all.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG questioned whether workers' compensation tripped                                                              
in at five days.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. CYR said he received the figures from [federal] OSHA                                                                        
[Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of                                                              
Labor] which examined on-the-job injuries for public employees.                                                                 
Basically, the median of those injuries is five days and it is not                                                              
broken out into type.  Five days is the median length of time a                                                                 
person is on workers' compensation.  Mr. Cyr indicated he has now                                                               
provided the committee everything he knows about the statistics.                                                                
Mr. Cyr commented he is a history teacher.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There was brief discussion on space-related history questions.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2450                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted that although there has been only one                                                               
incident of violence against a teacher [at that level, as far as                                                                
they are aware], he asked about the threats of violence and                                                                     
questioned whether that has been escalating.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CYR responded, "I don't have my school safety stuff with me and                                                             
I wish I did.  I just got a survey that was done in Anchorage..."                                                               
[TESTIMONY INTERRUPTED BY AUTOMATIC TAPE CHANGE]                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
[From tape log notes: 'percentage' 'level of violence towards                                                                   
school district personnel on the rise' 'verbal assault']                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-59, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CYR responded, "...verbal abuse, I mean it really is going --                                                               
... it's going up across society.  I mean, spend a few minutes too                                                              
long at a traffic light and watch what happens.  ... That's not                                                                 
covered in this, but it is ... scarier ... for all of us to be out                                                              
there, everywhere."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO commented this is amazing.  Noting he grew up                                                             
in the [Anchorage] school district, he related a fifth-grade story                                                              
from 1975 to the committee where he and some friends sneaked next                                                               
door from Lake Otis Elementary to the UAA [University of Alaska                                                                 
Anchorage] bookstore for some candy.  They were caught and received                                                             
swats, paddling, in the principal's office.  Representative Halcro                                                              
related his mother, when informed, had said to give him an extra                                                                
swat from her.  He commented they walked a straight line.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0062                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL CHURCH, Retirement Supervisor, Division of Retirement and                                                                  
Benefits, Department of Administration, came forward.  He has a                                                                 
couple of general comments on the legislation.  So far the                                                                      
committee has only been discussing assault, but there is another                                                                
section to this.  Representative Coghill did touch on it, but Mr.                                                               
Church said he wants to make sure everyone understands the                                                                      
legislation has two sections.  Presently, under the PERS system                                                                 
someone who is on leave without pay as the result of a workers'                                                                 
compensation injury or illness can claim that time; in other words,                                                             
buy that as membership service credited in the system.  That has                                                                
not been afforded under the TRS system.  Under Section 3(d) of the                                                              
legislation, this has been corrected.  This allows anyone who is                                                                
collecting workers' compensation benefits to claim that time and                                                                
pay his/her contribution.  Section 3(c) allows this for a physical                                                              
injury [caused by an on-the-job assault]; the employer would pay                                                                
the employee's required TRS contribution.  Section 5 would amend                                                                
the PERS statutes to also allow this for someone who is an employee                                                             
of a school district if it is a physical injury [caused by an                                                                   
on-the-job assault]; the employer would pay the employee's PERS                                                                 
contributions.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE questioned the expected fiscal impact.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHURCH responded, "Very nil."  As Mr. Cyr had done, Mr. Church                                                              
indicated he called the Anchorage School District, since it is the                                                              
largest school district in the state, to ask if there are any other                                                             
cases like this outstanding.  The Anchorage School District                                                                     
questioned its risk management people and no other cases were                                                                   
known.  Therefore, this would have a very low impact.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0142                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated it would be de minimis, but it would be                                                             
unfair if it is not in place and should be changed.  The chairman                                                               
asked Mr. Church if he would agree with the accuracy of Mr.                                                                     
Church's numbers.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHURCH answered in the affirmative.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed there were no further questions for Mr.                                                             
Church.  He questioned if the sponsor had additional comments.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL noted, first, it pains him to put forward a                                                              
solution which has little impact.  However, he thinks this is a                                                                 
very needed piece of legislation and would provide comfort to                                                                   
teachers [and school employees].  His own school board endorses it.                                                             
Representative Coghill said he would like to see the legislation                                                                
put forward this year; he thinks it would be helpful.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS said he would like to ease Representative                                                                
Coghill's concern about the impact; he indicated the impact on the                                                              
individual is much, much larger than the impact on the state.                                                                   
Therefore, even though that is minimal, Representative Coghill is                                                               
making a big impact on (indisc.) and should feel good about it.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated it may very well be little-used, but                                                                
will be there when it is needed.  The chairman commented he is                                                                  
surprised Representative Brice did not pick up on this need.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE replied that actually he had, but has done                                                                 
about five or six others.  He indicated, therefore, he had not                                                                  
taken this legislation up but had offered his assistance.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted, however, Representative Brice would be                                                                 
given the honor.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0230                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE made a motion to move CSHB 226(HES) out of                                                                 
committee with individual recommendations and the zero fiscal note.                                                             
There being no objection, CSHB 226(HES) moved out of the House                                                                  
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's 10:30 a.m. meeting                                                                  
scheduled for the next day [May 15] was canceled.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0241                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG adjourned the House Labor and Commerce Standing                                                               
Committee meeting at 4:20 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects