Legislature(1999 - 2000)
05/14/1999 03:24 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.