Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/17/2002 03:25 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                         April 17, 2002                                                                                         
                           3:25 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lisa Murkowski, Chair                                                                                            
Representative Andrew Halcro, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Kevin Meyer                                                                                                      
Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                                                                  
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
Representative Joe Hayes                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 505                                                                                                              
"An Act  defining the term  'mental health professional'  for the                                                               
purpose of statutes  relating to the evaluation  of prisoners who                                                               
may need psychological or psychiatric  treatment, for the purpose                                                               
of statutes  relating to  the evaluation of  children in  need of                                                               
aid  and delinquent  minors  who may  need to  be  confined in  a                                                               
secure residential psychiatric treatment  center or who should be                                                               
released  from  such  a  center,  for  the  purpose  of  statutes                                                               
requiring certain professionals to  report the possibility that a                                                               
vulnerable  adult  has been  abused  or  neglected, and  for  the                                                               
purpose   of   statutes   relating   to   mental   health   civil                                                               
commitments."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 505(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 460                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to  actions for  monopolies  and restraint  of                                                               
trade,  including  proof of  damages;  amending  Rule 82,  Alaska                                                               
Rules of Civil Procedure; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 460 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 270(L&C)                                                                                                 
"An  Act  extending   the  termination  date  of   the  Board  of                                                               
Dispensing Opticians;  relating to  the regulation  of dispensing                                                               
opticians; and providing                                                                                                        
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HEARING POSTPONED                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 505                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS                                                                                         
SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/15/02     2548       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
03/15/02     2548       (H)        L&C, HES                                                                                     
04/17/02                (H)        L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 460                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:ANTITRUST CIVIL COURT ACTIONS                                                                                       
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)CROFT                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/19/02     2312       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
02/19/02     2312       (H)        L&C, JUD                                                                                     
04/17/02                (H)        L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 104                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of the sponsor of HB                                                                   
505, the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing                                                                   
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WALTER MAJOROS, Director                                                                                                        
Division of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities                                                                          
Department of Health & Social Services                                                                                          
PO Box 110620                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0620                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified that the State Psychiatric                                                                       
Association is in support of HB 505.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SHARON BULLOCK, Licensed Clinical Social Worker;                                                                                
Clinical Director, Fairbanks Community Mental Health Center                                                                     
(No address provided)                                                                                                           
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of  [CSHB 505, Version                                                               
C].                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WAYNE McCOLLUM, Licensed Clinical Social Worker                                                                                 
(No address provided)                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of  [CSHB 505, Version                                                               
C].                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CATHERINE REARDON, Director                                                                                                     
Division of Occupational Licensing                                                                                              
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
PO Box 110806                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0806                                                                                                      
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Answered  questions with  regard to  [CSHB                                                               
505, Version C].                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CROFT                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 400                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as the sponsor of HB 460.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ED SNIFFEN, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                          
Fair Business Practices Section                                                                                                 
Civil Division (Anchorage)                                                                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                                               
1031 W 4th Avenue, Suite 200                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-1994                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained the need for HB 460.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
STEVEN CONN, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Alaska Public Interest Research Group                                                                                           
PO Box 10-1093                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska  99510                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 460.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 02-59, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LISA  MURKOWSKI  called   the  House  Labor  and  Commerce                                                               
Standing   Committee    meeting   to    order   at    3:25   p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Murkowski, Meyer,  Rokeberg,  and Crawford  were                                                               
present at the  call to order.  Representatives  Halcro and Hayes                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 505-MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 505, "An Act defining the  term 'mental health                                                               
professional'  for  the  purpose  of  statutes  relating  to  the                                                               
evaluation   of  prisoners   who   may   need  psychological   or                                                               
psychiatric treatment,  for the  purpose of statutes  relating to                                                               
the evaluation of  children in need of aid  and delinquent minors                                                               
who may need  to be confined in a  secure residential psychiatric                                                               
treatment center  or who should  be released from such  a center,                                                               
for the  purpose of statutes  requiring certain  professionals to                                                               
report the  possibility that a  vulnerable adult has  been abused                                                               
or neglected, and for the  purpose of statutes relating to mental                                                               
health civil commitments."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0084                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MEYER  moved  to  adopt  CSHB  505,  Version  22-                                                               
LS1631\C, Lauterbach,  4/17/02, as  the working document.   There                                                               
being no objection, Version C was before the committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0100                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FRED DYSON,  Alaska State  Legislature, testified                                                               
on behalf of  the sponsor of HB 505, the  House Health, Education                                                               
and  Social  Services Standing  Committee.    He noted  that  the                                                               
Senate's companion bill, SB 302,  passed out of the Senate today.                                                               
He  also noted  that  this legislation  was  [introduced] at  the                                                               
request of  the administration.   Representative  Dyson explained                                                               
that  this  legislation  places current  practice  into  law  and                                                               
expands the definition  of a "mental health  professional."  When                                                               
the  original laws  were enacted,  several categories  [of mental                                                               
health professionals]  weren't contemplated or active  in Alaska.                                                               
The   definition  of   "mental   health   professional"  in   the                                                               
legislation includes  licensed marital and family  therapists and                                                               
licensed  professional   counselors,  licensed   clinical  social                                                               
workers, and an individual in  the process of qualifying for [one                                                               
of  the  listed professions].    This  legislation increases  the                                                               
number of licensed master's level  professionals who will be able                                                               
to evaluate prisoners for  psychological or psychiatric treatment                                                               
and minors  needing to be  confined or released  from residential                                                               
treatment.   This legislation also  increases the  folks required                                                               
to report incidences  of harm and authorizes  [those listed under                                                               
the  mental  health  professional definition]  to  perform  civil                                                               
commitments.     Representative  Dyson  remarked  that   this  is                                                               
particularly valuable in those areas outside urban centers.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MURKOWSKI  asked if  the  Alaska  State Medical  Board  is                                                               
supportive of this legislation.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said that is his understanding.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 0314                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
WALTER   MAJOROS,  Director,   Division   of   Mental  Health   &                                                               
Developmental  Disabilities,   Department  of  Health   &  Social                                                               
Services,  related   his  belief   that  the   State  Psychiatric                                                               
Association is in  support of HB 505.   He said he  would have to                                                               
check with his  staff in regard to whether the  medical board has                                                               
weighed in  on this legislation.   In response  to Representative                                                               
Rokeberg,  Mr.  Majoros  clarified  that an  LPC  is  a  licensed                                                               
professional counselor.   In  further response  to Representative                                                               
Rokeberg,  Mr.   Majoros  related  that  the   psychologists  and                                                               
psychological  associates  are under  a  common  board while  the                                                               
social workers, marriage and  family therapists, and professional                                                               
counselors are under  separate boards.  However,  there is sunset                                                               
legislation  before the  legislature for  one of  the boards  and                                                               
[that legislation]  has a requirement or  legislative intent that                                                               
the boards review combining.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MURKOWSKI reminded  the committee  that it  had adopted  a                                                               
letter of intent  [to the legislation dealing  with the extension                                                               
of the  Board of Licensed  Professional Counselor].   That letter                                                               
of intent  was based on  the auditor's suggestion that  the three                                                               
aforementioned boards be combined.   Although the legislation has                                                               
passed the  Senate, the Senate  didn't adopt a similar  letter of                                                               
intent.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0524                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  directed attention to page  2 of Version                                                               
C and  inquired as to  the intent behind  including subparagraphs                                                               
(A)-(D).   He highlighted  the language  in subparagraph  (C) and                                                               
noted  his assumption  that  the individual  would  have to  have                                                               
qualified for a particular specialty.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAJOROS answered that the  intent of subparagraphs (A)-(D) is                                                               
to expand  the group  of people that  would be  considered mental                                                               
health  professionals who  could  do things  such as  preliminary                                                               
evaluations   for  civil   commitments.     There  are   multiple                                                               
requirements in order to maintain fairly rigorous requirements.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG questioned  why subparagraphs  (A), (B),                                                               
and  (D)   are  necessary  if   subparagraph  (C)   requires  the                                                               
individual  to  submit  an  application   to  become  a  licensed                                                               
practitioner under one of the boards listed.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAJOROS  responded  that although  those  subparagraphs  may                                                               
overlap, all  the subparagraphs together help  keep any loopholes                                                               
closed.    With  only  subparagraph   (C),  there  would  be  the                                                               
possibility of allowing an unqualified individual.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ROKEBERG  remarked   that  it   seems  that   an                                                               
individual who can qualify for a  board would be able to meet the                                                               
board's requirements.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAJOROS  pointed out  that  when  an individual  submits  an                                                               
application and pays a fee  that doesn't mean that the individual                                                               
is qualified.  Whether the  individual is qualified is a separate                                                               
determination that should be made by the board.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  related  his  understanding  that  this                                                               
legislation attempts to  expand the pool and, to  a degree, lower                                                               
the standards.   He said  he didn't understand why  an individual                                                               
would apply  to a board  when the individual couldn't  qualify to                                                               
be accepted by  the board unless that's a step  in becoming fully                                                               
accredited.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0871                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MURKOWSKI  clarified  that  the  pool  [of  mental  health                                                               
professionals] is  being expanded.   In addition to those  on the                                                               
boards, [a mental health professional]  can be a person who holds                                                               
a  master's degree  in mental  health,  with 12  months of  post-                                                               
masters work, and  has submitted an application to  the board and                                                               
worked  under the  supervision  of a  licensed  individual.   She                                                               
characterized it as an apprenticeship type of approach.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAJOROS noted his agreement.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI  pointed out that  once an individual has  been a                                                               
member  of a  board, then  the individual  wouldn't have  to work                                                               
under the supervision of another LPC.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  questioned why  one  would  apply to  a                                                               
board if  the individual didn't  meet the requirements  or hadn't                                                               
passed the exam.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAJOROS informed  the committee that the  application [to the                                                               
board]  must include  the school  attended,  whether the  courses                                                               
matched those required  under the licensing law,  and whether the                                                               
supervision arrangement  is acceptable to the  board.  Therefore,                                                               
the  individual would  apply before  being fully  qualified.   In                                                               
further  response to  Representative Rokeberg,  Mr. Majoros  said                                                               
that this is a standard practice for boards.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1086                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON  said that he  wouldn't refer to this  as an                                                               
apprenticeship  situation  because  these people  have  done  the                                                               
training and have a year of  working in the field, have submitted                                                               
their paperwork, and are in  the process of obtaining the license                                                               
recognized  in  Alaska  as  well  as  working  under  a  licensed                                                               
supervisor.   The department  wants to expand  the pool  of folks                                                               
who can do this work [especially]  in areas [that lack these type                                                               
of professionals].                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAJOROS  echoed Representative  Dyson's earlier  comment that                                                               
this [lack  of mental health  professionals] isn't  of particular                                                               
concern in urban areas that  typically have an abundance of fully                                                               
licensed  mental  health  professionals.     However,  it's  very                                                               
difficult to get [fully licensed  mental health professionals] to                                                               
work  in  rural  community  mental health  centers.    Therefore,                                                               
without  a provision  such as  this [suggested  in HB  505] there                                                               
won't  be  enough qualified  mental  health  professionals to  do                                                               
preliminary  evaluations in  rural areas.   This  is an  issue of                                                               
basic safety.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1225                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI directed attention  to subparagraph (D) and asked                                                               
how "supervision" would be defined.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAJOROS  related his understanding that  "supervision" refers                                                           
to   supervision  that's   accepted   by   the  licensing   body.                                                               
Therefore, when  an individual submits  an application  form, the                                                               
form   would   specify   the  supervisor   and   the   supervisor                                                               
consultation relationship.   He  noted his  belief that  there is                                                               
precedent  for having  an  off-site  supervisor, particularly  in                                                               
rural areas.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI remarked  that she wasn't sure  that the language                                                               
clearly imparts the aforementioned explanation.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  informed the committee that  his wife is                                                               
a  licensed clinical  social worker  and  during her  supervisory                                                               
period she had  to report to her supervisor once  a week although                                                               
the supervisor wasn't on-site.   Representative Crawford inquired                                                               
as  to   who  requested  that  individuals   who  aren't  [fully]                                                               
qualified be allowed [to practice].                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DYSON said  the  [Department of  Health &  Social                                                               
Services] made the request.   Representative Dyson mentioned that                                                               
his wife is a licensed  clinical psychologist who had to maintain                                                               
detailed case notes that she  reviewed with her supervisor during                                                               
the  supervisory  period  of   practice.    Representative  Dyson                                                               
related  his  sense  that  most of  those  practicing  in  [these                                                               
fields] are quite professional and  [take their responsibility to                                                               
act or not  act] very seriously.  He pointed  out that many areas                                                               
in  rural Alaska  are doing  "work  arounds."   For example,  the                                                               
police  want the  perpetrator to  do something  that crosses  the                                                               
line  to  an illegal  activity  so  that  the individual  can  be                                                               
arrested  and  placed in  a  safe  place  in  order to  keep  the                                                               
individual  from hurting  himself  or someone  else.   Without  a                                                               
licensed mental  health professional  available to  [commit these                                                               
individuals], these "work  arounds" are done in order  to get the                                                               
individual into custody and transported  to a town with a [mental                                                               
health]  professional.    He predicted  that  this  [legislation]                                                               
would be abused very few times.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1490                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAJOROS  continued   to  address  Representative  Crawford's                                                               
concern with regard  to the experience of these  individuals.  He                                                               
informed  the committee  that the  individual's performing  these                                                               
preliminary evaluations are employees  of community mental health                                                               
centers.     Although   these  individuals   have  one   year  of                                                               
experience,  every day  they are  involved in  crisis situations.                                                               
In  fact, over  a year's  time  these individuals  have built  up                                                               
quite a bit of experience  with mental health and substance abuse                                                               
crisis.   These preliminary evaluations review  fundamental areas                                                               
such as whether the individual  has a mental illness, is suicidal                                                               
or  homicidal or  greatly disabled.   Furthermore,  every time  a                                                               
community  mental  health   professional  makes  the  preliminary                                                               
determination,  it  is done  in  consultation  with a  practicing                                                               
psychiatrist before going to a judge.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON  said that  the qualifications  aren't being                                                               
lowered,  these  are the  qualifications  that  people have  been                                                               
practicing  for years  and thus  [this legislation]  would merely                                                               
place it in law.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1545                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  expressed concern that  this legislation                                                               
doesn't  mesh with  the other  occupational licenses  and boards.                                                               
He reviewed  the requirements for licensed  social workers, which                                                               
specifies that  the individual must  have either a master's  or a                                                               
doctorate  within   a  10-year  period  before   application  for                                                               
licensure  and  under  the supervision  of  a  licensed  clinical                                                               
worker [and]  either a minimum  of two years of  continuous full-                                                               
time employment  in a post-graduate  clinical social worker  or a                                                               
minimum of  3,000 hours  of less than  full-time employment  in a                                                               
period not less than two  years of post-graduate.  He highlighted                                                               
that the social worker requirements  specify that the degree must                                                               
be obtained before making an  application for licensure, which is                                                               
the   case   for   licensed  family   and   marital   therapists.                                                               
Representative   Rokeberg   announced    his   support   of   the                                                               
legislation, although [this seems to be inconsistent].                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI related her understanding  that LPCs can't submit                                                               
an application  form until  a certain number  of hours  towards a                                                               
degree is  completed.   Chair Murkowski  said she  understood the                                                               
[statute] to mean that so long  as an individual is working under                                                               
the supervision of  someone who has met the  requirements and the                                                               
application  is  pending while  the  additional  hours are  being                                                               
gained toward the LPC board  certification [they would qualify as                                                               
a  mental health  professional under  this  legislation].   Chair                                                               
Murkowski  asked if  the Division  of Occupational  Licensing has                                                               
reviewed this  legislation to determine there  isn't any conflict                                                               
for the existing requirements for the boards.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.   MAJOROS   answered   with  his   understanding   that   the                                                               
department's staff  person has  coordinated extensively  with the                                                               
Division  of Occupational  Licensing  and there  hasn't been  any                                                               
word of impediments or inconsistencies.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1912                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SHARON  BULLOCK,   Licensed  Clinical  Social   Worker;  Clinical                                                               
Director,  Fairbanks Community  Mental  Health Center,  testified                                                               
via teleconference.   Ms. Bullock announced her  support of [CSHB                                                               
505, Version  C], particularly the portion  regarding individuals                                                               
with  a  master's degree.    She  pointed  out that  generally  a                                                               
master's program includes an interim  during which the individual                                                               
is  under the  supervision of  some  agency.   Once the  master's                                                               
degree is obtained, the individual  can apply for positions.  Ms.                                                               
Bullock explained that she supports  this legislation because the                                                               
current statutes  only allow three master's  level professionals,                                                               
the   psychological  associates,   psychiatric  nurses,   and  an                                                               
individual with  a master's of  social work (MSW) to  perform the                                                               
[evaluations] for Title 47.   In community mental health centers,                                                               
there are  fewer MSWs  applying for positions  and thus  there is                                                               
difficulty  in filling  positions  with MSWs.    Passage of  this                                                               
legislation  will  allow  other qualified  individuals  to  [fill                                                               
these positions] during  the two years in which  they are working                                                               
towards the  license.  Furthermore,  passage of  this legislation                                                               
will [help master's level people do this legally].                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MURKOWSKI returned  to the  issue of  how the  supervision                                                               
actually works.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BULLOCK  explained  that in  her  [community  mental  health                                                               
center]  each master's  level individual  is seen  for individual                                                               
supervision once  a week  for one hour.   Furthermore,  there are                                                               
case conferences  in which there  are group meetings  between the                                                               
master's level individual and the  licensed supervisor as well as                                                               
the psychiatrist.   There are numerous  licensed professionals to                                                               
which these  master's level people  can approach  with questions.                                                               
In further  response to  Chair Murkowski,  Ms. Bullock  said that                                                               
these meetings  have been  done in the  facility [and  its staff]                                                               
has helped  cover the [professionals]  Railbelt when  they needed                                                               
supervision.   In that  situation, people were  sent to  the area                                                               
for face-to-face supervision.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2093                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
WAYNE McCOLLUM,  Licensed Clinical  Social Worker,  testified via                                                               
teleconference.  He informed the  committee that he has worked in                                                               
Alaska  for  the past  20  years.    Mr. McCollum  announced  his                                                               
support of [CSHB  505, Version C], which he  viewed as critically                                                               
important in rural areas where  there is difficulty in recruiting                                                               
and  retaining  qualified  master's  level  individuals  who  can                                                               
perform the  necessary evaluation.   He mentioned  his experience                                                               
in  Tok with  [the work  around  situations] in  which the  State                                                               
Troopers and  Village Public Safety Officers  (VPSO) are utilized                                                               
to  arrest individuals  needing these  [preliminary evaluations].                                                               
Mr. McCollum  related his understanding  that the bill  refers to                                                               
individuals  in the  process of  qualifying for  licensure rather                                                               
than  applying for  licensure.   For instance,  there could  be a                                                               
situation in which an individual has  just moved to the state and                                                               
that individual  may not have  experience in the field  of mental                                                               
health  but  may  be  qualified   in  other  ways.    While  this                                                               
individual obtains experience  in the field of  mental health and                                                               
is supervised by a licensed  supervisor [this individual could be                                                               
working in the field].                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2284                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CATHERINE REARDON, Director,  Division of Occupational Licensing,                                                               
Department of Community &  Economic Development (DCED), addressed                                                               
Representative  Rokeberg's concern  that subparagraph  (C) allows                                                               
for a  premature application.   Ms.  Reardon explained  that when                                                               
someone    submitting   an    application   doesn't    meet   the                                                               
qualifications, the division informs  the individual of the items                                                               
lacking  for the  license.    The application  is  treated as  an                                                               
incomplete application.   The application would be  held open and                                                               
if there  has been no contact  from the individual after  a year,                                                               
the division  sends the individual a  letter.  If there  is still                                                               
no  communication   from  the  individual,  the   application  is                                                               
archived and  eventually destroyed.   As  long as  the individual                                                               
communicates with the  division with regard to  their interest in                                                               
having their application on file,  the application is maintained.                                                               
Ms.  Reardon noted  that the  division often  receives incomplete                                                               
applications and  applications from  individuals who  haven't yet                                                               
met the  qualifications.   Therefore, Ms.  Reardon said  that the                                                               
division could work with [Version C].                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 02-59, SIDE B                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG referred to  AS 08.95.110 and pointed out                                                               
that the  language specifies that  the individual would  have the                                                               
work experience before making the application.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. REARDON related  her belief that the  reason for subparagraph                                                               
(C)  in this  legislation is  because  there was  an interest  in                                                               
having  individuals be  serious  about  becoming licensed  rather                                                               
than  allowing  an  individual  to sit  in  this  status  without                                                               
engaging  in  the  road  to licensure.    Perhaps  submitting  an                                                               
application  and paying  the fee  would allow  people to  realize                                                               
what it takes to become licensed.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2283                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MURKOWSKI inquired  as to  how long  the applications  are                                                               
kept current  when an  incomplete application  is received.   She                                                               
asked if  there could be a  situation in which an  individual has                                                               
an application on file for 12 years and would it be a concern.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REARDON answered  that  it  wouldn't be  a  concern for  the                                                               
division  as  long  as  the   individual  communicates  with  the                                                               
division each year.   Ms. Reardon emphasized  that the individual                                                               
would have to  meet the license qualifications in  effect the day                                                               
the individual  [applies for  a] license and  thus that  isn't of                                                               
concern.  She  related her belief that  this committee substitute                                                               
attempts to  clarify the language  "in the process  of qualifying                                                               
for  licensure" which  was in  the  original version  of HB  505.                                                               
Therefore,  she   characterized  Version   C  as   more  concrete                                                               
terminology than HB 505.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired  as to the status  of the Senate                                                               
vehicle.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAJOROS  answered that Version  C is identical to  the Senate                                                               
language, which was unanimously passed from the Senate today.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  related   his  understanding  that  Ms.                                                               
Reardon  isn't uncomfortable  with the  application form  because                                                               
it's not  inconsistent [with that  required for  other licenses].                                                               
He inquired as to how  the boards deal with assigning supervisors                                                               
for training.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  explained that generally supervisors  or supervisory                                                               
plans have to be approved in  order for the individual to satisfy                                                               
this supervised  experience requirement  of licensure.   She said                                                               
she didn't believe there would  be anyone who could't comply with                                                               
subparagraph (C).   Whether this makes sense or not  is up to the                                                               
legislature.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired as to  the fee schedule for pre-                                                               
licensing.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REARDON said  that refers  to  the application  fee that  is                                                               
generally $50, although it could be more.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  how  these individuals  currently                                                               
obtain their  supervision and coordination with  the professional                                                               
boards.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REARDON  responded  that  in  order  for  their  supervisory                                                               
experience  to  count, some  of  them  will  have to  have  their                                                               
supervisor  and supervisory  plan  approved in  order  for it  to                                                               
count.    Therefore,  an  individual could  have  five  years  of                                                               
supervised experience that didn't  count until the supervisor was                                                               
approved.  She  supposed the aforementioned situation  might be a                                                               
reason to  have the  individual's submit  an application  form in                                                               
order  that the  individual would  be  made aware  of the  things                                                               
necessary to obtain the license.   With regard to applications in                                                               
incomplete status,  Ms. Reardon noted that  applications are kept                                                               
in  incomplete status  unless an  individual  disagrees with  the                                                               
division's  interpretation   of  the   law  at  which   time  the                                                               
application would go to the board for review.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  opined  that  it  makes  work  for  the                                                               
division  in  order  to  provide  statutory  credibility  to  the                                                               
individual, which doesn't make sense.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  noted that she  didn't have  a fiscal note  for this                                                               
because  she  doesn't  feel  that  it  will  cause  the  division                                                               
excessive burden.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG inquired  as  to  why these  individuals                                                               
would be applying.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAJOROS  related  his  understanding  that  the  application                                                               
process  would indicate  the individual  is taking  the issue  of                                                               
licensing seriously.  Mr. Majoros  pointed out that this would be                                                               
an early  warning signal that  the individual is  doing something                                                               
that would prohibit him/her from  obtaining a license, such as an                                                               
educational program that doesn't meet the basic qualifications.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG   pointed  out  that  there   isn't  any                                                               
requirement   for   such   in  the   existing   statutory   board                                                               
authorizations.     Therefore,  this  doesn't  quite   mesh  with                                                               
[existing statutory board requirements].                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON  surmised that the [subparagraph  (C)] could                                                               
be  deleted  or  the  language  could be  changed  such  that  it                                                               
specifies   that  the   individual   "has   met  the   education,                                                               
experience, and  supervisory requirement  of the license"  of the                                                               
[applicant].                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI  asked whether the  intent is to get  more people                                                               
licensed in  the various  mental health  professions or  to allow                                                               
for  a stopgap  to allow  individuals without  full licensure  to                                                               
help out in say rural Alaska.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DYSON  related  his  guess  that  the  department                                                               
intends to achieve both.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1937                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said that  this legislation isn't drafted                                                               
properly.   Furthermore,  he  said  he didn't  believe  it to  be                                                               
appropriate to allow a prelicensee  apprentice the same status as                                                               
[a licensed mental  health professional].  This  actually makes a                                                               
less    qualified    individual     a    qualified    individual.                                                               
Representative  Rokeberg   suggested  that  the  intent   can  be                                                               
accomplished without  placing [a  prelicensee apprentice]  in the                                                               
definition  [of mental  health professional].   He  expressed the                                                               
need to clarify  that these individuals would  only be considered                                                               
mental  health   professionals  for  the  labor   pool,  not  for                                                               
reimbursement.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REARDON   related  her  belief   that  the   [mental  health                                                               
professional] definition  in AS  47.30[.915] only applies  in the                                                               
commitment  situation   and  doesn't   apply  to   the  insurance                                                               
nondiscrimination   statute.     She  offered   to  confirm   the                                                               
aforementioned.   With regard to Representative  Dyson's options,                                                               
Ms. Reardon said  she would prefer to  eliminate subparagraph (C)                                                               
because there are  other ways to communicate  the application and                                                               
license requirements.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAJOROS agreed that would work.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG pointed  out  that AS  47.30.915 is  the                                                               
definition section for the entire mental health chapter.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAJOROS  specified  that   the  mental  health  professional                                                               
definitions applies  to various mental health  processes, but not                                                               
insurance reimbursement.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG turned  to the  existing statute,  which                                                               
already  allows the  social  worker with  a  master's degree  and                                                               
substantial experience [to  make decisions regarding commitment].                                                               
This legislation  expands it, allowing  other disciplines  in the                                                               
mental health field to do  [commitments] as well.  He recommended                                                               
deleting subparagraph (C).                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1576                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved that  the committee adopt Amendment                                                               
1, which reads as follows:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 13-14                                                                                                        
        Delete "(C) who is in the process of qualifying                                                                         
     for licensure by a board named in this paragraph;"                                                                         
     Reletter accordingly.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1549                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG moved  to report  CSHB 505,  Version 22-                                                               
LS1631\C, Lauterbach,  4/17/02, as amended out  of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
note.  There being no  objection, CSHB 505(L&C) was reported from                                                               
the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 460-ANTITRUST CIVIL COURT ACTIONS                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI announced that the  final order of business today                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 460,  "An Act  relating to  actions for                                                               
monopolies and  restraint of trade,  including proof  of damages;                                                               
amending Rule 82, Alaska Rules  of Civil Procedure; and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1468                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ERIC CROFT,  Alaska State  Legislature, testified                                                               
as the  sponsor of HB 460.   He began by  informing the committee                                                               
that HB 460 is an Illinois  Brick repealer.  He explained that in                                                             
the late  1970s the U.S.  Supreme Court issued an  opinion saying                                                               
that  under the  federal antitrust  laws one  could only  sue for                                                               
direct purchases.  Therefore, the  attorney general can't sue for                                                               
indirect  purchases without  a statute  allowing  such, which  is                                                               
what HB 460 would accomplish.   This legislation would allow suit                                                               
to  be  brought for  indirect  purchases  of consumer  fraud  and                                                               
allows the attorney  general to stand in parens  patriae.  Thirty                                                               
other states have  done this.  Had this been  in place during the                                                               
recent vitamin  litigation in  which there  was a  [federal] suit                                                               
against vitamin manufacturers  on the basis of  too high charges,                                                               
the   attorney  general's   office  believes   [Alaska]  would've                                                               
received more money.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked  if this was before the  legislature in the                                                               
past couple of years.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said he didn't  recall such legislation, but                                                               
deferred to the  attorney general's office.   In further response                                                               
to Chair Murkowski, Representative  Croft related his belief that                                                               
the  language  in  HB  460  is  modeled  after  Alaska's  current                                                               
consumer  fraud  statute,  including   the  language  related  to                                                               
indirect suits and [parens patriae].                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired as to  why the language "and the                                                               
trier of the fact finds  that the defendant's conduct was wilful"                                                               
is being deleted in Section 1(1).                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT answered that  it models what "we've already                                                               
done."     In  further   response  to   Representative  Rokeberg,                                                               
Representative Croft  couldn't recall  whether this  only affects                                                               
antitrusts.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1230                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CLYDE  (ED)  SNIFFEN,  JR.,   Assistant  Attorney  General,  Fair                                                               
Business   Practices   Section,   Civil   Division   (Anchorage),                                                               
Department  of Law,  testified via  teleconference.   Due to  the                                                               
lack of  this statute, the  [department] believes the  state lost                                                               
out on  $700,000-$1 million in  recovery.  Mr. Sniffen  said that                                                               
he didn't  believe this statute  has been before  the legislature                                                               
before.    Mr.   Sniffen  informed  the  committee   that  he  is                                                               
responsible  for several  multi-state  cases involving  antitrust                                                               
claims against drug  manufacturers.  In each of  those cases, the                                                               
ability of Alaska to make  claims for indirect purchases has been                                                               
limited due to the lack of  this type of legislation, although he                                                               
argues  that  Alaska has  the  ability  to recover  for  indirect                                                               
purchasers.  States with the  statutes proposed in HB 460 usually                                                               
get a larger recovery, he related.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SNIFFEN  informed  the  committee  that  the  language  [was                                                               
developed] after  review of the Illinois  Brick repealer statutes                                                             
and  Idaho  statutes.    He   noted  that  Idaho's  language  was                                                               
developed  after  reviewing  the  language of  other  states  and                                                               
incorporates  what was  viewed as  the good  language from  other                                                               
states.  Alaska has done the same.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1119                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI  recalled Mr.  Sniffen's statement  that although                                                               
Alaska  doesn't have  this Illinois  Brick repealer  language, he                                                             
attempts to argue that Alaska should  be able to bring actions on                                                               
behalf  of direct  and indirect  purchasers.   She  asked if  Mr.                                                               
Sniffen had ever prevailed.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNIFFEN said  that there hasn't been a decision  from a court                                                               
saying that Alaska  has this authority.  The cases  with which he                                                               
was familiar have been settled  before the court makes a decision                                                               
regarding whether the  state has the authority to  bring suit for                                                               
indirect  purchasers.   He noted  that he  argues that  antitrust                                                               
violations  are  also  consumer  protection  violations  and  the                                                               
Consumer Protection  Act has language  suggesting that  the state                                                               
may have  this authority.   Having the  language in HB  460 would                                                               
clarify the situation, he said.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI  turned to page  3, subsection (j),  which refers                                                               
to  recovery of  aggregate  damages  using statistical  sampling.                                                               
She inquired as to what that refers.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SNIFFEN  explained  that  there  are  times  in  which  it's                                                               
difficult to determine the exact  amount of damages an individual                                                               
indirect  purchaser   may  have   suffered.    The   language  in                                                               
subsection (j) allows the court  to consider statistical sampling                                                               
and  other methods  in order  to determine  a damage  amount that                                                               
approximates what  the actual  individual consumer  damages might                                                               
have been.   In further response to Chair  Murkowski, Mr. Sniffen                                                               
said  that  a  consumer  could make  arguments  to  the  attorney                                                               
general's  office  that he/she  should  receive  a larger  share.                                                               
However, under these  type of actions there are  many people with                                                               
small  individual damages  that  amount  to a  large  sum in  the                                                               
aggregate.   To the extent  a consumer believes their  damages to                                                               
be significantly greater than the  whole, the consumer would have                                                               
the ability to  opt out of the lawsuit and  bring their own case.                                                               
The statute  requires the attorney  general to provide  notice of                                                               
the action  and provide consumers  with the opportunity  to bring                                                               
their own case.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI characterized this as a class action [suit].                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNIFFEN  said that it's  a modified class action  [suit] that                                                               
can be brought only by the attorney general.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0942                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAYES asked if the  tobacco settlement would be an                                                               
example of the type of lawsuit at which HB 460 is aimed.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNIFFEN  related his  belief that  in the  tobacco settlement                                                               
there were many  direct damages suffered by  consumers.  However,                                                               
he  said he  believes  there  is probably  room  for the  tobacco                                                               
companies to argue that the  settlements should've been different                                                               
for  those  states lacking  the  authority  to collect  or  bring                                                               
claims on behalf of the indirect purchasers.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  returned to  his question  regarding the                                                               
reason behind the deletion of the  language in Section 1(1) of HB                                                               
460.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNIFFEN answered that the  language was deleted to bring this                                                               
statute in line with other  federal antitrust statutes that don't                                                               
require  a   showing  of  wilfulness  before   recovering  treble                                                               
damages.  The  Clayton Act allows the U.S.  government to recover                                                               
treble damages for  a violation of federal  antitrust law without                                                               
a showing that  the conduct was wilful.  Mr.  Sniffen related his                                                               
belief  that  it's  a  policy decision  [whether]  this  kind  of                                                               
conduct is egregious enough to warrant that penalty.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  maintained concern with the  deletion of                                                               
the wilful  conduct language.   He asked if chapter  45 addresses                                                               
only antitrust suits.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNIFFEN replied yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  turned to  Section 4, AS  45.50.586, and                                                               
asked why that is included.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SNIFFEN  pointed out  that  the  language  in Section  4  is                                                               
amended  to  clarify  the  statute   and  make  the  new  section                                                               
consistent   by   specifying  nonstate   governmental   entities.                                                               
Generally,  [Section 4]  merely  codifies common  law and  allows                                                               
final judgments rendered in civil  actions to be used as evidence                                                               
by those defendants in other actions for the same conduct.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if provisions  such as this aid the                                                               
attorney  general's  office  in making  settlements  rather  than                                                               
going  to  final judgment  because  a  myriad of  lawsuits  could                                                               
ensue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNIFFEN related that he  didn't know whether this section has                                                               
been a  help or a hindrance  in settlement action.   Even without                                                               
this statute  there is  common law that  suggests that  the final                                                               
judgments  can be  used  against the  defendants  in other  cases                                                               
under certain  collateral (indisc.)  contexts.  Mr.  Sniffen said                                                               
that he didn't have a firm answer.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  noted  that  there is  case  law  about                                                               
criminal adjudicated crimes being  prima facie evidence for civil                                                               
judgments in some jurisdictions.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNIFFEN  said he believes the  reverse to be true  if one can                                                               
obtain a  final judgment in  civil actions.   With regard  to the                                                               
antitrust  context, judgments  rendered  in  antitrust cases  are                                                               
generally used as evidence against  the defendants in other kinds                                                               
of consumer protection matters.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0621                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
STEVEN CONN, Executive Director,  Alaska Public Interest Research                                                               
Group  (AkPIRG),   testified  via   teleconference.     Mr.  Conn                                                               
announced   AkPIRG's  support   of  HB   460.     He  noted   the                                                               
appropriateness of  giving the attorney general's  office all the                                                               
authority it needs to serve Alaska and its consumers.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0496                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HAYES moved  to report  HB 460  out of  committee                                                               
with    individual   recommendations    and   the    accompanying                                                               
indeterminate fiscal note.  There  being no objection, HB 460 was                                                               
reported from the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Labor and  Commerce Standing Committee  meeting was  adjourned at                                                               
4:55 p.m.                                                                                                                       

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