Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124
05/10/2019 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE
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ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE May 10, 2019 3:27 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Adam Wool, Chair Representative Andi Story Representative Zack Fields Representative Sara Hannan Representative Louise Stutes Representative Josh Revak Representative Dave Talerico MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 127 "An Act relating to the practice of dental hygiene; establishing an advanced practice permit; prohibiting unfair discrimination under group health insurance against a dental hygienist who holds an advanced practice permit; relating to medical assistance for dental hygiene services; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD & HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 93 "An Act relating to temporary courtesy licenses for certain nonresident professionals; and relating to the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development." - HEARD & HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 113 "An Act relating to employment preferences for spouses and children of veterans, disabled veterans, former prisoners of war, members of the national guard, and deceased service members." - HEARD & HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 103 "An Act establishing the State Gaming Commission; relating to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; relating to the regulation of card rooms and card games; relating to criminal history record checks; and relating to the regulation of alcoholic beverages." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION BILL: HB 127 SHORT TITLE: DENTAL HYGIENIST ADVANCED PRAC PERMIT SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) SPOHNHOLZ 04/09/19 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 04/09/19 (H) L&C, FIN 05/03/19 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124 05/03/19 (H) Heard & Held 05/03/19 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 05/10/19 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124 BILL: HB 93 SHORT TITLE: MILITARY SPOUSE COURTESY LICENSE SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TUCK 03/13/19 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 03/13/19 (H) MLV, L&C 04/02/19 (H) MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 04/02/19 (H) Heard & Held 04/02/19 (H) MINUTE(MLV) 04/04/19 (H) MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 04/04/19 (H) -- MEETING CANCELED -- 04/09/19 (H) MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 04/09/19 (H) -- MEETING CANCELED -- 04/16/19 (H) MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 04/16/19 (H) Moved HB 93 Out of Committee 04/16/19 (H) MINUTE(MLV) 04/17/19 (H) MLV RPT 6DP 04/17/19 (H) DP: THOMPSON, RAUSCHER, TUCK, JACKSON, TARR, LEDOUX 05/06/19 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124 05/06/19 (H) -- MEETING CANCELED -- 05/10/19 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124 BILL: HB 113 SHORT TITLE: MILITARY FAMILY EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JACKSON 03/27/19 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 03/27/19 (H) MLV, L&C 04/16/19 (H) MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 04/16/19 (H) Heard & Held 04/16/19 (H) MINUTE(MLV) 04/18/19 (H) MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 04/18/19 (H) -- MEETING CANCELED -- 04/23/19 (H) MLV AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120 04/23/19 (H) Moved CSHB 113(MLV) Out of Committee 04/23/19 (H) MINUTE(MLV) 04/24/19 (H) MLV RPT CS(MLV) NT 5DP 1NR 04/24/19 (H) DP: KOPP, JACKSON, TARR, TUCK, LEDOUX 04/24/19 (H) NR: THOMPSON 05/06/19 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124 05/06/19 (H) -- MEETING CANCELED -- 05/10/19 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124 WITNESS REGISTER JEFF KILGORE Fairbanks, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 127. CHERYL KILGORE Fairbanks, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 127. ROYANN ROYER Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 127. JON ZASADA, Director/Policy Integration Alaska Primary Care Association Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 127. DAVID NIELSON Alaska Board of Dental Examiners Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions during the hearing on HB 127. BERNICE NISBETT, Staff Representative Ivy Spohnholz Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions during the hearing on HB 127 on behalf of Representative Spohnholz, prime sponsor. MICHAEL MASON, Staff Representative Chris Tuck Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 93 on behalf of Representative Tuck, prime sponsor. REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: As prime sponsor, presented HB 93. SARA CHAMBERS, Director Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions during the hearing on HB 93. REPRESENTATIVE SHARON JACKSON Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: As prime sponsor, introduced HB 113. ERIC CORDERO, Staff Representative Jackson Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HB 113 on behalf of Representative Jackson, prime sponsor, and explained the sectional analysis. TERRE GALES, Director Division of Labor Standards and Safety Department of Labor & Workforce Development Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions during the hearing on HB 113. VERDIE BOWEN, Director of Veterans Affairs Office of Veterans Affairs Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions during the hearing on HB 113. ACTION NARRATIVE 3:27:21 PM CHAIR ADAM WOOL called the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:27 p.m. Representatives Stutes, Story, Talerico, Fields, Revak, Hannan, and Wool were present at the call to order. HB 127-DENTAL HYGIENIST ADVANCED PRAC PERMIT 3:28:12 PM CHAIR WOOL announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 127, "An Act relating to the practice of dental hygiene; establishing an advanced practice permit; prohibiting unfair discrimination under group health insurance against a dental hygienist who holds an advanced practice permit; relating to medical assistance for dental hygiene services; and providing for an effective date." 3:28:47 PM CHAIR WOOL opened public testimony. 3:29:13 PM JEFF KILGORE stated his support for HB 127. He said he worked the first eight years of his career at a federally qualified health center as the "Dental Director." After which he switched to the private sector. He explained that in both settings, he saw the importance of access to care and how challenging it can be - especially for the elderly and disabled populations. He noted the challenge of getting them into a traditional setting and opined that having a nontraditional option, like home visits, would improve both their dental and systemic health. 3:31:14 PM CHERYL KILGORE said she has been working in healthcare for many decades and over that time, has seen both access problems and successful delivery. She said that hygienists are uniquely qualified to provide preventive and interventive services that would be beneficial to vulnerable populations, like seniors in nursing homes. She commended HB 127 for trying to utilize that unique skillset to take better care of all Alaskans. She urged members to support this bill. 3:33:37 PM ROYANN ROYER, gave a brief history of her experience working in private practices, public health and instructing the dental program at University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). Currently, she said she works in a collaborative agreement at a long-term care center, which is why she supports HB 127. She said if HB 127 passes, she would be able to continue preventative services. 3:38:34 PM JON ZASADA, Director/Policy Integration, Alaska Primary Care Association, voiced his support for HB 127. Recruiting and retaining the necessary workforce to staff comprehensive primary care practices that provide dental, medical, and behavioral health in coordination with care services to patients is the number one concern and priority of the Alaska Primary Care Association's leaders. DAVID NIELSON, Alaska Board of Dental Examiners, said, as chair of the Alaska Board of Dental Examiners, he is here to answer any questions member might have. 3:42:17 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY sought clarification on advanced practice permits and asked how they are evaluated. MR. NIELSON said the requirements are an active license in Alaska, 4,000 hours of documented clinical practice, and no disciplinary actions. 3:43:17 PM REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN asked how many years it would take to get 4,000 hours. DR. NIELSON estimated 5-10 years. MS. ROYER, in response to Representative Hannan, said at least 5 years. 3:44:10 PM REPRESENTATIVE STUTES asked if the state Dental Association and the Board of Dental Examiners supports HB 127. REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ explained that the Alaska Dental Society is the state professional association for dentists. She noted that they have written a letter of support [included in the committee packet]. 3:45:36 PM REPRESENTATIVE STUTES pointed out that the Alaska Dental Association made a "wording" suggestion. She asked if that was implemented in the committee substitute (CS). REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ deferred the question to her staff. 3:45:58 PM BERNICE NISBETT, Staff, Representative Ivy Spohnholz, on behalf of Representative Spohnholz, prime sponsor, said that the CS they are working on will include the changes that are listed in the aforementioned letter. CHAIR WOOL announced that HB 127 was held over. 3:46:36 PM CHAIR WOOL closed public testimony. HB 93-MILITARY SPOUSE COURTESY LICENSE 3:46:45 PM CHAIR WOOL announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 93, "An Act relating to temporary courtesy licenses for certain nonresident professionals; and relating to the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development." 3:46:57 PM The committee took a brief at-ease. 3:47:01 PM MICHAEL MASON, Staff, Representative Chris Tuck, introduced HB 93 on behalf of Representative Tuck, prime sponsor. He stated that the bill builds on the social contract that people live by. 3:49:03 PM REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK, Alaska State Legislature, as prime sponsor, introduced HB 93. He paraphrased parts of the sponsor statement [included in the committee packet] which read in its entirety as follows [original punctuation provided]: House Bill 93 calls for the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development to prepare an annual report to allow the Alaska Legislature to evaluate the progress of a program to make temporary courtesy occupational licenses available to the spouses of active duty service members stationed in Alaska. In 2011, the Alaska Legislature passed House Bill 28 to provide expedited temporary courtesy licenses if a military spouse possesses a license from a previous jurisdiction with similar requirements to the State of Alaska. However, the bill didn't include reporting requirements. Making temporary courtesy licenses available to the spouses of active duty service members allows them to practice their chosen trade without having to go through the time-consuming process of meeting state licensure requirements before beginning work. Expediting courtesy licenses for military spouses allows them to go to work quickly after relocating to Alaska, while they work toward fulfilling any remainder state requirements for their license. The requirement in House Bill 93 for an annual report will allow the Alaska Legislature, the Joint Armed Services Committee, military installations, and local communities to track the progress of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development in making temporary courtesy licenses available to military spouses. HB 93 also calls for the department to produce and distribute informational materials about temporary courtesy licenses to each board authorized to issue such licenses. The intent of this stipulation is to improve the board's knowledge of the licenses, the application process, and the best practices in providing applicant support. Additionally, the bill calls for the department to encourage boards to designate a single employee to serve as the point of contact for public information and inquiries related to temporary courtesy licenses for military spouses. The annual report called for in HB 93 will also highlight many of the opportunities available to help military spouses enter the workforce in Alaska. To date, a low number of eligible professionals have taken advantage of the temporary courtesy license program in Alaska, and many participants have reported delays. House Bill 93 would help identify inefficiencies in the program. Legislation similar to House Bill 93 passed the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously last year but was not taken up by the Alaska State Senate. Making temporary courtesy occupational and other licenses available to military spouses is a priority for the U.S. Department of Defense. 3:51:47 PM REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN addressed the regulations, pointing out that a temporary license is issued for 180 days. She asked if there is a fee associated with the issuance of that license. 3:52:22 PM SARA CHAMBERS, Director, Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing, Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development, explained that there is a specific fee for each program offering a temporary license, which is different than the full license. REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN asked if the fee can be used towards the state cost of their permanent professional license and associated fees, which will vary depending on the type of licensure. MS. CHAMBERS said that with 43 separate programs with separate statutes and regulations and 22 different governing bodies among those, it's not consistent across all programs. Some programs offer temporary licenses and others don't offer one at all. She offered her belief that an element lacking from statute is the need to "beef up" the military spouse licensing language to compel various boards to do more and take this issue more seriously. REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN questioned whether that 180-day window affords people enough time to complete the Alaska licensure process in those programs which temporary licenses exist. MS. CHAMBERS said there is very little data as fewer than 30 military spouses have ever applied using this program. She opined that the need is greater; however, they don't know it's available because of a gap in perception and education. 3:56:31 PM REPRESENTATIVE TUCK pointed out that HB 93 does three things: produces an annual report; calls on the Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development (DCCED) to produce and distribute informational materials; and asks the professional licensing boards to designate a single employee to serve as the point of contact for public information and inquiries related to temporary curtesy licenses for military spouses. 3:57:18 PM REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS questioned whether this bill could have an impact on licensure for plumbers or electricians. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK answered yes, through the Department of Labor. He continued by saying that Alaska has relaxed requirements for electrical licenses, and as a result, Washington State no longer accepts them. In retaliation, Alaska no longer accepts Washington's licenses, ending the reciprocal agreement that once existed between the two states. REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS established a scenario in which a plumber moves to Alaska who had not completed a registered apprenticeship in another state and wanted to get permanently licensed. He pointed out that six months is not enough to go through a registered apprenticeship and asked how that would work in terms of timing. CHAIR WOOL pointed out that HB 97 doesn't pertain to those trades. 3:59:45 PM CHAIR WOOL asked if Alaska has professional licensing reciprocity with other states. MS. CHAMBERS stated that there is only one firm reciprocity agreement mandated by the federal government for real estate appraisers. She noted that there is licensure by credential for almost all programs, which means someone with a similar license from another state can come to Alaska and use those credentials to gain licensure without having to take another national exam. CHAIR WOOL questioned whether the intent of the bill is to expedite licensure above and beyond simple omission of the board exam. 4:01:02 PM MS. CHAMBERS said current law says department and boards may issue a temporary license to the spouse of an active military member who essentially has the equivalent of a similar license in another state. They can get a 180-day license. This bill requires filing a report and providing more information, it doesn't change licensure in any way. There's no impact on the credentials, criteria, or reciprocity, it's just beefing up the administration and reporting back to the legislature, so legislators have better tools to understand the scope of the problem. 4:01:52 PM REPRESENTATIVE TUCK confirmed that, adding that it improves the state's licensing boards and processes and ensures that Alaska has the best practices in place to provide applicants the support they need. It focuses on getting temporary licenses and allowing people who are licensed in another state to work in their fields of trade. REPRESENTATIVE REVAK thanked Representative Tuck and said he appreciates the intent of the current bill. He recalled hearing about these licensing issues for a decade, and as military is a big part of Alaska's economy the more this state can do to benefit their spouses the better. 4:04:54 PM CHAIR WOOL asked about reciprocity program for medical doctors. MS. CHAMBERS said there is an interstate licensure compact that Representative Seaton introduced several years ago. There are a handful of national compacts, which are private agreements that a state makes with a private organization that goes into statute and allows interstate licensure. She noted that nurses, doctors, and a few others have those. CHAIR WOOL asked if a nurse from another state in the compact would get automatic licensure in Alaska. MS. CHAMBERS explained that with a national compact recognition an individual can move into another state and start working. She pointed out that they are all different, as they are private organizations with their own language, fees and trappings. 4:06:15 PM CHAIR WOOL said HB 93 was held over. HB 113-MILITARY FAMILY EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE 4:06:28 PM CHAIR WOOL announced that the final order of business would be CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 113(MLV), "An Act relating to private sector and state employment preferences for active service members, veterans, and spouses and dependent children of active service members and veterans; relating to employment preferences for surviving spouses of deceased service members and veterans; and relating to employment preferences for disabled veterans and former prisoners of war." 4:06:55 PM REPRESENTATIVE SHARON JACKSON, Alaska State Legislature, as prime sponsor, introduced HB 113. She paraphrased the sponsor statement [included in the committee packet], which read in its entirety as follows [original punctuation provided]: The purpose of House Bill 113 is to extend current hiring preferences to military spouses and dependent children in the State of Alaska and the private sector. Military families fall into two categories: Blue Star or Gold Star Families. Blue Star families are military spouses and dependents of active service members and veterans. Gold Star families are spouses and children of a deceased service members who died while in active duty. A recent report from the Department of Defense found that a quarter of military spouses are unemployed or underemployed. There are several efforts being done in all 50 states, but Alaska is one of the few states that do not extend employment preferences to military spouses. There are roughly 151,881 military spouses and dependents in Alaska according to the Alaska Department of Military & Veteran Affairs. This is a small but significant way to honor our service members and their families, who often fall between the cracks while also making a sacrifice to serve their country. 4:10:21 PM ERIC CORDERO, Staff, Representative Jackson, Alaska State Legislature, presented the changes made to CSHB 113 (MLV) on behalf of Representative Jackson, prime sponsor. It was clarified that active duty service members, as well as their spouses and dependents qualify for hiring preferences. Stepchildren were also added to the definition of dependents. The CS added definitions to the State Personnel Act in section 3 for consistency and removed redundant language in other sections. He continued by explaining that another change was adding the words "disabled veteran" to section 4 for consistency with federal definitions. The CS also clarified that HB 113 should not be interpreted to amend the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. 4:11:48 PM MR. CORDERO turned attention to the sectional analysis [included in the committee packet] and read the following [original punctuation provided]: Section 1. AS 18.80.200(c) This section does not prohibit a private employer from having hiring preferences for persons described in Section 2 of this bill. Section 2. AS 23.88.010 This section repeals and reenacts the current statute by adding definitions removed from Section 1 for clarity. This section does not prohibit a private employer from having hiring preferences to active- military, veterans and families. This section adds language to include spouses and dependent children of deceased service members to the list. 4:12:36 PM REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS sought clarification on the meaning of "preference." REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON explained that some businesses use a point system for hiring and this bill gives preference to veterans during that process with the addition of 5-10 points. MR. CORDERO added that the State of Alaska uses different tools to make hiring decisions. When there is a numerical tool being used, veterans and members of the national guard will automatically get 10 points once they pass the minimum requirements to qualify for that position. If a numerical tool is not being used, the benefit is that they will automatically be selected for an interview. 4:15:11 PM MR. CORDERO continued with the sectional analysis and read the following: Section 3. AS 39.25.150(19) This section amends the State Personnel Act to reference definitions as stated in Section 4 for consistency. Section 4. AS 39.25.159(a) This section amends the employment preference for veterans or former prisoners of war by adding new language to include families of an active-duty service member, veteran, or former prisoner of war. This section clarifies the type of preference given the hiring process and whether the applicant is disabled or not. Subsection (B) is removed for consistency Section 5. AS 39.25.159(d) This section clarifies that a person may receive an employment preference under only one of the categories described in sections 3 and 4. A person may use the preference without limitation when being considered for a position for which persons who are not currently state employees are being considered. If the recruitment for a position is limited to state employees, preference under (a) or (c) of this section may not be counted. This section adds language to include spouses or dependent children for consistency with other sections. Section 6 AS 39.25.159 (e) This section clarifies that this bill does not involve interpreting amendments of a collective bargaining agreement and makes a reference to subsection (a) of Section 4. Section 7 AS 39.25.159(f) This section defines a dependent child. Section 8 AS 39.25.159(c) This section removes language that has been included in Section 4 of this bill. 4:17:24 PM REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN sought clarification on the preference for a surviving spouse. She asked when that benefit is given and how long it lasts. MR. CORDERO offered his understanding that currently there is no limit to how long that benefit lasts. 4:20:36 PM TERRE GALES, Director, Division of Labor Standards and Safety, Department of Labor & Workforce Development, asked for the question to be repeated. REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN repeated her previous question, asking when preference for a surviving spouse is given and how long they receive it for. MR. GALES said it appears to be permanent. 4:22:00 PM REPRESENTATIVE REVAK questioned whether the Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA) has a position on this bill and asked about the unemployment rate in the veteran community. 4:22:26 PM VERDIE BOWEN, Director of Veterans Affairs, Office of Veterans Affairs, Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs, said the DMVA is in full support of this bill. He added that the unemployment rate for veterans in this state is the same as non- veterans. He noted that the unemployment rate for active duty military spouses is generally much higher than spouses of those that do not serve. 4:23:05 PM REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS asked if the nature of preference for state employment is typically put into place with statute or regulation. REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON said currently, it is in statute. MR. CORDERO noted that it is put into place with statute in other states as well. 4:26:59 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY pointed out that when she was checking on military preference and points for a Senate bill, the division of personnel said they do not currently use preference points. She asked if that is true and questioned whether this bill adds a point system. REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON said the federal government has preference points and the intent of this bill is to implement a point system for the state of Alaska. CHAIR WOOL sought clarification on the conditions under which a dependent or spouse qualifies for benefits. He asked if the benefits only become available when the veteran is deceased. MR. CORDERO answered yes, if he or she died while in service. According to the bill, he said, if the spouse is disabled the percentage would be higher. He added if the tool being used is numerical versus nonnumerical, the nonnumerical benefit is getting an interview. MR. CORDERO, responding to a follow-up question from representative Wool, explained that according to current statute, the hiring benefit for nonnumerical tools is the assurance of an interview if the veteran applicant meets the minimum qualifications. CHAIR WOOL surmised that hiring preferences are required by the state. MR. CORDERO said correct, adding that hiring preferences are optional to the private sector. 4:29:32 PM MR. GALES acknowledged that the top qualified applicant will be selected for an interview; however, a veteran will be selected for an interview as long as they reach the minimum qualifications. He noted that if a spouse remarries after their partner dies in service, he or she will cease to receive preference from the federal government. CHAIR WOOL asked if the process is the same for dependents. MR. GALES said yes, adding that once an adult is married, they lose those benefits. CHAIR WOOL questioned whether there was an age cut-off for dependents as well. 4:30:49 PM REPRESENTATIVE JACKSON answered 23 years old. 4:32:25 PM REPRESENTATIVE STORY mentioned that her research on veterans has shown that not having employment is one of the biggest hurdles a family can face. 4:33:36 PM CHAIR WOOL announced HB 113 was held over. 4:34:02 PM ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 4:34 p.m.