Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/07/1998 10:05 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
       HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                  
                   March 7, 1998                                               
                     10:05 a.m.                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                          
Representative Ivan Ivan, Vice Chairman                                        
Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                 
Representative Kim Elton                                                       
Representative Mark Hodgins                                                    
Representative Al Vezey                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
Representative Fred Dyson                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
HOUSE BILL 338                                                                 
"An Act relating to the repeal of provisions of the Administrative             
Procedure Act, prohibiting the adoption of regulations by an agency            
of the executive branch of state government, annulling all                     
regulations adopted by an agency of the executive branch, and                  
relating to additional legislation to carry out the purposes of                
this Act; and providing for an effective date."                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
HOUSE BILL 359                                                                 
"An Act relating to regulation of health insurance plans; and                  
providing for an effective date."                                              
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
HOUSE BILL 362                                                                 
"An Act relating to the use of space for military lounges in state-            
owned or state-controlled airports."                                           
     - MOVED CSHB 362(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
HOUSE BILL 329                                                                 
"An Act amending the definition of correctional facility to include            
a therapeutic treatment center; providing for the conveyance of the            
Harborview Developmental Center and appurtenant land to the City of            
Valdez for the purpose of conversion and lease of a part of the                
center for a therapeutic treatment center for the Department of                
Corrections; providing that such a land conveyance counts toward               
the general grant land entitlement of the City of Valdez; and                  
providing for an effective date."                                              
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
(* First public hearing)                                                       
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
BILL: HB 338                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: ANNUL ALL ADMIN. REGS; REPEAL APA                                 
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) VEZEY                                           
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 1/21/98      2099     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 1/21/98      2099     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                             
 3/03/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
 3/03/98               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
 3/05/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
 3/05/98               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
 3/07/98               (H)  STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
BILL: HB 359                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: HEALTH INSURANCE REGULATION                                       
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) RYAN                                            
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 1/28/98      2153     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 1/28/98      2153     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, LABOR & COMMERCE                    
 3/03/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
 3/03/98               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
 3/05/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
 3/05/98               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
 3/07/98               (H)  STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
BILL: HB 362                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: AIRPORT MILITARY LOUNGES                                          
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 1/28/98      2153     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 1/28/98      2154     (H)  MLV, STATE AFFAIRS                                 
 2/19/98               (H)  MLV AT  4:30 PM CAPITOL 17                         
 2/19/98               (H)  MINUTE(MLV)                                        
 2/24/98               (H)  MLV AT  4:00 PM CAPITOL 17                         
 2/24/98               (H)  MINUTE(MLV)                                        
 2/25/98      2427     (H)  MLV RPT  7DP                                       
 2/25/98      2428     (H)  DP: RYAN, KOTT, NICHOLIA, FOSTER,                  
 2/25/98      2428     (H)  JOULE, MULDER, MASEK                               
 2/25/98      2428     (H)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DOT)                             
 3/03/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
 3/03/98               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
 3/05/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
 3/05/98               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
 3/07/98               (H)  STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
BILL: HB 329                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: HARBORVIEW DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER                                   
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                   
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 1/16/98      2068     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 1/16/98      2068     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                  
 1/16/98      2068     (H)  FISCAL NOTE (COR)                                  
 1/16/98      2068     (H)  3 ZERO FNS (ADM, DHSS, DNR)                        
 1/16/98      2068     (H)  GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                      
 3/03/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
 3/03/98               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
 3/05/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
 3/05/98               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
 3/07/98               (H)  STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
JACK CHENOWETH, Attorney                                                       
Legislative Legal Counsel                                                      
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                     
130 Seward Street, Suite 409                                                   
Juneau, Alaska  99801-2105                                                     
Telephone:  (907) 465-2450                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information and answered questions               
                     on HB 338.                                                
NANCY MICHAELSON                                                               
HC05 BOX 6916-F                                                                
PALMER, Alaska 99645                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 745-6673                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 338.                        
DIANA BUFFINGTON, President and State Coordinator                              
Children's Rights Council of Alaska; and                                       
  Chairman, Alaska Task Force on Family Law Reform                             
314 Maple Street                                                               
Kodiak, Alaska  99615                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 486-2290                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 338.                           
MARLENE LEAK                                                                   
771 Eighth Avenue                                                              
Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 452-1015                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 338.                           
REBECCA MICHAELSON                                                             
HC05 BOX 6916-F                                                                
PALMER, Alaska 99645                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 745-6673                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 338.                        
HARRY NIEHAUS                                                                  
P.O. Box 55455                                                                 
North Pole, Alaska  99705                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 488-9328                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 338.                           
REPRESENTATIVE JOE RYAN                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 420                                                     
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 465-3875                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 338.                           
DON STOLWORTHY, Legislative Assistant                                          
  to Representative Beverly Masek                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 432                                                     
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-2679                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on HB 362.                             
BETSY ROBSON, Assistant Director                                               
Division of Institutions                                                       
Department of Corrections                                                      
4200 Diplomacy Drive, Suite 207                                                
Anchorage, AK 99508                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 269-7410                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 329.                                         
DUGAN PETTY, Director                                                          
Division of General Services                                                   
Department of Administration                                                   
P.O. Box 110210                                                                
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0210                                                     
Telephone:  (907) 465-2250                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 329.                           
REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 404                                                     
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 465-4859                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 329.                           
JOE REEVES, Manager                                                            
Division of Administrative Services                                            
Department of Correcrions                                                      
P.O. Box 112000                                                                
Juneau, Alaska  998111                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 465-3315                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 329.                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
OVER AND CANNOT BE RECOVERED.]                                                 
TAPE 98-32, SIDE A                                                             
CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called the House State Affairs Standing                  
Committee meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.  Members present at the               
call to order were Representatives James, Ivan, Elton and Vezey.               
Representative Berkowitz arrived at 10:10 a.m., and Representative             
Hodgins arrived at approximately 10:30 a.m.                                    
HB 338 - ANNUL ALL ADMIN. REGS; REPEAL APA                                     
CHAIR JAMES announced the first order of business is HB 338, "An               
Act relating to the repeal of provisions of the Administrative                 
Procedure Act, prohibiting the adoption of regulations by an agency            
of the executive branch of state government, annulling all                     
regulations adopted by an agency of the executive branch, and                  
relating to additional legislation to carry out the purposes of                
this Act; and providing for an effective date."                                
Number 0296                                                                    
JACK CHENOWETH, Attorney, Legislative Legal Counsel, Legislative               
Affairs Agency, continued, "...to one specific example because I               
worked on this Legislative Council for the past three years.  When             
Senator Green decided that she wanted to revise the agricultural               
regulations, she proposed changes that necessarily affected the                
regulations that were then in place and she specified in the bill              
that the regulation should be annulled, and we gave her that draft.            
Both in the 1995 and 1996-session, when that bill passed and got               
caught up in the argument of whether it was vetoed and the veto                
properly overridden - and in the bill that passed last year, there             
are specific regulations that are contrary to the proposed laws                
that she had been encouraging, and those regulations are identified            
and they are annulled.  And, in point of fact, they are noted as               
annulled in the Administrative Code."                                          
Number 0307                                                                    
MR. CHENOWETH stated it's going to take more work, no doubt about              
it.  Whether you stick with the current system and try to identify             
particular regulations that should be set aside or should be                   
amended, it's going to mean more focus on how you draft and enact              
statutes.  He said, "If you go with something like this, my fear is            
that it's going to be each agency, each board, each commission for             
Number 0306                                                                    
MR. CHENOWETH continued, "Finally, there are a number of places                
where I'm not sure what the impact of this thing is.  My                       
recollection in Cleary v. State of Alaska [management of correction            
facilities and inmates' rights] is that one of the ways that Cleary            
v. State of Alaska, the (Department of) Correction's litigation,               
has been implemented is by requiring the adoption of an extensive              
body of regulatory material.  If that material goes out are we no              
longer in compliance with what we're required to do in Cleary v.               
State of Alaska?  In all of the places where the Legislature has               
said that we want to encourage agencies to bring in and conform                
their processes so that they would comply with federal law, what               
does it mean when an agency can no longer do that under something              
like an Administrative Procedure Act?"                                         
Number 0310                                                                    
MR. CHENOWETH said, "And finally, I'll go back again and express               
whether you really want to spend your time worrying about things               
such as how to regulate the taking of the fishery and game                     
resources in this state when it can be left to another agency or               
board or commission to be handled through the adoption of                      
appropriate regulations.  The same thing is true with the insurance            
or the regulation of insurance.  The same thing is true with the               
regulation of public utilities in this state.  All of the things               
that require examination and rate-making are held up to being                  
unrepealed by this bill, and I'm not sure how you proceed."                    
MR. CHENOWETH concluded, if this bill passes, where does that leave            
the Administrative Regulation Review Committee, what does it do.               
There are no rules and regulations for the committee to look at                
Number 0316                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES said, "The one thing I wanted to -- in your testimony,             
that I would like to comment on is SB 109, the agricultural bill.              
And one of the reasons why I believe that those -- and I knew that             
you can negate Administration's regulations by law, by a statute,              
yes we can do that.  And the reason that needed to be done, that               
just changing the law wasn't enough, is because they put                       
regulations on that didn't implement the law.  In other words, it              
went beyond the law and established things that was never intended             
originally in the law.  There's lots and lots of cases of that."               
CHAIR JAMES noted, having been Chairman of the Regulation Review               
Committee for these last two years, it's a horrendous job just to              
look at those.  The whole process of the notice of the regulations,            
which she believes we're making a few changes there, when it just              
says the area that is being changed, then you have to see that in              
the paper or people get noticed, then you have to send for the                 
writing so that you can understand just exactly what is being                  
changed, then you have to hold a hearing and make your comments and            
you don't know if they've listened to you or made any changes until            
you get the final draft when it's too late to say anything.  Chair             
James said that's part of the problems that the public has that she            
hears about all the time.                                                      
Number 0328                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES mentioned Representative Vezey admits this bill needs              
to be tweaked if it's going to work and admits that it's just                  
thrown out there for an idea.  She said we need to think about it.             
CHAIR JAMES stated, even with the legislation of the negotiated                
regulation making, that we're trying to get through this year, we              
still have not addressed the communication that we need between the            
Administration and the Legislature on the meaning of the                       
legislation, and it's a two-way street.  She said, "Number one, I              
don't think when the Legislature passes legislation that they have             
thought about it thoroughly enough - it sounds good so let's do it             
and let the Administration fix it.  And then when the                          
Administration follows it, that's not what they meant, and it's not            
down anyplace where it meant.  I'm not saying that it is all the               
Administration's fault, I'm saying it's a dual problem.  And I'm               
saying if we're going to be able to meet the public's needs, we                
have to have more communication at this level of just exactly what             
(indisc.) legislation means.  And there has to be then, if someone             
gets off ship in the Administration and puts in regulations that               
they want to implement this and thinks it fits, there needs to be              
a double-check there from the Legislature and the voice should be              
loud enough that they can make changes."                                       
CHAIR JAMES reiterated the public is bewildered and they look to               
the Administration and say they don't like this regulation and the             
Administration's response is the Legislature passed the law, we're             
just implementing the law, go talk to them.  And the Legislature               
says, we can't do anything about it, it's a regulation.  So they               
get the runaround and feel totally disenfranchised with their                  
government.  She said what she is trying to do is make the                     
government more responsive to the public's needs, and that's why               
we're hearing this bill today.                                                 
Number 0349                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY explained the reason that the bill takes               
away the rule-making and regulation-making authority from the                  
Administration, is because in 1980 the supreme court deflated rules            
and regulations of the agencies with law.  The intent of the bill              
is simply to bring lawmaking power back to the Legislature.  He                
said, "We're into a game of nomenclature here because nothing in               
this bill says the agencies can't make guidelines, they're not                 
going to be law.  Many of us think of rules as guidelines and what             
not, but the supreme court has said that rules and regulations                 
enacted by the agencies are law and that the Legislature does not              
have the authority to annul those laws.  So all we're really trying            
to do is separate the, what I would tend to call regulation and                
rule-making authority of agencies, we're going to have come up with            
new nomenclature and call it guidelines because it's not going to              
have the full force of effective law, if this becomes law."                    
Number 0358                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ETHAN BERKOWITZ on that point noted we do have the              
ability to repeal regulations, we just have to do it consistently              
with what the constitution says.  We can repeal regulations if we              
do it by passing a bill, and then having that bill become signed               
into law, then we can repeal that regulation.  We have delegated               
powers to agencies to make regulations.  We (indisc.) that                     
delegation consistent with the bill process - not a resolution                 
process consistent with the bill process.  He said once we make                
that delegation, the only way we can repeal those delegated                    
regulations are through law, not resolution.                                   
CHAIR JAMES stated it raises that to a higher level.  She said,                
"Let's say you've worked with the Administration and they refuse to            
change it.  You're assuming that you wouldn't have to do a bill to             
erase a regulation if you tried the other method and they refused              
to change it.  So you decide, they refused to change it, the only              
way that we can get rid of this onerous regulation is to pass a                
piece of legislation.  It is subject to the Governor's veto, he or             
she's going to stand behind his Administration who refused to                  
change the regulation and veto it, which then takes a two-thirds               
vote to override."                                                             
CHAIR JAMES concluded we're only dealing with a law that doesn't               
have constitutional or even financial interest, and we have to have            
a majority to implement the negation of a regulation.  She                     
expressed, therein lies the problem.                                           
Number 0372                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated then the solution is simple, then              
don't delegate authority to agencies to make regulation.                       
CHAIR JAMES remarked, that's where we are today.                               
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ continued, "But we've already done that               
and the answer isn't undo all the regulations that have already                
been done, it's next time any one of us proposes legislation that              
within the legislation delegates power to an agency to make                    
regulation, we make the regulation part of the legislation.  And we            
don't do that, we don't do it for a simple reason, it's very                   
complicated, it takes a lot of time, we don't actually have the                
expertise.  What we do with legislation is set out guidelines.                 
Now, the regulatory process can be enhanced, public participation              
can be improved, but once we make that delegation we've made that              
delegation.  We are bound by the law that's created just to show               
you that it's a regular law.  That's what the supreme court said."             
CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Berkowitz do you think we spend               
sufficient time on defining the law that we're putting into effect             
to have considered what the consequences would be.                             
Number 0383                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied, Madam Chair, when you allow me a             
softball I'm going to smack it out of the park.  There is no way               
that we give due consideration of legislation we pass.  We don't               
give it...                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES interjected don't you think something like this would              
require us to be more cautious.                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ responded you had entered the current                 
circumstances, we're not cautious enough.  Under the current                   
circumstances, bills move forward insufficiently today.  He said,              
"So, if I think if we would add to our responsibility we're going              
to be more careful, I don't think so.  I think it paves the way to             
what the supreme court cautioned against in the opinion.  They say             
the dangers of having the Legislature get involved in the minutiae             
that are involved in regulation, legislative veto encourages                   
secretive, poorly informed and politically unaccountable                       
legislative action.  And that's one of the problems of getting                 
involved in the detail."                                                       
CHAIR JAMES said, what if we didn't have the Administrative                    
Procedures Act, and what if the Administration wasn't required to              
write the regulations and what if we were.  Wouldn't we be able to             
address that by passing a piece of legislation that had an                     
effective date that's a year and a half down the road and in the               
mean time a legislative group working for the Legislature had to               
write the regulations and then we take a look at those to see                  
whether we really like the legislation or not?                                 
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied, that's possible.                             
CHAIR JAMES indicated that wouldn't take any more money because the            
same people that are writing the regulations would be replacing the            
ones that are currently doing them.  But it would certainly be a               
better system.  She said, "What I'm saying is, just because we've              
always done something a certain way, and if it has problems, there             
certainly is a better way.  And we definitely have a problem with              
regulations and the public and we need to spend more time thinking             
about how to fix it."                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said, "And I agree completely, but this               
isn't a fix, this is just a..."                                                
CHAIR JAMES called on Representative Elton.                                    
Number 0404                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON said he has a couple comments and a                   
question of Mr. Chenoweth.                                                     
[NOTE: TAPE 98-32, SIDE B IS BLANK.]                                           
TAPE 98-33, SIDE A                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON continued, "...And just a comment of                      
legislative intent, we often do things, and then when the                      
consequences of our actions ripple out we say, well, we meant to do            
this, but we certainly never meant to have that occur.'  So                    
defining legislative intent is often difficult.  We don't sometimes            
know what the effect of our intent is until it's been out there and            
until the regulation process begins, and somebody begins drafting              
a regulation we say, 'well, wait a minute, that may have happened              
under the terms of the law that we passed, but that wasn't                     
unintended intent.'  And a good regulation process helps us there."            
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked Mr. Chenoweth what happens if this bill             
were to pass.  What would happen in the realm of emergency                     
regulations?  For example, if the Board of Fisheries allows the                
department to make an emergency closure in a commercial fishing                
area, if this bill passes, will the department be able to make                 
those emergency closures.                                                      
Number 0013                                                                    
MR. CHENOWETH replied if this bill passes the mechanism for                    
emergency regulations are no longer available.  In the case of the             
fish and game example that you offer, he said he would see the                 
appropriate board, or more likely the commissioner acting in some              
fashion to spell out what it is that ought to be done or that                  
should not be done and finding some other appropriate vehicle by               
which to communicate that.  He said, "If you can't use something               
that has the status of a rule or regulation and the force of law,              
it can be called something else, I think Representative Vezey                  
identified that as a guideline, or call it something else.  But the            
question is what is the legal status of that (indisc.) by whomever             
makes it, the Board of Fisheries or the commissioner, or however               
it's made.  That's a good question because fish and game matters,              
particularly the regulations go directly out to the field to                   
enforcement officers and they compile them and act on them because             
they know that after the running of the 30 days, and the regulation            
date becoming effective, those can be enforced.  The status of                 
agency decisions, however handled under this kind of legislation,              
is really opened at this point."                                               
MR. CHENOWETH noted he is more concerned about how all of the                  
agencies that you're concerned about make decisions.  Right now, if            
an agency program wants to make a decision it would have to at                 
least notice it up and give the opportunity for public comment.  He            
said, "Without that kind of requirement here, I'm afraid that                  
you're going to see agencies essentially trying to fill in the                 
places that the Legislature has left open in laws by some other                
mechanism - memos, desk references, something.  There is going to              
be as many different devices I suppose as there are people who can             
dream them up.  And I'm not sure that we'll ever find out what all             
of those may turn out to be.  But more than that, there's no                   
requirement that the public has an opportunity to review and                   
comment before those things are put into play and as those are                 
being changed.  If I understand this correctly, agencies, boards               
and commissions may not adopt rules or regulation, they may not                
adopt something that has the force of law so they'll do something              
else, they will fill the gaps."                                                
Number 0039                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES said she understands this is a very simple bill and                
doesn't have any parameters or any conditions to deal with the                 
intricacies of the whole issue.  She reiterated that it's too                  
simple and doesn't solve the problem.                                          
CHAIR JAMES referred to Cleary v. State of Alaska.  She told Mr.               
Chenoweth we could have in law that if the Legislature was going to            
approve regulations, we could do it similarly to what she said                 
earlier ... is that we could have a longer effective date.  We                 
could not pass laws this year that is not effective until down the             
line, after the regulations are done, and then decide is that what             
we really meant and take another look at it with the public                    
process.  Chair James indicated that we could also establish an                
emergency situation where something is wrong, and the time is not              
yet for the legislature to meet, that they could have the authority            
to go forward and bring it back to the Legislature for approval at             
the next session.                                                              
CHAIR JAMES continued, "If we were opening our minds up to what                
other kinds of methods might work, we might find and recognize some            
of the glitches that are in this situation that we have now that we            
don't notice because we're too busy following them.  My whole idea             
is what can we do to make this whole area of law be more responsive            
to the public's good.  And, that's for further thought, you don't              
even have to have an answer on that.  But what I'm saying is this              
is just an idea that could be expanded in other directions, and I'm            
not saying that's the way we ought to go, I'm just saying that it              
recognizes that there are some flaws in the current system."                   
Number 0055                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY added that there are many things that you can             
do to address Mr. Chenoweth's concerns.  For example, if the                   
Legislature wanted to, it could give the agencies the authority to             
make law with say a 108-day life that automatically expires the end            
of the next legislative session if not ratified by the Legislature.            
The point being, is that in 1980 the Alaska Supreme Court, without             
regard, in his opinion, to some very important sections of the                 
constitution gave the right to make legislation to the                         
Administrative branch of government without going through the                  
legislative process.                                                           
Number 0066                                                                    
NANCY MICHAELSON testified via teleconference in opposition to HB
338.  She noted she has serious questions about the wisdom of                  
passing HB 338 into law and strong objections to it.                           
MS. MICHAELSON said, "The sponsor's, Representative Vezey's,                   
statement says that HB 338 will not change any laws or regulations             
now in effect.  I cannot see that to be true.  Although the                    
statement says, the bill provides for regulations to be brought                
before and ratified by the Legislature through the legislative                 
process, that is very different than saying no laws or regulations             
now in effect will be changed.  I find the wording of the bill to              
be insufficient.  Should even one regulation concerning public                 
safety or protection of our environment run into a snag while being            
taken up and approved by the Legislature, such as being tabled,                
delayed for any reason or dying in committee, that regulation would            
be changed, it would no longer exist.  I find this to be                       
insufficient and irresponsible."                                               
MS. MICHAELSON continued, "I want to understand Representative                 
Vezey's motives for introducing this bill and I appreciate the fact            
that he opens this morning saying that it was philosophy more than             
mechanics.  It's difficult for me to read the bill however, think              
about what it says and take it seriously.  Legislative approval                
would, in my eyes, affectively shift regulations made for public               
interest in word to regulations subject to special interests,                  
subject to the politics of tradeoffs, special deals, influenced by             
special interest, lobbyists and money.  It appears introduction of             
this bill is done as something theoretically that makes sense to               
Representative Vezey but to me it seems like a nightmare.  It                  
appears it's an attempt to show how you, Representative Vezey,                 
takes so seriously the charge to make the state government                     
responsive to their responsibility to the state constitution which             
is very good, idealistically that is.  However, realistically this             
bill seems to me to be a joke and a not very funny one."                       
Number 0084                                                                    
MS. MICHAELSON stated, "The end results of passing it, looks to me             
to be detrimental to the protection of our public health, our                  
public safety, and irresponsible in that provisions protecting our             
environment would be taken away.  I think that two-years-ago Joe               
Ryan, your legislative aid, was quoted in the hearing as saying,               
'The question is, does the Legislature want to shirk its                       
responsibility and allow major policy changes to be implemented by             
the employees of Alaska who are not elected by citizens to their               
position?'  I say it's not a shirking of responsibility it's                   
allowing professionals to do their jobs.  It's taking important                
public protection out of the rings of politics and special deals.              
I don't believe it's possible for this body to draft legislation               
that would foresee every situation."                                           
MS. MICHAELSON concluded, "I believe it's a logistical nightmare,              
a public policy nightmare, and a bill that hopefully will go away              
with the next morning's light.  I don't think that Representative              
Vezey's hopes for what he wants are best done in this bill.  I                 
think, if he wants a constitutional convention, then maybe we can              
spend our money planning for that and making sure that gets carried            
off instead doing this bill.  And, I think you're asking                       
bureaucrats to be even more bureaucratic by spending time preparing            
regulations for legislative review instead of doing their work at              
Number 0097                                                                    
DIANA BUFFINGTON, President and State Coordinator Children's Rights            
Council of Alaska and Chairman, Alaska Task Force on Family Law                
Reform testified via teleconference in support of HB 338.  She said            
"It is about time that we take the special interest groups that                
influence the political appointees of whichever ruling body may be             
in effect by the Governor's appointees, especially in the family               
law areas, we should remove these people from setting down the                 
interpretation of the Legislature which is usually on conflict with            
these agencies."  Ms. Buffington gave a definition of rules and                
MS. BUFFINGTON continued, "These agencies have for far too long                
gone out of their way to implement outside the bounds of the intent            
of the Legislature.  The Alaska Supreme Court says that the                    
Department of Law, as well as the agencies concerned in the family             
referral agencies are usually using very strained interpretation of            
the law or a broad remedial reading of the law.  And I don't know              
where your children are in school ... if they're in the remedial               
reading class, they are in the dumb class.  And if our Department              
of Law cannot make rules and regulations that are within the intent            
of the law, then we have a serious problem that affects thousands              
upon thousands of people in this state on a very regular basis.  We            
are for this bill, it is about time somebody did take the                      
regulators, the bureaucrats who are certainly, absolutely, and                 
positively, probably more biased against the people that they                  
Number 0122                                                                    
MARLENE LEAK testified via teleconference in support of HB 338.                
She said, "I have seen the legislature turned into essentially a               
feel good social club where activity is mistaken for productivity.             
And for 120 days the legislators get together and talk about how               
the people don't really understand what they go through and how                
hard they work and leave the actual responsibility to the                      
legislation to the bureaucrats in the Administrative branch who are            
essentially unaccountable.  The opponents that I have heard today,             
rather strikingly in my opinion, seem to attribute godlike                     
qualities to bureaucrats in that they should not need to be                    
accountable, they are the experts, they know these things and they             
would only be influenced improperly by being accountable, by being             
responsible for what they do. ... I cannot hold with the totally               
authoritarian view of the people who opposed this bill."                       
MS. LEAK indicated that instead of trying to act as check and                  
balance over the state's Supreme Court, making this terribly                   
unwarranted, 1980 decision on the Administrative Procedure's Act,              
it has done nothing in response until now.  It is not acting as                
check and balance. ... Ms. Leak explained state government,                    
responsibility and accountability and gave an example of being an              
authoritarian.  She concluded, if you want to make, the way things             
(indisc.) now, don't run for the legislature, get a job in the                 
Number 0167                                                                    
REBECCA MICHAELSON testified via teleconference in opposition to HB
338.  She said, "I am a citizen of Alaska and I'm currently 17                 
years old and a senior in high school.  I have great hopes in my               
future.  Next year I am attending a university down in the Lower 48            
and I hope to return to Alaska some day.  When I return to Alaska,             
however, I wish and hope and pray that I return to one that is not             
in the midst of chaos."                                                        
MS. MICHAELSON continued, "My purpose today is to comment on HB
338.  I see it as a travesty to the American government.  I have               
spent an immense amount of time studying the American government,              
last year I traveled to Washington, D.C. and saw the government at             
work on a national level and I have great respect for it.  However,            
this bill is not realistic and I find it would have awful awful                
effects on the state of Alaska.  For example, discharging firearms             
in public parks is a regulation.  I don't see how you can say the              
people who made this regulation, and the people who make other                 
regulations, aren't accountable.  They're professionals, they get              
paid for what they do and there is a committee set out to review               
these regulations.  I see this bill as a shortcut for people on the            
committee or familiar with the committee.  You know, if you get rid            
of people who make the regulations and you make the regulations                
yourself, then there is less work and I find that awful.                       
Representative James was saying earlier that the public is                     
horrified.  Well I, a citizen of Alaska, am horrified that this                
bill is up for even review.  I think it should be killed in the                
committee.  I do respect that this bill is being brought forth                 
however and there's discussion on it because it's a part of the                
government process, it's a part of democracy and I do appreciate               
that.  I do appreciate Representative Berkowitz and Elton's                    
comments on the fiscal impossibility of this and the reality that              
this would take an immense amount of work.  You'd have to go into              
session after session, after session of work to review all these               
regulations.  So, that is my opinion.  HB 338 should not be                    
considered to make into law."                                                  
Number 0199                                                                    
HARRY NIEHAUS testified via teleconference in support of HB 338.               
He said it takes longer to rewrite a statute to correct one of                 
these regulations than it does to review the ones that have been               
brought to your attention because they're simply just not working.             
You could look at it and realize this wasn't the intent.  For                  
example, HB 375, page 2, Section 1(a) (short title, Crimes Against             
Children/Foster Care), freedom from substantial neglect of basic               
needs. ... He said, "You may consider food, clothing and shelter as            
a substantial need, but to what degree.  You may have people within            
a bureaucracy - now we know the nature of a bureaucracy is to grow,            
therefore, if they want to secure their jobs, these basic needs                
will not be the same as what I consider basic needs.  They will                
therefore push their intent rather than the people's intent which              
you are writing out in bill form.  Therefore, I say yes, we need to            
review these regulations to say, no, this was not our intent."  Mr.            
Niehaus gave another example.                                                  
MR. NIEHAUS indicated, as lawmakers, you know what the intent is.              
He said, "That doesn't mean every regulation that's passed you have            
to change, it means the ones that come to your attention and are               
blatantly wrong, this is what you have the control over.  And yes,             
I do agree with you and Mr. Vezey and I hope this bill does go                 
Number 0221                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOE RYAN, Alaska State Legislature, came before the             
committee in support of HB 338.  He said he went back and looked at            
the minutes of the Constitutional Convention and why the powers                
were separated the way they were separated.  He explained King                 
George III's agents arbitrarily made any rules and regulations they            
chose in the king's name which defied people of a whole lot of                 
liberty, property and a whole lot of personal wealth which was a               
value of their work.  And so they were very careful when they put              
the forms of government together to invest the power to make law in            
a representative body which represented the people.                            
REPRESENTATIVE RYAN stated, "In our constitution, all power comes              
from the people and that power is represented by their elected                 
officials.  We choose as a body, both sides of this body, to give              
the Governor what administration we choose to give the Governor.               
We are mandated by the constitution to create a supreme court and              
(indisc.) courts are at our will and we can create them and                    
dissolve them when we choose.  So the ultimate power for the people            
in the state of Alaska rests with their elected representatives.               
When you delegate something as terribly powerful as the ability to             
make law to people whom you hire you must realize that they, and               
the person for whom they work, has a political agenda and that                 
political agenda will very likely be exercised somewhere and their             
job of making laws.  The fact that they are not accountable for                
that is very simple.  If you and I pass an odious and (indisc.) law            
we will be held accountable at the next election.  People will be              
angry and they will not support us and we will retire to private               
life.  But we don't see people in the Administration being retired             
to private life for things they do by regulation, so there's no                
check and balance.  We are told by the administrative branch that              
we should sit here and do that for which we were authorized to do              
and the governor will run his or her government as he chooses fit.             
And if we don't like it, then we can take the appropriate powers               
through the budget."                                                           
Number 0244                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RYAN continued, "This bill, in the face of it yes               
it's pretty simple, I think it should be flushed out somewhat.  I              
applaud you in the work you've done in the last couple years in                
reviewing these regulations.  I think there is a better system.  I             
have complained bitterly that we have given away our lawmaking                 
power by this Administrative Procedures Act, we've given away our              
taxing power by allowing the Administration to charge fees by                  
regulation, and a fee or a tax are the same thing. ... And now                 
we're contemplating the idiocy of giving the Governor blocks of                
money and holding goals and objectives as the purpose.  Well it's              
obvious they'll come back in two years, and next year, and say you             
didn't give us enough money to accomplish our goals and objectives             
and so we did pretty much what we chose to do.  I don't think we               
should abrogate these powers and abrogate this responsibility given            
to us by the public.  I think that we are the people that will be              
held accountable.  I think that, if not this bill, something very              
similar to it, or perhaps a committee substitute that goes into a              
little more depth is appropriate.  I think the time is right and I             
plan on supporting legislation of this type."                                  
CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Vezey if he had any more comments.            
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied no, it's been thoroughly debated.                 
Number 0256                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES indicated HB 338 would be held in the House State                  
Affairs Standing Committee because it is not responsive to the                 
public's needs.                                                                
HB 359 - HEALTH INSURANCE REGULATION                                           
Number 0259                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES announced the next order of business is HB 359, "An Act            
relating to regulation of health insurance plans; and providing for            
an effective date."                                                            
CHAIR JAMES noted HB 359 was heard in the Children's Caucus and                
needs to hear tapes and have them put into the record.  She                    
indicated she would listen to them and move HB 359 on Tuesday.                 
Number 0262                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RYAN explained his staff was instructed to get them             
to her right away.  He also mentioned there's supposed to be a                 
committee substitute.                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE RYAN noted there was a fiscal note on his aid's                 
chair from the Division of Insurance (Department of Commerce and               
Economic Development) with an aggregate of $101,000.  He said, "I              
called the department and asked for an explanation of the note and             
they felt that the AG (Attorney General) would have to defend, and             
there was $34,000 worth of travel, the staff person would have to              
be hired for this committee even though the legislation doesn't say            
anything about providing staff - the review committee.  So I had               
asked to be prepared a committee substitute which holds the review             
committee harmless, there's no need for AG defense.  And since                 
there was no staff required we will put that in language that there            
is no staff required.  The curious thing about that, I called the              
Governor's legislative liaison and said that I'd kind of like the              
fiscal notes in a more timely manner, especially when they have                
that kind of an impact.  I was assured that that would take place              
and that it wouldn't happen again.  But, my aid received a call                
from the Division of Insurance that I had asked for someone front              
and center to come down and explain that note to the committee.                
And I was told that person would have to be subpoenaed.  So I plan             
on asking the Speaker for subpoena power ... and then I further am             
going to call the Governor's legislative liaison and ask why I was             
told to get a witness from the Administration to explain the fiscal            
note, we have to exercise subpena power."                                      
Number 0279                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY made a motion to adopt a State Affairs                    
Committee fiscal note of zero.                                                 
CHAIR JAMES asked if there were any objections to adopting a zero              
fiscal note.                                                                   
Number 0282                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON objected.  He noted, after hearing the benefit            
of the testimony that was taken in the Children's Caucus, it might             
be a better time to decide on what the fiscal note may be.                     
Representative Elton said he thinks this is a little bit                       
precipitous today and indicated he wouldn't object to the motion               
when more information in front of us.                                          
Number 0290                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES requested a roll call vote adopting a State Affairs                
Committee zero fiscal note.  Representatives Hodgins, Vezey, Ivan,             
James voted in support of the motion.  Representative Elton opposed            
it.  Therefore, the motion passed by a vote of 4-1.                            
Number 0293                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES announced the bill will be carried over to Tuesday.                
She asked Representative Ryan to provide a copy of the committee               
substitute and a copy of that fiscal note.  She said she will                  
provide a synopsis of the Children's Caucus hearing because                    
minutes aren't taken in Children's Caucuses.                                   
HB 362 - AIRPORT MILITARY LOUNGES                                              
Number 0305                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES announced the next order of business would be HB 362               
"An Act relating to the use of space for military lounges in state-            
owned or state-controlled airports," sponsored by Representative               
CHAIR JAMES stated that the committee has taken testimony from                 
DOT/PF in that they would provide for military lounges in the                  
airport, without charging rent, providing that the space was                   
available.  She said the language in the previous work draft                   
indicated that DOT/PF "shall" give them space.                                 
CHAIR JAMES noted there is a proposed committee substitute, Version            
H, dated 3/6/98, that says they may instead of shall do it.                    
Number 0310                                                                    
DON STOLWORTHY, Legislative Assistant to Representative Beverly                
Masek, Alaska State Legislature, came before the committee.  He                
said after the previous hearing he spoke with the drafting attorney            
and asked to be given a legal rendering.  He stated, "And they                 
said, yeah it could be interpreted as making DOT/PF do it.  So we              
worked on some language to make it more permissive."  It reads:                
     If the department permits space in state owned or state-                  
controlled airports to be used as lounges and if the lounges are               
operated by nonprofits, then rent may be not charged for the use of            
this space.                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES indicated she is happy with that.                                  
VICE CHAIRMAN IVAN IVAN asked if we're referring to H version.                 
CHAIR JAMES replied yes, we need to have a motion to put the                   
committee substitute before us.                                                
Number 0316                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MARK HODGINS made a motion to adopt the proposed                
committee substitute for HB 362, Version H, dated 3/6/98.  Hearing             
no objections, that version was before the committee.                          
REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he appreciates the changes that have been            
made, they do address his specific concern which is the fact that              
we would have been creating more troubles than we were solving.  He            
stated, "I still don't know that anything's broken, that anything              
needs to be fixed, but I think I would gamble that we're not doing             
any harm here, and I think that's important we're addressing                   
legislation to fix things that aren't broken."                                 
Number 0323                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS made a motion to move CSHB 362 out of                   
committee with individual recommendations and with attached fiscal             
notes.  There being no objection, CSHB 362(STA) moved from the                 
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                        
HB 329 - HARBORVIEW DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER                                       
Number 0326                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES announced the next order of business is HB 329, "An Act            
amending the definition of correctional facility to include a                  
therapeutic treatment center; providing for the conveyance of the              
Harborview Developmental Center and appurtenant land to the City of            
Valdez for the purpose of conversion and lease of a part of the                
center for a therapeutic treatment center for the Department of                
Corrections; providing that such a land conveyance counts toward               
the general grant land entitlement of the City of Valdez; and                  
providing for an effective date."                                              
Number 0330                                                                    
BETSY ROBSON, Assistant Director, Division of Institutions,                    
Department of Corrections presented HB 329 for the Governor.  She              
noted, also with her, to provide explanation on the bill, are Dugan            
Petty - Department of Administration, Larry Streuber - Department              
of Health and Social Services, and Joe Reeves - Department of                  
Corrections.  She said the Harborview project is a very important              
project for the state of Alaska and has far reaching implications              
for being able to reduce recidivism to make our state safer.                   
MS. ROBSON said HB 329 gives the Department of Corrections the                 
authority to establish a therapeutic community for the purpose of              
providing intensive drug treatment to incarcerated offenders.  She             
referred to a brochure that was distributed and explained                      
Harborview Developmental Center is in the process of being closed              
down and noted it is the facility that they are looking at having              
their therapeutic community at.  Ms. Robson noted they have done               
preliminary studies with an architectural firm to look at                      
programming and planning, and find that the therapeutic community              
would fit nicely into two wings of this building.                              
Number 0348                                                                    
MS. ROBSON further explained that it's part of the Department of               
Correction's plan for addressing our severe overcrowding issues,               
the facility will incarcerate 16 medium to minimum custody inmates.            
The inmates who are participating in this program are inmates who              
would not otherwise be eligible for furlough or parole situations              
but by participating in this program that will enhance their                   
possibility for furlough and parole, thus freeing up the beds                  
sooner.  The program will also have a strong transition component              
into the community which means that those inmates that are                     
releasing on probation, parole, or furlough will in fact be                    
supervised in the community and will have treatments that will                 
follow them into the community.                                                
Number 0356                                                                    
MS. ROBSON pointed out this program will allow the department to               
address some of our seriously addicted inmates.  She said they                 
estimate approximately 80 percent of the people who come to them               
have had involvements with substance abuse.  They're also aware                
that they have very seriously addicted offenders, and up until this            
point in time, they have not had the opportunity to address that               
serious addiction.  Ms. Robinson said, "We do have substance abuse             
programs in our facilities, they include education, a pretreatment             
component, and then an outpatient model.  With the addition of this            
therapeutic community we would be able to address those seriously              
addicted offenders in a 24-hour a day program."                                
Number 0362                                                                    
MS. ROBSON emphasized the significant impact on their success with             
this program is the fact that they are designing culturally                    
relevant programming.  Last year the Legislature appropriated                  
$50,000 for them to look into their current treatment, and to look             
at their existing treatment as far as making it relevant to the                
population.  With that funding they are putting together training              
that will be provided to the prison substance abuse councilors and             
probation officers so that they will be able to evaluate people                
that will be going to this program and will be able to address the             
cultural issues with our population.                                           
MS. ROBSON said she believes the most significant point of this                
program is that it has the potential to reduce recidivism.  She                
called the members attention to the research summary of the                    
pamphlet, April 1997, and noted they recently received it from the             
federal substance abuse folks.  Ms. Robinson said the fifth program            
demonstrates the effectiveness of this type of treatment.  Last                
week they meet with a national expert, Doctor Gary Field, who                  
informed them that they tend to see anywhere from a 30 to 45                   
percent reduction in recidivism when this type of treatment is                 
applied to offenders.  Ms. Robinson indicated they expect to start             
out with a 25 percent decrease in recidivism by these offenders and            
anticipate that it will rise as the program gets underway.  She                
noted that they are very excited about this program and are really             
urging that people give it due consideration.                                  
MS. ROBSON noted, "As part of the process of locating the                      
therapeutic community, it is necessary for the State to convey a               
State facility, and that is the Harborview Hospital."  She asked               
Dugan Petty, from Department of Administration to explain Section              
2 of the bill which addresses the conveyance of the property.                  
Number 0388                                                                    
DUGAN PETTY, Director, Division of General Services, Department of             
Administration, came before the committee in support of HB 329.  He            
said the Department of Administration has been working with the                
City of Valdez, the Departments of Health and Social Services,                 
Corrections, Natural Resources and Transportation and Public                   
Facilities in preparing an interim agreement to prepare for the                
conveyance of the property.  He pointed out this building is                   
approximately 89,000 square feet, with a replacement value that is             
estimated to be over $40 million.  It's currently being used as the            
hospital in Valdez and, of course was used as the Harborview                   
Development Center.                                                            
MR. PETTY stated this is the first time they have decommissioned a             
(indisc.--coughing) building of this nature.  He noted the                     
Department of Administration has screened other state agencies and             
the only use within the system for this building, which has been               
expressed to them, is the one by the Department of Corrections.  He            
reiterated they have been working with the City of Valdez to                   
prepare an interim agreement based upon the indications that they              
received from the Legislature of last year in funding some funds to            
make available to explore this project.  Mr. Petty said, "We have              
excessed the personal property from the building except for that               
will remain with the facility and are prepared to move forward with            
this project.  We think it makes good sense and support the                    
Number 0401                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES asked if the current hospital is at one end of this.               
MR. PETTY replied yes.                                                         
CHAIR JAMES asked who owns the hospital.                                       
MR. PETTY responded, "The hospital, it's been my understanding is              
owned by the..." [owned by the State of Alaska].                               
TAPE 98-33, SIDE B                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES said she understands that one of the reasons it was                
closed down and was not to be used as it was before was the high               
cost of operations.  She asked what were the specific instances                
that caused it to be so expensive to operate in that building.                 
MR. PETTY deferred to Larry Streuber, Department of Health and                 
Social Services because he is more familiar with the operating                 
costs of the facility.  He said he knows that they have taken some             
efforts to put some energy conservation devices in there to both               
get a better read on the facility, to break them out, and also to              
reduce some of the operating cost.                                             
Number 0011                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES expressed one of the concerns she has with these types             
of programs, of treating people who are subject to addictions, is              
that when they go back home sometimes they fall right back into it.            
She asked what kinds of provisions do they have for those kinds of             
MS. ROBSON explained they recognize that the return to the                     
community is a very critical point for these individuals and in                
fact, as part of the staffing for this facility, they will have a              
transitional counselor and a counselor aid.  They will begin                   
working with that individual as soon as he enters the program to               
help design his release plan in terms of the type of employment                
he'll have, where he'll live, what kind of housing.  Ms. Robinson              
explained that when they're ready to release the offender they will            
have made contact with the community to and make sure that support             
systems are in place because studies do show that there is a marked            
increase in success if you're able to have effective aftercare or              
transitional planning.                                                         
CHAIR JAMES referred to the training program for the offenders.                
She asked "Are you going to be associated with some other ability              
for getting education such as the Prince William Community College             
or are you going to be doing all of the training for job                       
opportunities throughout your program or is it associated in any               
other way with any kind of education for these people."                        
MS. ROBSON replied they have been primarily focusing on the                    
treatment aspect of it.  She said they know they will have to have             
an education component and have had brief discussions with the                 
community college in Valdez.  That program has not been designed               
yet, but they understand that they need to have an educational                 
CHAIR JAMES asked what is the time line.                                       
Number 0033                                                                    
MS. ROBSON responded they are looking at the program opening in                
October of this year and indicated they do have some very real                 
concerns in terms of the renovations that have to be made on the               
facility because the two wings that we will be occupying (indisc.--            
coughing) will have to be renovated.  She noted last year the                  
Legislature approved a federal appropriation of $400,000 that came             
through grant funding which will be transferred to the City of                 
Valdez to be used for (indisc.--coughing) process.  The City of                
Valdez has also indicated a willingness to support, through funds,             
the renovation of the building.  She added that they are concerned             
with the time line.                                                            
Number 0046                                                                    
VICE CHAIRMAN IVAN called the State Affairs Meeting at-ease due to             
a fire alarm at 11:46 a.m.                                                     
CHAIR JAMES announced the meeting will be called back to order at              
12:00 p.m.                                                                     
Number 0053                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA, Alaska State Legislature, came before              
the committees.  He said, "...and as Health and Social Services                
shut it down, it would create great problems for us in our hospital            
in what we would do with it.  You asked the question of why it was             
so expensive.  Health and Social Services made a decision years ago            
that they would not put more people in Harborview.  In the last six            
years or so, it's been housed at less than half its capacity.  It              
was in my opinion housed in so that it was made to be expensive so             
they could close it.  They philosophically did not want to house               
developmentally disabled people in a large institution.  So it's               
just a philosophy, they've all gone out to community based so                  
that's why it was so expensive. ... We did have a facility before              
the earthquake, in old town, and this facility was built pretty                
much on federal funds to house the hospital and Harborview                     
Developmental Center after the quake mostly on federal dollars."               
Number 0065                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA noted that this is the only real option that             
anybody's come up with of what to use the facility for.  He said               
it's basically not to house people.  Last year, in the budget, we              
did approve $400,000 of federal crime dollars.  He read, "For a                
therapeutic treatment community program of up to 100 beds in Valdez            
where the cost per inmate-day exclusive of treatment costs would               
not exceed the statewide average per inmate day for correctional               
institutions."  So they've put in a ceiling.  They said, all right             
you can have this program, but you have to come in at this cost,               
and that's what we're approving.                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA mentioned they had a meeting in the fall with            
the Chairs of both Finance Committees and they gave a report.  He              
pointed out members of the Finance Committee insisted they have a              
recording mechanism to ensure -- it says, according to backup the              
savings generated by treatment will be substantial.  In other state            
programs a cost average of a seven-dollar return for every dollar              
invested.  Future savings should be documented for each dollar                 
invested in Harborview and that again was in the budget last year              
that we passed.  He reiterated that the department knows that they             
cannot go over a certain price for this thing and they have to                 
show, over a period of time, that it's cost-effective.                         
Number 0080                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA mentioned they weren't able to get Doctor                
Gary Field in front of the House State Affairs Committee.  He noted            
Doctor Field runs a similar program in Oregon and reported, in the             
last seven years, they've been able to document huge savings that              
they now have added three other programs in Oregon - spread around             
the state.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA mentioned HB 329 has three other referrals               
and there is a catch, in the budget of last year, of the price that            
is has to come in at.  While it's not in the budget, it is included            
in the Governor's overall budget number that is there so it's not              
an add-on to his proposal.                                                     
CHAIR JAMES reiterated her concern of the offenders returning to               
their community.  She suggested the offenders work during the day              
and return to Harborview in the evening as a transition.  Chair                
James mentioned she was also interested in the training they would             
be given because just getting them well isn't enough because most              
of the people, who have substance abuse problems, don't have any               
work skills either.  She asked if there are halfway-houses anywhere            
else in the state where these people can go out to work and come               
back.  She said she believes those suggestions may make it a more              
successful program in the long run.                                            
Number 0119                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA responded Doctor Field said, statistically               
one of the big things about this program is that it is separated               
and away by itself during the program.  Doctor Field said they have            
found that when the offenders are still in a prison setting, drug              
and alcohol programs don't work.  He suggested isolating them from             
all other inmates, to keep them with people that are going through             
this same type of program - maybe staggered in there depending on              
how long they've been there, how far they've gone, etcetera.  He               
also mentioned the program shouldn't be less than six months long              
and maybe, depending on the individual, maybe up to a year.                    
Representative Kubina suggested, once they reach the point of being            
released, rather than just say go home, suggest a halfway-house.               
CHAIR JAMES said there are so many laws affecting this person, the             
length of their sentence, that whether or not you have enough time             
to do this, and if you don't you might as well not spend any time              
on it.  Chair James noted, because we haven't had a system like                
this before, maybe the rest of our system needs to be amended or               
adjusted to be sure that this is an opportunity for these people.              
Number 0135                                                                    
MS. ROBSON pointed out they did survey the population prior to                 
beginning any planning on this project to determine if we had an               
inmate population that had the need that this type of treatment                
would provide.  She said they have completed three different                   
surveys and found that there is certainly a population that has the            
sentence length to be able to participate in this program.  In                 
fact, there are easily 60 individuals in our system right now that             
could benefit from that.  Substance abuse councilors look at each              
individual offender to determine if they were individuals who would            
benefit from this program, if they had the kind of background that             
would make them good candidates for this program.                              
MS. ROBSON explained this would allow them to address serious                  
substance abuse problems so that these individuals could be                    
considered for furlough, for parole and their chances for being                
granted those early release mechanisms would be greatly enhanced by            
having gone through the treatment.                                             
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said he would assume that a lot of the                
folks that would come through this program would be felons, because            
of the duration of the program, which would mean that subsequent to            
participating in this they would get a halfway-house as a further              
transition and then be on some form of intensive parole.                       
Number 0150                                                                    
MS. ROBSON responded they could possibly be furloughed to a                    
halfway-house situation.  One of the things the experts tell us is             
that once an individual completes this very intensive treatment,               
you have to be very careful that you don't put them back into a                
more restrictive setting because what you can do is you can undo               
the work that you have done.  Ms. Robson said, "But there are                  
cases, in fact when we were talking with Doctor Field, where there             
maybe individuals who need that very structured environment, to go             
out to work, to have somebody to be accountable to when they come              
back.  The individuals, once they've finished, if they were                    
furloughed to a halfway-house, or go out to the community, they                
would be under supervision - either it would be mandatory parole,              
in some cases there maybe an instance of discretionary parole.  So             
there would be some furlough status there.  In almost all cases in             
Alaska felons do receive probation supervision, so there would be              
supervision of these individuals out in the community."                        
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Ms. Robson if she anticipates that              
there will be aftercare and that aftercare is going to be flexible             
enough so you can cater to the individual who's being treated.                 
MS. ROBSON replied that's correct.  She noted that is one of the               
reasons they have two transition counselors, is to begin working on            
that release planning the minute they come into that program.  If              
the individual for instance wants to go back to his village they               
can start making contact and ask if they have that support system              
there, is community treatment available.  If it's not, how can we              
address that issue.  They're looking at trying to send people back             
into their communities safely.                                                 
Number 0167                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said he believes this makes economic sense.               
He stated, "One is we don't have enough beds in the system anyway,             
and so we're adding beds, ... and those beds will be no more                   
expensive than the beds that you're already providing on a                     
statewide average, and so you're kind of redirecting how the dollar            
is being spent on the prisoners.  You're spending the same amount              
of dollars on each individual that's incarcerated but, as Pete                 
Wilson notes, each dollar that you spend on treatment you're saving            
seven dollars down the road so it makes economic sense in future               
savings.  You're nodding your head, so I'm understanding correctly             
about the economic benefits."                                                  
MS. ROBSON replied yes it has been shown nationally that there are             
economic benefits to doing this type of treatment.  When they've               
done the studies and look at what substance abuse costs when a                 
person is in an addictive cycle in terms of hospital courts,                   
criminal justice system.                                                       
Number 0178                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON mentioned a dollar is not going to be an                  
added-on dollar, that's a dollar you'd be spending on these people             
because they would be incarcerated elsewhere.  So you're not adding            
dollars on because of the requirement that the cost of keeping that            
person in that bed, not exceed the cost of keeping that person in              
a bed - in any other part of the correctional system.                          
MS. ROBSON responded that's correct.  She said they've done an                 
analysis and found that the cost of this program is comparable to              
the cost of their other facilities.                                            
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked is the flow of people into these beds               
going to be completely controlled by the correctional system.  Or              
can the court, as part of the sentencing portion, can they say we              
sentence you to two years in Palmer and eight months at Harborview.            
MS. ROBSON explained this program would be similar to some of their            
other treatment programs and that is the courts frequently will                
make a recommendation for treatment, it may be sex offender                    
treatment, substance abuse treatment, batterers program, and when              
the Department of Corrections receives those judgements, they will             
look carefully at those and try to honor the request if at all                 
possible for treatment if the person has the length of time and                
custody level and all to fit into the programs.  That would be the             
same with this program.                                                        
Number 0192                                                                    
MS. ROBSON further explained this program adds to their continual              
month care.  She said they have substance abuse education,                     
introduction to treatment and then an outpatient treatment model,              
but they don't have the end of that treatment continuum which is               
this therapeutic community.  So, by adding this, they now have a               
full continuum of care so when the councilors in the jails see                 
these individuals coming in they can say, "Okay this is an                     
individual that needs therapeutic community introduction and                   
education aren't going to do the bill, this guys been at this for              
25 years and needs some serious intervention."  So it adds that                
extra tool on so that we can actually meet the needs of the                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted that is the department's tool and not               
the court's tool.  The Department of Corrections would be in                   
control of the flow of people.                                                 
MS. ROBSON replied yes we would be in control of the flow.                     
Number 0200                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES asked if you have somebody who is really a victim of               
substance abuse and now they're incarcerated, and it's not                     
available to them, how do you take care of those people, how do                
they survive.                                                                  
MS. ROBSON stated an institutional substance abuse treatment                   
councilor will do an assessment on the individual and they will                
determine the level of treatment the individual needs.  In the case            
of someone that needs intensive treatment, they don't have that                
currently available.  She said they may decide to put them in the              
next lower level of treatment which is the outpatient model and                
have them treated there.  They may also, when the individual comes             
up furlough or parole, they may say, "I think this person needs                
wait longer, we need to wait and see if we can get him in a                    
treatment program in the community when they're close to the end of            
their sentence or at the end of their sentence."                               
MS. ROBSON asked Chair James, "Treatment in the community."                    
CHAIR JAMES replied any level of that treatment.  She asked if that            
is part of the Department of Correction's budget, is there any                 
reimbursement by the offender.                                                 
MS. ROBSON explained the treatment that occurs in the institutions             
with the substance abuse councilor is part of the Department of                
Corrections budget.  The treatment facility that individuals might             
be furloughed to are paid for by the Department of Health and                  
Social Services who have a specific number of grant positions                  
available to the department for that.  She said she believes, in               
the case of the individual in the community, that some of that is              
paid for through alcohol and drug grants and then the individuals              
may pay some of that if they're in the community.                              
Number 0216                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES said, "Gene [Representative Kubina] indicated that with            
the budget that was authorized last year to review this opportunity            
- and that 400 beds - and also to keep the level exclusive of the              
health provider, exclusive of the medical part that the cost to                
keep them in this facility would be the same as the average                    
statewide.  So, if the cost of keeping them there is the average               
statewide, but then on top of that you have the medical coverage --            
what we we're talking in the hallway when I said what do these                 
people do all day, and you said their treatment is all day.  But               
you did say they would be doing their laundry and they're working              
in the kitchen and doing the scrubbing and those kinds of things.              
And then I asked well do they get paid for that.  It occurs to me              
that if there's additional expense, over and above the amount that             
it costs just to keep them at the average cost, and they're going              
to get medical treatment that's past that, which has a cost, that              
may be they could get credit for working to pay for that so that at            
least they have some responsibility for what they're getting."  She            
asked if her suggestion makes sense.  She said she doesn't know if             
our law allows that or not, but was thinking that might be a way to            
deal with that extra cost for the medical.                                     
MS. ROBSON replied yes it does.  She said she believes that                    
(indisc.--noise) cost of care per day that they do have, in fact               
the health care is built in here, including the amount for inmate              
gratuities and wages.  She mentioned Joe Reeves could go over the              
cost of care per day.                                                          
Number 0234                                                                    
JOE REEVES, Deputy Director, Division of Administrative Services,              
Department of Corrections, Manager, Division of Administrative                 
Services, Department of Corrections came before the committee.  He             
said he has been on board with the Valdez therapeutic community                
transition from the Department of Health and Social Services to the            
Department of Corrections as a therapeutic community for the last              
couple of years and has helped Ms. Robson and other members of the             
agency's transition team develop costs that would be within the                
(indisc.) of the legislative intent that was given to them.                    
MR. REEVES referred to page 4 of the handout, he said it shows the             
statewide average that they currently operate under in the                     
institutions, and that captured all cost categories that were                  
provided in the fiscal note they attached to this bill -                       
institutional costs, inmate programs, inmate health care and the               
Division of Administrative Services in support cost for a total.               
He stated, "And you say that, apparently in 1998 the statewide                 
average for the institutions is $100.07 a day.  We took the                    
proposed Harborview therapeutic community and derived the cost of              
that on the fiscal note and that made up $1,800,000 - 58.9 of which            
we broke out to be $84.88 a day.  You add the inmate programs at               
$28.49 a day, you add inmate health care that was in the fiscal                
note of $10.68 a day, you add the admin. support cost which was                
basically the date of communication...  It works out to be about               
thirty-one cents a day, and that makes out to a total -- statewide             
indirect is not included in the Valdez therapeutic community                   
because statewide indirect in this calculation pertains to                     
equipment of building depreciation and capital resources which we              
don't have any in this project.  So the statewide total is $124.36             
a day, and when you extrapolate that, the inmate treatment.  It                
comes out to be $95.87 a day."                                                 
Number 0255                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES reiterated there is approximately $30 a day calculated             
in for the treatment.                                                          
MR. REEVES replied treatment would now be $28.49 a day.                        
CHAIR JAMES mentioned that has to be paid for by the state.  She               
indicated Mr. Reeves said the statewide indirect, which refer to               
maintenance and so forth is zero.  She asked who's going to                    
maintain the facility.                                                         
MR. REEVES responded that it will be maintained by the City of                 
CHAIR JAMES said she understands this building was under the                   
Department of Health and Social Services and is currently being                
transferred to the City of Valdez, and then the city will contract             
with the Department of Corrections to do this.                                 
Number 0260                                                                    
MR. REEVES stated the facility will be transitioned from the State             
of Alaska to the City of Valdez and we will lease the portion of               
the facility from the City of Valdez.                                          
CHAIR JAMES said, so you're going to lease it maintained.                      
MR. REEVES replied yes.                                                        
CHAIR JAMES asked who will these people be working for.                        
MR. REEVES responded they will be working for the Department of                
CHAIR JAMES indicated she would like to have them working for the              
City of Valdez.                                                                
Number 0266                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA pointed out, because some people have had a              
fear of what the cost will be to maintain the building, the city               
has taken on that responsibility and that liability.  He said the              
Health and Social Services maintenance person is going to be                   
transferred to the City of Valdez.  So if the roof has a problem,              
the city's taken on that responsibility, it will not be a State                
CHAIR JAMES mentioned the Legislature has dealt with a lot of                  
issues in the area of prevention with calculations of how much                 
money you're going to save if you do this.  They're really a hard-             
sell only because you really don't know until you've done it.  Even            
though you use other people's experiences, it's really difficult               
for people to buy into that.  She noted that's one of the things               
that she's ever found to sell are prevention programs of any kind              
no matter where it is.  She asked Representative Elton if he had               
any other questions.                                                           
Number 0279                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said he was going to make a motion to move HB
329 out of committee.                                                          
CHAIR JAMES stated we're not going to be able to move this out                 
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said he thought the packet of information that            
the people provided was pretty thorough and appreciated the                    
comments and testimony and this does have some legislative history             
that goes before the drafting of the legislation.  He said he                  
agrees with Chair James comment that you don't know what's going to            
happen until you try it.  He mentioned one of the things that has              
given him some comfort is the fact that somebody has tried this in             
another jurisdiction.  Representative Elton said, "I think that the            
comments by Governor Pete Wilson, that are part of the supporting              
packet, where he talks about the value of the dollars that you                 
invest in this, giving you a savings for every one dollar, giving              
a savings of seven dollars down the road, now that may or may not              
be accurate and that may or may not be what happens here.  But, I              
think that I'm comfortable enough to give this a boost in the right            
direction and I think that it is something we ought to try."                   
CHAIR JAMES said he could make a motion.                                       
Number 0292                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON withdrew his motion.                                      
CHAIR JAMES said she thinks we can move HB 329 out on Tuesday.                 
Number 0295                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES adjourned the House State Affairs Committee at 12:21               

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