Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/13/1999 08:03 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
       HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                   April 13, 1999                                                                                               
                     8:03 a.m.                                                                                                  
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                                                                           
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Scott Ogan                                                                                                       
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
Representative Bill Hudson                                                                                                      
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
Representative Harold Smalley                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
HOUSE BILL NO. 74                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to salary caps and to the power to transfer                                                                    
certain positions to the classified service and entitlement to                                                                  
longevity increments for certain state officials."                                                                              
     - MOVED HB 74 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
* HOUSE BILL NO. 159                                                                                                            
"An Act granting certain employees in correctional facilities                                                                   
status as peace officers under the public employees' retirement                                                                 
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 26                                                                                                   
Relating to establishing maritime boundaries with Canada.                                                                       
     - MOVED CSHJR 26(WTR) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
* HOUSE BILL NO. 16                                                                                                             
"An Act transferring to the Department of Health and Social                                                                     
Services the authority to license all assisted living facilities;                                                               
eliminating the authority of the Department of Administration to                                                                
license assisted living facilities; and providing for an effective                                                              
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
(* First public hearing)                                                                                                        
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
BILL: HB 74                                                                                                                     
SHORT TITLE: SALARIES FOR CERTAIN STATE OFFICIALS                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) OGAN, Kohring, Cowdery                                                                           
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 2/03/99       131     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 2/03/99       131     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                                                                              
 2/11/99               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
 2/11/99               (H)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 2/11/99               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                                                                         
 4/13/99               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
BILL: HB 159                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: PERS PEACE OFFR STATUS CORRECTION EMPLOYE                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) DAVIS, Smalley                                                                                   
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 3/25/99       568     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 3/25/99       568     (H)  STA, FINANCE                                                                                        
 3/31/99       642     (H)  COSPONSOR(S): SMALLEY                                                                               
 4/13/99               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
BILL: HJR 26                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: ALASKA MARITIME BOUNDARY WITH CANADA                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) COGHILL                                                                                          
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 3/10/99       410     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 3/10/99       410     (H)  WTR, STATE AFFAIRS                                                                                  
 3/30/99               (H)  WTR AT  5:30 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                         
 3/30/99               (H)  POSTPONED TO 3/31                                                                                   
 3/31/99               (H)  WTR AT  5:30 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                         
 3/31/99               (H)  MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                              
 3/31/99               (H)  MINUTE(WTR)                                                                                         
 4/06/99       661     (H)  WTR RPT  CS(WTR) 4DP 1NR                                                                            
 4/06/99       661     (H)  DP: GREEN, PHILLIPS, JOULE, BARNES;                                                                 
 4/06/99       661     (H)  NR: BERKOWITZ                                                                                       
 4/06/99       661     (H)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (H.WTR)                                                                            
 4/06/99       661     (H)  REFERRED TO STA                                                                                     
 4/08/99               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
 4/08/99               (H)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 4/08/99               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                                                                         
 4/13/99               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
BILL: HB  16                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: LICENSURE OF ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) CROFT, Dyson                                                                                     
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 1/19/99        22     (H)  PREFILE RELEASED 1/8/99                                                                             
 1/19/99        22     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 1/19/99        22     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, HES                                                                                  
 2/24/99       307     (H)  COSPONSOR(S): DYSON                                                                                 
 4/13/99               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 513                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-2693                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor of HB 159.                                                                            
DEB DAVIDSON, Legislative Administrative Assistant                                                                              
   to Representative Gary Davis                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 513                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-2693                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered question on HB 159.                                                                               
FRANCES REILLY, Educational Coordinator                                                                                         
Wildwood Correctional Center                                                                                                    
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
10 Chugach Avenue                                                                                                               
Kenai, Alaska  99611-7099                                                                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 260-7200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 159 in support of 20-year                                                                  
                     retirement provision.                                                                                      
HAL FIMPLE, Food Service Manager                                                                                                
Wildwood Correctional Center                                                                                                    
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
10 Chugach Avenue                                                                                                               
Kenai, Alaska  99611-7099                                                                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 260-7200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 159.                                                                            
MARY SANDY, Administrative Clerk                                                                                                
Spring Creek Correctional Center                                                                                                
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 2109                                                                                                                   
Seward, Alaska  99664-2109                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 224-8200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 159.                                                                            
RANDY BLUM, Food Service Supervisor                                                                                             
Spring Creek Correctional Center                                                                                                
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 2109                                                                                                                   
Seward, Alaska  99664-2109                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 224-8200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 159.                                                                                       
GREG HORTON, Plumber                                                                                                            
Maintenance Department                                                                                                          
Wildwood Correctional Center                                                                                                    
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
10 Chugach Avenue                                                                                                               
Kenai, Alaska  99611-7099                                                                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 260-7200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 159.                                                                                       
ED LINDQUIST, Registered Nurse and Nurse II                                                                                     
Wildwood Correctional Center                                                                                                    
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
10 Chugach Avenue                                                                                                               
Kenai, Alaska  99611-7099                                                                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 260-7200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 159.                                                                            
CAREY QUIRING, Administrative Clerk III                                                                                         
Spring Creek Correctional Center                                                                                                
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 2109                                                                                                                   
Seward, Alaska  99664-2109                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 224-8200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 159.                                                                            
SHERRY APPEL, Education Coordinator                                                                                             
Spring Creek Correctional Center                                                                                                
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 2109                                                                                                                   
Seward, Alaska  99664-2109                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 224-8200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 159.                                                                                       
LORREL LUDY, Education Coordinator                                                                                              
Wildwood Correctional Center                                                                                                    
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
10 Chugach Avenue                                                                                                               
Kenai, Alaska  99611-7099                                                                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 260-7200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 159 in support of equal                                                                    
                     benefits for equal risk.                                                                                   
GAIL SELA, Nurse III                                                                                                            
Spring Creek Correctional Center                                                                                                
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 2109                                                                                                                   
Seward, Alaska  99664-2109                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 224-8200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 159.                                                                            
CLIFTON REAGLE, Electronics Technician                                                                                          
Spring Creek Correctional Center                                                                                                
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 2109                                                                                                                   
Seward, Alaska  99664-2109                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 224-8200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 159.                                                                            
DON ETHERIDGE                                                                                                                   
District Council Laborers                                                                                                       
710 West 9th Street                                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 586-3707                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of Local 71 in support of                                                              
                     HB 159.                                                                                                    
BRUCE MASSEY, Food Service Foreman                                                                                              
Lemon Creek Correctional Center                                                                                                 
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
2000 Lemon Creek Road                                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-6200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on own behalf and as shop steward                                                                
                     for Local 71 in support of HB 159.                                                                         
VINCENT O'CONNOR, Adult Probation Parole Officer                                                                                
Department of Corrections; and President,                                                                                       
Alaska State Employees Association/American Federal,                                                                            
   State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 52                                                                              
3510 Spenard                                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska  99503                                                                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 277-5200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 159.                                                                            
GUY BELL, Director                                                                                                              
Division of Retirement and Benefits                                                                                             
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
P.O. Box 110203                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0203                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 465-4471                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained status of fiscal note for HB 159                                                                 
                     and answered questions.                                                                                    
CHARLES PALMER, Employee                                                                                                        
Spring Creek Correctional Center                                                                                                
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 2109                                                                                                                   
Seward, Alaska  99664-2109                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 224-8200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 159.                                                                                       
RICHARD SLAGLE, Employee                                                                                                        
Spring Creek Correctional Center                                                                                                
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 2109                                                                                                                   
Seward, Alaska  99664-2109                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 224-8200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 159.                                                                                       
MIKE HARBAUGH, Plumber, Maintenance                                                                                             
Spring Creek Correctional Center                                                                                                
Division of Institutions                                                                                                        
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 2109                                                                                                                   
Seward, Alaska  99664-2109                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 224-8200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 159 in support of 20-year                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CROFT                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 400                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-4998                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor of HB 16.                                                                             
KAY BURROWS, Director                                                                                                           
Division of Senior Services                                                                                                     
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
3601 C Street, Suite 310                                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska  99503-5984                                                                                                   
Telephone:  (907) 269-3666                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 16 with attached                                                                
                     fiscal notes.                                                                                              
SHELBY LARSEN, Administrator                                                                                                    
Health Facilities Licensing and Certification                                                                                   
Division of Medical Assistance                                                                                                  
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
4730 Business Park Boulevard, Suite 18                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska  99503-7137                                                                                                   
Telephone:  (907) 561-8081                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 16.                                                                                        
MONTA FAYE LANE, President                                                                                                      
Alaska Caregivers Association                                                                                                   
109 East 5th Avenue                                                                                                             
North Pole, Alaska  99705                                                                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 488-9159                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 16.                                                                                        
FRED LAU                                                                                                                        
Homer Seniors                                                                                                                   
3935 Svedlund Street                                                                                                            
Homer, Alaska  99603                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 235-7655                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 16.                                                                          
ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant                                                                                              
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
P.O. Box 110601                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0601                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 465-1613                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 16.                                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-22, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called the House State Affairs Standing                                                                   
Committee meeting to order at 8:03 a.m.  Members present at the                                                                 
call to order were Representatives James, Coghill, Ogan, Whitaker                                                               
and Smalley.  Representatives Kerttula and Hudson arrived at 8:09                                                               
a.m. and 9:26 a.m., respectively.                                                                                               
HB 74 - SALARIES FOR CERTAIN STATE OFFICIALS                                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES announced that the first item of business would be                                                                  
House Bill No. 74, "An Act relating to salary caps and to the power                                                             
to transfer certain positions to the classified service and                                                                     
entitlement to longevity increments for certain state officials."                                                               
Number 0017                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN, sponsor, noted that HB 74 was heard                                                                  
previously by the committee.  He said it was introduced to bring                                                                
the pay for administrative branch employees to the same level as                                                                
that for legislative branch employees.                                                                                          
Number 0056                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL made a motion to move HB 74 from committee                                                               
with individual recommendations.                                                                                                
CHAIR JAMES asked about a fiscal note.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN pointed out that there should be a significant                                                              
savings of close to $3.1 million.                                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES noted that the motion was to move HB 74 with individual                                                             
recommendations and the attached negative fiscal note.  She asked                                                               
whether there was any objection; hearing none, she announced that                                                               
HB 74 was moved from the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                
HB 159 - PERS PEACE OFFR STATUS CORRECTION EMPLOYE                                                                              
CHAIR JAMES brought before the committee the next item of business,                                                             
House Bill No. 159, "An Act granting certain employees in                                                                       
correctional facilities status as peace officers under the public                                                               
employees' retirement system."                                                                                                  
Number 0096                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor, told                                                              
members he was amazed when he went through the kitchen at Spring                                                                
Creek Correctional Center, Alaska's maximum-security prison, to                                                                 
discover that most people working there, including the cooks, were                                                              
inmates.  He has heard of a couple of instances where inmates                                                                   
confiscated kitchen utensils to sharpen into tools to pick locks,                                                               
or to use as weapons.  An employee had called and asked                                                                         
Representative Davis why the employee's retirement benefits are                                                                 
different from those of correction officers.  When Representative                                                               
Davis started checking, it appeared that when the statute was                                                                   
written and the correctional officers were negotiating, they                                                                    
apparently just had a better union than the other employees had.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS pointed out that dangers to these employees                                                                
are as high as dangers to correctional officers.  However, the                                                                  
latter are better trained to deal with violence or in detecting                                                                 
confiscations.  It appears that this is an inequity that needs to                                                               
be addressed.  The bill, therefore, is equity legislation that                                                                  
designates these employees in the prison as "public safety                                                                      
officers," which is, he believes, the term that put the                                                                         
correctional officers, police officers and parole officers into the                                                             
retirement category of "peace officers."                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS explained that currently these employees must                                                              
work 30 years in order to retire, whereas correctional and peace                                                                
officers have a 20-year requirement.  The legislation allows those                                                              
who have been employed to "buy" previous years.  There is no fiscal                                                             
note yet because of the time it has taken the department to do its                                                              
actuarials and determine the difference in costs.                                                                               
Number 0191                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES asked how the education of the correctional officers                                                                
and the other employees differs.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS replied that he isn't sure, although he is                                                                 
certain that they don't go through the police training academy.                                                                 
CHAIR JAMES remarked that she has a problem with the 20-year                                                                    
retirement.  She had worked ten years for General Foods, where a                                                                
55-year-old person could retire after 15 years; she compares the                                                                
kinds of benefits they had then, which she had believed to be quite                                                             
good, to the kinds we have now.  She asked how the retirement                                                                   
benefits for a person employed for 20 years under the Public                                                                    
Employees' Retirement System (PERS) would compare to that person's                                                              
Number 0227                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to an unspecified document and said,                                                              
"An employee may purchase credit for past employment as a                                                                       
correctional facility employee by paying the difference between                                                                 
what their contributions to retirement were, 6.3 percent - so                                                                   
that's the correctional facility employees - and what they would                                                                
have been if the service was being counted as that of a peace                                                                   
officer, seven and a half percent of their compensation."                                                                       
CHAIR JAMES asked what the actual retirement check amount is after                                                              
20 years.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS deferred to Deb Davidson.                                                                                  
Number 0242                                                                                                                     
DEB DAVIDSON, Legislative Administrative Assistant to                                                                           
Representative Gary Davis, Alaska State Legislature, told members                                                               
that each person receives a different amount at retirement, based                                                               
upon that person's income while working for the state and the                                                                   
number of years of service.  The average monthly income is figured                                                              
from a person's three highest years of income.  For regular state                                                               
employees, she believes, 2 percent of that amount is then                                                                       
multiplied times the number of years worked, up to ten years, plus                                                              
2.25 percent of that average monthly income for 10 to 20 years, and                                                             
then 2.5 percent of that income for the number of years over 20.                                                                
CHAIR JAMES asked what an average amount of retirement income would                                                             
be after 20 years, compared to that person's wages.                                                                             
Number 0277                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said he ventures to guess that it is between                                                               
40 and 50 percent, perhaps more, of the three highest years.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY suggested that the employees in question                                                                 
probably earn around $30,000 per year.  If that were the high                                                                   
average, after 20 years a person would receive perhaps $1,600 or                                                                
$1,700 per month.  [He later corrected this to $1,270 per month.]                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said that is generous.  She recounted some of her own                                                               
history, then suggested that perhaps people should be encouraged to                                                             
be entrepreneurs, not just employees.  A person who starts work at                                                              
20 is too young to retire at 40, she added, and those who retire at                                                             
age 40 often do something else.  She said the amount being paid                                                                 
includes both pay and retirement.                                                                                               
Number 0312                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA thanked the sponsor for introducing  HB 159                                                             
and recognizing the difference between this type of job and others.                                                             
As someone who has spent a lot of time in facilities, she said,                                                                 
there is an incredible amount of stress just from being in the                                                                  
facility and "locked down."  From talking with people in these                                                                  
positions, there are high burnout rates, and it is sometimes                                                                    
difficult to find people to do these jobs.  She told the sponsor                                                                
that she assumes he had looked at a lot of jobs and decided that                                                                
this group is particularly deserving of this kind of bill.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS replied that he isn't sure how many inequities                                                             
are out there; this is one he was familiar with and had looked                                                                  
into; some employees had indicated to him that they had been trying                                                             
to get some equity in this for a number of years.  Representative                                                               
Davis told Chair James that he is sure many people share her                                                                    
concern.  He restated the desire for equity between these employees                                                             
and the correctional officers, then indicated he could find out                                                                 
about the differences in training.                                                                                              
Number 0350                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN declared a conflict, noting that a                                                                          
brother-in-law and a sister-in-law are cooks in correctional                                                                    
facilities, one at the McLaughlin Youth Center and one at the Cook                                                              
Inlet Pre-Trial Facility.  He said he hadn't heard from either of                                                               
those relatives that they feel threatened, despite fairly extensive                                                             
talks with both of them.                                                                                                        
CHAIR JAMES commented that she knows of some people who make almost                                                             
more money now than when they were working, and that causes her a                                                               
lot of trauma.                                                                                                                  
Number 0396                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY corrected his earlier statement.  He said                                                                
that for a $30,000-a-year employee, it would come to about $1,270                                                               
a month for 20 years of service in a prison-type facility, which                                                                
doesn't seem like much money.                                                                                                   
CHAIR JAMES said that is different from the numbers she has heard.                                                              
She asked testifiers to limit testimony to three minutes.                                                                       
Number 0406                                                                                                                     
FRANCES REILLY, Educational Coordinator, Wildwood Correctional                                                                  
Center, testified via teleconference from Kenai that she has been                                                               
at Wildwood almost 15 years; if she retires after 30 years, she                                                                 
will be 76 years old.  She has as much contact with inmates as                                                                  
correctional officers do, yet she receives no self-defense                                                                      
training.  Inmates come through her open door all day long.  She                                                                
has classrooms on all floors, including one in the basement;                                                                    
although she doesn't put female contract teachers there, she                                                                    
commonly uses it herself.  She supervises 13 inmates at their work                                                              
assignments, among them murderers, rapists, child molesters and                                                                 
drug dealers.  Ms. Reilly concluded, "Our jobs are as stressful as                                                              
correctional officers', and I feel that a 20-year retirement is                                                                 
reasonable and fair for us."                                                                                                    
Number 0442                                                                                                                     
HAL FIMPLE, Food Service Manager, Wildwood Correctional Center,                                                                 
testified via teleconference from Kenai, noting that he had worked                                                              
there about 14 years.  In his department are about 65 inmates, who                                                              
have the use of knives; in addition, hundreds of other items in the                                                             
kitchen could be used as weapons.  Although Representative Ogan's                                                               
relatives may not be afraid, his own employees are.  In the Lower                                                               
48, about 85 percent of all prison riots begin in food service                                                                  
areas.  Over the past 14 years, he himself has been involved in                                                                 
many confrontations between inmates, or between inmates and staff.                                                              
MR. FIMPLE pointed out that support staff, in almost any                                                                        
institution, are as responsible as anyone else, including the                                                                   
superintendent, for the safety and security of the institution.                                                                 
Furthermore, some support staff have more direct contact with                                                                   
inmates than do some correctional officers.  The "no frills" law                                                                
coming July 1 will make jobs even more difficult and situations                                                                 
more volatile, because the institution will no longer allow                                                                     
smoking; they are already experiencing problems from that.  Mr.                                                                 
Fimple told members that passage of HB 159 is long-overdue, then                                                                
stated, "Many of you have asked us to support you in the past,                                                                  
which we did.  And now, we are asking you to support us."  He asked                                                             
that members please not draw a parallel between working in a                                                                    
correctional institution, supervising convicted felons, and working                                                             
in a downtown department store.                                                                                                 
Number 0476                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES responded that she certainly sees the comparison                                                                    
between correctional officers and others who work in the prison.                                                                
In addition, she believes that police officers and correctional                                                                 
officers do put their lives on the line, about which she is                                                                     
concerned.  The other issue is a side issue, she added, that only                                                               
has to do with money.                                                                                                           
Number 0485                                                                                                                     
MARY SANDY, Administrative Clerk, Spring Creek Correctional Center,                                                             
testified via teleconference from Seward.  She described herself as                                                             
the "up-front person" who deals with visitors.  She told members                                                                
that she and her family worry about riots, about the "no frills"                                                                
law and the reaction inmates will have to removal of cigarettes,                                                                
and about infectious diseases, because of the high rate of airborne                                                             
and bloodborne pathogens that she is exposed to daily.  She feels                                                               
as much at risk working with the inmates' families as being around                                                              
the inmates themselves, as the families may blame those who work at                                                             
the prison.  However, she is not exempt from dealing with prisoners                                                             
directly; if she is asked to go into the inmate area, she goes.                                                                 
She is concerned that the prisoners are a lot larger than her, and                                                              
probably a lot angrier.  Ms. Sandy stated, "I wouldn't want anyone                                                              
to retaliate on me.  I live in a small community.  Our names are in                                                             
the community paper all the time; the inmates have access to that.                                                              
And I do feel that I take a great risk coming to work every day."                                                               
Number 0514                                                                                                                     
RANDY BLUM, Food Service Supervisor, Spring Creek Correctional                                                                  
Center, testified via teleconference from Seward that kitchen staff                                                             
never get away from the prisoners; there is high danger, as well as                                                             
high stress.  In contrast, a correctional officer who starts to                                                                 
suffer from burnout may be able to work at a post without daily                                                                 
contact with prisoners.  Mr. Blum stated, "We do not run for the                                                                
front door - as has been said in the Anchorage Daily News - when                                                                
something happens.  Unfortunately, it could be that the slider just                                                             
went locked, and we're locked inside."  He explained that if an                                                                 
inmate's attitude skills are not up to par, he must terminate that                                                              
prisoner's work status, which under the "no frills" law will change                                                             
that person's whole life.  The tension when terminating such a                                                                  
prisoner is extremely high, and it is very dangerous.  Staff                                                                    
members at Spring Creek have been attacked, and one never returned                                                              
after she was attacked.  Mr. Blum concluded, "In a combat                                                                       
situation, everybody gets paid by their rank, but everybody gets                                                                
the hazardous pay and the benefits of being in that situation.  I                                                               
just think the support staff should get that."                                                                                  
Number 0544                                                                                                                     
GREG HORTON, Plumber, Maintenance Department, Wildwood Correctional                                                             
Center, testified via teleconference from Kenai.  He agreed that                                                                
they are in direct daily contact with the inmates, 25 to 40 of whom                                                             
work in the maintenance department, where there is every piece of                                                               
equipment and every tool required to run such a facility.  He                                                                   
emphasized the stress from hiring and firing the prisoners, as well                                                             
as trying to run a skilled trade with them as workers.  For                                                                     
example, he had to break up one fight and has experienced numerous                                                              
verbal conflicts with inmates over procedures and security items.                                                               
To his knowledge, the plumber he replaced four years ago is still                                                               
on a medical disability from breaking up a fight.  Mr. Horton                                                                   
concluded, "It seems like we're second-class citizens at the                                                                    
facilities in this respect; we're not treated with the same respect                                                             
as the COs [correctional officers].  I know in the past, when the                                                               
state had more money, the maintenance department was sent through                                                               
the academy down in Juneau.  But through cuts and whatever else ...                                                             
we don't have that training anymore."                                                                                           
Number 0576                                                                                                                     
ED LINDQUIST, Registered Nurse and Nurse II, Wildwood Correctional                                                              
Center, testified via teleconference from Kenai, indicating he has                                                              
been employed there 15 and a half years.  The nurses are not given                                                              
any kind of self-defense training, he told members, yet the                                                                     
potential for threatening situations exists daily, starting from                                                                
the time they enter the building.  The diabetics come in at 6:30                                                                
a.m., as soon as the doors open, and staff are left alone with the                                                              
inmates throughout the day.  Oftentimes, inmates wanting pain                                                                   
medication or certain treatments don't like to hear what the nurses                                                             
have to tell them.  Mr. Lindquist stated:                                                                                       
     I'd say if there isn't a difference between our jobs and the                                                               
     corrections officers' jobs, why is that we have four panic                                                                 
     buttons located throughout the medical office?  We have one                                                                
     door in, and the same door is the only way to get out.                                                                     
     Every day, it's just a stressful day, every day.  You just                                                                 
     never know what's going to happen.  Depending on the day, when                                                             
     you have a sick call, you might see anywhere from six to a                                                                 
     dozen people within a two-hour time period.  You have                                                                      
     medication passes, which are passed through a window grating                                                               
     ....  You're called everything in the book, by the inmates.                                                                
MR. LINDQUIST referred to a similar previous bill, and he expressed                                                             
hope that HB 159 will pass this time.                                                                                           
Number 0605                                                                                                                     
WAYNE ROMBERG, Food Service Foreman, Spring Creek Correctional                                                                  
Center, testified via teleconference from Seward.  He pointed out                                                               
that very few workers begin at age 20, because the state is looking                                                             
for skills, whether for nursing, maintenance or volume food                                                                     
service.  In his job, he is expected to train inmates, 90 of whom                                                               
are employed for food service there; it is unlike any volume food                                                               
service he has done, including jobs out on the Aleutian chain.                                                                  
When correctional officers work a night shift from 11 p.m. until 6                                                              
a.m., the prisoners are locked down, yet he himself is there five                                                               
days a week, seven and a half hours a day, and in contact with the                                                              
prisoners all the time.                                                                                                         
Number 0624                                                                                                                     
CAREY QUIRING, Administrative Clerk III, Spring Creek Correctional                                                              
Center, testified via teleconference from Seward that she                                                                       
definitely supports HB 159.  The suggested indebtedness is an                                                                   
attainable goal for current employees, she said, and she doesn't                                                                
believe it would incur a debt to the state of Alaska.  The turnover                                                             
rate is high for many employees there; she believes that HB 159                                                                 
would cut down on the transfer of employees to other departments,                                                               
which now costs the state money in training replacements.                                                                       
MS. QUIRING noted that they work daily side-by-side with                                                                        
correctional and probation officers.  She agreed that medical,                                                                  
maintenance and kitchen staff are required to be around prisoners                                                               
all of the time, which brings a risk of exposure to diseases.  Even                                                             
for those with little direct contact, there is still indirect                                                                   
contact.  Through reports, pictures, investigations, photocopying,                                                              
filing, et cetera, staff are required to process documentation that                                                             
involves the prisoner population, which Ms. Quiring believes is                                                                 
part of the stress for some.                                                                                                    
MS. QUIRING explained that as Class I employees in a 24-hour                                                                    
facility, they aren't allowed to strike; without the support staff,                                                             
she doesn't believe that the facility would be able to function.                                                                
She pointed out that support staff can be called to report for duty                                                             
in emergency situations.  For example, as a clerk she was called                                                                
upon during an escape situation, to assist with support functions.                                                              
Risk of hostage situations causes further stress.  In addition, the                                                             
number of correctional officers is down, so the COs aren't there to                                                             
protect and support the staff, or the prisoners, which increases                                                                
Number 0687                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES commented that she herself could not work there or do                                                               
what Ms. Quiring does, and that she understands those kinds of                                                                  
pressures in the workplace.  She asked whether the turnover is                                                                  
because of stress, or because of better wages or retirement                                                                     
benefits elsewhere.                                                                                                             
MS. QUIRING replied that she believes all of those are reasons.                                                                 
She has worked in the personnel office for 9 of her 11 years at                                                                 
Spring Creek.  She sees people leaving all the time.  There is no                                                               
opportunity for promotion for some, whereas others leave because of                                                             
the pay.  She believes that a "20-year-and-out" retirement will be                                                              
an incentive to keep people at the facility, and will lower the                                                                 
turnover rate.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR JAMES asked whether there is any program whereby people can                                                               
move into a higher classification, for example, by taking a class.                                                              
MS. QUIRING said that is limited to only a couple of the class                                                                  
series; it is not a possibility for most of the positions at the                                                                
Number 0696                                                                                                                     
SHERRY APPEL, Education Coordinator, Spring Creek Correctional                                                                  
Center, testified via teleconference from Seward.  She noted that                                                               
in 11 years there, she'd had two weeks' training, only part of                                                                  
which had to do with security.  She has been told that in an                                                                    
emergency she should hide under her desk, she said, because the                                                                 
inmates could break through the window and the door.  She has also                                                              
been told that she is expendable, that the security of the                                                                      
institution is primary, and that in an emergency they would secure                                                              
the institution first and then try to get the staff in her area                                                                 
out, because she works directly with the inmates.                                                                               
MS. APPEL explained that she supervises inmates and has the                                                                     
responsibility of firing inmates, who sometimes are angry.  She                                                                 
stated, "I've been in situations where inmates have confronted me,                                                              
and I've had to depend on my assertiveness to back them down the                                                                
hallway to where the COs are, so that they could take care of it."                                                              
Ms. Appel stated:                                                                                                               
     I believe that we have equal risks, unequal training.  We work                                                             
     alongside the probation officers, who have a very similar job                                                              
     to mine, except that they're allowed to spend a lot of time on                                                             
     the other side of the slider, on the other side of the door,                                                               
     where there are no inmates, in the records area.  And I have                                                               
     no responsibilities on the other side of that door.                                                                        
     Also, in case of an emergency, we are not allowed to leave the                                                             
     institution, even though we are support staff.  When we had a                                                              
     sit-down situation, when I first came to work there, we were                                                               
     all required to stay until they considered the situation under                                                             
     control; none of us were allowed to leave the institution, for                                                             
     the security of the institution.  And I've been told that in                                                               
     case of an emergency that I might be required to work in a                                                                 
     control room or to do other duties such as that. ... We are                                                                
     not given any extra pay for hazardous duty, or there's just no                                                             
     parity with us and the correctional officers that we work                                                                  
Number 0736                                                                                                                     
LORREL LUDY, Education Coordinator, Wildwood Correctional Center,                                                               
testified via teleconference from Kenai, noting that he is fairly                                                               
new there, having worked there a year and a half.  He pointed out                                                               
the drastic differences working in the prison environment as                                                                    
opposed to the outside world.  When he went to work there, staff                                                                
were told that every employee is responsible for the security of                                                                
the institution.  To him, HB 159 boils down to the simple concept                                                               
of equal benefits for equal risk, because there is definite risk                                                                
shared by all support staff and the correctional officers.                                                                      
MR. LUDY stated, "When I went to work there, I found that there was                                                             
a very strong feeling among staff members - a fear, if you will,                                                                
from the inmates.  We work with these inmates day in and day out,                                                               
and we recognize in our mind all the time that someday they will                                                                
not be incarcerated there; they will be out on the street, ... free                                                             
to do as they please."  He explained that staff members wear name                                                               
badges that contain their date of birth, and some turn it around                                                                
backwards so that the date doesn't show.  Staff are also very                                                                   
sensitive about not letting their Social Security numbers get out,                                                              
"so we don't get scammed."  Mr. Ludy recounted:                                                                                 
     I made the mistake in the dining hall of asking one co-worker                                                              
     there where he lived.  And, of course, an inmate was walking                                                               
     by and could have heard me ask it. ... It was reported to my                                                               
     boss in the correctional center there, because this particular                                                             
     colleague of mine was so concerned about answering that                                                                    
     question of where he lived, just by chance ... some inmate                                                                 
     might hear him, and it would be a stress to his family or                                                                  
     children.  So, there's a lot of risk involved, and the staff                                                               
     is very sensitive to that.                                                                                                 
MR. LUDY said in some ways support staff are under more stress and                                                              
conflict than correctional officers are.  For example, COs receive                                                              
training in handling aggression, plus tools such as pepper spray                                                                
and handcuffs, which the support staff do not.  Support staff also                                                              
have a lot more contact than COs with inmates in isolated                                                                       
situations, behind closed office or classroom doors.                                                                            
Number 0776                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES asked what information is on the name tags.                                                                         
MR. LUDY restated that some staff members are sensitive to the date                                                             
of birth.  The tags also contain the person's name, job title,                                                                  
weight and height.  He emphasized the sensitivity, stress and                                                                   
underlying fear about letting inmates know this personal                                                                        
information, because it could come back on the staff later, after                                                               
the inmates are released.                                                                                                       
Number 0794                                                                                                                     
GAIL SELA, Nurse III, Spring Creek Correctional Center, testified                                                               
via teleconference from Seward that she has worked there almost                                                                 
three years out of her 28 years in nursing.  She emphasized the                                                                 
real inequity of benefits.  Whether or not people favor 20-year                                                                 
retirement benefits, a certain number of staff members that work in                                                             
corrections have been given this benefit, she said, while others                                                                
have not been allowed to have it.                                                                                               
MS. SELA agreed with the sponsor that better representation in                                                                  
their union probably had helped the COs and probation officers.                                                                 
She stated, "Speaking for my union, which is GGU [General                                                                       
Government Unit], they primarily represent administrative staff and                                                             
nursing, medical, which, you would see, would be a large number of                                                              
women. ... Having [been] in nursing, and struggling with pay and                                                                
benefit wages for 28 years, we have all come to the conclusion,                                                                 
many times, that often jobs or groups that are primarily women are                                                              
discriminated against; not only do they usually have less pay, but                                                              
the benefits are less.  So, it doesn't surprise me ... that we                                                                  
don't have this benefit available to us yet."                                                                                   
MS. SELA outlined the risks of nursing at Spring Creek.  It is not                                                              
uncommon to have 10 or 11 inmates in the medical department at one                                                              
time; the dental facility is there, as well, so it gets pretty                                                                  
crowded at times.  There is an officer assigned, and there is                                                                   
usually one officer in the medical department, who has a fairly                                                                 
large area to cover there, as well as answering the phones and                                                                  
helping out in the gym, if needed.  There is an infirmary at Spring                                                             
Creek, where patients may spend 24 hours or more.  If the officer                                                               
cannot accompany a nurse back in the infirmary, because there may                                                               
be inmates in the medical clinic area, for example, a nurse will be                                                             
back in the infirmary with two or three inmates, with two locked                                                                
doors separating them from the correctional staff.  Ms. Sela                                                                    
     Another one of our duties is that ... if an inmate in House I,                                                             
     which is a segregation unit, has to be taken down for any                                                                  
     reason, eight to ten officers suit up in SWAT-looking attire,                                                              
     with helmets and gas masks, because we're going to go over the                                                             
     House I, and they might have to pepper-spray an inmate to get                                                              
     him out of his cell.  They all go in there together, 8, 9, 10                                                              
     of them, 11 of them, videotaping the whole thing.  You can                                                                 
     imagine ... the status of the situation when they do get the                                                               
     inmate out of the cell, how agitated, angry - if you've ever                                                               
     seen anybody get pepper spray in their face.  It is at that                                                                
     point that they then ask the nurse - that is only in her                                                                   
     "scrubs," usually, for the most part - to go in and evaluate                                                               
     this inmate as to whether or not he's going to require medical                                                             
     care.  To evaluate somebody, you can't do that through glass                                                               
     doors; you have to kneel down next to them and take a look at                                                              
     them, and sometimes we have to wash their eyes out.                                                                        
     I know that ... at CIPT [Cook Inlet Pre-Trial] years ago,                                                                  
     there were two nurses that were severely beaten by an inmate                                                               
     in a "mod" up there.  Both of those nurses have never returned                                                             
     to corrections.  At Wildwood this last year, there was a nurse                                                             
     sexually assaulted.  None of these things make the paper, ...                                                              
     but they happen.  We are told that we will never leave the                                                                 
     institution if there's a riot; we will stay there till that                                                                
     ... is cleared and everybody is safe. ... We're part of ...                                                                
     the response team, and we're part ... of the plans.  And, you                                                              
     know, it was very upsetting to read in the paper that one of                                                               
     our own personnel people, from Anchorage or Juneau, said that                                                              
     we would be heading for the door if there was ever a riot.                                                                 
     I would like to invite you to visit prisons in your state                                                                  
     before making a determination.  I know that Representative                                                                 
     Davis did this, and we did appreciate that.  And I don't think                                                             
     you can really appreciate the dangers that we're all in.  And                                                              
     to Representative Ogan, I'm not surprised that your family                                                                 
     members have not spoken to you about their feelings.  I very                                                               
     rarely share the fears that I have with my family, because I                                                               
     don't want them to fear for me.  So, I'm not surprised at                                                                  
     that.  Most of the time, I'm defending my job.                                                                             
     And just one other thing:  We do turn over a lot. ... A                                                                    
     medical staff turns over frequently.  I'm always having to                                                                 
     hire and train, and that is for many reasons.  Pay is one. ...                                                             
     We're lower-paid than the hospitals in this state right now.                                                               
     I make less as a supervisor than the average wage for a                                                                    
     Providence nurse.  So, pay is one of the issues.  And I do                                                                 
     think that having some better benefits might improve ... our                                                               
TAPE 99-22, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES asked, "Of all the jobs you've had, which one have you                                                              
enjoyed the most?"                                                                                                              
MS. SELA replied, "The one I'm in right now."                                                                                   
Number 0014                                                                                                                     
CLIFTON REAGLE, Electronics Technician, Spring Creek Correctional                                                               
Center, testified via teleconference from Seward that he had worked                                                             
on the facility as it was being built, and he has worked there                                                                  
since it opened.  He asked how many committee members had been to                                                               
Spring Creek Correctional Center.                                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES inquired, then informed Mr. Reagle that she was the                                                                 
only one.  She said she had been to other facilities, as well.                                                                  
MR. REAGLE told members that it had taken him ten years to qualify                                                              
to work at his position, including three years in the military, two                                                             
years of schooling, and five or six years working in the field,                                                                 
with no retirement benefits.  He told members, "We're all skilled                                                               
trades professionals, and we can't just walk in off the street.                                                                 
So, we spend a lot of time working to get these positions with the                                                              
state.  So, we've already started a long time ago, as far as I'm                                                                
MR. REAGLE emphasized that the particular prisoner population at                                                                
Spring Creek makes it a much worse place to work than other Alaskan                                                             
facilities.  Almost from the day Spring Creek opened, he has been                                                               
verbally threatened.  He was in a "mod" by himself with 100                                                                     
inmates, for example, and a prisoner didn't like Mr. Reagle's                                                                   
coming into his room to fix a smoke detector.  "And he came out,                                                                
fists clenched, muscles flexed - he was about twice my size - and                                                               
he acted like he was going to pound me into the ground if I ever                                                                
came into his room again," Mr. Reagle said.  "And I had to stand my                                                             
ground, by myself, with no help.  That was a real eye-opener for                                                                
me, in what my career was going to be at Spring Creek. ... It                                                                   
started that way, and it hasn't gotten much different."                                                                         
MR. REAGLE explained that he is required to go into medical areas                                                               
to work on electronic equipment, "air handling," to ensure that                                                                 
diseases are going out and not recirculating within the building;                                                               
he is therefore exposed daily.  He referred to Gail Sela's                                                                      
testimony and said he has also been exposed to gas.  Furthermore,                                                               
he has been subjected to verbal harassment from locked-down inmates                                                             
when required to work in House I, including having several inmates                                                              
yell at him nonstop for three or four hours at a time, all day                                                                  
long, calling him every name in the book while he is just there                                                                 
doing his job.  That is the kind of attitude and behavior these                                                                 
inmates take towards staff, he said.                                                                                            
MR. REAGLE divulged that his fellow employees have had feces and                                                                
urine thrown on them, for which he suggested there should be a                                                                  
death penalty.  He then informed members:                                                                                       
     Two inmates cut and bashed each other almost to death in our                                                               
     maintenance shop, right in front of one of our guys.  They                                                                 
     left the whole shop in a pool of blood.  They took each                                                                    
     others' ears off. ... One guy had a retractable knife, was                                                                 
     actually trying to cut the other guy's head off, and                                                                       
     fortunately it was a retractable razor knife, and the blade                                                                
     kept slipping in, and his hands were so bloody he couldn't get                                                             
     the blade out far enough to cut the guy's head off.  Okay,                                                                 
     this is the kind of stuff that we're required to work with in                                                              
     the maintenance shop.                                                                                                      
     We had another incident where two guys went at it, and another                                                             
     ... maintenance staff member was hurt.  He got in the middle                                                               
     of it, he was all stressed out, something popped in his head                                                               
     - he hasn't been right since.  We've had medical staff                                                                     
     physically attacked in the freezers and been forced to                                                                     
     medically retire.  We could go on and on all day like this.                                                                
     It's just a dangerous place to work, and I don't think I could                                                             
     work under those conditions for 30 years.  I've already put in                                                             
     10 to get there, and I've been there 11; that's 22 years so                                                                
     far, and I'm not even halfway.  If I quit at 20 years, I don't                                                             
     get medical, and there's other benefits that I don't get.  So,                                                             
     it's not just a matter of pay; it's a matter of the things                                                                 
     that I'm going to need to support myself and my family after                                                               
     I quit.  I just would ask that you support this bill.                                                                      
MR. REAGLE told members that he supports "no frills," as prison                                                                 
should be a punishment, not a place for inmates to be happy and                                                                 
comfortable.  However, what the legislature begins, he himself has                                                              
to carry out in his job, and it is difficult.  He asked for                                                                     
members' support in this, then concluded, "We're not asking you to                                                              
give us a lot, and we're a small portion of the state employees.                                                                
If you take a count of how many of us there are, support staff,                                                                 
it's not that big of a number, and we're willing to pay our part of                                                             
it to make this happen."                                                                                                        
Number 0143                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY remarked that as a college student he had                                                                
the opportunity to work in the Oregon Correctional Institute in                                                                 
Salem.  He stated, "I understand what the feeling is like when the                                                              
door closes and you hear the 'clunk.'  But the reality of it was                                                                
that I got to go home at night to a different place.  I understand                                                              
your situation a little bit, but not nearly as much ... as you have                                                             
expressed."  He asked how old Mr. Reagle would be if he were to                                                                 
retire after 30 years.                                                                                                          
MR. REAGLE said he would be 60 years old.  He added, "But to be                                                                 
honest with you, at this point, I've been going through some real                                                               
soul-searching in the last couple years, after ten years of                                                                     
listening to inmates.  And I really don't think I'm going to make                                                               
it 30 years at a prison. ... It beats you down, and you get tired                                                               
of it.  And the older you get, the less energy you have to fight                                                                
Number 0173                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES acknowledged that her own visits to prisons have been                                                               
on tours.  Her first experience with a lock-down facility was at                                                                
Oregon State Mental Hospital, where she worked for some time.  Her                                                              
second experience was as a foster parent, when they took foster                                                                 
children from the girls' reform school in Salem, Oregon.  She                                                                   
doesn't like lock-down facilities, she said, and she certainly                                                                  
doesn't like to be with dangerous people.  "So, we appreciate                                                                   
everything that you do," she added.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to a letter of support in committee                                                               
packets, dated April 2, 1999, from Byron Loomis, Trades Leadsman at                                                             
Spring Creek Correctional Center.  Representative Davis read from                                                               
the second paragraph:  "I supervise, hire and fire these same                                                                   
felons and have a major impact on their quality of life in this                                                                 
[institution]."  Representative Davis commented on the stress and                                                               
risk of firing a felon from a job.                                                                                              
CHAIR JAMES responded that she is bothered that COs have training                                                               
but support staff do not.  She said she believes that is more                                                                   
important than money.                                                                                                           
Number 0241                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted that there had been testimony that these                                                             
workers used to go through the academy.  He said he assumes that                                                                
budget cuts put people in a lot of this risk situation.                                                                         
CHAIR JAMES responded that she isn't sure they need to go through                                                               
the academy, but she believes they need regular training and                                                                    
information about circumstances to be aware of.                                                                                 
Number 0257                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY read from Mr. Loomis' letter, which stated,                                                              
"For me to have to work 10 years longer than the corrections staff                                                              
with the same conditions to receive a full pension is nothing short                                                             
of a travesty."  Testimony indicates that support staff have more                                                               
prisoner contact than COs have, Representative Smalley noted; he                                                                
agreed that it is a travesty.  He added that although he is sure                                                                
that they would like training, he believes that the benefits are                                                                
long-overdue to be looked at.                                                                                                   
Number 0284                                                                                                                     
DON ETHERIDGE, District Council Laborers, came forward to testify                                                               
on behalf of Local 71.  He said he himself couldn't take working in                                                             
the prisons.  He recounted how he used to have to go to Lemon Creek                                                             
Correctional Center, as part of his duties in building maintenance,                                                             
on a fill-in basis.  He had hated going out there, and he doesn't                                                               
even like going out there now to visit with members.  He stated                                                                 
that Local 71 supports this bill wholeheartedly.                                                                                
Number 0301                                                                                                                     
BRUCE MASSEY, Food Service Foreman, Lemon Creek Correctional                                                                    
Center, came forward to testify at length, noting that he is also                                                               
the shop steward for Local 71.  He said the testimony from staff at                                                             
Spring Creek had been all-encompassing.  He asked whether committee                                                             
members had at least been to Lemon Creek Correction Center.                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES said she'd skipped that one, although she has been to                                                               
many more than one.                                                                                                             
MR. MASSEY explained that he has been there ten years, noting that                                                              
staff get "institutionalized" themselves.  For example, he waits                                                                
for doors to open at Nugget Mall, and he pulls out his elevator                                                                 
keys in the State Office Building.  Mr. Massey addressed training,                                                              
noting that he has taught karate in Juneau for 20 years.  He told                                                               
members, "There's no amount of training that is going to take you,                                                              
or you, that is going to make you feel comfortable ... with the                                                                 
people that we deal with.  You know, it'd be a good thing, but                                                                  
there's no way you're going to get a comfort level with it. ... So,                                                             
there's always going to be that doubt in your mind that you are, in                                                             
fact, in jeopardy when it comes down to firing this person, taking                                                              
this person and definitely making a huge impact on his life."                                                                   
MR. MASSEY agreed that the main reason for prison disturbances is                                                               
poor food service.  For 365 days a year, three meals a day, they                                                                
provide meals that must be of good quality, he said, and they                                                                   
cannot be late.  The kitchen is also inspected by the Department of                                                             
Environmental Conservation, although it isn't a big thing, because                                                              
they have plenty of labor, and they pride themselves at Lemon Creek                                                             
on keeping a clean kitchen.  He himself trains people who run the                                                               
gamut as far as literacy.  For example, if he hands a guy a book,                                                               
that person won't tell Mr. Massey he can't read.  Rather, Mr.                                                                   
Massey must figure out how to not insult him and yet get this                                                                   
information, so that the inmate can become a more productive                                                                    
worker.  "And we can work with things like that," he added.                                                                     
MR. MASSEY told members the kitchen is upstairs at Lemon Creek.                                                                 
"If there's a disturbance, their first thing is that they are going                                                             
to slam the doors and I'm on my own," he said.  In his ten years                                                                
there, he has broken up a number of fights.  He stated, "The last                                                               
time I did wade into one, there was a knife involved.  I was                                                                    
splattered with blood.  So, consequently, I get to go through a                                                                 
series of tests to make sure that I'm not HIV-positive, which isn't                                                             
a real pleasant thought, you know, going home to my wife and my                                                                 
children ...."  He had been admonished somewhat by his superior for                                                             
going into that fight, he said, rather than waiting for other                                                                   
staff.  However, if he had waited five seconds, "the knife involved                                                             
would have been back into the guy who initially took it on this                                                                 
young man."                                                                                                                     
MR. MASSEY agreed that staffing is down; consequently, they have                                                                
adjusted standards a great deal since he has been there.  For                                                                   
example, at Lemon Creek, one officer upstairs is responsible for                                                                
the kitchen and the dining hall, but must also go across the hall                                                               
to watch the educational center, then go back in the back room to                                                               
the hobby shop.  That officer also can be called to assist on any                                                               
number of transports in and around the building, such as a maximum                                                              
security move, which requires two officers.                                                                                     
MR. MASSEY pointed out that the kitchen is also the center for                                                                  
contraband.  For example, sugar becomes "pruno," or jailhouse                                                                   
liquor, which is dangerous.  He stated:                                                                                         
     The drugs aren't nearly as bad.  If they're smoking "pot," you                                                             
     know, they might fight over a Twinkie or two, but ... they                                                                 
     never get away with the booze.  Once they have booze, there's                                                              
     a fight in the dorms; you know it's there.  And ... the things                                                             
     they'll drink are just phenomenal; you would not believe what                                                              
     they'll drink.  They found out that one of our soap containers                                                             
     was high in alcohol content; they all disappeared.                                                                         
MR. MASSEY explained that there is a mind set among the prisoners                                                               
that most people aren't used to.  He stated, "After you've been                                                                 
there a while, you begin to look at things in a very, very                                                                      
different manner.  I'm a little unique:  I like it there.  I love                                                               
my job.  I was pretty much made for it.  I was raised in Detroit.                                                               
I brought a good sense of 'street smarts,' and I've been in                                                                     
kitchens since I was 15.  So, it's what I really love to do."  Mr.                                                              
Massey said he looks for "that little spark, that little ray of                                                                 
light, in which I can take this young man, out of ... the hundreds                                                              
that I train, and this kid might actually make it."  He indicated                                                               
that a number of former inmates have been placed in jobs, after                                                                 
being trained at the "Lemon Creek Cafe."  He tries to provide those                                                             
skills, because if they can't get a job, they'll be back in prison.                                                             
MR. MASSEY pointed out that kitchen staff are continually                                                                       
threatened with legal issues involving demands about special diets,                                                             
and their names may end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit.                                                                       
Number 0443                                                                                                                     
MR. MASSEY emphasized that the testimony from staff at Spring Creek                                                             
is a daily reality.  He couldn't do what the guards do, he said,                                                                
which is sit there, watch and wait; he prefers to be active and                                                                 
productive.  He has to take the same guys that the guards put their                                                             
hands on and then escort down the hall, though, and give them                                                                   
knives.  There are 26 inmates that work in the kitchen, and 12 to                                                               
15 knives that everybody uses.  The knives are secured, he                                                                      
explained, and counted.  However, during the day when the general                                                               
population is not in the dining room, there are knives everywhere,                                                              
including Chinese cleavers, ten-inch French knives, a scimitar and                                                              
boning knives.  However, the knives are the least of their worries,                                                             
because the 27 knives in his cabinet are secured and get counted.                                                               
"You take an industrial cook spoon, break the head off of it - now                                                              
you've got a weapon," he stated.  "And we can't count everything in                                                             
the kitchen.  We can't keep track of every little tool."  He noted                                                              
that the superintendent at Lemon Creek, Dan Carothers, has a trophy                                                             
case in which he has a wide variety of weapons and drug                                                                         
MR. MASSEY next referred to the testimony about inmates' constant                                                               
yelling in the lock-down unit, and he stated, "That's the mind set                                                              
we have.  These guys have all the time in the world to simply think                                                             
of, 'How can I mess with you?'  'How can I get at you?'  'Cause you                                                             
made me mad, you fired me from my job."                                                                                         
MR. MASSEY pointed out that someone could get into the Internet                                                                 
with a person's Social Security number and ruin that person's life.                                                             
He emphasized that although some of the testimony may have sounded                                                              
a bit paranoid, it is not.  The staff are genuinely concerned about                                                             
any information that might get out about them.  For many, including                                                             
him, it is from concern about their families.  He indicated he is                                                               
generally successful at keeping such concerns out of his mind,                                                                  
MR. MASSEY mentioned that a person walking down Franklin Street in                                                              
Juneau, looking at 100 people, may be looking at 30 who have been                                                               
in Lemon Creek Correctional Center.  Lemon Creek is a collection                                                                
center for prisoners who have committed crimes all over the state,                                                              
and then they choose to release here.  "So, we're kind of importing                                                             
these people into the small town of Juneau," he said.  "People in                                                               
the village, wherever they ... committed their crime, they don't                                                                
want them back, so that we get them funneled here.  I'm sure ...                                                                
Anchorage has very much the same thing going on."                                                                               
MR. MASSEY told members he has ten years of service, and he hopes                                                               
he can make it to 30.  However, he doesn't know that he can.  This                                                              
is a matter of equity, he emphasized.  Although the support staff                                                               
are dedicated, it boils down to this:  20 years would allow them to                                                             
retire with some amount of sanity left.  He concluded, "We think we                                                             
could make that.  The 30 years is out there, a little bit of a                                                                  
Number 0510                                                                                                                     
VINCENT O'CONNOR, Adult Probation Parole Officer, Department of                                                                 
Corrections; and President, Alaska State Employees Association /                                                                
American Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees                                                                         
(ASEA/AFSCME), Local 52, testified via teleconference from                                                                      
Fairbanks in support of HB 159.  Employed by the Department of                                                                  
Corrections for 18 years, he emphasized that medical staff,                                                                     
clerical staff, maintenance staff and kitchen staff have the same                                                               
levels of stress, and the same contact, as COs or parole officers,                                                              
although the stress and contact may take different forms.  Prison                                                               
populations include long-term offenders who have nothing to lose,                                                               
he said, as well as short-term offenders about whom the staff have                                                              
very little working knowledge.  Based on a person's                                                                             
classification-for-work records, the prisoners are placed for the                                                               
needs of the institution to accomplish work, and this puts everyone                                                             
in a position of jeopardy at times.                                                                                             
MR. O'CONNOR referred to the issue of fairness and concluded, "I                                                                
can't think of anybody in my career that has made 30 years in the                                                               
correctional center, in some of these other job classifications."                                                               
He added that the levels of stress usually result in higher                                                                     
turnover, which probably is not in the best interest of the                                                                     
employer, the state.                                                                                                            
Number 0550                                                                                                                     
GUY BELL, Director, Division of Retirement and Benefits, Department                                                             
of Administration, came forward to explain why there is not yet a                                                               
fiscal note.  With him was Bill Church, retirement systems manager,                                                             
who was working with the Department of Corrections (DOC) to get                                                                 
relevant information about the employees who would be affected by                                                               
HB 159.  Mr. Bell told members that the preliminary number is about                                                             
280 DOC employees who would be affected.  Yesterday, they had                                                                   
received data on these employees to then turn over to their                                                                     
actuaries to get a cost estimate of HB 159.  They had needed some                                                               
detailed data, because calculating the total cost requires looking                                                              
back over the employees' careers and determining the number of                                                                  
years each person worked, his or her age, and basic data to                                                                     
calculate cost on an individual basis.  He expects to have that                                                                 
done in the next two or three days.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked whether it will cost more money.                                                                      
MR. BELL affirmed that, then explained why.  Page 2, beginning at                                                               
line 4, reads:  "The indebtedness is equal to (1) the contributions                                                             
to the system that the employee would have made if the service had                                                              
counted as peace officer service, less (2) the contributions to the                                                             
system that the employee actually made."  The next sentence                                                                     
addresses the interest on that.  Mr. Bell pointed out that the bill                                                             
doesn't require the employee to make employer contributions that                                                                
would have been required.  Because it offers a better benefit, it                                                               
also requires a higher employer cost.  Effectively, this bill would                                                             
mean that the past service cost to the employer would affect the                                                                
employer's rate - in this case, the Department of Corrections or                                                                
the state of Alaska.  Therefore, it will affect the state's rate.                                                               
Mr. Bell explained:                                                                                                             
     Basically, the cost is greater because you're talking about a                                                              
     20-year retirement, which means that a person draws a                                                                      
     retirement benefit earlier, so they're getting a benefit for                                                               
     more years, through their life. ... Depending on which tier                                                                
     they were hired under, if they were hired originally in PERS                                                               
     before July 1 of 1986, they are also getting system-provided                                                               
     medical benefits, which the system, of course, pays for.                                                                   
     And there is a different multiplier, as Representative Davis'                                                              
     staff mentioned, that a police officer in this system ...                                                                  
     after ten years of service has a benefit multiplier of                                                                     
     two-and-a-half percent per year of service; between 10 and 20                                                              
     years for other PERS employees, it's two-and-a-quarter                                                                     
     percent.  So, after 20 years of service, a police officer                                                                  
     position has a benefit entitlement of 45 percent of their                                                                  
     average three-year salary, whereas for a 'other PERS                                                                       
     employee,' it's forty-two-and-a-half percent.  So, there's a                                                               
     two-and-a-half percent differential in the benefit.                                                                        
MR. BELL noted that a few employers besides the state of Alaska may                                                             
be affected by this.  He concluded, "There are some jail                                                                        
correctional facilities that are operated by other PERS employers                                                               
- the North Slope Borough, the City of Dillingham, we believe, have                                                             
correctional facilities.  And the numbers I've given you do not                                                                 
include youth detention facilities.  This would just, as we                                                                     
understand it, apply to adult corrections."                                                                                     
Number 0615                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES asked the sponsor whether it was his intent to not                                                                  
include the juvenile detention facilities.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said he hadn't given it much thought.                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES asked whether there were further questions of the                                                                   
Administration, then noted that three more people in Seward wished                                                              
to testify.                                                                                                                     
Number 0620                                                                                                                     
CHARLES PALMER, Employee, Spring Creek Correctional Center,                                                                     
testified via teleconference from Seward, saying that in 11 years,                                                              
they've gone through 19 stewards, who had either quit, died or                                                                  
moved on.  He said 80 percent of the inmates are                                                                                
hepatitis-positive, yet they are issued knives in order to do their                                                             
jobs.  It is just a matter of time, and he himself was assaulted                                                                
once, right before prisoners were moved to the prison facility in                                                               
Number 0635                                                                                                                     
RICHARD SLAGLE, Employee, Spring Creek Correctional Center,                                                                     
testified via teleconference from Seward, saying he has been with                                                               
the Department of Corrections for five and a half years.  During                                                                
that time, stewards have been grabbed by inmates and been damaged,                                                              
either medically or mentally, to where they cannot come back to                                                                 
work around inmates.  He mentioned the constant fear that something                                                             
could happen, then explained, "We issue knives to inmates early in                                                              
the morning.  You don't know their attitude or their way of                                                                     
thinking for that day.  They could be mad at one of their other                                                                 
inmates or something, and ... come in the kitchen and take out                                                                  
their revenge in the kitchen. ... The 20-year-and-out would be more                                                             
beneficial.  I believe you would have a better clientele of                                                                     
stewards in the kitchen, more alert, more aware.  Thirty years with                                                             
DOC in the kitchen is an impossibility for me, because ... I can                                                                
tell the stress level is about -- for me, would be ten years."                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN requested clarification about the hepatitis                                                                 
MR. SLAGLE answered that about 80 percent are hepatitis-positive.                                                               
He added, "We cannot discriminate against the inmate, as far as                                                                 
their AIDS or hepatitis.  We work around knives.  Inmates get                                                                   
nicked, cut.  We issue Band-Aids.  There's the threat of bloodborne                                                             
pathogens.  And we work more directly with the inmates than police                                                              
officers do, because we're with them for a longer period of time.                                                               
We hire them, we fire them.  And we're more in direct ... contact                                                               
with them, on a seven-and-a-half-hour basis."                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked what kind of hepatitis that is, and he                                                                
requested clarification about these people working in the kitchen.                                                              
MR. SLAGLE answered that it is B and C.  He added, "As I've said,                                                               
you cannot discriminate against a person for their medical                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES asked whether people with tuberculosis would get to                                                                 
work there.                                                                                                                     
MR. SLAGLE restated that they cannot discriminate against personnel                                                             
based on their medical condition.                                                                                               
Number 0694                                                                                                                     
MIKE HARBAUGH, Plumber, Maintenance, Spring Creek Correctional                                                                  
Center, testified via teleconference from Seward, noting that he                                                                
had been there four and a half years.  He said it takes a special                                                               
type of person to be able to work there.  Correctional officers get                                                             
a weeks' break, as they work 12 hours a day but week on, then week                                                              
off.  "We don't get that," Mr. Harbaugh noted.  "We go home for two                                                             
days.  We come back and have to face it again, and work directly                                                                
with the inmates."                                                                                                              
MR. HARBAUGH explained that he works in very small areas with                                                                   
felons, regularly.  He started this job at age 42; he would like to                                                             
think it took him nearly that long to obtain the background and                                                                 
commercial experience needed in such a large institution, where                                                                 
there are 478 toilets, 525 sinks, 64 showers, and the associated                                                                
heating and plumbing, including water heaters.  He was on the work                                                              
list with Local 71 for four and a half years before getting this                                                                
job, but he won't work there past 60 years of age.  He believes                                                                 
that would be physically impossible, as it is too hard a job.                                                                   
MR. HARBAUGH told members the mental stress is tough.  He stated,                                                               
"I grew up in a tough place, on the west side of South Bend, went                                                               
to high school where we had detectives carrying guns, and this was                                                              
... in the mid-to-late-60s.  People got stabbed in my school."  He                                                              
said maybe that background helps him put up with the mental and                                                                 
physical abuse from inmates' bumping the staff, or yelling in the                                                               
lock-down facility for hours at a time:  "You're gonna die!" or                                                                 
"I'm gonna kill you!"                                                                                                           
MR. HARBAUGH reported that he does enjoy the job.  He has had the                                                               
benefit of seeing the fruition of training somebody who then gets                                                               
a job after getting out.  "They may be doing plumbing on your place                                                             
this afternoon, I don't know," he added.  Seeing people do better                                                               
is one thing that keeps him at the job.  The other is the medical                                                               
benefits, which he needs.  As he understands the 20-year program,                                                               
he could get the benefits when he retires immediately, whereas with                                                             
the 30-year program he would have to wait until age 65 to get                                                                   
medical benefits.  He reminded members that he is susceptible to                                                                
HIV and hepatitis.  He works with effluent, crawling down manholes                                                              
full of it and unplugging things, for a daily living.  He                                                                       
concluded, "I'd just appreciate your support for this.  Training                                                                
would be nice, but the 20-year retirement is also something that's                                                              
necessary and only fair."                                                                                                       
CHAIR JAMES closed public testimony.  She asked the representatives                                                             
from the Division of Retirement and Benefits if they could have a                                                               
fiscal note by the coming Thursday; they said they would do their                                                               
best.  Chair James thanked all the participants, noting that the                                                                
testimony had been very moving.  [HB 159 was held over.]                                                                        
HJR 26 - ALASKA MARITIME BOUNDARY WITH CANADA                                                                                   
CHAIR JAMES announced her intention of moving from committee House                                                              
Joint Resolution No. 26, relating to establishing maritime                                                                      
boundaries with Canada.  She noted that it had been held over to                                                                
address the concerns of Representatives Hudson and Kerttula.                                                                    
Number 0751                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON explained that he had wanted to find out                                                                  
whether this would interrupt the ongoing Alaska-Canada salmon                                                                   
negotiations.  Although he wasn't able to get a final answer, he'd                                                              
received correspondence from the Alaska Trollers Association                                                                    
indicating they support resolution of this boundary dispute.                                                                    
Because he had no indication that it would adversely affect the                                                                 
ongoing negotiations, he was withdrawing his resistance to moving                                                               
the resolution from committee.                                                                                                  
Number 0762                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA told members, "My staff talked with the                                                                 
Department of Fish and Game, and their sense of it was that it's a                                                              
good thing to state that Alaska should be part of these                                                                         
negotiations, but with the budget cuts ... and less staff to do it,                                                             
they're not really sure how this is going to affect it.  And I                                                                  
guess I take the opposite point of view:  I don't have any                                                                      
indications that it's a good thing for us to be trying to get                                                                   
involved."  She said it is a sore issue, and she maintains her                                                                  
Number 0770                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN made a motion to move CSHJR 26(WTR) from                                                                    
committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero                                                                 
fiscal note; he asked unanimous consent.  There being no objection                                                              
to moving the resolution, CSHJR 26(WTR) moved from the House State                                                              
Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                                     
HB 16 - LICENSURE OF ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES                                                                                 
CHAIR JAMES announced that the final item of business would be                                                                  
House Bill No. 16, "An Act transferring to the Department of Health                                                             
and Social Services the authority to license all assisted living                                                                
facilities; eliminating the authority of the Department of                                                                      
Administration to license assisted living facilities; and providing                                                             
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
Number 0780                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CROFT, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor,                                                                   
explained that HB 16 was drafted in response to a recommendation by                                                             
the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, in particular, their                                                                
report of investigation from October 3, 1998.  One concern was that                                                             
licensing and operation of the Pioneers' Homes were, at one time,                                                               
under the exact same division and program.  The people who                                                                      
determine the day-to-day operation, and the people that determine                                                               
whether that operation meets minimum assisted living licensing                                                                  
standards, were "uncomfortably close," creating a perception  - and                                                             
possibly a reality - of a conflict of interest.  Representative                                                                 
Croft said it is a legitimate concern that they had tried to fix in                                                             
a relatively simple way, acknowledging that there aren't any simple                                                             
answers to these issues.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT told members this is a rapidly growing area of                                                             
our social infrastructure, particularly in the last five years.                                                                 
The department's position has been that the growth of these homes                                                               
has taken the pressure off of nursing homes, which are much more                                                                
expensive.  Substantial money can be saved if the assisted living                                                               
environment is managed, instead of putting people primarily into                                                                
nursing homes.  The department believes, reasonably so, that this                                                               
is why nursing home numbers haven't grown at this speed.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT noted that there have been discussions of how                                                              
the state licenses its own operations.  He said, "It is inherently                                                              
one that has elements of conflict of interest in it.  But if we                                                                 
don't do it - if we pass some statute that says, 'Because we                                                                    
operate it, we assume we do it well' - we do a fundamental                                                                      
disservice.  We ought to recognize the potential for a conflict of                                                              
interest whenever we are judging our own operation, and at least                                                                
try and separate those as much as possible from the operation.                                                                  
That's what HB 16, in its current form, does."                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT told members there may be many other ideas                                                                 
about better licensing of assisted living homes; this started as a                                                              
small idea, fixing an issue with the Pioneers' Home.  Some                                                                      
discussion needs to happen in this committee, and some he believes                                                              
would be appropriate for the House Health, Education and Social                                                                 
Services Committee, the bill's next referral.  In whichever                                                                     
committee it occurs, this is an area that could stand some                                                                      
scrutiny, he said, either at this narrow level or the more broad                                                                
public policy level.                                                                                                            
TAPE 99-23, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN commented that there seems to be disparity in                                                               
the fiscal notes; as he reads it, somebody thinks it is worth a lot                                                             
more to do the job than it is to get rid of it.  He asked whether                                                               
that is accurate.                                                                                                               
Number 0021                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said he thinks it is.  He reported that the                                                                
department is very concerned about doing this job well.  If                                                                     
licensure is moved from the Department of Administration, where the                                                             
Pioneers' Homes are run, into the Department of Health, Education                                                               
and Social Services (DHSS), the DHSS is very reluctant to take this                                                             
responsibility on without adequate funding, as they don't believe                                                               
they currently have the personnel needed to accomplish that task                                                                
well.  That is where much of the fiscal note comes from.                                                                        
Number 0045                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES asked that testifiers limit comments to three minutes                                                               
because of time constraints.                                                                                                    
Number 0057                                                                                                                     
KAY BURROWS, Director, Division of Senior Services (DSS),                                                                       
Department of Administration, testified via teleconference from                                                                 
Anchorage, noting that her division currently has responsibility                                                                
for assisted living licensing.  She stated:                                                                                     
     As Representative Croft has just mentioned, we believe the                                                                 
     issue is really adequate resources for assisted living, not                                                                
     who does it, or a conflict of interest.  The Division of                                                                   
     Senior Services had no additional resources given to it in                                                                 
     1995, when this bill, the statute for assisted living, was                                                                 
     first passed.  DMHDD [Division of Mental Health and                                                                        
     Developmental Disabilities] had a small amount.  However,                                                                  
     between the two of us, we license over 220 assisted living                                                                 
     homes in the state today.                                                                                                  
     The growth has been major, as Representative Croft mentioned.                                                              
     We had approximately 45 to 50 homes in 1995, which covered                                                                 
     assisted living for seniors.  Today, we have over 90 homes,                                                                
     without the [Pioneers'] Homes, which are six.  There are more                                                              
     than 130 in DMHDD today.                                                                                                   
     We do support this bill with the attached fiscal notes.  And,                                                              
     as Representative [Ogan] mentioned, part of our reasoning for                                                              
     this is that we believe that adequate resources are not                                                                    
     currently available, and need to be made available for the                                                                 
     growth of this industry.                                                                                                   
     There are four roles for the state in assisted living.  They                                                               
     are:  licensing of these homes; investigation of the homes;                                                                
     quality monitoring; and capacity development.  DSS                                                                         
     (indisc.--coughing) its role in all four - for all the homes,                                                              
     not just the [Pioneers'] Homes.  We have had a great deal of                                                               
     difficulty getting to quality monitoring and capacity                                                                      
     development, due to the increase in licensing and                                                                          
     investigation responsibilities.                                                                                            
     Assisted living licensing and homes is a newly developing                                                                  
     business.  It is a critical industry for the state, for three                                                              
     reasons:  as Representative Croft mentioned, the growth of the                                                             
     senior population, which is considered to be from about 28,000                                                             
     today to over 80,000 in the year 2015; and the cost of                                                                     
     long-term care, if using the current nursing home model, would                                                             
     require public funding of around $72 million in 1996,                                                                      
     increasing to $370 million in the year 2015.  This is an                                                                   
     enormous increase in public funding demands for long-term                                                                  
     care, because of the population growth.  Assisted living is                                                                
     one of the answers for that.  And the third reason is that                                                                 
     people needing long-term care want choices.  They want more                                                                
     homelike environments and less institutional environments.                                                                 
     Home- and community-based care has been a rapidly growing                                                                  
     Whoever does licensing investigation, therefore, has a growth                                                              
     industry in their hands, with a newly defined type of care and                                                             
     lots of learning for the state to be done.  Alaskans are                                                                   
     choosing assisted living as a long-term care provider.  The                                                                
     state must carefully license and inspect all homes,                                                                        
     particularly the non-state-owned homes.  This is a broader                                                                 
     issue than just the [Pioneers'] Homes and the perceived                                                                    
     conflict.  It is an important one for our state, and, as                                                                   
     Representative Croft has mentioned, it has a number of policy                                                              
Number 0136                                                                                                                     
SHELBY LARSEN, Administrator, Health Facilities Licensing and                                                                   
Certification (HFL&C), Division of Medical Assistance, Department                                                               
of Health and Social Services, testified via teleconference from                                                                
Anchorage.  He said he believes his agency would likely be                                                                      
responsible for licensing of assisted living homes if this bill                                                                 
were to pass.   The attached fiscal note was based on their                                                                     
experience doing statewide surveys and certification of health                                                                  
facilities.  It was based on the costs involved in travel and doing                                                             
an annual onsite survey or investigation of each facility.  They                                                                
believe that the fiscal note is reasonable for taking on 225                                                                    
facilities that are, literally, all over the state.  He agreed that                                                             
this is a rapidly growing industry, one that certainly needs                                                                    
adequate quality control and licensure.                                                                                         
Number 0176                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES commented that if the amount per day doesn't come up                                                                
from $34.50 for these people, it will be a declining industry,                                                                  
because nobody will be willing to do it.                                                                                        
Number 0187                                                                                                                     
MONTA FAYE LANE, President, Alaska Caregivers Association,                                                                      
testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, noting that she owns                                                               
two assisted living homes in North Pole.  She stated:                                                                           
     I think that this assisted living bill, ... HB 16, needs to be                                                             
     moved from the Division of Senior Services, because I believe                                                              
     that it is getting bigger and more costly to the division.                                                                 
     And I think that the division needs to concentrate on the care                                                             
     of the seniors in assisted living homes, and not in licensing.                                                             
     Those funds need to come from somewhere else in the state.  I                                                              
     don't know where.  You guys, that's your job to find it.                                                                   
     But I think that Pioneers' Homes and assisted living, under                                                                
     this bill, means to me that we are all the same.  You guys                                                                 
     down there take care of Pioneers' Homes.  Those are                                                                        
     state-funded. ... And we in the small homes must meet the same                                                             
     standards as do Pioneers' Homes, but we sure do not have the                                                               
     state benefits, as they do.  And I think licensing should                                                                  
     clearly be moved.                                                                                                          
MS. LANE agreed with raising the base rate for assisted living                                                                  
homes.  Otherwise, she said, some of the larger, older assisted                                                                 
living homes in this state - which are good assisted living homes                                                               
- will fall by the way, "because we cannot become a dumping ground                                                              
for Denali Center, some of the mentally ill that API [Alaska                                                                    
Psychiatric Institute] no longer wants."  She said the rate must                                                                
come up to the $70 a day that they had requested, with a                                                                        
geographical differential; otherwise, it is not going to be that                                                                
much help.                                                                                                                      
Number 0225                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked whether people living in these homes                                                                
are able to draw upon Medicaid or other federal funding.                                                                        
MS. LANE replied, "We have some Medicaid clients in our home that's                                                             
under the new project in the state of Alaska called Project Choice,                                                             
and we are getting sicker and older people.  And we do have a                                                                   
little bit of compensation coming that way for a general relief                                                                 
client, but there is no extra money there for general relief                                                                    
clients, who are still at $34.50 a day in this vicinity here.  And                                                              
that's been the same since 1991.  When I obtained my license for                                                                
the state of Alaska, we were at $30.90 a day.  And I wrote some                                                                 
letters to the Division of Youth and Family Services, who were the                                                              
ones who licensed us at that time, and they gave us a raise to                                                                  
$34.50 a day, and that has remained there since 1992. ... If you                                                                
live in this Interior, and you have to pay the rising cost of fuel                                                              
and electricity, you can see that we have not even been (indisc.)                                                               
with the rate of Social Security increases; had we ... had that for                                                             
the last 10 or 12 years, we would now be at $68 a day, instead of                                                               
Number 0264                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked, "How many times, in the two homes that                                                             
you have, have you been inspected over the last two years?"                                                                     
MS. LANE answered, "I have drop-bys all the time from the Division                                                              
of Senior Services, adult protection agency, and licensing.  As for                                                             
an inspection, I am inspected every year.  I am monitored yearly.                                                               
We also have association meetings in each others' homes, so we do                                                               
police one another in this area, and we're trying the same thing                                                                
... in Anchorage.  As far as investigations, I've had a few of them                                                             
myself, because one time I had someone who made a complaint on me,                                                              
because they saw some garbage on my porch, which -- we don't have                                                               
garbage service in North Pole."                                                                                                 
Number 0296                                                                                                                     
FRED LAU, Homer Seniors, testified via teleconference from Homer,                                                               
indicating his organization runs Friendship Terrace, an assisted                                                                
living facility that is a 40-unit apartment complex with 25                                                                     
residents.  He spoke in opposition to HB 16, from the standpoint                                                                
that they believe the present licensing is doing an adequate job                                                                
for assisted living facilities throughout the state.  He said they                                                              
share Representative Croft's concern about the Pioneers' Homes.                                                                 
However, they believe that what is happening now with the Division                                                              
of Senior Services (DSS) is what was intended to happen:  placing                                                               
all of the senior programs under the DSS.  In fact, he said, the                                                                
long-term care task force had recommended that they not transfer                                                                
certain aspects to the DHSS without a thorough study of whether                                                                 
that is really needed.                                                                                                          
MR. LAU suggested that members look at whether the DSS has adequate                                                             
funding to do the licensing.  "But as far as what's being done                                                                  
right now, I think they're doing an adequate job," he added.  He                                                                
then expressed concern that a switch in licensing, while it may                                                                 
place everything together, may also change a philosophy.  Assisted                                                              
living looks at the individual in terms of ability to make choices                                                              
and maintain independence.  Unless there are assurances that if it                                                              
were transferred to the DHSS there wouldn't be a move towards a                                                                 
medical-clinical model, they are concerned.  Mr. Lau explained,                                                                 
"Right now, we're in more of a social model, and we involve                                                                     
families in decisions, and people are allowed to make choices, in                                                               
terms of what they want to do on a daily basis.  And we don't want                                                              
to see that moved back towards the medical-clinical model, which                                                                
places more emphasis on clinical personnel making decisions for                                                                 
people."  He said that change in focus is the biggest concern.  He                                                              
also expressed concern that he doesn't know the amount of the                                                                   
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
Number 0335                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES indicated she would fax Mr. Lau the fiscal notes.  She                                                              
stated her understanding that he sees a problem with the Pioneers'                                                              
Homes, then asked whether he sees a need to separate the licensing                                                              
between the Pioneers' Homes and other assisted living homes.                                                                    
MR. LAU clarified that he wasn't implying that there is a problem                                                               
with the Pioneers' Homes; although stories in the news may suggest                                                              
there is a problem, he doesn't know whether it is actual or just                                                                
perceived, as he is not involved in the details.  He said he hopes                                                              
they aren't lumped into this whole thing, and transferred to the                                                                
DHSS because of the situation that presently exists, looking at the                                                             
Pioneers' Homes.                                                                                                                
CHAIR JAMES asked whether Mr. Lau perceives a conflict because the                                                              
same agency that administers the homes does the licensing.                                                                      
MR. LAU replied, "I don't think that that's a major problem, in my                                                              
mind.  I think those things can be taken care of in other ways.                                                                 
For instance, one of the recommendations from the long-term care                                                                
task force, I think, was to implement standards, adopt standards                                                                
from different national organizations.  I think those can be put in                                                             
place, to make sure that some of those problems are taken care of."                                                             
He referred to the DSS and said he doesn't have a feeling that                                                                  
there is a conflict there, in terms of management.  He believes                                                                 
that other agencies and departments that manage facilities have                                                                 
just as much of a conflict, in terms of state-run schools and                                                                   
similar types of facilities.                                                                                                    
Number 0399                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES thanked Mr. Lau, then announced that public testimony                                                               
was concluded.  She asked whether the Administration wished to add                                                              
Number 0409                                                                                                                     
ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner,                                                                 
Department of Health and Social Services, told members that                                                                     
assisted living homes are a real success story.  Five years ago,                                                                
there were a handful in the state.  The DSS and his department's                                                                
DMHDD have done a very good job with the responsibility, not only                                                               
for licensure but for actually increasing the number of facilities                                                              
in the state, to where now there are hundreds.  However, it is a                                                                
maturing industry, and he doesn't believe it is inappropriate to                                                                
raise the question of changing the focus - development of homes and                                                             
creating access - to now perhaps looking at a different sort of                                                                 
regulatory regime that will ensure that these remain viable and                                                                 
safe alternatives to nursing home care.                                                                                         
MR. LINDSTROM referred to the fiscal note.  He pointed out that it                                                              
doesn't take many nursing home beds at $100,000-plus per bed, per                                                               
year, to make the cost of an adequate regulatory regime appear                                                                  
insignificant.  Although it is a success story, he said, and they                                                               
want to continue to see development of these homes, certainly                                                                   
everyone wishes to ensure that they continue to be safe and good                                                                
alternatives where people can reside.                                                                                           
CHAIR JAMES thanked Mr. Lindstrom and concluded the hearing.  [HB
16 was held over.]                                                                                                              
Number 0443                                                                                                                     
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:58 a.m.                                                             

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