Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

05/02/2006 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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08:06:58 AM Start
08:07:44 AM Department of Administration, Division of Elections Follow-up
08:12:34 AM Department of Administration State Health Plan Procurement Procedure
09:51:00 AM SB134
10:00:19 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Oversight Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
Department of Administration
State health plan procurement procedure
Moved Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                          May 2, 2006                                                                                           
                           8:06 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Paul Seaton, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Carl Gatto, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Jim Elkins                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Jay Ramras                                                                                                       
Representative Berta Gardner                                                                                                    
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION, DIVISION OF ELECTIONS FOLLOW-UP                                                                   
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
OVERSIGHT HEARING(S): DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION STATE HEALTH                                                                 
PLAN PROCUREMENT PROCEDURE                                                                                                      
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 134(JUD)                                                                                                 
"An Act  relating to  a pilot project  to review  and investigate                                                               
certain complaints  from victims of  sexual assault in  the first                                                               
degree or sexual abuse of a  minor in the first degree concerning                                                               
actions of justice agencies."                                                                                                   
     - MOVED CSSB 134(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 134                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: POLICE INVESTIGATION STANDARDS/ARRESTS                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) BUNDE                                                                                                    
03/08/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/08/05       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
03/17/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/17/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/17/05       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/05/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/05/05       (S)       Moved CSSB 134(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/05/05       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
04/06/05       (S)       STA RPT CS  1DP 4NR       NEW TITLE                                                                    
04/06/05       (S)       NR: THERRIAULT, ELTON, HUGGINS, DAVIS                                                                  
04/06/05       (S)       DP: WAGONER                                                                                            
04/06/05       (S)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER JUD                                                                           
04/18/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/18/05       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/12/06       (S)       JUD RPT CS  5DP           NEW TITLE                                                                    
04/12/06       (S)       DP:    SEEKINS,   FRENCH,    THERRIAULT,                                                               
                         HUGGINS, GUESS                                                                                         
04/12/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/12/06       (S)       Moved CSSB 134(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/12/06       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/13/06       (S)       FIN REFERRAL WAIVED                                                                                    
04/20/06       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
04/20/06       (S)       VERSION: CSSB 134(JUD)                                                                                 
04/21/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/21/06       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
05/02/06       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SCOTT NORDSTRAND, Commissioner                                                                                                  
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during  the oversight hearing from                                                               
the  department,  regarding  the state  health  plan  procurement                                                               
SENATOR CON BUNDY                                                                                                               
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SB 134 as sponsor.                                                                              
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR  PAUL  SEATON  called  the  House  State  Affairs  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order at  8:06:58  AM.    Representatives                                                             
Gatto, Elkins, Lynn, Ramras, Gardner,  and Seaton were present at                                                               
the  call to  order.   Representative  Gruenberg  arrived as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
^DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION, DIVISION OF ELECTIONS FOLLOW-UP                                                                
8:07:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  reviewed the  answers to  questions related  to the                                                               
Division of Elections oversight held on a previous day.                                                                         
8:10:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTO  expressed   gratitude  for   the  answers                                                               
provided by  the division,  but said  he still  wants to  know if                                                               
there  is some  way that  somebody could  cheat by  duplicating a                                                               
card used in the voting machines.                                                                                               
8:11:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  asked Representative Gatto to  remember that voters                                                               
sign in, thus  the number of voters is recorded.   He thanked the                                                               
division for getting back to committee with answers.                                                                            
^OVERSIGHT HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
^DEPARTMENT  OF  ADMINISTRATION  STATE  HEALTH  PLAN  PROCUREMENT                                                             
8:12:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  announced that the  next order of business  was the                                                               
Oversight  Hearing for  the  Department  of Administration  State                                                               
Health Plan Procurement Procedure.                                                                                              
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the committee may  go into executive                                                               
session during this hearing.                                                                                                    
8:13:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS stated  his opposition  to the  oversight.                                                               
He  said he  doesn't  understand  why it  is  being brought  back                                                               
before the  House when  it has already  been before  both bodies.                                                               
He stated:                                                                                                                      
     I  have a  problem with  the  fact that  this is  under                                                                    
     appeal, and  I just don't  think we should  be involved                                                                    
     in it.   I  also believe  that the  Alaska Constitution                                                                    
     prohibits  the  legislature  from  interfering  in  the                                                                    
     contract, and  in this case  by holding  these hearings                                                                    
     ..., I  think we're treading  on ground that  we should                                                                    
      be [on] ....  I just want that a part of the record,                                                                      
     because I think that this is not a good idea.                                                                              
8:14:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  asked Representative  Elkins if  he would                                                               
still maintain his objection if  the committee does not intend to                                                               
take any action,  but just hears the issue in  an effort to learn                                                               
about the process.                                                                                                              
8:14:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS indicated that he would.                                                                                  
8:14:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT  NORDSTRAND,  Commissioner, Department  of  Administration,                                                               
announced his availability to discuss  the issues surrounding the                                                               
third-party administrator contract for the state health plans.                                                                  
8:15:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS stated  his  understanding  that Aetna  is                                                               
appealing, and he asked Mr.  Nordstrand where the state stands in                                                               
the appeal process.                                                                                                             
8:15:55 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER NORDSTRAND  responded that there has  been a protest                                                               
by  Aetna  over  the outcome  of  the  RFP.    He said,  "It  was                                                               
initially appealed  to a procurement  officer."  That  appeal was                                                               
denied, and  now it  has been assigned  by an  administrative law                                                               
judge in  the Department of  Administration.  He said  because of                                                               
his involvement in  "trying to resolve the issue that  came up in                                                               
the process," he  recused himself as the final  decision maker in                                                               
"this  particular  administrative  process."     He  offered  his                                                               
understanding that  the final  decision will  be issued  by Judge                                                               
Kennedy by May  15.  If any  of the parties are  not pleased with                                                               
the  outcome of  the final  administrative order,  he said,  then                                                               
there would  be a process of  an appeal to the  [Alaska] Superior                                                               
Court and,  ultimately, to the  [Alaska] Supreme Court,  which he                                                               
said could take up to two and one half years.                                                                                   
8:17:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS said  he doesn't want to  "get into another                                                               
one of  those Sheffield things"  that happened a few  years back.                                                               
He asked  Commissioner Nordstrand,  "Do you feel  comfortable ...                                                               
that the  legislature's kind  of bouncing  around the  outside of                                                               
this whole process, around the edges?"                                                                                          
8:18:01 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER NORDSTRAND responded:                                                                                              
     Certainly  I understand  that  the  legislature has  an                                                                    
     oversight function.  This is  a very important decision                                                                    
     for the  state; changing the  third-party administrator                                                                    
     is no  small choice.   We believe  we went  through the                                                                    
     process in an appropriate way.   We are required ... by                                                                    
     statute    -   it's    unique   ...    to   third-party                                                                    
     administrators - ... to put it out to bid.                                                                                 
     ...  In  terms of  comfortableness,  ...  we're in  the                                                                    
     process of litigation.  I  can tell you that every time                                                                    
     that I  come and  speak to  the legislature  about this                                                                    
     topic, it  is transcribed,  it is  sent to  the lawyers                                                                    
     involved, it is used in  the process of litigation, ...                                                                    
     my comments to the  Senate Labor and Commerce Committee                                                                    
     are now memorialized, to some  degree, in the briefing,                                                                    
     which now  was filed on Friday.   So, ... I  have to be                                                                    
     cognizant of  that, but I also  want to be open  to the                                                                    
     committee and  let you  know what I  know, so  that you                                                                    
     can fulfill your oversight function.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS   said,  "I  just  feel   that  ...  we're                                                               
injecting   politics   in  the   process,   and   ...  I'm   real                                                               
uncomfortable with that."                                                                                                       
The committee took an at-ease from 8:19:53 AM to 8:23:42 AM.                                                                
8:25:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked for a motion to go into executive session.                                                                   
8:25:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved and  asked for  unanimous consent                                                               
for  the committee  to go  into  executive session  to discuss  a                                                               
matter  relating to  a bidding  process and  the finances  of the                                                               
State  of  Alaska concerning  health  care  contracts, which  may                                                               
involve potential litigation, and  for designated witnesses to be                                                               
present and bound by confidentiality.                                                                                           
CHAIR SEATON asked if there was any objection to the motion.                                                                    
8:26:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER asked that  designated staff be allowed to                                                               
remain in the room, under the same confidentiality agreement.                                                                   
8:26:48 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON noted that there was  no objection.  He listed those                                                               
who would remain  in the room:  the House  State Affairs Standing                                                               
Committee members,  Representative Guttenberg,  Scott Nordstrand,                                                               
Melanie Millhorn, Vern Jones, and  legislative staff Louis Flora,                                                               
Iris Matthews, Cody Rice, Ann Peskoe, and Jane Pierson.                                                                         
The committee  took an at-ease from  8:29:01 AM to 9:49:49  AM in                                                           
order to hold executive session.                                                                                                
9:49:50 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON called  the committee back to order  and stated that                                                               
after the executive  session he is now more  comfortable with the                                                               
procedures that the state is following.                                                                                         
SB 134-POLICE INVESTIGATION STANDARDS/ARRESTS                                                                                 
9:51:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  announced that  the last order  of business  was CS                                                               
FOR  SENATE  BILL NO.  134(JUD),  "An  Act  relating to  a  pilot                                                               
project  to  review  and   investigate  certain  complaints  from                                                               
victims of sexual assault in the  first degree or sexual abuse of                                                               
a  minor  in  the  first degree  concerning  actions  of  justice                                                               
9:51:22 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:51:57 AM to 9:52:13 AM.                                                                
9:52:18 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR CON  BUNDY, Alaska State  Legislature, introduced  SB 134                                                               
as sponsor.   He  said the  bill is a  response to  a constituent                                                               
who,  after being  a victim  of  a sexual  assault, couldn't  get                                                               
his/her  calls returned  "or even  communication  with the  local                                                               
police department."   Senator Bundy  stated that  the unfortunate                                                               
result of  that is that  victims are victimized again  and suffer                                                               
from  thinking that  their  experience "was  not  held in  enough                                                               
serious regard by our system."   He indicated that the reason for                                                               
the  lack of  communication may  have  been that  the police  are                                                               
human and  make mistakes, or that  "they have the press  of other                                                               
business."   He said victims  who go through this  experience are                                                               
even less likely  to report the crime, because  they may question                                                               
why they should  go through the torture if they  are not going to                                                               
be taken seriously.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  BUNDY said,  "SB  134 seeks  to  make the  investigative                                                               
process  easier and  more thorough  for sexual  abuse and  sexual                                                               
assault  victims by  providing another  place for  them to  go if                                                               
communication with  law enforcement hasn't been  successful."  He                                                               
said  he  worked closely  with  the  Department  of Law  and  the                                                               
Department of Public  Safety on the bill.  He  stated that to his                                                               
knowledge  "all  the  departments and  organizations  support  SB
134."   He  explained that  the bill  would allow  the Office  of                                                               
Victims' Rights  (OVR) to intercede  on behalf of a  sexual abuse                                                               
or  assault   victim,  if   the  victim   contacts  OVR   in  the                                                               
investigation or reporting stage of  prosecuting a sex crime.  He                                                               
said the  bill requires that  the investigative complaint  be the                                                               
result of  a major crime,  either unclassified sexual  assault or                                                               
unclassified abuse of a minor.                                                                                                  
SENATOR BUNDY  said the bill sets  up a pilot program  that would                                                               
end in  September 2008, and he  explained the reason for  using a                                                               
pilot  program   is  that  although  the   problem  addressed  is                                                               
widespread and only  the tip of the iceberg has  been seen, it is                                                               
not yet known how intensive the  program will be.  He stated that                                                               
the bill has the support of both urban and rural communities.                                                                   
9:55:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BUNDY related  that the  bill would  allow OVR  the same                                                               
rights  and responsibilities  while  handling these  cases as  it                                                               
does when  the case goes to  court.  The big  difference would be                                                               
that the  bill would  allow OVR to  look into  the investigation,                                                               
rather than waiting until there is  a charge and the case ends up                                                               
in  court.   He stated,  "We don't  charge any  organization with                                                               
setting  standards   for  police  investigations;   however,  the                                                               
attorneys for  OVR are charged  with determining if  there's been                                                               
negligence  in  the investigation,  and  then  will go  about  in                                                               
assisting their  victim."   Senator Bundy described  SB 134  as a                                                               
"simple and common sense bill,"  and he asked for the committee's                                                               
support of it.                                                                                                                  
9:56:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  moved to  adopt CSSB  134(JUD) as  the work                                                               
draft.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                            
9:58:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   BUNDY,  in   response   to  an   observation  made   by                                                               
Representative  Gatto, explained  that the  Senate State  Affairs                                                               
Standing  Committee  version  contained language  that  "was  not                                                               
enthusiastically supported by law enforcement."   He added, "They                                                               
didn't  want  the  activity  that   was  called  for  that  would                                                               
basically pull the  certification of an officer who  messed up an                                                               
9:58:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  told Representative  Gatto  that  there are  three                                                               
fiscal notes  in the committee  packet from the  Senate Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             
9:58:56 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BUNDY noted that they are zero fiscal notes.                                                                            
9:59:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  stated that  he thinks SB  134 is  a great                                                               
bill that recognizes an important problem.                                                                                      
9:59:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON,  after  ascertaining  that there  was  no  one  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
9:59:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS  moved  to  report CSSB  134(JUD)  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSSB  134(JUD)  was                                                               
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at                                                                       
10:00:19 AM.                                                                                                                  

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