Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 106

02/27/2014 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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08:08:04 AM Start
08:08:06 AM Confirmation Hearing(s)|| Department of Administration
08:37:26 AM Department of Public Safety
08:50:59 AM HB127
09:47:24 AM HJR24
09:54:01 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
- Commissioner Curtis Thayer, Dept. of
Administration
- Commissioner Gary Folger, Dept. of Public
Safety
*+ HJR 24 ARCTIC COUNCIL TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 24(STA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 127 OMBUDSMAN TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                       February 27, 2014                                                                                        
                           8:08 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bob Lynn, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Wes Keller, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Lynn Gattis                                                                                                      
Representative Shelley Hughes                                                                                                   
Representative Doug Isaacson                                                                                                    
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Department of Administration                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Curtis Thayer - Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Gary Folger - Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 127                                                                                                              
"An Act clarifying  that the Alaska Bar Association  is an agency                                                               
for  purposes of  investigations  by the  ombudsman; relating  to                                                               
compensation of the  ombudsman and to employment of  staff by the                                                               
ombudsman  under  personal   service  contracts;  providing  that                                                               
certain records  of communications  between the ombudsman  and an                                                               
agency  are not  public  records; relating  to  disclosure by  an                                                               
agency to  the ombudsman of  communications subject  to attorney-                                                               
client   and  attorney   work-product  privileges;   relating  to                                                               
informal  and  formal  reports of  opinions  and  recommendations                                                               
issued  by  the  ombudsman;  relating to  the  privilege  of  the                                                               
ombudsman not  to testify  and creating  a privilege  under which                                                               
the  ombudsman is  not required  to  disclose certain  documents;                                                               
relating  to   procedures  for  procurement  by   the  ombudsman;                                                               
relating  to  the definition  of  'agency'  for purposes  of  the                                                               
Ombudsman Act  and providing jurisdiction  of the  ombudsman over                                                               
persons providing certain services to  the state by contract; and                                                               
amending Rules 501 and 503, Alaska Rules of Evidence."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 24                                                                                                   
Urging  the United  States Department  of State  to consider  the                                                               
priorities of the  state while it holds the position  of chair of                                                               
the Arctic Council; requesting that  the United States Department                                                               
of State  work in partnership  with state officials to  appoint a                                                               
chair  of  the  Arctic  Council;  and  supporting  the  strategic                                                               
recommendations of  the January  30, 2014, preliminary  report of                                                               
the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHJR 24(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 127                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OMBUDSMAN                                                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/18/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/13       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
03/12/13       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/12/13       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/12/13       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/21/13       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/21/13       (H)       <Bill Hearing Rescheduled to 3/26/13>                                                                  
03/26/13       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/26/13       (H)       Heard & Held; Assigned to Subcommittee                                                                 
03/26/13       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/07/14       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/07/14       (H)       Work Session on above Bill                                                                             
02/25/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/25/14       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/25/14       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/27/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 24                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ARCTIC COUNCIL                                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): HERRON                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
01/29/14       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/29/14       (H)       STA                                                                                                    
02/27/14       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CURTIS THAYER, Commissioner                                                                                                     
Department of Administration (DOA)                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified as  appointee to the  position of                                                             
commissioner of the Department of Administration.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
GARY FOLGER, Commissioner                                                                                                       
Department of Public Safety (DPS)                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified as  appointee to the  position of                                                             
commissioner to the Department of Public Safety.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
AL BARRETTE                                                                                                                     
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Expressed his good  opinion of Commissioner                                                             
Folger  -  appointee  to  the position  of  commissioner  to  the                                                               
Department of Public Safety.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA LORD-JENKINS, Ombudsman                                                                                                   
Office of the Ombudsman                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 127.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
KATE BURKHART, Executive Director                                                                                               
Alaska Mental Health Board (AMHB)                                                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  in response  to  the  proposed                                                             
Amendment 1 to HB 127, Version G.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BETH LEIBOWITZ, Assistant Ombudsman                                                                                             
Office of the Ombudsman                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information  during the  hearing on                                                             
HB 127.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
LAURA MCKENZIE, Director                                                                                                        
Quality Improvement and Risk Management                                                                                         
North Star Behavioral Health (NSBH)                                                                                             
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  in  support  of  the  proposed                                                             
Amendment 1 to HB 127, Version G.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
KAREN PERDUE, President/CEO                                                                                                     
Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA)                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in  support of Amendment 1  to HB                                                             
127, Version G.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
TOM CHARD, Director                                                                                                             
Alaska Behavioral Health Association (ABHA)                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in  support of Amendment 1  to HB                                                             
127, Version G.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BOB HERRON                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented HJR 24.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:08:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BOB LYNN called the  House State Affairs Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order at 8:08  a.m.  Representatives Keller, Isaacson,                                                               
Gattis,  Hughes, Kreiss-Tomkins,  and  Lynn were  present at  the                                                               
call to  order.   Representative Millett  arrived as  the meeting                                                               
was in progress.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                        
^Department of Administration                                                                                                   
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                
                  Department of Administration                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:08:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  announced  the  first  order  of  business  was  the                                                               
appointment of Curtis  Thayer to the position  of commissioner of                                                               
the Department of Administration.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:08:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CURTIS THAYER, Commissioner,  Department of Administration (DOA),                                                               
as appointee  to the  position of commissioner  of DOA,  told the                                                               
committee  that  he  was  appointed  as  acting  commissioner  in                                                               
December  of  [2013]; prior  to  that  he  served as  the  deputy                                                               
commissioner of the  department for approximately 18  months.  He                                                               
said as  deputy commissioner, he  was responsible for  the direct                                                               
oversight  of:   the Division  of Administrative  Services (DAS),                                                               
the  Division of  General Services  (DGS), Enterprise  Technology                                                               
Services  (ETS),  the Division  of  Personnel  & Labor  Relations                                                               
(DPLR), and  the Division of  Motor Vehicles  (DMV).  He  said he                                                               
also had  oversight of [Public Communication  Services] (PCS) and                                                               
the Alaska Oil  and Gas Conservation Commission  (AOGCC), as well                                                               
as assisting with legislative liaison duties.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   THAYER  said   prior   to  that   he  served   for                                                               
approximately two and  half years, at the  governor's request, as                                                               
the   deputy  commissioner   to  the   Department  of   Commerce,                                                               
Community,  and Economic  Development (DCCED),  and in  that role                                                               
had  the   direct  oversight  of   the  Division  of   Banking  &                                                               
Securities, the  Division of Insurance, the  Division of Economic                                                               
Development,   the  Division   of  Corporations,   Business,  and                                                               
Professional  Licensing,  and  the   Division  of  Community  and                                                               
Regional Affairs.   Further, he  relayed he served on  the Alaska                                                               
Housing   Finance   Corporation   (AHFC),  the   Alaska   Gasline                                                               
Development  Corporation  (AGDC),  the Alaska  Seafood  Marketing                                                               
Institute (ASMI), and the Alaska  Royalty Oil and Gas Development                                                               
Advisory  Board.    He  said  he also  served  as  the  governor-                                                               
appointed chair of  the Board of Marine Pilots for  the last four                                                               
years.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  THAYER  said prior  to  state  service he  was  the                                                               
director  of corporate  and external  affairs for  ENSTAR Natural                                                               
Gas  Company,  where  he  managed  customer  service  credit  and                                                               
marketing  departments  and  was responsible  for  the  company's                                                               
state and federal  government relations.  He said  prior to that,                                                               
he  worked with  the "Alaska  gasline producers'  pipeline team,"                                                               
which he indicated involved work  with "BP, Exxon, and Phillips."                                                               
Prior to that,  he spent seven years working  for Congressman Don                                                               
Young in  various capacities and with  Senators [Frank] Murkowski                                                               
and Ted Stevens.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER THAYER  said he was born  and raised in Alaska.   He                                                               
noted  the   schools  he  attended.     He   mentioned  community                                                               
involvement,  including service  on the  board of  Abused Women's                                                               
Aid in  Crisis, Inc.,  and work with  "Arctic Power"  and various                                                               
civil  organizations.    He  relayed  that he  was  at  one  time                                                               
recognized as  on the  "top forty  under forty."   He said  he is                                                               
married and has one son.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:12:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  asked Commissioner Thayer to  talk about                                                               
what he has  done so far as commissioner and  how he can envision                                                               
doing "more with less" in administration.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:12:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  THAYER noted  that the  former commissioner,  Becky                                                               
Hultberg, left  the department having  managed it well.   He said                                                               
the  department  is "a  cost  center  for  the  state"; it  is  a                                                               
customer   service  related   organization  that   also  provides                                                               
information technology  and general  services to  the state.   He                                                               
said that last  year, with a focus on  efficiency, the department                                                               
instituted space  standards and identified where  it believes the                                                               
state  can  save  over  $125  million in  building  leases.    He                                                               
explained  that the  three  areas  where costs  can  be cut  are:                                                               
programs, people, and  space.  He said he thinks  the first place                                                               
to look  is the space  that the state owns  and leases.   He said                                                               
the state owns about 1.6 million  square feet of office space and                                                               
leases over  2 million square feet.   The cost ranges  from $1 to                                                               
$3.75 a  square foot.   Another area considered for  cost cutting                                                               
is in information  technology (IT).  He said the  State of Alaska                                                               
spends over  $200 million on  IT statewide.  He  said [Enterprise                                                               
Technology Services  (ETS)] has  a budget  of about  $46 million,                                                               
and  the  department needs  to  work  with other  departments  to                                                               
figure  out where  the savings  are.   He mentioned  "the cloud,"                                                               
created by ETS.  He  said currently the department has facilities                                                               
with disaster recovery backup power  in Anchorage and Juneau, but                                                               
there are 150 "IT closets" throughout  the state that do not have                                                               
backup power or disaster recovery  capability.  He indicated that                                                               
moving towards  that will save the  state money in the  long run.                                                               
He related  that DMV needed  $900,000 to upgrade its  servers and                                                               
found it could save $100,000 by moving to a cloud environment.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER THAYER said  the department is also  looking at five                                                               
labor contract negotiations.  He  said the department wants to be                                                               
fair  to state  employees, but  asks them  to realize  the budget                                                               
environment.  He said last  year the department was successful in                                                               
putting a cap on leave,  increasing mandatory usage, establishing                                                               
new leave  accrual for new  employees, and buying down  the merit                                                               
in  salaries.   He  said  he  is continuing  former  Commissioner                                                               
Hultberg's work in looking for  money-saving efficiencies for the                                                               
state.   He said  another area  to consider  is health  care; the                                                               
state spends $600  million on its retirees  and active employees.                                                               
He said  a new contract has  been negotiated and the  state has a                                                               
new  third-party vendor.   He  indicated that  because the  state                                                               
does not have "double-digit growth,"  it cannot afford to sustain                                                               
that [expense].  The state  is working with Aetna Inc. ("Aetna"),                                                               
the third-party provider,  to figure out how to  keep its current                                                               
care plans  as they are while  controlling the cost of  them.  He                                                               
concluded that the  department is doing that and hopes  to have a                                                               
large savings next year.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:17:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON  noted that  both DOA and  the Department                                                               
of  Transportation &  Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF) manage  public                                                               
facilities,  and  he  asked  Commissioner   Thayer  if  he  could                                                               
envision  savings to  the state  by  centralizing one  department                                                               
with the  oversight and management  of all facilities,  and which                                                               
department would be the best single choice.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:17:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER THAYER said the Division  of General Services (DGS),                                                               
under DOA, manages 450 leases,  plus office space, which together                                                               
total 4  million square feet;  DOT&PF manages its  own buildings,                                                               
which is  approximately 400,000  square feet.   He said  DGS does                                                               
not oversee warehousing, public restrooms,  or public cabins.  He                                                               
said  DOT&PF is  building the  State Library  and Archive  Museum                                                               
(SLAM) and  will turn the  running of it over  to DOA when  it is                                                               
completed.   He explained that  DOT&PF is the contractor  and DOA                                                               
is  the operator.   He  mentioned work  being done  on "the  Nome                                                               
building," which  will be another  collaboration between  DOA and                                                               
DOT&PF.  He  said he would not  be a good manager  of a warehouse                                                               
for DOT&PF, and  he suggested that DOT&PF may  not want oversight                                                               
of the  Atwood building,  for example.   He  said DGS  is staffed                                                               
with  50  dedicated  people  who  operate the  450  leases.    He                                                               
concluded, "But there's always room to  talk and look to see what                                                               
has the right ownership for buildings."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:19:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER recalled  the aforementioned  $600 million                                                               
spent on health care, and  he said that makes Commissioner Thayer                                                               
the  administrator  of  a  large   segment  of  the  health  care                                                               
purchasing in  Alaska.  He  asked Commissioner Thayer  to confirm                                                               
he said  he is  looking to  Aetna in  coming up  with a  model to                                                               
address  the issue.   He  said former  Commissioner Hultberg  had                                                               
worked with  the Alaska Health  Care Commission (AHCC),  on which                                                               
he  said he  serves, and  he said  AHCC sees  the rising  cost of                                                               
health care as a huge problem.   He expressed hope that DOA would                                                               
come up  with several models  for the legislature to  consider to                                                               
counterbalance  the  declining  revenue  and  obligatory  [health                                                               
coverage of retirees] that loom in  the future.  He said he would                                                               
not want to rely solely on a  contractor to come up with a model,                                                               
because  a  contractor  would  not  "have  a  dog  in  the  fight                                                               
firsthand."  He  asked Commissioner Thayer if work  is being done                                                               
to come up with possible models.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:21:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  THAYER  clarified  that  the  State  of  Alaska  is                                                               
responsible for  $600 million  worth of health  claims.   He said                                                               
after  a recent  request for  proposal (RFP)  process, Aetna  was                                                               
chosen  as the  State of  Alaska's third-party  administrator for                                                               
its health plan.   He said Aetna changed the  pricing of Alaska's                                                               
network to reflect a potential savings  of $50 million - a number                                                               
that the  state's actuaries  believe is possible  to attain.   He                                                               
said  Aetna has  over  17  million covered  lives  in the  United                                                               
States, as  well as some of  the largest companies in  Alaska.  A                                                               
provider need only  ask to be one of Aetna's  network doctors and                                                               
a contract  negotiation is  made.  He  indicated that  in Juneau,                                                               
more [providers]  have signed  up with the  Aetna network  in six                                                               
weeks  than  had during  four  years  under HealthSmart  Holding,                                                               
Inc.,   ("HealthSmart")  [the   State  of   Alaska's  third-party                                                               
administrator prior  to Aetna].  He  said part of the  reason for                                                               
that is that  doctors know that if they are  in the network, then                                                               
that will increase the volume of patients.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  THAYER talked  about other  ways to  bend the  cost                                                               
curve  down.   He said  Alaska Regional  Hospital is  a preferred                                                               
facility,  which  gives the  state  a  larger discount  the  more                                                               
employees  choose the  facility.   Another way  for the  state to                                                               
save money  is for  its health care  participants to  use generic                                                               
drugs over brand  name drugs.  Nevertheless, because  Aetna is so                                                               
large, a State  of Alaska employee can opt to  travel to the Mayo                                                               
Clinic in  Rochester, New York,  because it is covered  under the                                                               
health plan.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  clarified  that  he is  not  speaking  on                                                               
behalf of  AHCC.  He  opined that the  answer to the  health care                                                               
crisis  is for  people  to become  increasingly  aware how  their                                                               
money is  spent in  the operating  market.   He recalled  the $50                                                               
million potential  cost savings.   He asked  Commissioner Thayer,                                                               
"Does that  include any  kind of a  position or  direction toward                                                               
the all payers  claims database, maybe toward  proposing a health                                                               
savings account  as a new  health plan  in the state  or anything                                                               
like  that that  ...  directly addresses  the  engagement of  the                                                               
market?"                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:24:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER THAYER  answered that with  regard to Aetna  and how                                                               
the  state  is  applying  that  contract,  "it  does  not."    He                                                               
continued:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Because right now it is  the existing system we have as                                                                    
     far as  the retirement plan [of]  our active employees.                                                                    
     That  is  another  ...  segment  that  we  are  working                                                                    
     towards  and achieving,  because we  ... understand  we                                                                    
     have to  change market dynamics  and also help  get the                                                                    
     consumer  more involved  in the  price of  their health                                                                    
     care.  But  the $50 million in the Aetna  piece is just                                                                    
     our  $600  million  that  we do  yearly.    That  other                                                                    
     component is still ongoing.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  THAYER,  in  response   to  a  follow-up  question,                                                               
confirmed that DOA is focused on this issue.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:25:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN   offered  his  understanding  that   it  is  general                                                               
knowledge that generic and brand-name  drugs are exactly the same                                                               
in  content,  if not  appearance.    He  asked  if DOA  is  still                                                               
investigating the situation in which  state employees are able to                                                               
[get] brand-name drugs instead of generic ones.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  THAYER answered  that DOA  is better  able to  work                                                               
with its  active employees and steer  them to generic drugs.   He                                                               
said the department wants to  have further conversations with the                                                               
retirees,  because  "there  isn't  the incentive  to  drive  them                                                               
towards  generic  as  opposed  to  brand name,  and  that  is  an                                                               
extremely large cost  of the retiree health care plan."   He said                                                               
one issue with the retirees' plan  is that if the State of Alaska                                                               
delves into  it too  far, it feels  the repercussion  from 65,000                                                               
retirees who say,  "This is a diminishment to our  benefits."  He                                                               
continued as follows:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     We've  tried to  improve their  plan, but  at the  same                                                                    
     time, obviously  we ...  need to sit  down and  talk to                                                                    
     them  about   changes  to  their  plan,   because  they                                                                    
     themselves  have asked  for preventative  care; they've                                                                    
     asked  for vaccines  and immunizations,  which are  not                                                                    
     covered  by their  health care  plan;  they would  like                                                                    
     coverage  for dependents  up to  age 26,  which is  not                                                                    
     part of their  plan; and there's a  $2 million lifetime                                                                    
     maximum coverage.   Well, if you're  an active employee                                                                    
     ... under  the Affordable Care  Act there is  no limit.                                                                    
     So,   there   are   some   limitations   that   they're                                                                    
     grandfathered in, but they come at  a cost.  And so, we                                                                    
     would  like to  enter into  a dialog,  that if  there's                                                                    
     some enhancements  to the program, there's  some issues                                                                    
     with the program like driving  -- you know, if they can                                                                    
     drive more  people to  generic drugs  - like  you said,                                                                    
     there's no difference in them,  but there's a savings -                                                                    
     maybe  there's a  benefit  they would  like  to add  to                                                                    
     their plan, and  it will offset.  We don't  want to see                                                                    
     a diminishment;  what we  want to see  is just  kind of                                                                    
     updating their plan, because it's  an old plan and some                                                                    
     of their components are old.   Their deductible's $150.                                                                    
     There's been cost-of-living  increases to retirees, but                                                                    
     the  deductible is  $150.   Is that  something that  we                                                                    
     should look  at?  Right  now most deductibles  are $500                                                                    
     and  I'm not  proposing  $500 at  the  table; I'm  just                                                                    
     saying there's  some areas that if  that ... deductible                                                                    
     went   up  a   little  bit,   maybe  we   could  afford                                                                    
     immunizations  and put  that into  the  plan; maybe  we                                                                    
     could ... look at raising  the dependents to 26.  There                                                                    
     just  needs  to be  some  offsets,  and those  are  the                                                                    
     conversations, but  there are  65,000 of them  and they                                                                    
     all have  an opinion,  as I've  learned from  my e-mail                                                                    
     this week.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:28:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  referred to  Commissioner Thayer's                                                               
resume and asked what he was doing between 1996 and 2000.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER THAYER said he was  [working for] Representative Don                                                               
Young, not only in Washington, D.C., but also in Alaska.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS said,  "Political and  legislative                                                               
sides."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER THAYER said yes.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:28:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTIS  expressed appreciation  for  Commissioner                                                               
Thayer's consideration  of possible  efficiencies for  the state.                                                               
She asked  him to speak  to the issue  of customer service.   She                                                               
said  her constituents  are concerned  that  state employees  are                                                               
"not reacting  to the  customer service that  they would  like to                                                               
see on the front levels."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:29:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  THAYER  said  public service  is  customer  service                                                               
oriented.  He said his management  style is to hire "good people"                                                               
who he can be trusted to be loyal  and, in turn, can trust him to                                                               
support  them in  their  work.   He said  phone  calls should  be                                                               
returned.   He  said  he  hears from  employees  at midnight  and                                                               
responds to them.   He expressed his hope  that improvements will                                                               
be continued  to be seen in,  for example, DMV.   He talked about                                                               
working  hard  last year  on  labor  relations, and  he  received                                                               
feedback  from people  in the  union that  the negotiations  were                                                               
good.   He said  he will not  ask anyone to  do anything  that he                                                               
would not be willing to do  himself.  He said corrective coaching                                                               
will be given when necessary.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:31:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES noted  that Commissioner Thayer's biography                                                               
indicates  he  is  simultaneously   deputy  commissioner  of  the                                                               
Department of Commerce, Community  & Economic Development (DCCED)                                                               
and DOA, and she asked him to confirm that is not the case.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:32:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  THAYER   responded  that  he  is   not  the  deputy                                                               
commissioner  of   DCCED,  but  is  "double   dipping  as  deputy                                                               
commissioner and commissioner right now" of DOA.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:32:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  asked if  the retention policies  of state                                                               
agencies fall under the purview of the commissioner of DOA.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  THAYER answered  that each  department has  its own                                                               
retention policy.   Through Enterprise Technology  Services there                                                               
is  e-mail history,  which DOA  retains statewide.   He  said DOA                                                               
does  "deletions   that  it  normally   would  do   according  to                                                               
retention," unless the Department of  Law (DOL) puts a legal hold                                                               
on the information.   He said DOA has its  own retention policies                                                               
in  regard  to  paperwork  in,   for  example,  the  Division  of                                                               
Personnel and the Division of Finance.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES said  she is  not sure  the last  time the                                                               
retention policy has  been addressed.  She  said she participated                                                               
in  an   unmanned  aircraft  task   force  recently,   where  the                                                               
Department of  Public Safety expressed  the need for  the state's                                                               
retention policy to be addressed.   She talked about the ability,                                                               
with new  technology, for information  to "get out there"  on the                                                               
federal  level.    She  ventured DOA  would  be  the  appropriate                                                               
department to address the issue.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:35:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER THAYER  replied that  he is  not opposed  to working                                                               
with  individual departments  on  retention.   He said  retention                                                               
policies usually  involve the state  Archives, and  he questioned                                                               
what the retention policy is for Archives and who upholds it.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   HUGHES   predicted   that  with   higher   image                                                               
resolution,  the need  for storage  space is  going to  grow, and                                                               
there is  a cost  involved in  storage.   She encouraged  care be                                                               
given to  things that  need to  be retained,  and said  she would                                                               
appreciate Commissioner Thayer's attention to that issue.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER THAYER  said he understood  and would look  into the                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:36:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced that public  testimony on the appointment of                                                               
Curtis Thayer to  the position of commissioner  of the Department                                                               
of Administration was closed.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:36:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to  forward  the  name  of  Curtis                                                               
Thayer,  appointee  to  the  position   of  commissioner  of  the                                                               
Department of Administration,  to the joint session  of the House                                                               
and  Senate for  confirmation.   There  being  no objection,  the                                                               
confirmation of Curtis  Thayer was advanced from  the House State                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
^Department of Public Safety                                                                                                    
                  Department of Public Safety                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:37:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  announced  the  next   order  of  business  was  the                                                               
appointment of  Gary Folger  to the  position of  commissioner of                                                               
the Department of Public Safety.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:37:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GARY  FOLGER,   Commissioner,  testified  as  appointee   to  the                                                               
position  of  commissioner to  the  Department  of Public  Safety                                                               
(DPS).  He said  he was brought up in Cantwell,  in two worlds: a                                                               
traditional Alaska Native home and  Western culture.  He said the                                                               
transition between the  two worlds was easy for him.   He related                                                               
a time when, as  a small boy, he saw an  Alaska State Trooper for                                                               
the first time, and was told  by his grandmother that the trooper                                                               
was "the  muscle."  He  told of a trooper  he met when  the Parks                                                               
Highway was  built, and said  he is  since retired but  remains a                                                               
friend.   He quipped that  after receiving a speeding  ticket, he                                                               
thought it  was "better  to give  than to  receive."   He related                                                               
that in  1979, he "started  out in  this department" as  a summer                                                               
helper  in "this  department"; in  1981, he  participated in  the                                                               
trooper academy and was stationed  in Fairbanks; in 1991, he went                                                               
to King Salmon, after learning how  to fly airplanes; in 1998, he                                                               
transferred  to Juneau  as  a Southeast  commander;  in 2001,  he                                                               
transferred  to Fairbanks  as the  Northern Alaska  commander; in                                                               
2007, he  had the honor  of becoming  the director of  the Alaska                                                               
Wildlife Troopers,  which included starting the  division back up                                                               
after the  merger was undone; in  May of 2013, after  32 years of                                                               
service, he  retired.  He  said he considers  it a high  honor to                                                               
have  been   asked  by  Governor   Sean  Parnell  to   return  as                                                               
commissioner.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:40:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FOLGER  characterized   himself  as  a  situational                                                               
leader.   He stated  that the  department is  "steeped in  a very                                                               
proud tradition,"  and he would  be autocratic, in that  he would                                                               
"hold the  rules, regulation, and laws."   He said he  would also                                                               
be open  to change  or "a  better way of  doing business  when it                                                               
makes sense."   He said his  door is always open,  and he accepts                                                               
criticism  well, seeks  wisdom  and understanding,  and is  never                                                               
afraid  to apologize.   He  added  that he  is one  of the  first                                                               
people to take  a stand when it  is "the right thing to  do."  He                                                               
emphasized  that  the   best  part  of  the   department  is  its                                                               
employees.   He said  he has  witnessed countless  occasions when                                                               
individuals  have served  beyond  the  call of  duty,  and he  is                                                               
honored to call  all employees of the department  his friends and                                                               
coworkers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:41:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FOLGER  relayed his plans in  leading the department                                                               
include:  installing  a sense among personnel that  they work for                                                               
the   public,  earning   and   obtaining   the  public's   trust;                                                               
encouraging  employees to  do  everything to  the  best of  their                                                               
abilities; and  asking employees  to be  professionals.   He said                                                               
there  are  challenges  ahead.     With  declining  revenue,  the                                                               
department  must become  more  efficient,  while maintaining  its                                                               
overall effectiveness.   He  said DPS has  an ongoing  mission of                                                               
providing public safety  combined with fiduciary responsibilities                                                               
to citizens.  He indicated  that providing rural law enforcement,                                                               
even to the  smallest community, is a huge challenge  that can be                                                               
met by  partnering with  state, federal,  and local  programs for                                                               
the  benefit of  Alaskans.   He stated  that this  undertaking is                                                               
where  his  focus  will  be.   Commissioner  Folger  stated,  "In                                                               
closing, I  want to offer  my services to  you.  After  all, it's                                                               
your  department,  too."   He  said  he  has  32 years  with  the                                                               
department, which is  almost all of this adult life.   He said he                                                               
does  not even  begin to  know all  the answers,  but said  "as a                                                               
team, we can  go forward."  He paraphrased a  quote attributed to                                                               
Edmond Burke, as follows:  "The  only necessary thing for evil to                                                               
triumph is that good men do nothing."   He stated he is not going                                                               
to let evil triumph; he plans to be "the muscle."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:43:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AL BARRETTE  expressed thanks to  Commissioner Folger for  his 32                                                               
years of service  in the protection of wildlife.   He said he met                                                               
Commissioner Folger  when he  was a lieutenant  in charge  of the                                                               
Interior, and  Commissioner Folger mentored him  in understanding                                                               
the  fish and  wildlife laws  of  Alaska.   He said  Commissioner                                                               
Folger  and his  staff  spent many  hours  in Fairbanks  advisory                                                               
meetings.   He  said  the man  is helpful;  "his  door is  always                                                               
open."  He indicated that  Commissioner Folger exemplifies what a                                                               
wildlife trooper  should be; he  is reasonable,  responsible, and                                                               
can  distinguish true  violations  from incidents  that may  have                                                               
been "a mistake in the field."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  said  it  sounds like  Mr.  Barrette  would  support                                                               
Commissioner Folger's confirmation.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:46:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  expressed the pleasure he  has had                                                               
in  working with  the department,  with its  former commissioner,                                                               
and with  Commissioner Folger.   He opined that  every department                                                               
has  its own  personality, and  he  expressed his  hope that  the                                                               
Commissioner  of   Administration  would   take  note   that  the                                                               
Department of Public Safety has  a personality and responsiveness                                                               
to which he hopes all other departments will aspire.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:47:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES  indicated  she   had  been  impressed  by                                                               
Commissioner Folger's performance over the  last few months.  She                                                               
noted that  Victory High  School, in  Palmer, Alaska,  was listed                                                               
[in  Commissioner Folger's  biography in  the committee  packet],                                                               
and she asked him to elaborate.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FOLGER said  at the time he was of  high school age,                                                               
Cantwell did  not have a  high school.   Victory High  School was                                                               
located at  mile 95,  on the  Glen Highway,  and was  a parochial                                                               
boarding school; however, it no longer exists.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:47:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS  commented that she remembers  Victory High                                                               
School.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:48:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER   thanked  Commissioner  Folger   for  his                                                               
service and for exposing himself to "this process."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER moved  to forward the name  of Gary Folger,                                                               
appointee to  the position of  commissioner of the  Department of                                                               
Public Safety, to  the joint session of the House  and Senate for                                                               
confirmation.   There  being no  objection,  the confirmation  of                                                               
Gary Folger  was advanced from  the House State  Affairs Standing                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:49:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:49 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                        HB 127-OMBUDSMAN                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:50:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  announced the next  order of business was  HOUSE BILL                                                               
NO. 127,  "An Act clarifying  that the Alaska Bar  Association is                                                               
an  agency  for  purposes  of investigations  by  the  ombudsman;                                                               
relating to  compensation of the  ombudsman and to  employment of                                                               
staff  by   the  ombudsman  under  personal   service  contracts;                                                               
providing  that certain  records  of  communications between  the                                                               
ombudsman  and an  agency  are not  public  records; relating  to                                                               
disclosure  by  an  agency to  the  ombudsman  of  communications                                                               
subject to attorney-client  and attorney work-product privileges;                                                               
relating  to   informal  and  formal  reports   of  opinions  and                                                               
recommendations  issued   by  the  ombudsman;  relating   to  the                                                               
privilege  of  the  ombudsman  not  to  testify  and  creating  a                                                               
privilege under which  the ombudsman is not  required to disclose                                                               
certain documents; relating to procedures  for procurement by the                                                               
ombudsman; relating  to the definition  of 'agency'  for purposes                                                               
of the Ombudsman Act and  providing jurisdiction of the ombudsman                                                               
over  persons   providing  certain  services  to   the  state  by                                                               
contract;  and  amending  Rules  501 and  503,  Alaska  Rules  of                                                               
Evidence."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[Before the committee was the  proposed committee substitute (CS)                                                               
for  HB 127,  Version 28-LS0088\G,  Gardner, 2/13/14,  as a  work                                                               
draft.]                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN relayed  that public  testimony for  HB 127  was left                                                               
open since the last hearing on 2/25/14.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:51:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS  [moved to  adopt] Amendment  1 to  HB 127,                                                               
Version   G,  which   read  as   follows  [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, Line 17 after "47.14.050," delete all material                                                                     
     through the word "Services" on page 3, line 20.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS,  in response to the  chair, confirmed that                                                               
she was carrying the amendment  for Representative Isaacson.  She                                                               
said the  amendment relates  to behavioral  hospitals.   She said                                                               
one  distinction  between  being  incarcerated  and  being  in  a                                                               
behavioral hospital is that with  the latter, people can come and                                                               
go at will.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:53:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:53:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA LORD-JENKINS,  Ombudsman, Office  of the  Ombudsman, stated                                                               
that she  is at a  disadvantage in  speaking to Amendment  1 when                                                               
she  does  not  know  the  motivating  factor  behind  it.    She                                                               
indicated that  the Office of  the Ombudsman does not  agree with                                                               
the  rationale  regarding  individuals  being  in  "these  homes"                                                               
voluntarily.    She  said  the individuals  that  the  office  is                                                               
considering  jurisdiction over  are  those who  have been  placed                                                               
there and  are in the  custody the Division of  Juvenile Justice,                                                               
within the  Department of  Health &  Social Services  (DHSS), and                                                               
while there  may be an agreement  to be in these  facilities at a                                                               
certain point, it  is not the understanding of the  Office of the                                                               
Ombudsman that these individuals can  come and go as they please,                                                               
because they  are in  the custody  of the  state.   She clarified                                                               
that  the office  is not  seeking  jurisdiction over  individuals                                                               
whose   parents  have   voluntarily  committed   them  to   these                                                               
facilities and who  are not in the jurisdiction of  the state; it                                                               
is looking for jurisdiction over  children who are in the custody                                                               
of the  state and have been  placed in these facilities  by court                                                               
order or pursuant to a court order.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:55:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN asked  Ms.  Lord-Jenkins to  confirm  that there  are                                                               
basically two categories  of people who might be in  this type of                                                               
facility:  one, a person there  by court order, and two, a person                                                               
who either  decided to be there  or was placed there  by a parent                                                               
or legal guardian.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. LORD-JENKINS answered that is correct.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:55:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTIS    said   she   hoped   to    hear   from                                                               
representatives of  behavioral centers  to clarify  their process                                                               
as it may relate to other state agencies that oversee them.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:56:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATE  BURKHART, Executive  Director, Alaska  Mental Health  Board                                                               
(AMHB), stated  that residential psychiatric services  are health                                                               
care  services and,  thus, not  the same  as incarceration.   She                                                               
recollected there was  testimony heard at the last  hearing on HB                                                               
127 as  to how the  Office of the Ombudsman  directs complainants                                                               
to alternative processes  to help people keep out of  court.  She                                                               
continued as follows:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     It is important to  understand that in these situations                                                                    
     with these  particular youths and  children, we  are in                                                                    
     court, and there is a  judicial process overseeing this                                                                    
     treatment,  as  well as  the  mechanisms  by which  the                                                                    
     Department of Health & Social  Services, the Center for                                                                    
     Medicaid  and Medicare  Services,  and the  accrediting                                                                    
     bodies  oversee these  concerns.   So, we  believe that                                                                    
     residential  psychiatric   treatments  should   not  be                                                                    
     within the purview of the Ombudsman.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. BURKHART said she thinks  Amendment 1 also addresses concerns                                                               
that  were raised  by  Representative  Hughes regarding  ensuring                                                               
protection of health information  and compliance with federal and                                                               
state   privacy  laws   around   protected  health   information.                                                               
Further, she  said AMHB has tried  to make the point  that if the                                                               
Office  of the  Ombudsman had  jurisdiction over  these sorts  of                                                               
complaints, then  the level of  expertise and capacity  needed to                                                               
effectively deal with them would need  to be added to the office,                                                               
as  it is  not contained  within the  office's current  capacity.                                                               
She said  AMHB appreciates Amendment  1, because it  would remove                                                               
the  section   of  HB  127,   Version  G,  which   would  include                                                               
residential  psychiatric treatment  centers under  the Office  of                                                               
the Ombudsman's jurisdiction.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:59:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LORD-JENKINS noted  that Ms.  Burkhart had  mentioned Health                                                               
Insurance  Portability and  Accountability Act  (HIPAA), and  she                                                               
deferred to Ms. Leibowitz to address that issue.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:59:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BETH  LEIBOWITZ, Assistant  Ombudsman, Office  of the  Ombudsman,                                                               
stated that the HIPAA regulations  provide an exception for cases                                                               
where  state law  gives mandatory  access to  records.   She said                                                               
since the  statute for the  Office of the Ombudsman  mandates its                                                               
access  to   agency  records,  it   does  not  deal   with  HIPAA                                                               
regulations; it  basically has  an exception to  them.   She said                                                               
the Office of the Ombudsman  does obtain medical information and,                                                               
as  with  other  types  of  confidential  records,  is  bound  to                                                               
maintain that confidentiality.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:00:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES said  Ms.  Burkhardt  was explaining  that                                                               
there  other procedures  and entities  that  can address  issues.                                                               
She  offered her  understanding that  when someone  comes to  the                                                               
Office  of  the Ombudsman  with  a  need for  investigation,  the                                                               
office  makes certain  the person  has already  gone through  the                                                               
available internal processes.   She asked how many  cases come to                                                               
the Office  of the  Ombudsman where the  person has  already gone                                                               
through  those internal  processes  and  still needs  assistance.                                                               
She further  questioned whether the  Office of the  Ombudsman has                                                               
had  any   such  cases   if  it  does   not  already   have  that                                                               
jurisdiction.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:01:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LORD-JENKINS  confirmed  that  because  the  Office  of  the                                                               
Ombudsman has not had jurisdiction  over these sorts of cases, it                                                               
has  not seen  a lot  of these  complaints.   Looking at  similar                                                               
agencies,  she said  the Office  of the  Ombudsman has  routed 50                                                               
percent or  more complaints related  to the Office  of Children's                                                               
Services  (OCS) through  the process  and  "they frequently  come                                                               
back."    Regarding  the  contention  that  there  are  available                                                               
processes for  people to  follow, she stated  that OCS,  which is                                                               
one of  the Office of  the Ombudsman's biggest  individual agency                                                               
complaint  loads,  for  years  had  a  very  confusing  grievance                                                               
process - like "a black hole"  - for individuals who were unaware                                                               
of  how   to  follow  statutes   and  regulations   policies  and                                                               
procedures.   She  said  in  2011, the  Office  of the  Ombudsman                                                               
opened up an investigation into  the efficiency and effectiveness                                                               
of the OCS grievance process.   She said she assigned an attorney                                                               
to   review  the   entire  process,   and   that  revealed   many                                                               
misunderstandings  about what  the  grievance process  was.   The                                                               
statutes and  regulations were contradictory, and  grievances got                                                               
lost.  She said the Office  of the Ombudsman recommended that OCS                                                               
completely  revise  its grievance  process,  and  it did  so  and                                                               
brought the new process on line in  the spring of 2013.  She said                                                               
it is good that an agency  has a complaint process, but that does                                                               
not  guarantee the  process  is effective.    Many agencies  have                                                               
oversight - Medicaid  looks at money and OSHA  looks at workplace                                                               
safety - and  even with that oversight there  are still problems,                                                               
which  is  one  of  the  reasons  the  Office  of  the  Ombudsman                                                               
considered trying to expand its jurisdiction.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES asked  how many of the calls  that come in,                                                               
related to  what Amendment  1 addresses, and  are routed  back to                                                               
internal processes are not addressed.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. LORD-JENKINS  answered that the  Office of the  Ombudsman has                                                               
not tracked  that aspect  of it.   She  said a  complainant whose                                                               
complaint is  not within  the jurisdiction of  the Office  of the                                                               
Ombudsman and is  routed back to the agency and  finds the agency                                                               
has  not acted  fairly, reasonably,  and in  accordance with  its                                                               
policies,  procedures, regulations,  and statutes  can return  to                                                               
the  Office of  the  Ombudsman;  however, if  the  Office of  the                                                               
Ombudsman finds  that the  agency has  acted fairly  and followed                                                               
procedure, then it  is not going to advocate  for the complainant                                                               
just because he/she does not like the finding or answer.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES stated:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Before we  began, I knew  this amendment  had something                                                                    
     to do with voluntary versus  not voluntary, and then we                                                                    
     learned that ... in these  residential facilities it is                                                                    
     actually directed by the court,  so it's not voluntary.                                                                    
     And  so, I'm  struggling  a little  bit.     ... I  was                                                                    
     wondering  if Kate  and others  believe  that it's  not                                                                    
     necessary for the Ombudsman  to have jurisdiction, then                                                                    
     I would think that they  would assume everything can be                                                                    
     solved through  the internal processes, right?   And if                                                                    
     everything  can   be  resolved  through   the  internal                                                                    
     processes, then  there wouldn't be anybody  leftover at                                                                    
     the end of that process  that would need the Ombudsman.                                                                    
     So, if  the Ombudsman  had oversight  ... just  in that                                                                    
     rare case  that it might  not be resolved, ...  I guess                                                                    
     I'm  struggling with  why they  might want  it removed,                                                                    
     because  they're  confident  that they're  handling  it                                                                    
     already,  and   so,  ...  the  Ombudsman   wouldn't  be                                                                    
     knocking  at their  door.   And  so, it  seems like  it                                                                    
     could  be  a  safety,  and  since  these  aren't  truly                                                                    
     voluntary,  ... I  need somebody  to  convince me  that                                                                    
     this amendment is necessary, and  I'm sorry that nobody                                                                    
     came  to talk  to  me beforehand  and  I wasn't  better                                                                    
     educated.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:08:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN said  the Office of the Ombudsman might  want to check                                                               
into cases that relate to being voluntary.   He said we all go to                                                               
a doctor voluntarily, but may  find there is something about that                                                               
experience  that needs  the  intervention of  the  Office of  the                                                               
Ombudsman.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:08:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BURKHART  stated,  "First and  foremost,  these  are  issues                                                               
between private  parties - a  private health care provider  and a                                                               
patient  and the  patient's  family,  and as  such  they are  not                                                               
suitable for  Ombudsman jurisdiction."   In a case where  a youth                                                               
or child has  been committed to the custody of  the Department of                                                               
Health and  Social Services,  whether to OCS  or the  Division of                                                               
Juvenile Justice, both the child  and parent(s) have an attorney.                                                               
The child will  always have a guardian ad litem  (GAL), and often                                                               
also have a court-appointed special  advocate.  She said youth or                                                               
children are committed to  residential psychiatric treatment with                                                               
the parents' consent or by court  order.  In situations where the                                                               
child is in  custody, the parents are typically  asked to consent                                                               
to  the  treatment recommendation.    If  there are  issues  with                                                               
medication,  the  court,  all  advocates,  and  the  parents  are                                                               
involved.   She said the  court exercises oversight on  a regular                                                               
basis.   She related that  she has  been involved in  cases where                                                               
there  have  been monthly  status  hearings  to ensure  that  the                                                               
treatment was  responsive to the needs  of the youth and  met the                                                               
concerns  of  the  parent.    She  cautioned  equating  grievance                                                               
procedures  set  out  by  executive  agencies  with  the  patient                                                               
advocacy  and  grievance  procedures   set  out  by  health  care                                                               
organizations.  She said the  venues, situations, and content are                                                               
completely  different,  because  it  is a  health  care  setting.                                                               
Further,  she said  the health  care organizations  providing the                                                               
services  have  grievance  procedures  separate  from  the  court                                                               
process by which the child or  youth and parent(s) can have their                                                               
complaints  resolved.    Those procedures  are  governed  by  the                                                               
Centers for  Medicare & Medicaid  Services, the entity  which has                                                               
established  patient  rights,  grievance  parameters,  rules  and                                                               
regulations guiding  access to patients  - "quality of  care, not                                                               
just funding" -  and all the procedures  are federally compliant.                                                               
She indicated involvement  in the procedures by  the creditors of                                                               
the residential psychiatric treatment.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BURKHARDT said  the department,  through  its licensing  and                                                               
funding  procedures,  has  the ability  to  resolve  patient  and                                                               
parent complaint.  She said when  a child is admitted through the                                                               
court  process,  the  court-appointed social  advocates  and  GAL                                                               
communicate  with the  department, the  court, and  the treatment                                                               
team.     She  said  Alaska  is   committed  to  patient-centered                                                               
treatments.   She  said  the system  is complex,  with  a lot  of                                                               
avenues, by which people can  have their concerns addressed.  She                                                               
said  it is  not a  perfect system,  but opined  that to  provide                                                               
jurisdiction to  the Office of  the Ombudsman over a  health care                                                               
complaint  between  private  parties  is not  appropriate  and  -                                                               
considering  the   greater  context   by  which   concerns  about                                                               
treatment  can   be  resolved  -  unnecessary,   especially  when                                                               
considering  "we've  yet to  hear  a  quantified demand  for  the                                                               
service."   She  said the  department and  the providers  can all                                                               
speak to  the numbers of  concerns and complaints that  they have                                                               
addressed;  therefore, they  have a  better understanding  of the                                                               
demand  that  is  being  expressed  by  the  patients  and  their                                                               
families and how it is being addressed.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:14:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  recollected that  Ms. Lord-Jenkins                                                               
had said  there is  no record  of the number  of calls  that have                                                               
been turned  away because of  lack of jurisdiction.   He ventured                                                               
that  the  anticipated  discussion  relating to  the  Alaska  Bar                                                               
Association (ABA) will be similar  to the current discussion.  He                                                               
mentioned a  memorandum dated 2/26,  from ABA to the  House State                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee, in which  ABA indicated the Office of                                                               
the Ombudsman had  said it turned away 11 calls  between 1993 and                                                               
2013 because  they were outside  its jurisdiction.  He  said that                                                               
is  a numerical  quantitative answer,  and he  questioned why  "a                                                               
similar  numerical quantitative  answer doesn't  exist for  cases                                                               
that would apply to what we're talking about right now."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:16:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LORD-JENKINS explained  the  reason is  that  all along  the                                                               
Office of the  Ombudsman has maintained that the  ABA was subject                                                               
to  its  jurisdiction, and  it  was  clear that  "these  contract                                                               
agencies"  were not  subject to  its  jurisdiction, so  "tracking                                                               
them was  different on  our case management  systems."   She said                                                               
when the office receives calls  about entities that are not State                                                               
of Alaska agencies or an  instrumentality "as the Bar contends it                                                               
is,"  then  those entities  are  tracked  differently and  it  is                                                               
difficult to  cull information  about them.   She  explained that                                                               
the Office of the Ombudsman has  an intake log on which it tracks                                                               
its cases;  however, it  would be  an onerous  search.   She said                                                               
with the  ABA, "we  just hit  a couple buttons  and we  have that                                                               
information."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:17:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES said  it  was helpful  to  hear [from  Ms.                                                               
Burkhardt] that the  children have two different  advocates.  She                                                               
said  "our" job  is  to  protect the  people  of  Alaska, not  to                                                               
protect  agencies,  which is  why  the  Office of  the  Ombudsman                                                               
exists.  She indicated that  in agencies with internal processes,                                                               
there could be  a tendency for bias; therefore, she  said she was                                                               
glad to  hear about those  looking out  for the sole  interest of                                                               
the children.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:18:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LORD-JENKINS responded  that individuals  being watched  out                                                               
for by  guardians ad litem  or court appointed  special advocates                                                               
(CASAs) or caseworkers or attorneys  often do not agree with them                                                               
or think their  decision making is appropriate.   Sometimes there                                                               
is a difference  of opinion as to what the  best interest is, and                                                               
the Office  of the  Ombudsman often  receives complaints  of that                                                               
nature.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:19:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS offered  his understanding that the                                                               
purpose of a GAL is  to have an independent, impartial, objective                                                               
person  looking at  a situation  with focus  on the  child's best                                                               
interest.  He  said it is managed through the  court process and,                                                               
as such, strives for objectivity.   He asked Ms. Burkhardt if she                                                               
sees the proposed expansion of  the jurisdiction of the Office of                                                               
the  Ombudsman to  be  duplicative to  the  process that  already                                                               
exists  with  guardians ad  litem  and  the  court process.    He                                                               
requested  that  Ms.  Lord-Jenkins   elaborate  on  her  previous                                                               
response as  to how  she sees  what the  Office of  the Ombudsman                                                               
would do as not being  duplicative to what already happens within                                                               
the court process.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:20:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LORD-JENKINS responded that a  GAL starts at the beginning of                                                               
the case  and follows it  through to the  end, and in  many cases                                                               
makes parental  decisions on  behalf of a  child or  sometimes an                                                               
adult in adult protective service cases.   She said the Office of                                                               
the  Ombudsman comes  in  part  way through  a  case  to look  at                                                               
individual, specific  complaints.   She said the  complainant may                                                               
be in  an adversarial  position with  his/her guardian  ad litem,                                                               
and the  Office of the Ombudsman  looks to see "how  they're both                                                               
behaving," including  what decisions  are being made  and whether                                                               
the  complainant is  being heard.    She said  sometimes, in  OCS                                                               
cases,  the  Office  of  the   Ombudsman  has  records  that  the                                                               
guardians ad litem have not  seen.  She stated, "We're different.                                                               
I  mean, we're  impartial and  they're supposed  to be  impartial                                                               
also,  but I  think  it's a  different  role.   I  guess I  can't                                                               
articulate  it any  better  than that."    Ms. Lord-Jenkins  said                                                               
there  are cases  related to  Adult Protective  Services and  the                                                               
Office of  Public Advocacy  (OPA) where  adults are  unhappy with                                                               
their GALs and  they complain about them a lot.   In those cases,                                                               
the  Office  of  the  Ombudsman  looks  to  see  if  the  GAL  is                                                               
responding adequately,  if the GAL  is granting enough  funds for                                                               
the adult  to live -  "that sort of  thing."  She  indicated that                                                               
these are cases where there are differences of opinion.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked what kind of  oversight role                                                               
the court  plays with  GALs who  may be  deemed to  be performing                                                               
unsatisfactorily  or  not  to  the best  interest  of  whom  they                                                               
represent.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:23:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEIBOWITZ  said the GAL  is generally selected by  the court,                                                               
and she  offered her understanding  that the GAL will  usually be                                                               
either an  OPA employee or  contractor.   She said the  court can                                                               
pick the GAL to some extent, and it can also dismiss the GAL.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:24:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:24 a.m. to 9:28 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:28:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  reminded those testifying  that before  the committee                                                               
was the  proposed Amendment 1 to  HB 127, Version G,  and comment                                                               
should be limited to the amendment.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:28:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LAURA   MCKENZIE,   Director,   Quality  Improvement   and   Risk                                                               
Management,  North Star  Behavioral Health  (NSBH), testified  in                                                               
support of  the proposed Amendment 1  to HB 127, Version  G.  She                                                               
concurred with the  testimony of Ms. Burkhardt.   She stated that                                                               
NSBH not only  has an internal grievance procedure,  but also has                                                               
external grievance procedures  that are overseen by  at least six                                                               
different  entities.   She  said patient  residents  at NSBH  are                                                               
admitted at the  request of their guardians, and  the decision to                                                               
admit  and discharge  is based  on medical  necessity, not  court                                                               
order.   Additionally,  she said  all  the treatment  at NSBH  is                                                               
externally reviewed  for appropriateness, to ensure  that lengths                                                               
of stay are not inappropriately extended.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:30:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KAREN PERDUE,  President/CEO, Alaska  State Hospital  and Nursing                                                               
Home  Association  (ASHNHA),  relayed   that  she  was  a  former                                                               
commissioner  of  DHSS  for  eight  years,  under  Governor  Tony                                                               
Knowles.   She stated support of  the proposed Amendment 1  to HB                                                               
127, Version G.   She said even though the  focus is on juveniles                                                               
in the  custody of  the department, she  foresees there  would be                                                               
jurisdiction over  private facilities  and patients,  because the                                                               
Office of  the Ombudsman would  look at processes and  the entire                                                               
practice of  an entire facility  in the context of  an individual                                                               
investigation.  She said she thinks it  is a big step to have the                                                               
legislature become  involved in the regulation  of private health                                                               
care facilities  through the Office  of the Ombudsman.   She said                                                               
it would be a big move in an  area that is highly regulated.  She                                                               
recollected  testimony   had  been  given  that   judges  provide                                                               
oversight;  however, she  said she  thinks there  are many  other                                                               
agencies that  do so.   She concluded, "I  think we do  care that                                                               
the children  are watched out for,  very much.  I  think when you                                                               
have many different parties trying  to make a decision, you ought                                                               
to have one person in charge, and  that is the judge."  She urged                                                               
the committee to support the proposed Amendment 1.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:32:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES recollected that  someone had remarked that                                                               
if  the jurisdiction  is extended,  the Office  of the  Ombudsman                                                               
would  not have  the expertise  to  "delve into  things ...  with                                                               
health care providers."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. PERDUE  said she  agrees.   She said  the children  are under                                                               
direct  medical care  of physicians.    She said  the process  is                                                               
directed  by  the  judge,  and   the  care  is  directed  by  the                                                               
physician.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:32:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  asked  who  is   responsible  for  [overseeing]  the                                                               
regulations that ASHNHA is required to follow.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. PERDUE  responded that  the Centers  for Medicare  & Medicaid                                                               
Services have  "real teeth"  and can  make unannounced  visits in                                                               
response  to   grievances  and  can  remove   state  licenses  or                                                               
accreditation and funding.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:33:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCKENZIE recapped her previous testimony.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:35:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM  CHARD,   Director,  Alaska  Behavioral   Health  Association                                                               
(ABHA),  indicated  that  ABHA  oversees  50  members,  including                                                               
behavioral health  centers, drug  and alcohol  treatment centers,                                                               
and mental  health centers.   He said ABHA supports  the proposed                                                               
Amendment 1  to HB 127, Version  G.  He noted  that the committee                                                               
had heard from its member,  North Star Behavioral Health, as well                                                               
as received written testimony from  Juneau Youth Services, and he                                                               
mentioned  testimony from  "Providence" regarding  the levels  of                                                               
oversight.  He said there has  been a lot of discussion regarding                                                               
detention and how many layers  of oversight there are; North Star                                                               
Behavioral Health  testified that "this is  a medical placement."                                                               
He said detention is not  being considered, because the Office of                                                               
the Ombudsman already has oversight  over OCS and the Division of                                                               
Juvenile  Justice  (DJJ).    He highlighted  that  the  issue  is                                                               
whether  the  Office  of the  Ombudsman  should  oversee  private                                                               
medical providers  and what the benefit  would be if it  did.  He                                                               
expressed  appreciation   for  Representative   Hughes'  previous                                                               
question asking what  the harm would be in adding  one more layer                                                               
of oversight.   He opined that the harm would  be allowing people                                                               
to do  something without  the necessary level  of expertise.   He                                                               
said with  its fiscal note  and current capacity, [the  Office of                                                               
the Ombudsman] is just going to  send people back to the existing                                                               
grievance  procedures, thus,  he  does not  know  what the  value                                                               
would be for anyone.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:37:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER   observed  that  the  use   of  the  word                                                               
"oversight" is  interesting, because the Office  of the Ombudsman                                                               
does  not oversee  - it  investigates in  an attempt  to solve  a                                                               
problem.   He stated, "I think  oversight is a bit  of a stretch,                                                               
and I've  noticed that as a  consistent concern ... that  I think                                                               
may be an overreaction, for what it's worth."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHARD  responded that he appreciates  Representative Keller's                                                               
comment;  he  concurred that  [the  work  of  the Office  of  the                                                               
Ombudsman] is investigatory, not oversight.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  said  the  Office  of the  Ombudsman  may  take  its                                                               
investigation to the  legislature, which, at some  point may have                                                               
to weigh  in on it, and  he remarked that the  legislature is not                                                               
an expert in health care.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHARD  offered his understanding that  under current statute,                                                               
if there is  a complaint that does not get  satisfied, the Office                                                               
of  the Ombudsman  has  oversight over  the  departments and  the                                                               
divisions; therefore,  it can ask  the divisions of DHSS  how the                                                               
grievances are  being settled within  the department, and  if the                                                               
Office of  the Ombudsman  is not satisfied  with the  answers, it                                                               
can, within its current jurisdiction,  "address the oversight, or                                                               
the investigation, of those complaints."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:39:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN  asked Representative  Keller  if  he maintained  his                                                               
objection to the  motion to adopt Amendment 1 to  HB 127, Version                                                               
G.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  removed his objection, but  said he thinks                                                               
a question  has been put  on the table  that is much  larger than                                                               
the issue with  the resident care facilities.   He clarified that                                                               
removing  his  objection  does  mean he  is  convinced  that  the                                                               
jurisdiction of  the Office of  the Ombudsman does not  cover the                                                               
residential  facilities,  but  explained   that  he  needs  legal                                                               
clarification  before  deciding  what  other  amendments  may  be                                                               
needed.  He  opined that [the proposed Amendment 1]  is a step in                                                               
the right  direction, but  warned that  "we may  be going  down a                                                               
rabbit  trail that  we can't  finish  here."   He indicated  that                                                               
exempting some  agencies may be  confusing for the ones  that are                                                               
not listed,  because it  may imply  that they  are not  under the                                                               
Office of  the Ombudsman's jurisdiction.   He said he  thinks the                                                               
legislature,  as   the  entity   that  signs  checks   and  makes                                                               
appropriations,  owes it  to the  public to  provide a  means for                                                               
investigation into serious complaints by a citizen.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:42:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN stated  an  objection to  Amendment 1.    He said  he                                                               
thinks the committee needs "other people to speak to this."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:42:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES  said she finds  it odd that the  Office of                                                               
the Ombudsman  came forward to  request something  without having                                                               
done some kind of  tracking to assess the need for  it.  She said                                                               
she sees  what Representative  Keller is  saying and  agrees that                                                               
the  legislature   has  the  responsibility  to   protect  Alaska                                                               
citizens.    She  said  she respects  those  who  testified,  but                                                               
ventured that  if all their  grievance processes are  working, it                                                               
should not be a big deal to  give the Office of the Ombudsman the                                                               
jurisdiction it  has requested.   She indicated the  same applies                                                               
to  the  Alaska Bar  Association,  which  she acknowledged  is  a                                                               
different topic.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  remarked, "If they  believe that their  processes are                                                               
working, we've kind of got the fox watching the chickens here."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:43:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  said he supports Amendment  1, not                                                               
because  he is  convinced  the internal  grievance processes  are                                                               
completely  objective,  but  because   there  already  exists  an                                                               
"inherently  independent"  process  through  the  court-appointed                                                               
guardians  ad  litem.    He  said he  wished  he  had  asked  Ms.                                                               
Leibowitz  how  the  Office   of  the  Ombudsman's  investigatory                                                               
recommendations would differ  from that of the judge.   He opined                                                               
that having  both is  unnecessary.   He said  he thinks  there is                                                               
merit to the  concerns raised that there should be  a fiscal note                                                               
and some sort  of "professional capacity or  expertise within the                                                               
Office  of  the  Ombudsman  to   review  these  cases";  however,                                                               
ultimately.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:45:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote was  taken.   Representatives Hughes,  Keller,                                                               
Millett, Kreiss-Tomkins, and Gattis voted  in favor of the motion                                                               
to adopt Amendment  1 to HB 127, Version G.   Representative Lynn                                                               
voted against it.   Therefore, Amendment 1 was adopted  by a vote                                                               
of 5-1.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:46:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS indicated  she wanted to wait  until HB 127                                                               
was  heard by  the House  Judiciary Standing  Committee to  offer                                                               
another amendment.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:46:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  said  if   the  amendment  needs  to  be                                                               
offered,  she would  do so  during the  House Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee's hearing on HB 127.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced that HB 127 was held over.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                     HJR 24-ARCTIC COUNCIL                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:47:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced  the last order of business  was HOUSE JOINT                                                               
RESOLUTION NO. 24,  Urging the United States  Department of State                                                               
to  consider the  priorities  of  the state  while  it holds  the                                                               
position  of chair  of the  Arctic Council;  requesting that  the                                                               
United States Department of State  work in partnership with state                                                               
officials  to  appoint  a  chair   of  the  Arctic  Council;  and                                                               
supporting  the  strategic  recommendations of  the  January  30,                                                               
2014, preliminary report of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:48:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BOB  HERRON,  Alaska State  Legislature,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, as sponsor,  presented HJR 24.  He  said in approximately                                                               
14 months, the United States will  assume the chair of the Arctic                                                               
Council.   He  stated, "As  Alaskans,  we all  believe that  it's                                                               
better  for the  United States  to work  with us  to outline  our                                                               
priorities, because  we are  the reason the  United States  is an                                                               
Arctic  state  -  an  Arctic  nation."   He  indicated  that  the                                                               
proposed house  joint resolution stops  short of stating  that an                                                               
Alaskan  should be  appointed  as chair  of  the Arctic  Council,                                                               
because he said  he thinks that would "set the  bar way to high,"                                                               
and  in  many  ways  may  limit  Alaska's  participation  in  the                                                               
discussion  of who  that chair  should  be.   The proposed  joint                                                               
resolution asks that  Alaska be included in  that discussion and,                                                               
because there  are Alaskans who  have all the abilities  the U.S.                                                               
needs in  a council chair, it  may be an Alaskan  who becomes the                                                               
chair.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:49:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER moved  to adopt  Amendment 1,  labeled 28-                                                               
LS1325\A.1, Nauman, 2/26/14, which read as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 4:                                                                                                            
          Delete "recommendations"                                                                                            
          Insert "recommendation"                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 3:                                                                                                            
          Delete "recommendations"                                                                                              
          Insert "recommendation"                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 4:                                                                                                            
          Delete ", including continuing to ""                                                                                  
          Insert "to "continue to"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:50:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN, after  ascertaining that there was no  one who wished                                                               
to testify, closed public testimony on HJR 24.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:51:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER offered  his understanding that Legislative                                                               
Legal and  Research Services  had made a  mistake in  Amendment 1                                                               
and, thus, it should be submitted as a conceptual amendment.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:51:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES queried as follows:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     I'm looking  in the bill  title.  We're  supporting the                                                                    
     strategic recommendation  ....   Did the  Alaska Arctic                                                                    
     Policy   Commission  have   more  than   one  strategic                                                                    
     recommendation; do we need to specify what it is?                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES ventured  that  the  commission does  have                                                               
more than one recommendation.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON responded as follows:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The advice was that we should  not ... expand it to all                                                                    
     recommendations.   This one is  specific to  the effort                                                                    
     that  we're respectfully  asking the  United States  to                                                                    
     included  Alaskans  into  the dialog  of  choosing  the                                                                    
     chair, and so, we didn't want  it to be, "Make sure you                                                                    
     look at all these others, as well."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HUGHES indicated  that  she just  wanted to  know                                                               
that  the  prime sponsor  is  comfortable  that the  language  is                                                               
clear.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON  responded, "I'm just taking  the advice of                                                               
others that we should not have recommendations in plural."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:53:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  commended the  prime sponsor  for bringing                                                               
forward HJR  24, because  he opined that  the appointment  of the                                                               
chair is incredibly important.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:53:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER moved to report  HJR 24, as amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHJR  24(STA)  was                                                               
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:54:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State Affairs  Standing Committee  meeting was adjourned  at 9:54                                                               
a.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 HJR24 ver A.PDF HSTA 2/27/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 24
02 HJR24 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/27/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 24
03 HJR24 Request for Equipment.pdf HSTA 2/27/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 24
04 HJR24 AAPC Preliminary Report Excerpt.pdf HSTA 2/27/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 24
05 HJR24-LEG-SESS-2-21-14.pdf HSTA 2/27/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 24
06 HJR24 amendment a.1.pdf HSTA 2/27/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 24
07 Explanation for amendment a.1 to HJR 24.pdf HSTA 2/27/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 24
Governor Appointment Commissioner Administration - Thayer.pdf HSTA 2/27/2014 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointment Commissioner Public Safety - Folger.pdf HSTA 2/27/2014 8:00:00 AM
08 HJR24 Support Letter_Trimble.pdf HSTA 2/27/2014 8:00:00 AM
HJR 24