Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

04/01/2021 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 118 EXPANDING PRISONER ACCESS TO COMPUTERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 106 MISSING PERSONS UNDER 21 YEARS OLD TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+= HB 103 ASSISTED LIVING HOMES: HOUSE RULES TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 103 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                 
              HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                          April 1, 2021                                                                                         
                            3:07 p.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                              DRAFT                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Chair                                                                                   
Representative Matt Claman, Vice Chair                                                                                          
Representative Geran  Tarr                                                                                                      
Representative Andi  Story                                                                                                      
Representative Sarah  Vance                                                                                                     
Representative James Kaufman                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 118                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to  state identifications  and driver's  licenses                                                             
for  persons  in the  custody  of the  Department  of  Corrections;                                                             
relating  to  the  duties  of  the  commissioner   of  corrections;                                                             
relating  to living  conditions for  prisoners;  and providing  for                                                             
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 106                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to missing persons under 21 years of age."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 103                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to house rules for assisted living homes."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 103 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  118                                                                                                                 
SHORT TITLE: EXPANDING PRISONER ACCESS TO COMPUTERS                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
03/01/21       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                       
03/01/21       (H)        STA                                                                                                   
03/18/21       (H)        STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG  120                                                                         
03/18/21       (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                          
03/18/21       (H)        MINUTE(STA)                                                                                           
03/23/21       (H)        STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG  120                                                                         
03/23/21       (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                          
03/23/21       (H)        MINUTE(STA)                                                                                           
04/01/21       (H)        STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG  120                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  106                                                                                                                 
SHORT TITLE: MISSING PERSONS UNDER 21 YEARS OLD                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/19/21       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                       
02/19/21       (H)        STA, HSS                                                                                              
03/11/21       (H)        STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG  120                                                                         
03/11/21       (H)        Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                               
03/16/21       (H)        STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG  120                                                                         
03/16/21       (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                          
03/16/21       (H)        MINUTE(STA)                                                                                           
03/25/21       (H)        STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG  120                                                                         
03/25/21       (H)        -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                
04/01/21       (H)        STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG  120                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  103                                                                                                                 
SHORT TITLE: ASSISTED LIVING HOMES: HOUSE RULES                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/18/21       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                       
02/18/21       (H)        STA, HSS                                                                                              
03/18/21       (H)        STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG  120                                                                         
03/18/21       (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                          
03/18/21       (H)        MINUTE(STA)                                                                                           
03/25/21       (H)        STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG  120                                                                         
03/25/21       (H)        -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                
04/01/21       (H)        STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG  120                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
LINDSAY BIRK, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided an explanation of amendments                                                                    
during the hearing on HB 118, on behalf of Representative                                                                       
Kreiss-Tomkins, prime sponsor.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KELLY GOODE, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                
Department of Corrections                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions pertaining to HB 118.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
RANDI BREAGER, Special Assistant                                                                                                
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions pertaining to HB 106.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
KATHY MONFREDA, Director                                                                                                        
Division of Statewide Services                                                                                                  
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions pertaining to HB 106.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
JOHN LEE, Director                                                                                                              
Division of Senior and Disability Services                                                                                      
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions pertaining to HB 103.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CRAIG BAXTER, Assisted Living Home Manager                                                                                      
Division of Health Care Services                                                                                                
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions pertaining to HB 103.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:07:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  JONATHAN  KREISS-TOMKINS  called  the  House  State  Affairs                                                           
Standing    Committee    meeting   to    order    at   3:07    p.m.                                                             
Representatives  Story, Tarr, Vance,  Kaufman, Claman,  and Kreiss-                                                             
Tomkins were present at the call to order.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          HB  118-EXPANDING PRISONER ACCESS TO COMPUTERS                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:07:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the first order of business                                                                 
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 118, "An Act relating to state                                                                          
identifications  and driver's licenses  for persons in  the custody                                                             
of the  Department of Corrections;  relating  to the duties  of the                                                             
commissioner  of corrections;  relating  to living  conditions  for                                                             
prisoners; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:08:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  moved to  adopt  Amendment  1, [labeled  32-                                                             
LS0024\B.2, Radford, 4/1/21], which read:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, lines 1 - 2:                                                                                                       
           Delete "[(A) OBTAINING STATE IDENTIFICATION;                                                                         
               (B)]"                                                                                                            
          Insert "(A) obtaining state identification if one                                                                 
       or more prisoners will not otherwise possess a valid                                                                 
     state identification card upon release;                                                                              
               (B)"                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:09:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDSAY  BIRK,  Staff,   Representative  Jonathan   Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                             
Alaska  State  Legislature,  on  behalf  of  Representative  Kreiss                                                             
Tomkins, prime  sponsor of  HB 118, said  the in its current  form,                                                             
the bill  would remove  a mandatory  tutorial on  how to receive  a                                                             
state identification  (ID) card.   Amendment 1 would reinsert  that                                                             
language into  the bill, such  that a prisoner  without a  valid ID                                                             
would participate  in a mandatory  tutorial before leaving  prison,                                                             
which would teach him/her how to receive an ID.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:10:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VANCE  asked   whether  the   bill  would   assist                                                             
prisoners  with the  renewal of their  licenses  online or by  mail                                                             
while incarcerated.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. BIRK was unsure of the answer.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:11:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KELLY  GOODE,  Deputy  Commissioner,  Department   of  Corrections,                                                             
explained  that state IDs  are kept in  the prisoners' property  to                                                             
be distributed  upon  release.   She said  institutional  probation                                                             
officers  would work  with the  releasing  inmates on  how best  to                                                             
get a new  ID.  She added that  prisoners would be given  a voucher                                                             
that  allows the  Division  of Motor  Vehicles  (DMV)  to bill  the                                                             
Department of  Corrections (DOC) for  tasks, such as getting  a new                                                             
ID picture taken.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE   clarified  her  question,   asking  whether                                                             
license  renewals could be  accomplished while  incarcerated  or if                                                             
the prisoners  would have to wait "until they are under the care of                                                             
the probation officer."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GOODE explained  that  the  institutional  probation  officers                                                             
(IPOs)  work with  prisoners  inside the  facilities.   She  shared                                                             
her  understanding  that  there  would  be no  action  taken  on  a                                                             
request for  a license  renewal; however, the  IPO would  work with                                                             
prisoners prior to release on the best way to get a valid ID.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE observed  that  being unable  to renew  one's                                                             
license  while  incarcerated  could   be  an unrecognized   hurdle,                                                             
which  creates  further  obstacles  once released.    She  surmised                                                             
that assisting  with renewals  could ease some  of the burden  that                                                             
this legislation is attempting to address.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GOODE  clarified that  DOC  is  capable  of assisting  with  a                                                             
prisoner's ID renewal when necessary.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:15:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  sought   to  clarify  the  purpose  of  the                                                             
following  language  in Amendment  1:  "if  one or  more  prisoners                                                             
will  not  otherwise  possess a  valid  state  identification  card                                                             
upon release".                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BIRK   said  the  language   indicates  that  if   a  prisoner                                                             
[possesses  a valid ID],  he/she would not  have to participate  in                                                             
the tutorial.   She began to address  the phrase "one or  more" and                                                             
asked whether that is Representative Claman's specific concern.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN confirmed.   He shared his belief  that "one                                                             
or more"  wouldn't add  anything  to the bill  because it's  likely                                                             
that,  systemwide,  there's  at least  one  prisoner that  may  not                                                             
have a valid ID card upon release.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BIRK was  unsure whether  "one or  more" adds  to or  detracts                                                             
from the bill.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:16:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 3:16 p.m. to 3:18 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:18:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  stated  his understanding  that the  language                                                             
in  question  suggests  that  if  100   percent  of  the  releasing                                                             
prisoners  had  ID  cards,  the  training   requirement  would  not                                                             
apply; however,  if one or  more of the  prisoners did not  possess                                                             
a valid  ID, the  tutorial would  be required.   He  noted that  in                                                             
conversations   with  reentry  groups,   this  was  the   preferred                                                             
language.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:20:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAUFMAN  proposed  replacing  "one  or  more"  with                                                             
"any."    He  asked  whether  that  would   satisfy  the  sponsor's                                                             
intent.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  agreed  that  "any"  would  imply  the  same                                                             
substantive   meaning;  however,  he   expressed  no  interest   in                                                             
changing the language.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   CLAMAN  voiced  his   support  for  the   existing                                                             
language  in Amendment  1, as  reentry groups  had emphasized  it's                                                             
importance.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS agreed.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:21:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN withdrew  his objection  to the adoption  of                                                             
Amendment  1.     Without  further   objection,  Amendment   1  was                                                             
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:21:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  moved to  adopt  Amendment  2, [labeled  32-                                                             
LS0024\B.3, Radford, 4/1/21], which read:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, lines 16 - 22:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
               "(11)  make a good faith effort, in                                                                          
     consultation  with  the commissioner  of administration,                                                               
     to  ensure  [ASSIST]  a prisoner  has  [IN  OBTAINING]  a                                                          
     valid  state  identification  card  upon  the  prisoner's                                                              
     release;  if the  prisoner does  not have  a valid  state                                                              
     identification  card before  the prisoner's release,  [;]                                                              
     the  department shall  pay the  application  fee for  the                                                                  
     identification card; and"                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:21:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. BIRK  informed  the committee  that Amendment  2 would  clarify                                                             
the bill's purpose by streamlining the language.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:22:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  asked whether  removing  the language  that                                                             
requires  DOC to  assist prisoners  serving  terms of  imprisonment                                                             
"exceeding 120 days" would create problems for department.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. GOODE  said if  the last  4 lines  of Amendment  2 would  allow                                                             
the  department to  continue providing  vouchers  to prisoners  who                                                             
release  in under 120  days, the  department is  supportive  of the                                                             
amendment.  She asked if she interpreted the language correctly.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN deferred to the department's expertise.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:24:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  questioned   whether  removing  the  120-day                                                             
timeframe could  increase the fiscal  note due to an increased  use                                                             
of vouchers.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GOODE   shared  her   belief  that  there   would  not   be  a                                                             
significant difference  in cost,  adding that vouchers  are already                                                             
provided to any [inmate] who may need one.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:25:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN removed  his  objection to  the adoption  of                                                             
Amendment  2.     Without  further   objection,  Amendment   2  was                                                             
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:25:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that  HB 118, as amended,  was held                                                             
over.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
            HB  106-MISSING PERSONS UNDER 21 YEARS OLD                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:25:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS announced  that  the next  order of  business                                                             
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 106, "An  Act relating to missing  persons                                                             
under 21 years of age."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS invited questions from the committee.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:27:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  asked  why  the  bill  pertains  to  missing                                                             
persons under the age of 21 as opposed to 18.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:27:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RANDI  BREAGER,  Special Assistant,  Office  of  the  Commissioner,                                                             
Department  of Public  Safety,  indicated  that recent  changes  in                                                             
federal  law  require amending  Alaska  statutes  for  consistency.                                                             
She deferred to Ms. Monfreda for further explanation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:28:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHY   MONFREDA,  Director,   Division   of  Statewide   Services,                                                             
Department  of  Public  Safety,  explained  that  federal  law  was                                                             
changed to  require the reporting  of missing people under  the age                                                             
of  21 primarily  based on  Suzanne's  Law, which  was designed  to                                                             
provide extra  protection for  people [between  the ages of  18 and                                                             
21]  in the  vulnerable  college-age population.    She shared  her                                                             
belief  that  age  21  was chosen  because  it  is  viewed  as  the                                                             
threshold of adulthood.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE questioned  what vulnerabilities exist  among                                                             
the 18-21 age group that lawmakers should be aware of.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. MONFREDA  stated her understanding  that the age group  is more                                                             
vulnerable  to coercion  due  to  the decision-making  ability  and                                                             
gullibility at that age.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:31:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   KREISS-TOMKINS    opened    public   testimony.       After                                                             
ascertaining  that  no one  wished  to  testify, he  closed  public                                                             
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[HB 106 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
            HB  103-ASSISTED LIVING HOMES: HOUSE RULES                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:31:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced  that the  final order of  business                                                             
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 103, "An  Act relating to house  rules for                                                             
assisted living homes."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  questioned   whether  HB  103  would  affect                                                             
operations  for  any  subset  of  assisted  living  facilities  and                                                             
whether they  would struggle  to meet the  standards that  would be                                                             
codified in the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:33:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN LEE,  Director, Division  of Senior  and Disability  Services,                                                             
Department  of Health  and Social  Services, reported  that 650  of                                                             
the  700  assisted  living facilities   that are  licensed  by  the                                                             
state  are currently  in compliance.    He said  he anticipates  no                                                             
significant  challenges   from  non-compliant  providers,   as  the                                                             
required changes are minor.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:33:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CRAIG  BAXTER, Assisted  Living Home  Manager,  Division of  Health                                                             
Care Services,  Department  of Health and  Social Services,  shared                                                             
his belief  that the bill  would not  be burdensome for  facilities                                                             
that are  not in current  compliance with  the required  standards.                                                             
He reiterated  that approximately  650 of  the 705 assisted  living                                                             
homes   are  already   in  compliance   because   they  are   state                                                             
certified.   He said he did not  envision the remaining  facilities                                                             
struggling to implement the changes.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  asked why the  remaining 50 facilities  would                                                             
choose not to be Medicaid certified.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEE  said the  majority of  providers in  Alaska take  Medicaid                                                             
clients;  however, some providers,  for various  reasons, focus  on                                                             
private pay or areas outside the provisions of Medicaid.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BAXTER  noted that a  handful are new  providers that  have not                                                             
yet applied  for certification.   He surmised that some  facilities                                                             
choose  to care for  specific individuals  who  are private  pay so                                                             
there's   no  need   for   certification.     Additionally,   other                                                             
facilities  that meet licensing  standards are  unable to  meet the                                                             
standards  for  certification.     He  speculated   that  there  is                                                             
probably  another small  subset of  [facilities]  that had  allowed                                                             
their certification to lapse.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:36:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS referenced  page  1, lines  11-12, and  asked                                                             
for  a description  of  the  visitation  rights provided  under  42                                                             
C.F.R.441.301(c)(4)(vi)(D).                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEE  relayed that 42  C.F.R states that  if a facility  chooses                                                             
to  set  house rules,  the  rules  must  allow  individual  choice.                                                             
More specifically,  individuals  must be allowed  to have  visitors                                                             
of their  own choosing  at any  time.   Therefore, assisted  living                                                             
homes may not adopt house rules that restrict those rights.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   KREISS-TOMKINS   asked  whether   Mr.   Lee  had   observed                                                             
facilities   in   Alaska  with   unduly   restrictive   choice   or                                                             
individual access.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BAXTER  said if  the Division  of Health  Care Services  became                                                             
aware  of that,  the division  would  typically follow  up with  an                                                             
investigation  to determine  the  validity  of the  complaint.   If                                                             
the division  determined  the facility  was out  of compliance,  it                                                             
would be notified  and required to  show a plan of correction.   he                                                             
added that  chronic offenders or  a particularly egregious  offense                                                             
may  require enforcement  action.   He  shared  that when  Medicaid                                                             
[facilities]  implemented these  specific visitation  requirements,                                                             
there  were no  issues  aside  for some  pushback  from  facilities                                                             
that expressed logistic concerns.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:39:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY asked  how the quality  care of residents  is                                                             
ensured in the 50 facilities that are not compliant.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. BAXTER  said [the  Division of Health  Care Services]  conducts                                                             
biannual  inspections  of  most   assisted  living  homes.    If  a                                                             
facility  is  new or  had  its  license reduced  to  a  provisional                                                             
license  because of  enforcement action,  an  annual inspection  is                                                             
conducted.   He added  that some facilities  receive more  frequent                                                             
inspections  due  to their  history  of  compliance.   He  reported                                                             
that  the   division  receives   8,000-10,000  critical   (indisc.)                                                             
reports  annually, which  are reviewed for  compliance purposes  to                                                             
ensure  that  the   facilities  are  responding  appropriately   to                                                             
events and  occurrences within  their home.   He approximated  that                                                             
400  of those  annual  reports  are  upgraded  to ensure  that  the                                                             
facilities   receive    on-site   investigation    of   compliance.                                                             
Additionally,   the  division   maintains   routine  contact   with                                                             
providers  through a  variety  of training  efforts.   Groups  that                                                             
participate   in  on-site   visits  for   that  purpose   typically                                                             
communicate  any  concerns  they  may have  about  the  facilities,                                                             
which initiates  follow-up  inspections by  the division to  ensure                                                             
compliance when necessary.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:41:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY   asked  whether  the  department   had  ever                                                             
required  the closure  of a  facility until  the necessary  changes                                                             
were made.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BAXTER  affirmed that  every  year,  a  handful of  homes  are                                                             
closed  by  the  department  through  an  immediate  revocation  or                                                             
suspension.   Occasionally,  settlement  agreements  or  correction                                                             
plans  are  entered  into  to  allow  the   facilities  to  reopen;                                                             
however,  if  a facility  is  closing  because  of  its  compliance                                                             
history,  it's typically  beyond what  the  department considers  a                                                             
safe home  for residents to  reside in.   He added that  typically,                                                             
it's abuse,  neglect,  financial exploitation,  failure to  require                                                             
background  checks, or  failure to  provide  adequate fire  safety.                                                             
He  explained  that   the  department  implements   the  policy  of                                                             
progressive  enforcement action,  so that  by the  time closure  of                                                             
the  home  or  non-renewal   of  the  license  is   required,  it's                                                             
justified.   He reported  that only  14 percent  of the  facilities                                                             
statewide  have  had  substantial  complaints  against  them.    He                                                             
emphasized  that the department's  preference  is for the  facility                                                             
to first,  fix the problem  as opposed to  shutting its doors.   He                                                             
said  closure  is traumatic  because  it  displaces  residents  and                                                             
puts employees  out of work; furthermore,  in smaller  communities,                                                             
closing  homes is often  detrimental  because alternative  services                                                             
are not available.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY inquired about the compliance deadline.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEE said the federal government's deadline is March of 2023.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:45:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:46:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE asked  what kind of  guidance is provided  to                                                             
assisted   living  homes   that   are  not   state-run   facilities                                                             
regarding [COVID-19] restrictions for residents.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEE  clarified that the  bill is not  related to the  pandemic.                                                             
Nonetheless,  he   noted  that  during  the  pandemic,   the  state                                                             
disaster  declaration  and  the  federal   government  allowed  the                                                             
suspension  of certain  regulations.   He  further  noted that  the                                                             
state produced visitation guidelines.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE asked if  the bill were  to pass, what  would                                                             
happen  to the assisted  living homes  that failed  to comply  with                                                             
the required changes.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BAXTER  explained that  if a facility  were out of  compliance,                                                             
a finding  against the  facility  would be assembled  via a  report                                                             
of inspection  or investigation.   The home would then  be notified                                                             
and  asked  to  make  the  necessary  corrections.    Additionally,                                                             
should  the  bill  pass, the  department  would  require  that  the                                                             
facility  update   its  house  rules   to  reflect  the   necessary                                                             
changes.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN surmised  that this  matter pertains  to the                                                             
federal  supremacy clause,  such that  the homes  would lose  their                                                             
Medicaid  funding  if  they  failed  to  comply  with  the  federal                                                             
requirements.   He said  the state  could set  any rule they  want,                                                             
but  if  the federal  government  implements  a  rule  that  limits                                                             
visitation, homes  would be forced  to follow that rule  during the                                                             
suspension of regulations.  He asked if that is correct.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEE asked Representative Claman to repeat his question.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:52:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  asked   whether  an  assisted  living  home                                                             
receiving federal funds is required to follow federal rule.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEE  said Medicaid  certified facilities  are required  to meet                                                             
these statutes.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  interjected   and  clarified  that  he  had                                                             
asked about  the COVID-19-related  suspension  of regulations.   He                                                             
sought verification  that  homes must follow  federal rules  during                                                             
a  suspension because  otherwise,  they  would lose  their  federal                                                             
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LEE replied  these  rules were  suspended  during the  federal                                                             
public health emergency.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   CLAMAN  sought   confirmation  that  the   federal                                                             
government had provided visitation guidelines.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEE replied in the affirmative.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  sought confirmation  that  homes  receiving                                                             
federal  funds must  follow the  visitation guidelines  set by  the                                                             
federal government.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LEE  answered  yes.   He  added  that  the  state  had  issued                                                             
guidelines to  the facilities on  how to operate safely  during the                                                             
pandemic.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN asked whether  the facilities in  Alaska are                                                             
following  direction from the  federal government  or the  state on                                                             
how to manage visitation during the public health emergency.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEE said  during the pandemic,  the federal government  allowed                                                             
states  to  relax  their  rules;  therefore,  the  facilities  were                                                             
following state guidelines.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:54:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:55:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   KREISS-TOMKINS    opened    public   testimony.       After                                                             
ascertaining  that  no one  wished  to  testify, he  closed  public                                                             
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:55:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  moved to  report HB  103  out of  committee                                                             
with  individual   recommendations  and  the  accompanying   fiscal                                                             
notes.  Without  objection, HB 103  was moved from the  House State                                                             
Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:56:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  provided  closing  remarks  on  housekeeping                                                             
items.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:56:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further  business before  the committee, the  House                                                             
State  Affairs Standing  Committee  meeting was  adjourned at  3:56                                                             
p.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 118 Letter of Support - GHS 3.25.21.pdf HSTA 4/1/2021 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB 103 Letter of Support - MSHF 3.26.21.pdf HHSS 4/13/2021 3:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/1/2021 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Letter of Support - AK Regional Hospital 3.26.21.pdf HHSS 4/13/2021 3:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/1/2021 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 118 Letter of Support - ACLU 3.25.21.pdf HSTA 4/1/2021 3:00:00 PM
HB 118
HB 118 Amendments B.2 and B.3 - 4.1.21.pdf HSTA 4/1/2021 3:00:00 PM
HB 118