Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/25/1995 09:25 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
MINUTES SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE APRIL 25, 1995 9:25 A.M. TAPES SFC-95, #42, Side 1 (000-575) SFC-95, #42, Side 2 (575-end) SFC-95, #44, Side 1 (000-400) CALL TO ORDER Senator Rick Halford, Co-chair, convened the meeting at approximately 9:25 a.m. PRESENT Co-chairs Halford and Frank, along with Senators Phillips, Sharp, Donley, Rieger and Zharoff were present. Also Attending: Senator Miller; Senator Leman; Catherine Reardon, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, Dept of Commerce and Economic Development; Jay Livey, Deputy Commissioner, Dept of Health & Social Services; Bob Rubadeau, Dept of Administration; Alison Elgee, Deputy Commissioner, Dept of Administration; Bruce Geron, Dept of Fish and Game; Joe McCormick, Executive Director for the Commission on Postsecondary Education; Elmer Lindstrom, Special Assistant to the Governor, Department of Health & Social Services; Harlan Knudson, President, Alaska Hospital and Nursing Home Association; Susan Taylor, Fiscal Analyst, Legislative Finance; Benjamin Brown, Legislative Aide to Representative Toohey; Kip Knudson, Aide to Representative Hanley; Jackie Damon, Division of Family and Youth Services; and Sherrie Goll, Alaska Women's Lobby. SUMMARY SB 124 HUMAN SERVICES COMMUNITY MATCHING GRANTS Senator Miller gave testimony in support of SB 124 which was REPORTED OUT of committee with a "do pass" recommendation, and a zero fiscal note from the Dept of Health & Social Services. HB 124 ABOLISH BD OF NURSING HOME ADMINISTRATORS Discussion was had by Catherine Reardon, Benjamin Brown, Kip Knudson, Harlan Knudson, and Jay Livey. SCSCSHB 124 (FIN) REPORTED OUT of committee with a "do pass" recommendation, and a fiscal note from the Dept of Commerce and Economic Development, $8.2. SB 142 HUMAN RESOURCE INVESTMENT COUNCIL Bob Rubadeau, Special Assistant to the Lt. Governor, testified in support of the bill. CSSB 142 (STA) REPORTED OUT of committee with a "do pass" recommendation and 7 fiscal notes (see details in minutes, page 5). SB 123 POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION PROGRAMS Testimony was given by Joe McCormick, Executive Director for the Commission on Postsecondary Education. Amendment 2 and 3 was ADOPTED. Conceptual Amendment involving a title change was ADOPTED. CSSB 123 (FIN) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a "do pass" recommendation, and two zero fiscal notes from the Dept of Education (Student Loans and Program Admin.). SB 105 PARENTAL CONSENT BEFORE MINOR'S ABORTION Senator Leman presented testimony to the committee. Senator Phillips moved to adopt an amendment changing age 18 to age 16. Amendment was ADOPTED and invoked a title change. Senator Rieger moved to adopt an amendment. Amendment was ADOPTED (see minutes for details). CSSB 105 (FIN) REPORTED OUT of committee with 4 fiscal notes (see minutes for details, page 9). SB 81 CLASSIFYING WOLF AS PREDATOR Senator Sharp gave testimony. A Conceptual Amendment was ADOPTED. CSSB 81 (FIN) was REPORTED OUT of committee with individual recommendations and a fiscal note from the Dept of Fish and Game. SENATE BILL NO. 124 "An Act relating to the human services community matching grant program; and providing for an effective date." Senator Miller testified that the Human Services Community Matching Grants Program was created to assist municipalities in providing human services via local non-profit agencies. The statute was structured to increase the local match each year for three consecutive years beginning at 10%, increasing the next year to 30%, and leveling out on the third (FY96) and subsequent years at 50%. Unfortunately the 50% match will be extremely difficult if not impossible for most local governments to accomplish due to declining municipal assistance and revenue sharing as well as reduced federal funds. In addition, non profits are struggling to obtain contributions at levels similar to those received in past years. It should also be noted that all other state/municipal matching grant programs require a 30% match. This legislation is modeled after SB 368 from 1994 which received broad support and passed both the House (Y31-N5-E1- A3) and Senate (Y13-N3-E1-A3) but was later vetoed. Senator Zharoff asked for an example. Senator Miller referred to the "History of Human Services Community Matching Grant" chart which compares 1993 through 1995. (attached to minutes) Senator Rieger MOVED to adopt SB 124 with an accompanying zero fiscal note and with individual recommendations. No objections being heard, SB 124 was REPORTED OUT of committee with a zero fiscal note from the Dept of Health & Social Services and a "do Pass" from Co-chairs Halford and Frank, along with Senators Rieger and Sharp. Senator Phillips recommended "do not pass", and Senators Donley and Zharoff signed "no recommendation". HOUSE BILL NO. 124 "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Nursing Home Administrators; and providing for an effective date." Senator Rieger MOVED to adopt CSHB 124 (FIN) "G" version as a working draft. No objection being heard it was ADOPTED. Benjamin Brown, Legislative Aid to Rep. Toohey was asked to give testimony on the original bill and the sponsor's statement. He stated that HB 124 is introduced to extend the sunset date of the Board of Nursing Home Administrators, which must exist according to federal regulation as a condition for the state's receipt of Medicaid funds. After the initial bill was introduced, the State Hospital and Nursing Home Administration decided on its own, that they did not want a Board of Nursing Home Administrators. It would be easier to abolish the Board and transfer its duties to the Division of Occupational Licensing. The Division was happy with the proposed change which evolved into a CS from the H&SS Committee. The House Finance Committee changed the bill further, giving the Division the ability to deny a license to a Nursing Home Administrator who falsifies information on the application. There was a loophole in the statute, meaning they would have had to give the license, and then take it back if they found out there was falsification. The bill is needed because without it, the State will be at risk at not receiving $157 million in Medicaid in the coming fiscal year, from the Federal Department of Health. The moratorium on long term care beds is a means of controlling the growth of the facilities component of the Medicaid budget. Catherine Reardon, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, Dept of Commerce & Economic Development, testified that as of July 1st, the Board will go out of existence if this legislation does not pass. The elimination of the Board and the change to have the Division directly manage the licensing program, will save approximately $1.0 to $1.3 in travel costs. The primary advantage is that it is much easier to issue licenses in a timely fashion. Jay Livey, Deputy Commissioner, Dept of Health & Social Services, addressed Section 14: Moratorium on Nursing Home Certificates of Need. The department is in favor of this section. Nursing home care is expensive. The department spent $50 million on nursing home care. A two-year moratorium will give the State a chance to develop less expensive alternatives that are currently being developed through the home and community based waiver program. The moratorium allows for more services at less cost. Kip Knutson, Aid to Rep. Hanley said the state pays for 87% of the long term beds through the Medicaid program. Their addition drives the cost of Medicaid up. Cost increases amount to 10-15% each year in the Medicaid budget. The Certificate of Need process is broken. The department needs attention before new beds are added. Harlan Knudson, President, Alaska Hospital and Nursing Home Association, spoke in favor of the original version of HB 124 and speaking in opposition to CSHB 124 as far as the moratorium on nursing home beds. There is agreement with the original HB 124 and the intent. With regard to the moratorium on nursing home beds, there is agreement that nursing home care is very expensive. There is also agreement where there are situations where very frail, ill, or disabled individuals, who need home care. The Certificate of Need determines who needs how many beds. He asked to move forward with the Certificate of Need process. It has all the tools needed to stop unnecessary beds. He stated that community based care will increase costs because many people will never go to a nursing home since the family is currently taking the extra effort to care for the individual. The non-facility portion of the budget reflects a higher rate, meaning a new level of service to a new level of clients. There will still be a need for increased nursing beds. There will be an increase in the Medicaid Program for community based care. Senator Rieger inquired as to the percentage of people that could be placed in the community based care that are currently receiving nursing beds within the institutions? Mr. Knudson responded that he could not answer that question. Senator Sharp MOVED to adopt CSSB 124 with individual recommendations and a zero fiscal note. No objections being heard, CSSB 124 was REPORTED OUT of committee with a zero fiscal note from the Dept of Health & Social Services and a "do Pass" from Co-chairs Halford and Frank, along with Senators Rieger and Sharp. Senator Phillips recommended "do not pass". Senators Donley and Zharoff signed, "no recommendation". The meeting RECESSED at approximately 10:00 a.m. The meeting RECONVENED at approximately 2:45 p.m. PRESENT Co-chair Halford, along with Senators Rieger, Zharoff, and Sharp were present. SENATE BILL NO. 142 "An Act establishing the Alaska Human Resource Investment Council and transferring certain functions of other entities to the council; establishing a planning mechanism for employment training and other human resource investment needs; and providing for an effective date." Bob Rubadeau, Special Assistant to the Lieutenant Governor, testified that the bill primarily has 40 council members, who are now serving on three separate state councils that deal with federally funded projects in the state dealing with vocational, education, and job retraining. These councils meet approximately 12 times a year, quarterly, to coordinate and review many of the same program provisions in oversight over the federal funding mechanisms that deal with job training and retraining. It is proposed under the Human Resources Investment Council Bill, which has been empowered by the federal government to combine the councils into one council, and that their oversight role would be handled in one coordinated way. The councils that are now proposed are now housed in three separate agencies. The proposal under SB 142 is to take the oversight committee, the council that has created the Human Resource Investment Council, and place it under the role of the governor. The consolidation bill deals with $42 million in federal flow-through funds. Funds are not coming from the general fund or the state in any way. He stated that it is all federal past-due money identified under federal legislation that meets the requirements under a federal bill to obtain the $42 million in federal flow-through funds. The interagency transfers and staffing transfers have been identified specifically for these oversight committees. The intent is to combine and consolidate their commission, and come up with a comprehensive plan that is strictly for Alaska. He stressed the importance of having the consolidated council with the upcoming federal block grants proposed. Senator Phillips MOVED CSSB 142 with accompanying fiscal notes, with individual recommendations. No objection being heard, CSSB 142 was REPORTED OUT of committee with a "do pass" recommendation by Co-chair Frank, and Senators Phillips, Zharoff, and Sharp. Signing "no recommendations" were Co-chair Halford and Senator Rieger. Zero fiscal notes from: University of Alaska, Dept of Education; Dept of Community and Regional Affairs, Dept of Labor, Dept of Health & Social Services; and Dept of Commerce and Economic Development. Office of the governor has a fiscal note of $309.6. SENATE BILL NO. 123 "An Act relating to student loan programs, interstate compacts for postsecondary education, and fees for review of postsecondary education institutions; and providing for an effective date." Co-chair Frank WITHDREW amendment #1. No objection being heard amendment #1 was WITHDRAWN. Senator Zharoff offered amendment #2 which deals the full and part-time students. Joe McCormick, Executive Director for the Commission on Postsecondary Education stated his support for amendment #2. He said it provides a graduation, downward, of the annual amounts eligible depending on the length of the program. It tracks very closely the same loan eligibility requirements that are currently available in the student aids programs. Senator Zharoff MOVED to adopt amendment #2. Senator Sharp OBJECTED. Senator Sharp MOVED amendment #3 which reduces the proposed total amount available for a student loan to an individual student over the career course of his education from $79.0 to $60.0. The $60.0 his still higher than under federal law. Mr. McCormick was supportive of the amendment. He stated that the current maximum is $5500 for an undergraduate, and $6500 for a graduate student. Depending on the number of years involved in the undergraduate or graduate study would determine the aggregate. Four years of study at $5500 would equal $22,000. Three years of graduate study at $6500 equals $19,000. This amounts to a 26% increase overall in the allowable amount to be borrowed. There was no objection to the amendment. Amendment #2 and Senator Rieger expressed his concerns with regards to the origination fee at 5%. He offered an amendment to reduce the rate from 5% to 3%. Mr. McCormick stated that the 5% rate was established as a rate that customarily was paid in student loan programs, and their rate went up to 8%. The rate has ranged over time from 3%- 8%. Therefore, 5% was chosen as a mid-point rate. The average student loan is $4700. Co-chair Frank stated that his desire is to have the student loan program be fully self-supporting. Co-chair Halford agreed with the program needing to be fully self- supporting and could not support the amendment. Mr. McCormick stated that the reason the student loan program has not been paying for itself combines many factors. There were many years that contained a forgiveness provision within the law, which did not replenish the loan capital. The loans were forgiven, but the capital was not replenished. The forgiveness is part of the loss. When students die, become totally disabled, and default on the loans, there is no billing of the general fund to replenish the capital. It is truly a loss and the capital of the fund does go down. The other factor involved is that there is no interest on the loan during the time the student is initially in school. Under this provision the student may be charged $240 origination fee, but he will have an interest free loan over the next 12 months which works out to be a $400 savings to the student. When the commission feels that politically they can come to the legislature with the proposal, they will come back and ask for interest to be charged during the in-school period. This represents a period of time for which the state is paying bond holders interest on those bonds for which interest is not being charged on the loan. That is a loosing proposition. Amendment by Senator Rieger FAILED. Senator Zharoff inquired as to the effective date for the students borrowing in the year of 1995. Mr. McCormick responded that current loan limits apply to students applying for, and receiving, loans through June 30, 1995. Students applying for loans to be disbursed on, or after, July 1, 1995 would enjoy the benefits of the increased loan limits. Tuition increase with the University of Alaska is July 1, 1995. He recommended the increase in the loan program to coincide with that date. Senator Rieger offered a conceptual amendment making a change in the title to include Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education. No objection being heard, the conceptual amendment was ADOPTED. End Tape #42, Side 1 Begin Tape #42, Side 2 Senator Phillips MOVED to adopt CSSB 123 with accompanying fiscal notes and with individual recommendations. No objections being heard, CSSB 123 (FIN) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a "do pass" from Co-chairs Halford and Frank, along with Senators Phillips and Sharp. Senators Rieger and Zharoff signed "no recommendation". Two zero fiscal notes from Dept of Education (Student Loans) and (Program Administration). SENATE BILL NO. 105 "An Act relating to a requirement that a parent, guardian, or custodian consent before a minor receives an abortion; establishing a judicial bypass procedure by which a minor may petition a court for authorization to consent to an abortion without consent of a parent, guardian, or custodian; amending the definition of `abortion'; and amending Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure 40, 53, and 79; Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure 204, 210, 212, 213, 508, and 512.5; and Alaska Administrative Rule 9." Senator Leman stated that SB 105 provides a judicial bypass for a juvenile who seeks to have an abortion without parental permission. Currently, state law requires a juvenile under age 18 have parental consent. It is not enforced. This proposed bill meets the test of the United States Supreme Court. There are fiscal notes from the Office of Public Advocacy and the Court System. The advantages of a judicial bypass incorporates confidentiality, and costs (no charge). Co-chair Halford offered amendment #1 and asked Senator Leman to define the amendment. Senator Leman explained that the proposed amendment would delete the requirement for a guardian ad litem, be appointed in addition to an attorney. The minor would have an attorney who would represent her interest. The duplication would be removed. In response to the question, what is the definition of ad litem, he said that it is a person appointed by the court who assists in helping the juvenile to make decisions, acting in the best interests of that juvenile. Senator Sharp offered to ADOPT amendment #1. No objections being heard it was ADOPTED. Co-chair Frank asked Senator Leman to give his reaction to the zero fiscal note from the Dept of Health & Social Services. He responded that there would be a savings with fewer abortions. Elmer Lindstrom testified in direct conflict with the supporting documentation from other states and the purpose of this bill. The ultimate purpose is to reduce the teen pregnancies and abortions. There is ample documentation in the record that shows it does happen. Co-chair Frank focused on the fiscal note. He stated the discrepancies in this bill. Wanted to know if the $112.0 fiscal note from OPA is accurate. Senator Leman said that by adopting the amendment, OPA's fiscal note would be decreased by $112.0. Their projection is that there by 112 cases each at $1500 per case. Their projection of numbers may be accurate, the dollar amount is exorbitant. He was asked what percentage of teens are expected to talk to their parents versus the court? Senator Leman responded that an assumption, based on statistics, that 61% of girls who now talk to their parents, would continue to do so, and 39% who do not, would then seek to have a judicial bypass. Senator Leman stated that in order for a juvenile to qualify for a judicial bypass she will be required to file a complaint. She will state that she is pregnant, that she is unmarried, under the age of 18 and unemancipated, that she wishes to have an abortion without the consent of her parents or others, and be able to allege to: the fact that she is mature and well-enough informed; or, that she has been a victim of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by the parents. That is how it would be presented to the judge. Alison Elgee, Deputy Commissioner, Dept of Administration, stated that as a result of the amendment just adopted, eliminating the guardian ad litem requirement, the Office of Public Advocacy fiscal note can be reduced to $168.0. In other words, $112.0 is subtracted from the $280.0. Trial Courts has a fiscal note of $9.6. Sherrie Goll, Representing the Alaska Women's Lobby, testified for the Pro Choice Alliances. She stated that the Alliance and the Women's Lobby is opposed to the legislation. In regard to the fiscal impact, she stated that there is an additional impact to be considered, which is defending the constitutionality of this law. She stated it certainly will be challenged. There are two other states that have similar rights to privacy in their constitution. As the sponsor stated, this judicial bypass does meet the constitutional test for the federal constitution. However, the two states that have similar constitutions to ours (California and Florida) have meet with different results. In Florida it was struck down, and in California they chose to suspend their law after they passed it, because there was so much weight given to the fact that it would be overturned to the court. Senator Phillips offered an amendment changing the age from 18 to 16 in all provisions. Age 16 is the age of consent. Senator Leman does not support the amendment. He suggests focusing on the issue. The girls can be emancipated. He felt that there is consistency in the juvenile laws if the age is kept at age 18. No further debate, the question before the committee is the adoption of the Phillips amendment. In favor were Senators Zharoff, Donley, Rieger and Phillips. Opposed were Co-chair Halford, Frank and Senator Sharp. The amendment was ADOPTED. Senator Rieger offered an amendment moving language on page 8, line 22 (section 5 (5) to (4)). No objection being heard, the amendment was ADOPTED. Senator Leman reiterated that the bill comes from existing law in other states that have already withstood the scrutiny of the United States Supreme Court. It is not a standard created by him or the Alaska bill drafters. Section 5 was modeled after the Ohio Law. Senator Sharp MOVED to adopt CSSB 105 (FIN) with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. There was objection. The question is, shall CSSB 105 (FIN) move from committee. Those in favor were Co-chairs Halford, Frank, along with Senators Phillips and Sharp. Those opposed were Senators Rieger, Donley, and Zharoff. CSSB 105 (FIN) was REPORTED OUT of committee with "no recommendations" from Senators Rieger, Phillips, Frank, and Zharoff. Co-chair Halford and Senator Sharp recommended "do pass" and Senator Donley recommended "do not pass". Accompanying fiscal notes: Dept Health & Social Services (Medicaid Non-Facility) zero; (Medicaid Facility) zero; Dept of Administration $168.0; and Courts $9.6. SENATE BILL NO. 81 "An Act classifying the wolf as a predator and providing for a bounty on wolf." Senator Sharp testified the bill declassifies the wolf as a big game animal and places it in classified status. It also leaves it as a fur bearer. It allows the Board of Game the flexibility to set up areas designated for intensive predator control by offering harvest incentives if the Board of Game authorizes. It designates the department to set up areas where trappers or members of the public, to take a wolf, can present the skin as defined on page 2 for identification and verification to the department's satisfaction. If the animal is taken in an area designated, then the department is responsible for paying the harvest incentive. End Tape #42, Side 2 Begin Tape #44, Side 1 Senator Sharp referred to his large chart produced by the Division of Game. It graphically indicated the wildlife harvest data. He indicated that the Resources Committee substantially changed the bill. The bounty was reduced from $400 to $200. All provisions were changed which referred to the wolf as a "vermin to be killed in any way." It has been changed to reflect that the wolf is an unclassified or fur bearer and is subject to all the protection and the normal procedures that apply to unclassified animals or fur bearers. It further states, that the harvest incentive for a bounty can only be applied in areas decided by the Board of Game. He reiterated, the state is in turmoil over a subsistence question that basically deals with a total of 4% of the harvest. Senator Donley supports maintaining the existing controls for non-residents and aliens, and applying the new standards to Alaskan residents. Co-chair Halford responded an inconsistency in that there is no other unclassified or fur bearer that has a non-resident tag. He noted the need to create a non-resident tag for an unclassified animal. This is inconsistent with the current management scheme. Senator Phillips asked if there were any limits to the type of wolf taken. Co-chair Halford responded that it is the same as other like fur bearing animals. It is not restricted by age or size, primarily because it is impossible for someone in the field to know if a wolf is a male or female or if it is 6 months or 6 years old. Trapping is whatever gets in the trap. He reminded the committee that there are 1100 wolves taken a year. Senator Donley offered a conceptual amendment limiting the harvesting of the wolf to Alaskans. No objection being heard the amendment was ADOPTED. Senator Phillips inquired as to why the right foreleg must be taken to the department for identification. Co-chair Halford responded that the characteristics of that bone distinguishes a wolf from a dog. Senator Sharp MOVED to adopt a conceptual amendment changing the language from retain to remove on page 2, lines 4 and 6. No objection being heard, it was ADOPTED. Co-chair Frank MOVED to adopt CSSB 81 (FIN) as amended with a fiscal note from the Dept of Fish and Game of $85.0 with individual recommendations. No objection being heard, CSSB 81 (FIN) was REPORTED OUT of committee. Co-chairs Halford and Frank along with Senator Sharp recommended "do pass", Senators Phillips, Donley, and Rieger recommended "no recommendation". Co-chair Halford requested a current fiscal note to reflect the actual cost from Dept of Fish and Game of $85.0. ADJOURNMENT The meeting adjourned at approximately 3:00 p.m.