Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/03/2002 09:14 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                              MINUTES                                                                                         
                     SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                          April 03, 2002                                                                                      
                              9:14 AM                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPES                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SFC-02 # 47,  Side A                                                                                                            
SFC 02 # 47,  Side B                                                                                                            
SFC 02 # 48,  Side A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Pete  Kelly convened the meeting at approximately  9:14 AM.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Pete Kelly, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Dave Donley, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Jerry Ward, Vice Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Senator Gary Wilken                                                                                                             
Senator Loren Leman                                                                                                             
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Alan Austerman                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Also Attending:   SENATOR  RANDY PHILLIPS;  ELMER LINDSTROM,  Deputy                                                          
Commissioner,   Department  of  Health  and  Social   Services;  JON                                                            
SHERWOOD, Unit Manager,  Beneficiary Eligibility Policy, Division of                                                            
Medical  Assistance,  Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services;                                                            
ANGELA SALERNO, Division  of Public Assistance, Department of Health                                                            
and Social  Services; KAREN  PEARSON, Director,  Division of  Public                                                            
Health,  Department   of  Health   and  Social  Services;   JENNIFER                                                            
RUTTINGER, Executive Director, Alaska Civil Liberties Union;                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Attending  via  Teleconference:    From  Anchorage:   DARYL  NELSON,                                                          
Community  Advocacy  Coordinator,  Access  Alaska;  SUSAN  SULLIVAN,                                                            
Child  Support  Enforcement  Division, Department  of  Revenue;  BOB                                                            
LYNN, President,  Alaska  Right to Life  Alliance; VICTORIA  HALCRO,                                                            
Director,  Public  Affairs  and  Marketing,  Planned  Parenthood  of                                                            
Alaska; KAREN  VOSBURGH, Executive  Director, Alaska Right  to Life;                                                            
From  Fairbanks:   ANNE   HARRISON,  Registered   Nurse  and   Nurse                                                            
Practitioner  of Women's  Health Care,  and Member,  State Board  of                                                            
Planned Parenthood; From Delta: DEB JOSLIN                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SB 340-HOLD HARMLESS PROVISIONS OF PFD PROGRAM                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from the sponsor, the Department  of Health and                                                            
Social  Services, the  Department  of Revenue,  and social  services                                                            
representatives.  A committee  substitute was  adopted and  the bill                                                            
moved from Committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SB  91-ABORTION: INFORMED CONSENT;INFORMATION                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from the sponsor, the Department  of Health and                                                            
Social  Services and  members  of the public.  The  bill moved  from                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SB 140-SMALL WATER-POWER DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  considered and adopted  two amendments. The  bill was                                                            
held in Committee.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 340                                                                                                        
     "An Act relating to treatment of permanent fund dividends for                                                              
     purposes of determining eligibility for certain benefits; and                                                              
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the second  hearing for  this bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  RANDY  PHILLIPS,   sponsor  of  the  bill,  testified   the                                                            
Department  of Health and Social Services  had recommended  amending                                                            
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JON  SHERWOOD,   Unit  Manager,  Beneficiary   Eligibility   Policy,                                                            
Division  of Medical  Assistance,  Department of  Health and  Social                                                            
Services testified  that the proposed committee substitute,  Version                                                            
"L", addresses income eligibility  for Medicaid. He informed Section                                                            
2 of the proposed  committee substitute  requires the Department  to                                                            
include  permanent   fund  dividends  as  income  when  determining                                                             
eligibility  for public assistance  programs, with the exception  of                                                            
Medicaid.   He  noted  the   federal  government   recently   issued                                                            
regulations  allowing  the Department  to disregard  permanent  fund                                                            
dividend income.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Sherwood  cautioned  of  the  possible  inequity  of  including                                                            
dividends  as income,  because  some  recipients would  continue  to                                                            
qualify for  Medicaid. He  also warned that  this legislation  would                                                            
adversely  impact  nursing  homes,  home  and community-based   care                                                            
providers,  and other providers  who serve  Medicaid clients  "whose                                                            
cost of care  far exceed the value  of the permanent fund  divided."                                                            
He explained  the providers  would  in many instances  be unable  to                                                            
recover the lost revenue.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Phillips  added that the changes  proposed in the  committee                                                            
substitute would not impact the fiscal note.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green  asked if Medicaid eligibility is determined  month by                                                            
month or annually.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Sherwood  replied   that  for  most  clients,  eligibility   is                                                            
determined  month by month, with the  exception of children  whereby                                                            
eligibility  is  continuous  for six  months.  He noted  that  those                                                            
children,  whose eligibility  expires during  the month of  October,                                                            
would become ineligible  for the next six months based on the income                                                            
received from  the dividend. He qualified  that some adult  Medicaid                                                            
recipients  qualify on an annual basis;  however, they are  required                                                            
to notify the Department  of any income changes that occur, in which                                                            
case they would become ineligible as well.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Green   asked  if  the  federal   government  would   allow                                                            
applicants to amortize  annual income for the purposes of qualifying                                                            
for Medicaid coverage.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Sherwood responded  there are rules disallowing amortization. He                                                            
noted income could be disregarded  under federal rules, pointing out                                                            
this  is  the  process  currently  practiced   with  permanent  fund                                                            
dividend income.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilken  referenced  a chart indicating  the amount  of State                                                            
funds saved  as a  result of this  legislation  [copy on file],  and                                                            
asked  if  the  proposed  committee  substitute   would  change  the                                                            
amounts.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Phillips answered there would be no changes.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilken   understood  the  Department  testified   that  the                                                            
proposed  committee substitute  would  eliminate  the fiscal  impact                                                            
related to the Medicaid program.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Sherwood  explained  that recently adopted  federal regulations                                                             
allow  the  exemption  of  permanent  fund  dividends   from  income                                                            
qualification.   Therefore, he stated the current  State expenditure                                                            
for the dividend  hold harmless provision would cease  regardless of                                                            
enactment of this legislation.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 9:23 AM / 9:26 AM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DARYL  NELSON,  Community   Advocacy  Coordinator,  Access   Alaska,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from Anchorage that  people should not                                                            
be excluded  from receiving a permanent  fund dividend because  of a                                                            
physical  or mental  disability. He  asked if  federal law  requires                                                            
this legislation.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly responded  it does not although the Committee must be                                                            
mindful of federal requirements.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Phillips clarified  that this legislation would not prohibit                                                            
residents of the  Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API)  from receiving                                                            
dividends.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN SULLIVAN,  Child Support Enforcement  Division, Department  of                                                            
Revenue,  testified  via teleconference   from Anchorage  about  the                                                            
ramifications  for custodial parents with child support  payments in                                                            
arrears.  She explained  that  because the  State  could not  retain                                                            
funds garnished from dividends  until the custodial parents are paid                                                            
in full, the reduced revenue  to the general fund is estimated to be                                                            
$1.458  million  in  FY  03.  She  stated  the  proposed   committee                                                            
substitute would not affect the fiscal note.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly  asked  if  the  sponsor's  projected  cost  savings                                                            
includes the impact of child support.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Phillips  answered the figures listed on the  aforementioned                                                            
spreadsheet are net amounts, but do not include child support.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Phillips expressed  the intent  of this  legislation  is to                                                            
utilize  the savings  garnered  from  the  elimination  of the  hold                                                            
harmless  provision,  for the  Medicaid  program. He  asserted  this                                                            
would  benefit the  people  affected, as  opposed  to expending  the                                                            
funds for bridge construction or other unrelated purpose.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly pointed out  the bill does  not contain a  "transfer                                                            
mechanism"  guaranteeing  that the  funds would  be appropriated  to                                                            
Medicaid.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ELMER  LINDSTROM,  Deputy Commissioner,   Department  of Health  and                                                            
Social  Services,  reiterated  the Department's  opposition  to  the                                                            
bill.  He  appreciated   that  the  proposed  committee   substitute                                                            
eliminates  "any unintended consequences"  relative to the  Medicaid                                                            
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Lindstrom  stressed  the  bill  would  "remove  many  temporary                                                            
assistance  clients  from the  temporary  assistance  rolls for…  at                                                            
least one month."  He understood the assumption might  be that these                                                            
recipients  would  function  adequately   because  of  the  dividend                                                            
income.  However, he  calculated the  amount  of dividends  averaged                                                            
over 12 months, in addition  to benefits received from the Temporary                                                            
Assistance  for Needy Families  (TANF) program,  places a family  of                                                            
three at  100 percent of  the federal poverty  level. He noted  this                                                            
allows a discretionary  income of approximately $40  per month after                                                            
housing,  food,  and  other  "necessities   of  life"  expenses  are                                                            
deducted.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lindstrom  spoke to the need for discretionary  income and noted                                                            
that up  to $100  is allowed for  single individuals  residing  in a                                                            
nursing  home or  assisted  living facility.  He  asserted,  "you're                                                            
suggesting   that   $40  of   discretionary   funding   is   somehow                                                            
extravagant;  we simply cannot accept  that as a sound conclusion."                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman asked if  the Department  calculated the  financial                                                            
impact of this legislation sorted by community.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lindstrom responded he would prepare the information.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilken  referenced  an impact  statement  prepared  by  the                                                            
Division  of Medical Assistance  [copy on file]  and asked if  it is                                                            
based on the chart provided by Senator Phillips.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lindstrom  responded that by exempting Medicaid,  as proposed in                                                            
the committee substitute, the impact is eliminated.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  asked if the committee substitute  would impact the                                                            
general fund.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lindstrom  replied  there would  be small  administrative  costs                                                            
related to the provisions in the committee substitute.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 9:37 AM / 9:39 AM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lindstrom spoke to  fiscal notes prepared that would reflect the                                                            
impact  of  the  committee   substitute,  specifically   the  Public                                                            
Assistance Administration,  Public Assistance Field  Services fiscal                                                            
note. He qualified  that the $420,300 interagency  receipts from the                                                            
Permanent  Fund   Dividend  Division  are  for  the  hold   harmless                                                            
provision,  and should be  replaced with  general funds. He  pointed                                                            
out  there would  be  "administrative  complexities"  incurred  with                                                            
removing recipients from the program eligibility.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly asked if  the Department  does not currently  remove                                                            
these  participants from  the programs  during  the month  permanent                                                            
fund dividends are received.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANGELA SALERNO, Division  of Public Assistance, Department of Health                                                            
and  Social Services,  answered  no  and explained  the flexibility                                                             
afforded  states by the federal  government  at the time of  welfare                                                            
reform.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 9:40 AM / 9:41 AM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly  asked  if the  Department  reimburses  the  federal                                                            
government the  cost of providing services to those  recipients that                                                            
would otherwise  be removed during  the one-month period,  or if the                                                            
recipients  are actually removed from  the program and the  dividend                                                            
funds are paid to the recipients in lieu of the benefits.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Salerno  answered, "The federal  government does not  require us                                                            
to  remove  them from  the  rolls.  We  are not  required  to  count                                                            
permanent  fund dividend as  income. So we  do not remove them  from                                                            
the  rolls.  Because   of  our  block  grant  funding,   there's  no                                                            
reimbursement or exchange of funds."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Green referenced  a comment  printed on  the check stub  of                                                            
permanent  fund dividend  checks indicating  that  a portion of  the                                                            
funds are used to augment  federal welfare. She noted this statement                                                            
"generates lots of inquires" and asked for an explanation.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Salerno explained  that  with  advent  of welfare  reform,  the                                                            
Department  was no longer required  to remove participants  from the                                                            
program. However,  she informed that  the permanent fund  has been a                                                            
"funding stream" for one  month each year since the inception of the                                                            
hold  harmless  provision.  She furthered  that  general  funds  are                                                            
sufficient to  fund only 11 months of the program,  and the dividend                                                            
funds  are necessary  to maintain  benefit payments  for the  entire                                                            
year.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Green asked  if this  is due  to "maintenance  of  efforts"                                                            
requirements.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Salerno replied  the  dividend  funds  are necessary  for  both                                                            
maintenance  of effort and receipt  of federal block grants  as they                                                            
are based  on the  amount spent  for welfare programs  in 1994.  She                                                            
stressed that  in 1994, general funds were spent for  only 11 months                                                            
                                         th                                                                                     
with dividend funds utilized for the 12 month.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman asked  if  beside the  $420,000  general funds  for                                                            
administration  costs projected  in  the fiscal  note, whether  this                                                            
legislation would incur additional expense.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lindstrom  replied  there would  be no additional  cost for  the                                                            
Department  of Health and  Social Services,  although he was  unsure                                                            
whether  there would  be costs  for  the Child  Support Enforcement                                                             
Division.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green  moved for  adoption of CS SB  340, 22-LS1361\L,  as a                                                            
working draft.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
There was no objection and the committee substitute was ADOPTED.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly  requested the sponsor to calculate  the "net effect"                                                            
of this legislation,  less the proposed costs and  the impact to the                                                            
Child Support Enforcement Division.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Phillips shared  that he had been unaware of the fiscal note                                                            
before the Committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly ordered the bill HELD in Committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 91(HES)                                                                                             
     "An  Act relating  to  information  and services  available  to                                                            
     pregnant  women  and  other  persons;   and ensuring   informed                                                            
     consent  before an abortion may  be performed, except  in cases                                                            
     of medical emergency."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward,  sponsor, testified this bill requires  the Department                                                            
of Health and Social Services  to develop an information booklet and                                                            
make it available to women  "contemplating" an abortion. He spoke to                                                            
actions  of  the  Senate   Health  Education  and  Social   Services                                                            
Committee related to this legislation.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Ward commented that  Alaska's informed  consent process  is                                                            
not uniform. He  stated this bill would provide uniform  information                                                            
to those  receiving  services regardless  of their  location in  the                                                            
State.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 9:50 AM / 9:58 AM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
BOB LYNN, President,  Alaska Right  to Life Alliance, testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage  to urge the  Committee to pass  this                                                            
legislation.  He spoke  of the medical  procedure  and the need  for                                                            
informed  consent.  He  talked  about  the  financial   benefits  to                                                            
abortion providers  for performing the procedures  and asserted that                                                            
relying on these  providers to provide information  is a conflict of                                                            
interest.  He used an analogy  of real estate  transactions  and the                                                            
informed  consent requirements  in  that industry  and compared  the                                                            
health of a house to the health of a woman.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VICTORIA  HALCRO, Director,  Public Affairs  and Marketing,  Planned                                                            
Parenthood  of Alaska, testified via  teleconference from  Anchorage                                                            
that Planned  Parenthood "does more  every day to prevent  abortions                                                            
than  any  other organization   in the  country."  She  stated  this                                                            
legislation  singles out one medical  procedure, which she  surmised                                                            
is  unethical, and  noted  the medical  profession  has established                                                             
methods for informing  patients about procedures.  She asserted that                                                            
the American College of  OB/GYN position is that there is no medical                                                            
basis supporting  statements  that a risk  of adverse psychological                                                             
effects related to abortions  exists. She continued that there is no                                                            
evidence that an abortion  causes any long-term psychological injury                                                            
and she  suggested there  could be long-term  psychological  effects                                                            
resulting from childbirth.  She opined the information that would be                                                            
contained in  the proposed pamphlet  would be presented in  a biased                                                            
manner with the intent  to discourage women from choosing to have an                                                            
abortion. She  predicted the pamphlet  would not contain  statements                                                            
indicating  that an abortion  is eight times  safer than carrying  a                                                            
pregnancy  to term,  nor would  it state that  first-term  trimester                                                            
abortion has a lower complication rate than any other surgery.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked the witness if her testimony  is that former US                                                            
Surgeon General,  C. Everett Koop,  found no psychological  risk for                                                            
women who have an abortion.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Halcro affirmed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KAREN VOSBURGH, Executive  Director, Alaska Right to Life, testified                                                            
via teleconference from  Anchorage that, "informed consent is not as                                                            
much an abortion  issue as it is a woman's health  issue." She cited                                                            
a  three-year  Planned  Parenthood  study, which  found  that  post-                                                            
procedural  trauma  for  abortion  patients  could  be  as  high  91                                                            
percent.  She disagreed  that abortion  providers  present  adequate                                                            
information  about the procedure,  referencing  a study compiled  by                                                            
David  Reardon,  Director,  Elliot Institute  for  Social  Services,                                                            
whereby  80  percent  of surveyed  women  stated  they  were  denied                                                            
informed consent or were  actively misinformed prior to receiving an                                                            
abortion. She asserted  that women are entitled to know the physical                                                            
and psychological  risks that  could be incurred  from abortions  as                                                            
well as information  about fetal development. She  listed additional                                                            
findings in  Dr. Reardon's report:  abortion is four times  deadlier                                                            
than childbirth,  and that three to  five percent of women  who have                                                            
had  an abortion  are rendered  sterile.  She mentioned  a  Japanese                                                            
report that found  the rate of sterilization to be  nine percent; 14                                                            
percent suffered  from reoccurring  miscarriages; and a 400  percent                                                            
increase in ectopic pregnancies.  She also spoke of suicide attempts                                                            
and various complications  from abortions, including  increased risk                                                            
for breast  cancer.  She detailed  reports of  psychological  trauma                                                            
related to abortions.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly commented that  one of two  reporters left  the room                                                            
after hearing the testimony of Planned Parenthood.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ANNE HARRISON,  Registered Nurse and  Nurse Practitioner  of Women's                                                            
Health  Care,  and   Member,  State  Board  of  Planned   Parenthood                                                            
testified via teleconference from Fairbanks on her own behalf.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 47, Side B 10:15 AM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Harrison detailed  her  experiences  in working  with  pregnant                                                            
women.  She asserted  this legislation  is unnecessary  because  the                                                            
health  care providers  give  adequate  information  of options  and                                                            
possible complications  to all pregnant  woman. She stated  the data                                                            
cited by the Right to Life  organization is inaccurate and distorted                                                            
and  focuses on  a small  incidence.  She predicted  an information                                                             
packet could not  be compiled to the satisfaction  of groups on both                                                            
sides of the issue. She  reminded this country is established on the                                                            
separation  of church and state and  urged the Committee  not impose                                                            
it's views, especially in areas it is not proficient.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN   SMITH,   constituent   of  Senator   Ward,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference from Anchorage  in opposition to the bill. She stated                                                            
she  wished efforts  could  be combined  to prevent  abortions.  She                                                            
calculated  that of  the approximately  9,960  births  in Alaska  in                                                            
1999, 48  percent were funded  by Medicaid,  and that 42 percent  of                                                            
all births are  unintended births; therefore 2,100  births were paid                                                            
by the State.  She referenced State information listing  the average                                                            
public cost for  an unintended pregnancy carried to  term and infant                                                            
care for one  year is $30,000 and  she calculated the total  cost at                                                            
$60 million annually.  She emphasized the need to  reduce the number                                                            
of unintended  pregnancies. She spoke to the psychological  problems                                                            
with childbirth and giving babies up for adoption.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER  RUTTINGER,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Civil  Liberties                                                            
Union, testified  in Juneau referencing  a position statement  dated                                                            
April  20, 2001  [Copy on  file]. She  spoke of  the organization's                                                             
mission "to  guarantee the  individual liberties  that are  found in                                                            
the  Alaska  Constitution  and the  US  Bill  of Rights,"  and  it's                                                            
representation  of  Planned Parenthood  of  Alaska on  the issue  of                                                            
protecting  privacy in the  context of  medical decision-making  for                                                            
one's own body. She described  the 1992 US Supreme Court decision on                                                            
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern  Pennsylvania vs. Casey upholding                                                          
a Pennsylvania  State  law  requiring  physicians to  provide  women                                                            
state-prepared   anti-choice   materials   prior   to  an   abortion                                                            
procedure. She  qualified that the Alaska Supreme  Court, as well as                                                            
Supreme  Courts in  other states,  gives  the right  to choose  more                                                            
protection under their  State constitution than the US Supreme Court                                                            
gives  under the  federal  constitution, which  does  not contain  a                                                            
right to  privacy component.  She told of  the Alaska Supreme  Court                                                            
decision  in Valley Hospital  Association  vs. Mat-Su Coalition  for                                                          
Choice finding  that any restrictions  on the private decision  of a                                                          
woman to  terminate a  pregnancy or  to carry  a pregnancy to  term,                                                            
would be "held  to the highest possible  standard of scrutiny."  She                                                            
explained that the State  must demonstrate a compelling interest for                                                            
the need for  this legislation as  well as demonstrate that  the law                                                            
would  not  infringe on  the  right  to choose.  She  remarked  this                                                            
legislation  violates  the  Alaska  constitution  under  the  Valley                                                            
Hospital decision.  She stated the  medical information required  to                                                            
be  included  in  the   proposed  material  is  scientifically   and                                                            
medically "suspect"  in some instances,  and she noted that  neither                                                            
Dr. C. Everett  Koop, or the World Health Organization  were able to                                                            
find psychological  harm  linked to  abortion. She  told stories  of                                                            
women  for  whom a  pregnancy  would  be life  threatening  and  the                                                            
additional  hardship  of requiring  them  to  be subjected  to  this                                                            
information.  She stated this is not  in women's best interest.  She                                                            
talked about  the higher cost of doctor's  required to provide  this                                                            
information  rather  than nurses,  etc.  She  supported information                                                             
about all medical  procedures. She cautioned against  the government                                                            
making decisions about what information is appropriate.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DEB  JOSLIN  testified  via  teleconference  from  Delta  about  her                                                            
experience  with an unborn child "with  multiple anomalies"  and the                                                            
counseling she  received urging her to terminate the  pregnancy. She                                                            
decided  against  termination and  detailed  her introduction  to  a                                                            
support group  where she learned of  other children with  trisomy 13                                                            
disorder. She said her  child was born with serious heart conditions                                                            
but was in significantly  better health than anticipated and that he                                                            
was not  in pain. She therefore  supported  this legislation  as she                                                            
thought  she should have  received more  accurate information  about                                                            
the prenatal condition  her son was diagnosed with. She informed her                                                            
son lived much longer than the maximum two days prognosis.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson asked  the  sponsor about  a witness  statement  that                                                            
women  are aware  of the  availability  of information  on  abortion                                                            
procedures. He commented  that in Rural Alaska there are some people                                                            
who are  "less than  knowledgeable"  about the  procedure. He  asked                                                            
what provisions  in this legislation address rural  residents and if                                                            
the information  would be provided in languages other  than English.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward  stated the information  would be provided in  English.                                                            
He hoped that  any provider would not perform an abortion  procedure                                                            
on a person  who was unable to understand  what was about  to occur.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly commented  the number of abortions performed in rural                                                            
Alaska  is  low,  primarily  due to  the  limited  amount  of  State                                                            
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward stated Senator  Olson's concerns are the basis for this                                                            
legislation.  He  relayed  the  story  of a  girl  who  received  an                                                            
abortion in  the 1970s and was sterilized.  As a result he  and wife                                                            
became  involved  in counseling  against  abortion.  He stated  many                                                            
women did not receive adequate information.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward  asserted this legislation  is about "choice".  He also                                                            
compared  the decision  to receive  medical treatment  to that  of a                                                            
real  estate transaction,  citing  full disclosure  requirements  in                                                            
real estate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  spoke as a physician,  that this legislation  imposes                                                            
additional  regulations, which he  did not support because  it tends                                                            
to require physicians  to operate more as technicians  than doctors.                                                            
He asked the  consequences of a health  care provider not  supplying                                                            
the information proposed  in this bill. He commented he assumed that                                                            
in  the instance  shared  by  Senator Ward,  the  sterilization  was                                                            
unintended.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward hoped so.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ward  opined this legislation  would provide a "safeguard",                                                             
not only for the  patient making the decision, but  for all involved                                                            
parties  as well.  He remarked,  "the more information  that  people                                                            
have in  order to make  a decision,  I think the  better it  is." He                                                            
surmised  that  the  vast  majority  of  patients   receiving  these                                                            
services would prefer to have this information.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Austerman  stated  with due respect  to moral and  religious                                                            
beliefs,  this issue  could  be divisive.  He  would  not object  to                                                            
moving the  bill from Committee, however  he informed that  he would                                                            
not vote for  passage from the Senate.  He ascertained, "obviously,                                                             
it's  an issue  that appears  to  be a  veiled approach"  to  pursue                                                            
"personal issues."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly disagreed  the legislation  is "veiled" and  instead                                                            
asserted,  "it's a straightforward  attempt  to give people  who are                                                            
going  into  a  potential  very  dangerous  medical  procedure,  the                                                            
information  that I  think has  been denied  them."  He told of  the                                                            
several miscarriages  his mother experienced  before his  birth, and                                                            
the pressure  she was under to abort  him as he was not expected  to                                                            
be healthy  and because  she was  in danger of  dying. He  qualified                                                            
this occurred  in a  different time  and involves  only one  doctor.                                                            
However, he thought this practice continues in some form.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green  talked about the extensive consultation  she received                                                            
before  undergoing  recent   routine  surgery.  She  did  not  think                                                            
education could  be "over stressed" to allow good  consumer choices,                                                            
particularly in relation to medical treatment.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly asked about changes to the fiscal note.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
KAREN PEARSON,  Director, Division  of Public Health, Department  of                                                            
Health and Social  Services, testified the fiscal  note incorporates                                                            
the estimated cost of advertising  and additional professional time.                                                            
At the time  the original fiscal note  was prepared, she  stated, it                                                            
was assumed  the  information would  be provided  in  the form  of a                                                            
"simple   pamphlet  or  small   booklet",   but  in  reviewing   the                                                            
legislation,  it was realized that  a much larger publication  would                                                            
be required.  She explained this is  partially due to the  inclusion                                                            
of a  geographic index  of services  and providers.  She stated  the                                                            
increase  in  funding  for  professional  services  is  intended  to                                                            
address provider inquiries regarding the publication.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly  asked  the  cost  of  the  Department's   statutory                                                            
requirement to advertise Planned Parenthood services.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Pearson  replied the  Department  does  not  advertise  Planned                                                            
Parenthood services. She  clarified, "unfortunately, the terminology                                                            
that's  in the  statute happens  to match  the name  of an  official                                                            
organization"  and  stated  the  Department's  business  relates  to                                                            
"planned pregnancy".                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Pearson continued  the Department and the Division  supports the                                                            
intent of the  bill to fully inform  patients in any situation.  She                                                            
said the contention,  however, is  that informed consent  is already                                                            
required  for any  procedure. She  questioned  the effectiveness  of                                                            
providing information  in written  form, given the limited  literacy                                                            
of  some  patients.  She stated  that  providing  various  forms  of                                                            
information  about  avoiding unplanned  pregnancy  would  be a  more                                                            
appropriate approach.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman  clarified  the  witness  testified  that  informed                                                            
consent  is   currently  required   and  asked  if  provisions   are                                                            
stipulated in regulation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Pearson  responded   that  before  any  medical   procedure  is                                                            
conducted,  the patient  must sign  a consent form.  She was  unsure                                                            
whether this  stipulation is contained  in statutes or regulations.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly  stated the informed  consent provision is  different                                                            
in the instance  of abortion procedures due to Alaska  Supreme Court                                                            
decisions.  He doubted if informed  consent of abortion proceedings                                                             
"in practice is true." He surmised the witness is misinformed.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Pearson replied she would verify her statements.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman  asked if in  light of the  existing informed  consent                                                            
practices,  why one-half year  is required  annually to develop  the                                                            
proposed  booklet,  which  he  assumed  would  utilize  information                                                             
already available.  He also asked why a full-time  clerk position is                                                            
required to maintain a database and distribute the booklets.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 48, Side A 11:03 AM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman commented  that when a department opposes legislation,                                                            
it would "inflate" the fiscal note.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Pearson responded she  wanted to accurately reflect the expenses                                                            
to  continually update  the  information.  She noted  the  technical                                                            
information  would not comprise  the majority  of the cost.  Rather,                                                            
she stated,  there would be effort  required to update the  frequent                                                            
changes of  service providers. She  qualified her interpretation  of                                                            
the legislation  is  to document  all agencies,  counselors,  health                                                            
care providers  and other service providers, which  she stated would                                                            
require constant interaction  with communities. She pointed out that                                                            
if the information  could be updated on an annual  basis, the fiscal                                                            
note would be significantly less.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly  asserted that the  content of a signed consent  form                                                            
would be  considerably different  than the  information proposed  in                                                            
this legislation.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly commented  on the  testimony given  by the ACLU  and                                                            
Planned  Parenthood  that there  is no  psychological  impact of  an                                                            
abortion. He  pointed out that litigation  regarding public  funding                                                            
of abortion services  is partially resulting from  the argument that                                                            
medically necessary  abortions include  the psychological  health of                                                            
the woman. He asserted, "ACLU speaks with a forked tongue."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly  requested Senator Ward address the  concerns related                                                            
to the fiscal note.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Green offered  a  motion to  "move  Senate Bill  91 out  of                                                            
Committee with  individual recommendations  and flocculating  fiscal                                                            
note."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Without  objection, CS  SB 91 (HES)  MOVED from  Committee with  new                                                            
$110,000  fiscal  note from  the  Department  of Health  and  Social                                                            
Services dated 4/3/02 12:43 PM.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly recessed 11:08 AM / 4:36 PM                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 140                                                                                                        
     "An Act relating to regulation and licensing of certain water-                                                             
     power development projects."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the third  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1:  This amendment inserts  new language in Section  1 on                                                            
page 2, following line 11 to read as follows.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                     (G) the interests of Alaska residents and                                                                  
          landowners                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilken moved for adoption.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green objected for an explanation.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilken  supported  the  intent  of the  bill.  However,  he                                                            
stated,  it "left out  a group of  people." He  pointed out  a five-                                                            
megawatt  power  plant is  one-forth  the size  of the  power  plant                                                            
located on  the banks of the Chena  River, which supplies  Fairbanks                                                            
with power. He surmised  therefore, that a five-megawatt power plant                                                            
is "not just a little paddle wheel in the stream."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilken noted  the legislation  lists  several purposes  and                                                            
parties to  receive equal consideration  when approving these  power                                                            
plant projects.  He suggested the interests of Alaska  residents and                                                            
landowners should be included.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green removed her objection.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The amendment was ADOPTED without objection.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #2:  This amendment inserts "resident" before  "Alaska" on                                                            
page 2, line 9. The amended  language of Section 1(b)(2)(E) reads as                                                            
follows.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                     (E) the interests of resident Alaska Natives;                                                              
          and                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilken moved for adoption.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green objected for an explanation.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Wilken    explained   this    amendment   addresses    the                                                            
aforementioned  list of parties to  receive equal consideration.  He                                                            
noted this  amendment specifies  this provision  would not  apply to                                                            
the  "thirteenth  Native  Corporation,"  whose  shareholders  reside                                                            
outside the State.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green removed her objection.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Without objection the amendment was ADOPTED.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilken offered  a motion  to report  CS SB  140 (FIN)  from                                                            
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  attached  fiscal                                                            
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green objected.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman asked the position of the "industry".                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green noted she had the same request.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 4:40 PM / 4:43 PM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green removed her objection.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilken  WITHDREW   his  motion  to  report  the  bill  from                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly ordered the bill HELD in Committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 340                                                                                                        
     "An Act relating to treatment of permanent fund dividends for                                                              
     purposes of determining eligibility for certain benefits; and                                                              
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This bill was heard and held earlier in the meeting.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ELMER  LINDSTROM,  Deputy Commissioner,   Department  of Health  and                                                            
Social Services,  directed the Committee's attention  to a corrected                                                            
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  asked the amount  lost to the general fund  for the                                                            
reimbursement of welfare payments.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN SULLIVAN,  Child Support Enforcement  Division, Department  of                                                            
Revenue, testified via  teleconference from Anchorage that in FY 03,                                                            
the  amount  of  reimbursement   for  public  assistance   would  be                                                            
$1,458,000 as indicated on the fiscal note.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly noted  the updated  fiscal note  information is  not                                                            
reflected in  the chart prepared by  the sponsor, which details  the                                                            
financial impact of this legislation [copy on file.]                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green  offered a motion "to  report SB 340 out of  Committee                                                            
with individual recommendations and fiscal notes."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
There was  no objection  and CS  SB 340 (FIN)  MOVED from  Committee                                                            
with eight  new fiscal notes,  two from the  Department of  Revenue:                                                            
Permanent Fund  Dividend Division, zero, 3/11/02;  and Child Support                                                            
Enforcement  Division,   ($1,453,900),  3/2/02;  and  six  from  the                                                            
Department   of  Health   and  Social  Services:   Adult   Temporary                                                            
Assistance   Program,  ($3,235,900),   4/3/02;  Tribal  Assistance,                                                             
($907,800),  4/3/02;   Public  Assistance,  Field  Services,   zero,                                                            
4/3/02; General  Relief, ($72,400),  4/3/02; Public Assistance,  PFD                                                            
Hold  Harmless,  ($6,303,500),   4/3/02;  and  Medical  Assistance,                                                             
($200,000), 4/3/02.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Pete Kelly adjourned the meeting at 04:48 PM                                                                           

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