Legislature(2005 - 2006)

05/07/2005 05:45 PM FIN


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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                              MINUTES                                                                                         
                     SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                            May 7, 2005                                                                                       
                             5:45 p.m.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green convened the meeting at approximately 5:45:32 PM.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyda Green, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Gary Wilken, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Also  Attending:   JASON  HOOLEY,  Staff  to  Senator   Dyson;  ANNE                                                          
CARPENETI,   Assistant   Attorney   General,   Criminal    Division,                                                            
Department  of Law;  JOEL GILBERTSON,  Commissioner,  Department  of                                                            
Health and Social Services;  JOHN SHERWOOD, Department of Health and                                                            
Social  Services; JANE  ALBERTS,  Staff to  Senator  Con Bunde;  BEN                                                            
MULLIGAN, Staff  to Representative Bill Stoltze; REVINA  MOSS, Staff                                                            
to  Representative   John   Coghill;  TAMMY   SANDOVAL,  Office   of                                                            
Children's  Services,  Department  of Health  and  Social  Services;                                                            
KEVIN BROOKS, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Administration                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Attending   via  Teleconference:   There   were  no  teleconference                                                           
participants.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SB 54-PROTECTIVE ORDERS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The committee  heard from the bill's  sponsor and the Department  of                                                            
Law.  No action  was  taken in  regards  to the  motion  to adopt  a                                                            
committee substitute, and the bill was held in Committee.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 106-SENIOR CARE PROGRAM                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The  Committee  heard  from  the Department  of  Health  and  Social                                                            
Services. A committee  substitute was adopted and  the bill reported                                                            
from Committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HB 257-STATE PROCUREMENT ELECTRONIC TOOLS                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The committee  heard from the bill's  sponsor and the Department  of                                                            
Administration.  A  committee  substitute  and  one  amendment  were                                                            
adopted and the bill reported from Committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HB 279-OUTDOOR ADVERTISING; ENCROACHMENTS                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
This Committee  bill heard  from the bill's  sponsor. One  amendment                                                            
was adopted and the bill was held in Committee.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HB 53-CHILDREN IN NEED OF AID/ADOPTION/GUARDIAN                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The Committee  heard from the bill's sponsor, and  the bill was HELD                                                            
in Committee.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 54(JUD)                                                                                             
     "An  Act relating  to protective  orders  for crimes  involving                                                            
     sexual  assault or  stalking,  to notifications  to victims  of                                                            
     sexual  assault, and to mandatory  arrest for crimes  involving                                                            
     violation  of protective orders and violation  of conditions of                                                            
     release;   and  amending  Rule   65,  Alaska  Rules   of  Civil                                                            
     Procedure."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson,  the  bill's  sponsor,   moved  to  adopt  committee                                                            
substitute Version 24-LS0132\U as the working document.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green objected for explanation.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JASON HOOLEY,  Staff to Senator Dyson,  informed the Committee  that                                                            
Alaska "consistently  ranks as one of the worst states  for the rate                                                            
of sexual assault". A recent  Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)                                                            
report documented  the State's  sexual assault  statistics  at three                                                            
times the national average.  This bill would allow victims of sexual                                                            
assault to request  protective orders in cases "outside  of domestic                                                            
violence".  While  the  traditional   belief  is  that  most  sexual                                                            
assaults occur  in situations of domestic  relationships,  relatives                                                            
or acquaintances,  the fact  is that it does  occur with  strangers.                                                            
This bill  would allow  these victims to  request protective  orders                                                            
identical to those granted in cases of stalking.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hooley  informed the  Committee that  three types of  protective                                                            
orders are  available: six-month  orders,  emergency orders  for 72-                                                            
hours, and ex parte orders for 20 days.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked  whether  the ex  parte order  was similar  to                                                            
protective orders issued in cases of domestic violence.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hooley affirmed that it was.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
5:47:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson stated  that  this  legislation is  the  result of  a                                                            
situation in  which a police officer  who deals with sexual  assault                                                            
situations, went  to a Judge to request a restraining  order against                                                            
a perpetrator.  The  Judge  was unable  to issue  such  an order  as                                                            
Alaska law  only allowed such an order  to be issued in the  case of                                                            
stalking  or domestic violence.  This legislation  would simply  add                                                            
another  category through  which Judges  could  issue a restraining                                                             
order were one warranted.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked regarding  the nature  of the discussion  that                                                            
occurred in  the Senate Judiciary  Committee in regards to  ex parte                                                            
orders; specifically  that  the definition of  an ex parte  order be                                                            
provided.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
5:48:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hooley  referred to language  in Sec.  7(a) page three  lines 18                                                            
through 26 that read as follows.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     (a)  A person  who reasonably  believes  that the  person  is a                                                            
     victim  of  stalking or  sexual  assault that  is  not a  crime                                                            
     involving  domestic  violence  many file  a petition  under  AS                                                            
     18.65.850  and request  an ex  parte protective  order. If  the                                                            
     court finds  that the petition establishes probable  cause that                                                            
     the crime of stalking  or sexual assault has occurred, that its                                                            
     is necessary  to protect the  petitioner from further  stalking                                                            
     or sexual  assault, that  the petitioner  has certified  to the                                                            
     court  in writing the efforts,  if any, that have been  made to                                                            
     provide notice to  the respondent, the court shall ex parte and                                                            
     without notice to the respondent issue a protective order.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked  for clarification  as to  whether the  person                                                            
being accused must be notified of the Court proceedings.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ANNE  CARPENETI,  Assistant  Attorney  General,  Criminal  Division,                                                            
Department  of Law stated  that an attempt  of notification  must be                                                            
made, but that  would be all that  would be required. This  language                                                            
would  mirror that  applicable  to domestic  violence  and  stalking                                                            
protective orders.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green recalled  this being  an issue  during the  domestic                                                            
violence   legislation   discussions.   This  provision   is   "very                                                            
troublesome". She asked  regarding the experience in this regard, as                                                            
she  has received  calls from  individuals  to whom  "fairly  severe                                                            
restrictions  had been  placed on  their coming  and goings"  by the                                                            
Court  without   their  knowledge.   Her  comments  should   not  be                                                            
misconstrued that she favored  anyone mistreating anyone, as she was                                                            
simply  concerned that  "the  capacity" of  having  a court  hearing                                                            
without the person being there might be expanded.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti  replied that some distinction should  be made between                                                            
this  type  of ex  parte  order  and  the one  issued  for  domestic                                                            
violence. A  Judge has more authority  to grant remedies  in regards                                                            
to a domestic violence restraining order.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  asked that a situation specific to  this legislation                                                            
be provided.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:51:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti responded  that the protective order request pertinent                                                            
to this legislation  would allow an  individual to inform  the Court                                                            
that  they had  been sexually  assaulted.  If the  Judge  determined                                                            
there to be "probable  cause to believe that that  was correct", and                                                            
the person  requesting the  restraining order  stated that  they had                                                            
tried to serve  the person who sexually assaulted  them but had been                                                            
unable to do  so, the Court could  "go ahead and grant remedies"  in                                                            
this civil  matter, including  "to crease  sexually assaulting  that                                                            
person",  to stay away from  the victim's  home, to stop  contacting                                                            
the person,  and to stay  away from that person's  home or  place of                                                            
work unless  the respondent lived  and worked in the same  place. In                                                            
the latter  case,  the Court  might not  grant a  restraining  order                                                            
unless the person had been actually served.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
5:52:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Carpeneti  communicated  that  this  bill  would  add  two  new                                                            
remedies: the  respondent must pay  for counseling of the  victim or                                                            
the requester,  and whatever  relief the  Court deemed necessary  to                                                            
protect the  person requesting  the restraining  order. "Once  an ex                                                            
parte order  is granted, the  person to whom  it is ordered  has the                                                            
right" to request modifications to the order "at any time".                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[NOTE: Ms. Carpeneti incorrectly  informed the Committee that one of                                                            
the new remedies  included in the bill was that the  respondent must                                                            
pay  for counseling  of  the victim  or  the requester.  While  that                                                            
language  was  a  component   of  the  Senate  Judiciary   committee                                                            
substitute,  Version 24-LS0132\R,  it was  removed from the  Version                                                            
"U"  committee  substitute   under  consideration.  Co-Chair   Green                                                            
clarified this  issue in the discussion  that occurred between  time                                                            
stamp 5:53:26 PM and time stamp 5:56:41 PM.]                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:53:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  read the  remedies  depicted in  the  bill in  Sec.                                                            
5(c)(1) through  (4) on page  two line 28  through page three,  line                                                            
ten.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 5. AS 18.65.850(c) is amended to read:                                                                                
          (c) A protective order issued under this section may                                                                  
                (1) prohibit the respondent from threatening to                                                                 
     commit or committing stalking or sexual assault;                                                                         
                (2) prohibit the respondent from telephoning,                                                                   
     contacting,  or otherwise communicating directly  or indirectly                                                            
     with  the petitioner  or a designated  household member  of the                                                            
     petitioner specifically named by the court;                                                                                
                (3) direct the respondent to stay away from the                                                                 
     residence,  school, or place  of employment of the petitioner,                                                             
     or any specified  place frequented by the petitioner;  however,                                                            
     the  court  may order  the respondent  to  stay  away from  the                                                            
     respondent's  own  residence, school,  or  place of  employment                                                            
     only if the  respondent has been provided actual  notice of the                                                            
     opportunity to appear and be heard on the petition;                                                                      
                (4) order other relief the court determines to be                                                             
     necessary   to  protect  the   petitioner  or  the   designated                                                          
     household member.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     New Text Underlined                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green asked for  confirmation that the language depicted in                                                            
Sec.  5(c) (1)  through (3)  existed  in current  domestic  violence                                                            
language.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti  clarified that the language is applicable  to current                                                            
stalking protective orders.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green acknowledged.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson clarified  for the Committee that the first version of                                                            
the  bill  had  "erroneously   replicated"  the  domestic   violence                                                            
protective order provisions.  The bill had been revised to replicate                                                            
stalking provisions.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked for  specific examples  of the meaning  of the                                                            
term "or other  relief" as reflected in Sec. 5(c)(4)  on page three,                                                            
lines nine and ten of Version "U".                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti responded  that the term is a common "catch all relief                                                            
provision"  that  is  included  in  a  variety  of  cases  including                                                            
domestic violence  cases. The language is deemed appropriate,  as it                                                            
would  be impossible  for  Legislators  to  anticipate  and  specify                                                            
"every possible  situation"; therefore, this language  would provide                                                            
the Court the ability "to  order whatever relief is deemed necessary                                                            
in a particular case".                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  clarified that the Version "U" committee  substitute                                                            
under consideration,  eliminated language specified  as Sec. 5(c)(4)                                                            
in the Senate  Judicial committee  substitute, Version 24-LS0132\R.                                                             
The language that was eliminated reads as follows.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     (4)  for a protective  order  for sexual  assault, require  the                                                            
     respondent  to reimburse  the  petitioner or  other person  for                                                            
     expenses incurred  as a result of the sexual assault, including                                                            
     medical and counseling expenses;                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Carpeneti  apologized   to  the  Committee  for  inadvertently                                                             
specifying  that  that  remedy  was  included  in  the  Version  "U"                                                            
committee  substitute. She  affirmed that it  had been removed  from                                                            
Version "U".                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  asked  regarding  new language  specified  as  Sec.                                                            
7(b)(4) on  page four lines 15 and  16 in Version "U" that  reads as                                                            
follows.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     (4) enter the protective order in the central registry of                                                                  
     protective orders as required under AS 18.65.540.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:56:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Carpeneti  informed  the Committee  that,  "the  Department  of                                                            
Public  Safety  maintains  a  registry   of protective   orders  for                                                            
domestic  violence".  When the  legislation pertaining  to  stalking                                                            
protective  orders was adopted, "it  didn't provide that  protective                                                            
orders for  stranger stalking should  be entered into the  registry.                                                            
This bill  in this form  now provides that  … protective orders  for                                                            
stranger stalking  and stranger sexual assault may  be entered into"                                                            
the Department's  central registry. This action would  enable police                                                            
officers  to access information  relating to  these cases when  they                                                            
"stop or contact a person".                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
5:57:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green clarified  that the information "shall" be entered in                                                            
the registry.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti affirmed.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green asked whether  the entry in the registry would remain                                                            
there indefinitely.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti replied that  procedures to remove the information are                                                            
available. Removal would not be automatic.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
5:57:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked whether  the registry  was public information                                                             
and   whether  inclusion   on   the   registry  might   have   other                                                            
consequences.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Carpeneti  stressed   that  the  registry  provides   important                                                            
information  to police officers  responding  to a domestic  violence                                                            
call, specifically  when "there  are accusations  on both sides,  of                                                            
violence",  as it would provide  a history  of any orders that  were                                                            
issued in  the past. This  information would  assist the officer  in                                                            
making a decision in regards  to the situation. She was unsure as to                                                            
whether the information would be used "for any other purpose".                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green ordered the bill HELD in Committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 5:59:10 PM / 6:01:59 PM                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 106(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An Act  establishing the senior  care program and relating  to                                                            
     that program;  creating a fund for the provision  of the senior                                                            
     care program;  repealing ch. 3, SLA 2004; and  providing for an                                                            
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:02:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOEL  GILBERTSON,  Commissioner,  Department  of Health  and  Social                                                            
Services, explained  that this bill, which is sponsored  by Governor                                                            
Frank  Murkowski,   would   strengthen  the   Senior  Care   Program                                                            
implemented  the previous  year.  The purpose  of  "the Senior  Care                                                            
Program  is to  provide  assistance  for  the cost  of prescription                                                             
medicine  to  low  income  seniors  in the  State".  He  noted  that                                                            
prescription  drugs are not  currently provided  for by the  federal                                                            
Medicare program, and absent  the Senior Care Program, seniors would                                                            
be required  to pay out of pocket  or purchase supplemental  medical                                                            
insurance policy.  The initial Alaska  Senior Care Program  provided                                                            
$120 a  month equating  to $1,440  a year, to  seniors living  below                                                            
135-percent  of  poverty  level.  A  prescription  drug  subsidy  is                                                            
provided to  seniors living between  135-percent and 150-percent  of                                                            
poverty.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson  stated that  HB 106  would accomplish  two                                                            
things.  First, it  "would extend  the cash  assistance benefit  for                                                            
those  seniors living  below  135-percent  of poverty.  That  income                                                            
threshold"  is approximately $16,000  a person or $21,600  a couple.                                                            
In addition a qualifying  single individual could have liquid assets                                                            
of up to $6,000;  $9,000 for a couple.  The cash assistance  program                                                            
would assist qualifying  seniors until they transition on to the new                                                            
Medicare  Part D Prescription  Drug Benefit  Program anticipated  to                                                            
become available in early 2006.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson  communicated  that  "the bill  would  also                                                            
extend  the prescription  drug assistance  to  seniors between  135-                                                            
percent  and 175-percent  of  poverty. The  household  income for  a                                                            
person living  at the 175-percent of poverty level  would be $20,900                                                            
for an individual  and $28,053 for a couple. When  the Medicare Part                                                            
D benefit becomes available,  any senior wishing to participate must                                                            
enroll in the program which  would "have a premium and a deductible,                                                            
separate  and distinct and  in addition to  their existing  premiums                                                            
and deductibles  that they pay for  Medicare". The premium  would be                                                            
$35 a  month or  $670 a year,  and the  deductible  would be $250  a                                                            
month for  seniors living  between the  135-percent and 175-percent                                                             
poverty level;  those living below 135-percent of  the poverty level                                                            
would be federally exempt  from both the premium and the deductible.                                                            
Once the Medicare Part  D program becomes available, the Senior Care                                                            
Program would continue  to assist seniors living between 135-percent                                                            
and  175-percent   in  paying  the  costs  of  their   premiums  and                                                            
deductibles.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner   Gilbertson   anticipated   that  the   State's   cash                                                            
assistance  program  would  continue to  serve  approximately  7,000                                                            
seniors, and  that approximately 4,000  seniors living between  135-                                                            
percent and  175-percent of  poverty would  qualify for the  State's                                                            
proposed prescription drug assistance program.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
6:05:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson stated  that a summary  of the anticipated                                                             
program expenses is provided  on page three of Fiscal Note #8, dated                                                            
May 5, 2005,  prepared by the Department's  Division of Finance  and                                                            
Management Services. The  total costs associated for those living at                                                            
135-percent   of  poverty   is  anticipated   to  be  approximately                                                             
$5,000,000  in FY 06. The  amount depicted  for FY 06 would  provide                                                            
for the  second half of FY  06 as the initial  program was  budgeted                                                            
through January  2006. The FY 07 full-year expenses  are anticipated                                                            
to be $10,000,000.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner   Gilbertson  explained  that  the  expenses   for  the                                                            
assistance  that would be  provided to seniors  living between  135-                                                            
percent and 175-percent  are similarly depicted. The FY 06 half-year                                                            
expenses  would be approximately  $1,200,000.  The expenses  for the                                                            
full year of FY would be approximately $2,600,000.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson   noted  that  the  "Combined  Program  and                                                            
Administrative  Costs" summary reflected a total cost  of $6,800,000                                                            
for FY 06 and $13,000,000 for FY 07.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner   Gilbertson  explained   that  when  the  Legislature                                                             
established the  Senior Care Program, it forward-funded  the Program                                                            
through the  first half of FY 06.  A surplus of approximately  eight                                                            
million  dollars is expected  to be  in that account  on January  1,                                                            
2006; therefore  there would be no need for additional  general fund                                                            
dollars in  FY 06. It is projected  that $1,249,000 of that  surplus                                                            
would be carried  forward into FY 07. This would be  married up with                                                            
an  $11,962,600  general  fund request  to  fund  the entire  FY  07                                                            
program expenses.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson  stated  that  further  details  about  the                                                            
Senior  Care program  are provided  in a Department  handout  titled                                                            
"Comparison of  Qualifications and Benefits Beginning  January 2006"                                                            
[copy on file].                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson reiterated  that other than a prescription                                                             
drug  discount card  and the  availability  of a  prescription  drug                                                            
subsidy to some  low-income seniors, "seniors are  not receiving any                                                            
prescription  drug assistance  from  the federal  government.  It is                                                            
anticipated that  a lot of confusion would occur this  year and into                                                            
the year  2006  in regards  to the new  federal  drug benefit.  This                                                            
legislation  would assist in eliminating  some of the confusion  and                                                            
burden on seniors.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson noted  that a program  termination  date of                                                            
June 30,  2007 is  specified in  the bill. In  addition, any  excess                                                            
funds remaining  in the Program's account at that  time would revert                                                            
back to the general fund.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:09:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  asked whether the federal poverty  level for Alaska                                                            
is the basis for this legislation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Gilbertson  stated that this legislation recognizes the                                                            
Alaska  poverty  level, which  is  a 25-percent  increase  over  the                                                            
federal national  poverty  level. In other  words, a 175-percent  of                                                            
the  national  poverty level  for  the contingent  states  would  be                                                            
recognized at a 200-percent level in Alaska.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  asked  whether  an  individual's   Permanent  Fund                                                            
Dividend   (PFD)   check  is   factored   into   their  eligibility                                                             
calculation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN SHERWOOD,  Department of Health and Social Services,  responded                                                            
that the  PFD is  not factored into  the calculation.  Unless  it is                                                            
required by federal statute, the PFD is "disregarded".                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  noted that that policy "would be consistent"  for all                                                            
hold-harmless provisions relating to public assistance programs.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked whether the $1,200,000  balance anticipated  to                                                            
be  available on  January  1, 2006  could be  used  to increase  the                                                            
monthly payment amount.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  Gilbertson  responded  that  $6,800,000  of the  eight                                                            
million dollars  that would  be available on  January 1, 2006  would                                                            
fund the remainder  of FY 06 program expenses. The  balance would be                                                            
carried forward  into FY 07 to assist  in paying that fiscal  year's                                                            
expenses.  An  additional  $12,000,000  in general  funds  would  be                                                            
required  to fund  total  FY 07  expenses.  "The entire  Trust  fund                                                            
account would be depleted at the completion of this program."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson acknowledged.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken moved  to adopt  committee substitute  Version  24-                                                            
GH1090\I as the working document.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green clarified  that Version "I" was the document to which                                                            
Commissioner Gilbertson's comments applied.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[NOTE: While the Version  "I" was not formally adopted, that was the                                                            
implied intent of the Committee.]                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green voiced that  furtherance of this bill would allow the                                                            
Senior Care program to  continue to provide assistance to seniors in                                                            
need, uninterrupted.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  moved  to  report the  bill  from  Committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection, SCS  CS HB  106(FIN)  was REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee with four May  5, 2005 fiscal notes from the Department of                                                            
Health and Social  Services as follow: $163,900 fiscal  note #5 from                                                            
the Division  of Health Care Services;  $59,000 fiscal note  #6 from                                                            
the Division of Senior  and Disabilities Services; $6,614,400 fiscal                                                            
note #7  from the  Division of  Public Assistance;  and zero  fiscal                                                            
note #8 from the Division of Finance and Management Services.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 6:12:32 PM / 6:15:39 PM                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 257(JUD)                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to and extending the pilot program for state                                                              
     procurement and electronic commerce tools; and providing for                                                               
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken   moved  to  adopt  committee  substitute   Version                                                            
LS0826\P as the working document.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
There being no  objection, the Version "P" committee  substitute was                                                            
ADOPTED as the working document.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JANE ALBERTS, Staff to  Senator Bunde, the bill's sponsor, explained                                                            
that, contrary to the original  version of the bill which would have                                                            
eliminated a termination  date for the Pilot Procurement Program and                                                            
could have  allowed  the Program to  be implemented  in every  State                                                            
department,   the    Version   "P"   committee   substitute    would                                                            
"significantly scale back" the proposal.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
6:16:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Alberts stated  that the Version "P" committee  substitute would                                                            
not  expand the  Program to  additional  agencies;  it would  simply                                                            
extend  the current  Program's  termination  date.  Furthermore,  in                                                            
response    to   significant    testimony    by   public    employee                                                            
representatives, a new  Department of Administration $350,000 fiscal                                                            
note,  dated May  7, 2005,  would allow  union members  in "two  new                                                            
agencies   outside  the   Pilot,  operating   with  state   employee                                                            
procurement personnel",  to acquire similar eCommerce tools to those                                                            
utilized  by the Pilot  Program "in order  to provide side-by-side"                                                             
procurement  comparisons.  The  software  to  be purchased  must  to                                                            
similar, but would not  be required to be identical, to the software                                                            
used  by the contractor  in  the Pilot  Program.  The dollar  amount                                                            
specified  in  the fiscal  note  would sufficiently  allow  for  the                                                            
purchase of such equipment.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Alberts  communicated   that  Version  "P"  would   extend  the                                                            
termination  date of the  Pilot Program to  July 1,2009 in  order to                                                            
allow the State's procurement  program time to become functional and                                                            
provide sufficient data  for the comparison study. Were the State to                                                            
decide "within 14 months  to discontinue the program, there would be                                                            
time to wind down and perhaps select a different Contractor".                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
6:18:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman, noting  that technology  advances in the  computer                                                            
industry are constantly  occurring, asked whether the State agencies                                                            
could  purchase  "better"  computer  programs  were they  to  become                                                            
available.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Alberts understood  there to be a variety of programs from which                                                            
to choose.  In recognition of the  fact that the two agencies  might                                                            
desire  differing  programs to  meet  their needs,  any appropriate                                                             
program within the specified price parameter could be purchased.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman,  agreeing that several programs could  be suitable,                                                            
asked for confirmation  that no particular computer program had been                                                            
specified.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Alberts  understood that  the agencies  would be able to  choose                                                            
the program they deemed  appropriate, "within the constraints of the                                                            
fiscal note".                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  remarked that his concern would be  met "as long as                                                            
they are able to buy the best available program..."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asserted  that the specification  that the  agencies                                                            
must acquire  an eCommerce  program similar  to the one utilized  by                                                            
the contractor in the Pilot  Procurement Program would assure that a                                                            
good program could be purchased.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Alberts affirmed  that the fiscal note would allow  the agencies                                                            
to  purchase   a  program  comparable   to  that  utilized   by  the                                                            
contractor, Alaska Supply Chain Integrators (ASCI).                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
6:20:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1:  This amendment inserts a new subsection  in Sec. 5 on                                                            
page four, following line 20.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
          "(v) The contract authorized by (a) of this section must                                                              
     include  terms that protect the  interests of the state  if the                                                            
     contractor   stops   performing   or  fails   to  perform   the                                                            
     contractor's  obligations  under  the contract.    In order  to                                                            
     allow the Department  of Administration and the departments and                                                            
     other  instrumentalities  of  the state  participating  in  the                                                            
     pilot  program authorized  by (a) of this  section to  make the                                                            
     transition  back to having state  instrumentalities  handle the                                                            
     activities  provided  by  the contractor  under  the  contract,                                                            
     these required terms must include provisions that                                                                          
                (1) give the Department of Administration and the                                                               
     departments   and   other  instrumentalities    of  the   state                                                            
     participating  in the  pilot program  the right  to use,  for a                                                            
     reasonable   period  of   time  after   the  contractor   stops                                                            
     performing or fails  to perform, the electronic commerce tools,                                                            
     including  all software, used by the contractor  to perform the                                                            
     contract;  the provision required by this paragraph  must allow                                                            
     use  by the  employees  or  contractors  of the  Department  of                                                            
     Administration  or the departments  or other instrumentalities                                                             
     of the state participating in the pilot program; and                                                                       
                (2) require the contractor to provide whatever                                                                  
     assistance the contractor  is able to provide to the Department                                                            
     of    Administration    and   the   departments    and    other                                                            
     instrumentalities   of the  state participating   in the  pilot                                                            
     program in  using the electronic commerce tools  referred to in                                                            
     (1) of  this subsection and otherwise  making the transition."                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  understood  that  the  affect  of  the  Version  "P"                                                            
committee substitute  would be to eliminate as of  July 1, 2009, the                                                            
entirety of  Sec. 2, page one, line  11 through page two,  line one.                                                            
This action  would remove the limitations  as to which agencies  the                                                            
pilot program  could  be applied.  To that point,  an amendment  has                                                            
been developed "that would  protect the State in case the contractor                                                            
providing  the  services  fails  to  perform".   While  placing  the                                                            
entirety of a State department's  "procurement capacity in the hands                                                            
of the contractor …. might  be wonderful", "the danger is that" were                                                            
the  contractor  to  fail  to perform,  the  State  would  have  "no                                                            
fallback  position" in  which to "to  pick up  the pieces and  start                                                            
doing their own  purchasing". The amendment would  require that were                                                            
the contractor  "unable to  perform" or to  choose "not to  perform,                                                            
their software and files"  would become available to the State. This                                                            
would allow the State to assume those activities.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  voiced  concern  that  the  proprietary  rights  of                                                            
contractor to  that property might prohibit the State  from enacting                                                            
such language.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Alberts  informed  the  Committee   that  the  issue  has  been                                                            
discussed.  The determination was  that this would be an  acceptable                                                            
amendment.  However,   a  representative  from  the   Department  of                                                            
Administration could more appropriately respond to the concern.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson moved for the adoption of Amendment #1.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 6:23:42 PM / 6:25:32 PM                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  noted that the amendment is accompanied  by a May 4,                                                            
2005   Memorandum  to   Senator   Dyson  from   Theresa   Bannister,                                                            
Legislative Council, Legal  Services, Division of Legal and Research                                                            
Services,  Legislative Affairs  Agency [copy  on file] that  further                                                            
explains the amendment. The Memorandum reads as follows.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Impairment  of  contracts  issue.  If  the  proposed  amendment                                                            
     requires  the parties to modify  an existing contract  with the                                                            
     pilot program  contractor, this requirement may  raise an issue                                                            
     under  the constitutional prohibitions  against the  impairment                                                            
     of contracts.1  The initial question  appears to be  whether or                                                            
     not  the  change  in  state  law  operates   as  a substantial                                                             
     impairment  of the parties' contractual relationship.2  Because                                                            
     this amendment  is limited to  the remedies under the  contract                                                            
     and not the  performance obligation to the contract,  it may be                                                            
     considered   not  be  to  a   substantial  impairment   of  the                                                            
     contract.3  So it  may not be a problem, but I wanted you to be                                                            
     aware of the issue.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     1. U.S. Const. Art.  I, sec. 10; Alaska Const. Art. I, sec. 15.                                                            
     2. 2 Rotunda  and Nowak, Treatise  on Constitutional  Law 15.8,                                                            
     p. 654 (3rd ed. 1999).                                                                                                     
     3. 2 Rotunda  and Nowak, Treatise  on Constitutional  Law 15.8,                                                            
     p.  654  - 655  (3rd  ed.  1999);  and see  Hagberg  v.  Alaska                                                          
     National Bank, 585 P. 2d 559, 561-562 (Alaska 1978).                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green voiced concern  as to how this amendment might impact                                                            
either  the State or  the contractor  in regards  to the terms  that                                                            
already exist in the Pilot Procurement Program contract.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
6:27:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Alberts  noted  that because  Senator  Dyson  had  voiced  this                                                            
concern in previous  hearings, an answer could be  provided shortly.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green ordered  the bill SET  ASIDE in  order to allow  the                                                            
Department of  Administration and other concerned  parties to review                                                            
the amendment.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[NOTE: The  Committee readdressed  this bill  at time stamp  6:59:44                                                            
PM.]                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
6:27:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 279(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An  Act relating  to encroachments  in the  right-of-way  of a                                                            
     highway."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BEN  MULLIGAN, Staff  to  Representative  Bill Stoltze,  the  bill's                                                            
sponsor,  stated that  the intent  of this  bill would  be to  allow                                                            
certain  encroachments to  remain on State  highways' right-of-ways                                                             
provided  that  the  encroachment   did  not  impede  State  highway                                                            
projects.  These encroachments  might include  such things  as water                                                            
systems or portions  of a garage that were unknowingly  built on the                                                            
right-of-way prior to the  point at which the State's highway right-                                                            
of-way progressed and made the encroachment known.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Mulligan   continued  that  certain   encroachments   could  be                                                            
grandfathered  in  by this  bill,  provided  that six  criteria,  as                                                            
specified  in  Sec.  2(c)(1)  through (6),  page  two,  lines  eight                                                            
through nineteen, were met. This criterion is as follows.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     (1)  The encroachment  does not  pose a risk  to the  traveling                                                            
     public,  and the  integrity and  safety of  the highway  is not                                                            
     compromised;                                                                                                               
     (2)  the  applicant  has  demonstrated   the  encroachment  was                                                            
     erected in good faith.                                                                                                     
     (3)  the  denial  of  the  encroachment  permit  would  pose  a                                                            
     hardship  on the person, agency,  owner, or lessee who  applies                                                            
     for the permit;                                                                                                            
     (4)  the issuance of  an encroachment  permit will not  cause a                                                            
     break in access control for the highway;                                                                                   
     (5) the land  will not be necessary for a highway  construction                                                            
     project during the initial term of the permit; and                                                                         
     (6)   issuance  of   a  permit  is   consistent  with   federal                                                            
     requirements  regarding encroachments on federal-aid  highways.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Mulligan  provided  examples  of  situations  relating  to  the                                                            
criteria: the  term "good faith" would  apply to situations  such as                                                            
an  encroachment  that  was not  intentionally  constructed  on  the                                                            
right-of-way or  that a hardship would be imposed  were no alternate                                                            
reasonable water  source available to replace a well  located on the                                                            
right of way.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Mulligan  shared that  the  Department  of  Transportation  and                                                            
Public Facilities discussed  the conditions of this legislation with                                                            
the  federal government,  and  that the  understanding  is that  the                                                            
proposed criteria would  be acceptable. Continuing discussions would                                                            
occur.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Mulligan  noted,  however, that  language would  be included  in                                                            
that bill that would allow  the federal government to have the final                                                            
say on  whether or  not an encroachment  exemption  permit would  be                                                            
granted. Nonetheless, this  legislation would provide an opportunity                                                            
for people to petition for an exemption under these guidelines.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green asked the location of that federal preference.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Mulligan  read the  pertinent  language  which is  included  in                                                            
Section 1(d)(2) on page one, lines 11 through 13 as follows.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     (2) present  in the right-of-way on the effective  date of this                                                            
     Act may  remain, subject only  to removals required  by federal                                                            
     highway  funding requirements  imposed on the state  by federal                                                            
     law, …                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked  whether the  encroachment  must have  existed                                                            
prior  to  a  certain  time,  as otherwise,   the  Department  might                                                            
encourage someone  to build an encroachment  and be issued  a permit                                                            
in order to prevent  some highway project from occurring  due to the                                                            
costs incurred by having to condemn and purchase that property.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Mulligan  cited  an  example  of  a  building  that  was  first                                                            
constructed as a territorial  school built by the federal government                                                            
on the right of way of  what was, at the time, only a small two-lane                                                            
road. The right-of-way  at that time was small. Over  time, the road                                                            
was expanded  and the right-of-way  had increased.  The building  is                                                            
now a community  building  with a playground  in which meetings  are                                                            
held and  a school  is operating.  Were an  encroachment permit  not                                                            
provided in this  case, a portion of the playground  and the parking                                                            
structure would  be lost. Another  example is that of a 50-year  old                                                            
fire department  that could  loss a substantial  part of its  access                                                            
area.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:33:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  understood that while the bill would  allow for such                                                            
situations,  the bill contains a mechanism  through which  the State                                                            
could  refuse  or discontinue  a  permit  were  the land  to  become                                                            
necessary to a project.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Mulligan stated  that a forthcoming amendment  would address Co-                                                            
Chair Green's concern regarding  when an encroachment must have been                                                            
in place. That date would be specified as January 1, 2005.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  asked for confirmation  that the State could  deny a                                                            
permit or discontinue one.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hooley affirmed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Amendment  #1: This amendment  deletes "the  effective date  of this                                                            
Act" and inserts  "January 1, 2005," following the  words "right-of-                                                            
way on" in Section 1(d)(2), page one, line 12.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
In addition,  the words  "the effective  date of  this Act,  is" are                                                            
deleted and replaced  with the words "January 1, 2005,  was" in Sec.                                                            
2(c) page two, line five.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Furthermore, language following  "highway on" in Sec. 2(d) page two,                                                            
line 21 is deleted and replaced as follows.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Delete                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     "the  effective date of  this Act that  is not authorized  by a                                                            
     written  encroachment  permit until the  department  determines                                                            
     that  the encroachment  does  not qualify  for an encroachment                                                             
     permit issues"                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Insert                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     "January  1, 2005,  unless the  owner, occupant,  or person  in                                                            
     possession  of the encroachment or any other  person causing or                                                            
     permitting  the  encroachment  to  exist  receives  the  notice                                                            
     provided under AS  19.25.230 and is informed of the application                                                            
     process for an encroachment permit"                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Finally, the amendment  inserts a new section into Sec. 2 page three                                                            
following line eight as follows.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     (g) Except  for damage, injury,  or death resulting  from gross                                                            
     negligence  or reckless or intentional misconduct  of the state                                                            
     or an agent  or employee of the state, the state  is not liable                                                            
     for  damage to, or damage  resulting from  the presence  of, an                                                            
     encroachment in the right-of-way of a state highway."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken moved for the adoption of Amendment #1.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Mulligan  noted  that this  amendment  would  specify  that  an                                                            
encroachment  must have been  in existence  by January 1, 2005.  The                                                            
addition  of subsection  (g) "would  remove any  liability from  the                                                            
State" for its allowance of an encroachment.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Green  understood   therefore  that   the  inclusion   of                                                            
subsection (g) would remove  the State from liability pertaining the                                                            
encroachment.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
6:36:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Stedman remarked  that language in Section 1(d)(2) page one,                                                            
line 11 as well as language  in Sec. 2(c) page two, line two, are of                                                            
concern  as  the  use  of the  word  "may"  and  the  word  "shall",                                                            
respectively,  could imply  that citizens  could  have the right  of                                                            
imminent  domain on  a right-of-way.  He asked that  input from  the                                                            
Department  of Transportation and  Public Facilities be provided  in                                                            
this  regard as  there  are numerous  encroachments  throughout  the                                                            
State, which the  Department must address. This language  appears to                                                            
be  "restrictive"  and as  such might  place  the Department  "at  a                                                            
disadvantage" in its ability to clear a right-of-way.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked whether  the language  beginning with  "if the                                                            
department  finds  that"   as reflected   in  Sec.  2(c)  page  two,                                                            
beginning  on line seven  and continuing  for approximately  "anther                                                            
twenty or  so lines" would  address that  concern. In addition,  she                                                            
asked whether  this concern had been  raised in any other  committee                                                            
hearing on this bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:38:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Mulligan  responded  in the  negative. Continuing,  however,  he                                                            
noted that  while the Department  had expressed  some "unease"  with                                                            
the language, no amendment had been suggested.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Stedman asked  that further  input from  the Department  be                                                            
sought as  "operative words  such as the  Department shall  issue an                                                            
encroachment  permit" could result  in "substantial impacts"  on the                                                            
State.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked  that  a representative  from  the  Department                                                            
provide input to the Committee in this regard.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Stedman also suggested  that the encroachment permits issued                                                            
by  the  Department  should  be time  specific  and  should  include                                                            
renewal provisions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked  whether  such language  was  included in  the                                                            
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:39:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Mulligan stated that current regulations allow for the issuance                                                             
of five-year permits, which could be renewed in five-year                                                                       
increments. This would be verified.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green ordered the bill HELD in Committee in order to                                                                   
receive further information from the Department.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
6:40:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR SS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 53(JUD)                                                                         
     "An Act relating to  child-in-need-of-aid proceedings; amending                                                            
     the construction of  statutes pertaining to children in need of                                                            
     aid;    relating   to    guardianships;    relating   to    the                                                            
     confidentiality   of  investigations,  court  hearings,   court                                                            
     records, and public agency records and information in child-                                                               
     in-need-of-aid  matters and certain  child protection  matters,                                                            
     to immunity regarding disclosure of information in child-in-                                                               
     need-of-aid  matters and certain  child protection matters,  to                                                            
     proceedings regarding  voluntary relinquishment and termination                                                            
     of  a  parent  and  child  relationship,   to  eligibility  for                                                            
     permanent  fund dividends for  certain children in the  custody                                                            
     of  the state,  and  to juvenile  delinquency  proceedings  and                                                            
     placements;  reestablishing and  relating to a state  citizens'                                                            
     review  panel; amending  the obligation  of a public agency  to                                                            
     disclose  agency information  pertaining to a child  in need of                                                            
     aid;  relating  to disclosure  of  confidential  or  privileged                                                            
     information   about   children  and   families  involved   with                                                            
     children's services  within the Department of Health and Social                                                            
     Services   to  officials   for  review   or  use  in   official                                                            
     capacities;  relating to reports  of harm and to adoptions  and                                                            
     foster  care;  relating   to  consent  for  the  medication  of                                                            
     children  in state custody;  prescribing  the rights of  family                                                            
     members   related   to   child-in-    need-of-aid   cases   and                                                            
     establishing   a familial  priority   for adoption;   modifying                                                            
     adoption and placement  procedures in certain child-in-need-of-                                                            
     aid cases;  relating to the admissibility into  evidence of the                                                            
     prior recorded  statement of a crime victim less  than 16 years                                                            
     of age; amending  Rules 9 and 13, Alaska Adoption  Rules, Rules                                                            
     3,  17.2, 18,  and 22,  Alaska Child  in Need  of Aid Rules  of                                                            
     Procedure, Rules 14  and 15, Alaska Rules of Probate Procedure,                                                            
     and Rule  801, Alaska Rules of  Evidence; and providing  for an                                                            
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:40:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REVINA  MOSS,  Staff to  Representative  John  Coghill,  the  bill's                                                            
sponsor,  accompanied  by TAMMY  SANDOVAL, Deputy  Commissioner  and                                                            
Manager,  Office  of Children  Services,  Department  of Health  and                                                            
Social Services,  characterized  this bill  as being "an example  of                                                            
excellent  committee work  and collaboration  between" the  Governor                                                            
Frank Murkowski Administration  and the Legislature. The Division of                                                            
Public  Advocacy,  the  Public  Defenders   Office,  the  Office  of                                                            
Children's Services, the  Alaska Court System, and the Department of                                                            
Law worked diligently  in the effort to develop the  bill. She noted                                                            
that Representative  Coghill has a  special interest in the  subject                                                            
of this legislation  and that interest is what spurred  his decision                                                            
to become a Legislator.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  stated that  this bill  would remove  language from  State                                                            
Statute  AS  47.10.960,  which  allowed  there  to be  "no  duty  or                                                            
standard in care for children  in State custody". The intent of that                                                            
language was  to free the Department  of Health and Social  Services                                                            
from any "civil  liability if they couldn't abide  by timelines that                                                            
were  imposed by  HB  375". However,  whenever  a parent  read  that                                                            
language they  were "insulted that  they were held to a standard  of                                                            
duty for  the care  of their children  but the  State had  language"                                                            
exempting  them from that  standard. The  bill's sponsor  determined                                                            
that language  like that should not  be included in State  Statutes.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss communicated  that, in addition  to this bill, three  other                                                            
bills had  been introduced  this Legislative  Session in regards  to                                                            
the Office  of Children's  Services (OCS):  Governor's bills  SB 83-                                                            
TERM.   PARENTAL  RTS/CINA/DELINQUENCY    CASES   and  SB   84-CHILD                                                            
PROTECTION CONFIDENTIALITY  which addressed making  the process more                                                            
open to the public  and voluntary relinquishment,  respectfully; and                                                            
Representative  Rokeberg's bill, HB 17-CINA; ADOPTION;  FOSTER CARE,                                                            
which "dealt  with public  disclosure of  information and a  working                                                            
relationship  between the  Legislature and  OCS in representing  the                                                            
interests of  constituents and their  children". In addition,  there                                                            
was  also the  expectation  that Representative  Mike  Chenault  and                                                            
Representative  Lesil McGuire would be introducing  OCS legislation.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  stated that arrangements  were made  for the various  bill                                                            
sponsors  to meet  with OCS  in order  to satisfy  the concerns  and                                                            
change the "system  to make it work better without  stepping on each                                                            
other or canceling each  other out". As a result, it was agreed that                                                            
HB 53 would become  an omnibus bill comprised of all  the provisions                                                            
included in other OCS legislation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Moss  stated  that  the  overlying  goal  of  the  bill  is  to                                                            
"strengthen families".  She noted that until recently,  OCS had been                                                            
named the  Division  of Family and  Youth Services.  To that  point,                                                            
Representative  Coghill held strong convictions to  include families                                                            
in the process.  "This legislation  strengthens the rights  of adult                                                            
family  members" … it  places them  before foster  homes". It  would                                                            
require  OCS  to identify  family  members  in  order  to  determine                                                            
whether  a family  member "could  take  the child  into their  home"                                                            
after a child is taken  into State custody. The bill also contains a                                                            
family member  preference provision. For instance,  grandparents who                                                            
had previously  taken  care of a  grandchild, who  was now in  State                                                            
custody, for  12 consecutive months  could not only receive  custody                                                            
of the child,  but they could adopt the child. This  provision would                                                            
also apply to other adult family members.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss communicated  that the bill  would specify that  efforts to                                                            
place a child  with relatives or family friends should  occur before                                                            
the  child was  placed in  the home  of a  stranger.  The bill  also                                                            
provides  that a child  should be  placed in  the least restrictive                                                             
placement in close proximity  to the parents. The bill also includes                                                            
an order of placement preference.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green asked which  section of the bill was being discussed.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  responded that  her recent comments  refer to language  in                                                            
Sec. 34, page  20 line 20, through  page 21 line three. Continuing,                                                             
she noted  that the  first placement  preference  would be an  adult                                                            
family member  followed by  a family friend.  "The third would  be a                                                            
foster home and last resort would be an institution."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  voiced that rather  than explaining  the bill, section  by                                                            
section, the decision  had been made to address the  bill by subject                                                            
matter.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  informed that Sec.  13 page ten,  lines three through  18,                                                            
would  require that  OCS endeavor  to  provide parental  and  family                                                            
visitations for the children.  The family must be notified as to the                                                            
reason a visitation was  denied, were that the OCS decision. In that                                                            
case, the family  must also be informed  that they had a  right to a                                                            
hearing in the matter.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss explained  that Sec. 4, page three, line  nine through page                                                            
four line  17, and  Sec. 17 page  12 line two  through page  14 line                                                            
four,  "place into  Statute voluntary  relinquishments  of  parental                                                            
rights"  with  the   ability  to  retain  certain   things  such  as                                                            
visitation  rights or written communication  with the child.  Again,                                                            
were OCS to deny the voluntary  relinquishment, they must notify the                                                            
parent as  to the reason  and alert  them to their  right to  have a                                                            
hearing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green   asked  the  reason   for  there  being   "parallel                                                            
references" in these sections.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss responded  that Sec. 4 would address adoption  law and Sec.                                                            
17 would  address the Alaska  Child in Need  of Aid (CINA)  Rules of                                                            
Procedure law.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  explained that  Sec. 37  page 21 line  23 through  page 24                                                            
line three,  would clarify "that poverty  by itself is not  a reason                                                            
to deny placement  with relatives". This section would  also specify                                                            
that parental  rights  could not be  terminated  due to OCS  ordered                                                            
treatment not being received  by the parent. At times that treatment                                                            
might not be  available and at times,  even without such  treatment,                                                            
the parent "is able to  straighten out their lives". However, were a                                                            
parent  not to  get treatment  and not  to change  their  lifestyle,                                                            
other reasons to terminate parental rights would come into play.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  noted that the  bill would "encourage  OCS to train  their                                                            
foster parents  to be mentors". While  numerous letters from  foster                                                            
parents  had been  received  in opposition  to this  provision,  the                                                            
language was included as  permissive rather than mandatory language.                                                            
OCS  would  have the  responsibility  of  identifying  which  foster                                                            
parents  would  be good  mentors.  She  characterized  the  language                                                            
included in the Judiciary  committee substitute before the Committee                                                            
as "compromise"  language, in order  to address those situations  in                                                            
which the foster  family might also be the adoptive  parents, as, in                                                            
such  a  case,  "there  was  no  incentive  for  them  to  encourage                                                            
visitation  with the biological  parents".  The Judiciary  Committee                                                            
language  in this bill  would allow  for that  situation, but  would                                                            
also promote placing  a child with a foster or adoptive  family with                                                            
a mentor who  would encourage visitation  and reunification  for the                                                            
child and the parents.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
6:49:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  informed the Committee  that language  in Sec. 15  page 11                                                            
lines one through  11 would change "the definition  of major medical                                                            
treatment to  include medication used  to treat and diagnose  mental                                                            
health disorder".  She opined that  "OCS has done a fairly  good job                                                            
of trying  to do this  anyway", but Representative  Coghill  desired                                                            
that  language  be placed  in  Statute  that  would require  OCS  to                                                            
consult with the parents  and receive their permission to administer                                                            
mental health  disorder medication to children in  OCS custody. Were                                                            
OCS  to  determine  that the  parents  had  "unwisely  denied"  such                                                            
medicine administration, the matter could be taken to Court.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Green  asked   for  further  clarification   as   to  the                                                            
circumstances to which this provision would apply.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Moss responded  that  this  would apply  to  a child  in  State                                                            
custody  to whom  OCS  has determined  that  medication  for  mental                                                            
disorder  should   be  prescribed.  Parental  permission   would  be                                                            
required in  order to administer that  medication. This would  occur                                                            
prior to termination of parental rights.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  stated that Sec.  10 page six line  18 through page  seven                                                            
line 24  would further  the process' transparency  by opening  court                                                            
proceedings  to  the  public.  Sideboards  to  the  proceedings  are                                                            
specified  so that a  Judge could  order the  proceedings closed  in                                                            
situations  where  a child  might  "be  stigmatized  or emotionally                                                             
damaged, if it would interfere  with a criminal investigation, or if                                                            
the disclosure would violate State or federal law".                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
6:52:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Moss continued  that  the first  order  of business  in a  CINA                                                            
hearing  proceeding  is that  the Judge  would issue  an order  with                                                            
complete  instructions   as  to  how  the  hearing  would   operate;                                                            
including what  information a person could or could  not disclose to                                                            
the public.  No information  could be provided  that would  identify                                                            
"in  any  way"  who  the  involved  parties  were.  Were  the  Court                                                            
instructions disobeyed,  the Judge could impose sanctions that could                                                            
include prohibiting  a person from  attending another CINA  hearing,                                                            
regardless of who the parties were.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss stated that language  in Sec. 28, page 19 lines one through                                                            
11 would  require the Department  to provide  each parent a  copy of                                                            
the grievance  procedures.  A supervisor  would review  the case  in                                                            
which a grievance was filed  in objection to the manner in which OCS                                                            
was handling a case. Were  the supervisor to determine that the case                                                            
was being  handled properly,  the parent  could further petition  to                                                            
the new State  Review Panel that would be established  by this bill.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Moss  informed   that,  in  addition  to  conducting   hearings                                                            
regarding complaints  against OCS,  the State Review Panel  would be                                                            
responsible  with  adopting  policy and  procedures  by regulation.                                                             
Reports would  be compiled "about  how OCS was operating"  including                                                            
what  their  "good"  and  "bad"  points  were,  and  what  potential                                                            
legislation might be considered in the future.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss stated  that a component  of the aforementioned  Governor's                                                            
bills is  included in Sec.  27, page 17, lines  26 through  page 18,                                                            
line 31. This  section would establish provisions  that would "allow                                                            
OCS  to  disclose  confidential  information  to  the  public  under                                                            
certain circumstances". Disclosure is currently prohibited.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
6:54:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  continued that  this Section would  allow disclosure  when                                                            
"the parents  have disclosed information  about OCS's participation                                                             
in a case;  it would allow  disclosure when  a perpetrator  has been                                                            
charged with  a crime; and it would  allow disclosure when  a report                                                            
of harm has resulted in  a death or near-death fatality" of a child.                                                            
She noted that  this Section was amended in the Judiciary  Committee                                                            
in order to assure that  "the release of information was kept at top                                                            
level   of  management"   by   either   the  Commissioner   or   the                                                            
Commissioner's  designee  of the  Department  of Health  and  Social                                                            
Services or the Department of Administration.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Moss   stated  that   this  legislation   would  also   further                                                            
Legislators' desire  that as many interviews "as possible"  with the                                                            
child be audio or video  taped. Mandatory videotaping is required of                                                            
suspected  victims  of  sexual abuse.  Child  Advocacy  Centers  are                                                            
defined  in relation to  this endeavor  because it  is not,  of yet,                                                            
defined in  State Statute.  The bill would  also establish  criteria                                                            
for schools  when interviewing children  at school and would  direct                                                            
OCS to  work with  law  enforcement and  schools  to establish  such                                                            
procedures.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss stated that language  in Sec. 59 page 31 lines four through                                                            
24 was amended in the Judiciary  Committee to allow for a Court rule                                                            
change "that would allow  videotape interviews of children under the                                                            
age of 16 in  criminal investigations  to be admissible in  Court as                                                            
evidence  under  certain  circumstances".   Those  conditions  would                                                            
include that  "the recording was made  prior to the proceeding;  the                                                            
victim be available  for cross-examination;  the prosecutor  and any                                                            
attorney  representing  the  defendant  were  not present  when  the                                                            
statement  was taken;  recording must  be both  visual and  audible;                                                            
each  person  participating  in  the  taking  of  the  statement  is                                                            
identified on  the recording; videotaping was taken  in avoidance of                                                            
undue influence  of the victim;  the defense  has been afforded  the                                                            
opportunity  to observe the tape,  and the Court had an opportunity                                                             
to view the tape and deem it reliable and trustworthy".                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green voiced  concern to  Sec. 59. In  recognition  of the                                                            
fact that observers would  be prohibited, she asked how many times a                                                            
recording  could be conducted  and specifically  whether  rehearsals                                                            
would be prohibited.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss responded that, "it would prohibit rehearsal".                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green asked for further confirmation.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  stated  that the  intent of  the legislation  would be  to                                                            
promote the  audio and video taping  of all interviews. There  would                                                            
not be  an opportunity  to  rehearse. The  Department  of Law  could                                                            
provide further testimony in this regard.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  asked whether all the recordings would  be available                                                            
for the Court hearing.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss  affirmed  that had "all"  of the  aforementioned  criteria                                                            
been adhered to, the answer would be "yes".                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green asked  whether a hearing  officer  or a judge  would                                                            
view this information.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss specified that a Judge would view it.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green understood  therefore that  a Judge, rather  than "a                                                            
Trial by Jury  or a panel of regular  people", would be viewing  the                                                            
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Moss deferred  to the Department of Law to provide  the specific                                                            
information being sought.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Due to  time constraints,  Co-Chair Green ordered  the bill  HELD in                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 257(JUD)                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to and extending the pilot program for state                                                              
     procurement and electronic commerce tools; and providing for                                                               
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  announced  that  this  bill was  again  before  the                                                            
Committee.  The discussion would continue  in regards to  the impact                                                            
that might result by the adoption of Amendment #1.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Alberts expressed that  the Amendment has been deemed acceptable                                                            
to the sponsor.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
6:59:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN BROOKS,  Deputy Commissioner,  Department  of Administration,                                                             
stated that  after discussing the  issue with Senator Dyson  and Ms.                                                            
Alberts,  the understanding  is  that the  intent  of the  amendment                                                            
would be to provide  protection to the State were  the Pilot Program                                                            
to fail at some point in  the future. The Department appreciates the                                                            
intent and viewed this as a positive amendment to the bill.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Amendment-to-Amendment  #1:  This amendment-to-the-amendment   would                                                            
replace the  words "whatever  assistance the  contractor is  able to                                                            
provide"  with  the  words  "reasonable  assistance"  in  subsection                                                            
(v)(2) of the  amendment, following the word "provide".  The amended                                                            
language would read as follows.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                 (2) require the contractor to provide reasonable                                                               
     assistance   to  the  Department  of  Administration   and  the                                                            
     departments   and   other  instrumentalities    of  the   state                                                            
     participating  in  the pilot  program in  using the  electronic                                                            
     commerce  tools  referred  to in  (1)  of this  subsection  and                                                            
     otherwise making the transition.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson moved to amend the amendment.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no  objection,   the  amendment-to-the-amendment   was                                                            
ADOPTED.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Amendment #1, as Amended, was ADOPTED.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  stated for  the record that  a representative  of the                                                            
contractor  has conveyed that  the contractor  is in agreement  with                                                            
the amendment.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  moved  to  report   the  bill,  as  amended,  from                                                            
Committee   with   accompanying    fiscal   notes   and   individual                                                            
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection, SCS  CS HB  257(FIN)  was REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee zero  fiscal note #1, dated April 8, 2005  from the Alaska                                                            
Court  System, indeterminate  fiscal  note #2, dated  April 8,  2005                                                            
from   the   Division    of   General   Services,   Department    of                                                            
Administration,  and  a new  $350,000 fiscal  note  from the  Senate                                                            
Labor &  Commerce Committee  for the Department  of Administration,                                                             
dated May 7, 2005.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman,  while voicing  no objection  to the action,  asked                                                            
that  the State's  Chief  Procurement  Officer  provide  a  position                                                            
statement  regarding  the legislation  prior  to its'  Senate  Floor                                                            
Session hearing.                                                                                                                
AT EASE 7:02:56 PM / 7:06:12 PM                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green adjourned the meeting at 07:06 PM.                                                                               

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