Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/21/1993 01:45 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
     SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE                    
                         April 21, 1993                                        
                           1:45 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator Steve Rieger, Chairman                                                
 Senator Bert Sharp, Vice-Chairman                                             
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Jim Duncan                                                            
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
 Senator Judy Salo                                                             
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 3                                                              
 "An Act relating to public home care providers; and providing                 
 for an effective date."                                                       
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 4(JUD)                                                  
 "An Act relating to failure to report harm or assaults of the                 
 elderly or disabled."                                                         
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 137(JUD)                                                
 "An Act authorizing special medical parole for terminally ill                 
 prisoners."                                                                   
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 171(FIN)                                                
 "An Act providing coverage for hospice care under the Medicaid                
 program; reordering the priorities given to optional services                 
 under the Medicaid program; and providing for an effective                    
 date."                                                                        
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 136(FIN)                                                
 "An Act relating to revocation of and limitations on a                        
 driver's license; to the offenses of driving while intoxicated                
 and refusal to submit to a breath test; imposing a limited                    
 license fee; amending Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 32(b);                   
 and providing for an effective date."                                         
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 235(FIN)                                                
 "An Act relating to educational programs and services for                     
 children with disabilities and other exceptional children and                 
 to persons with a handicap; and providing for an effective                    
 date."                                                                        
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 HB   3 - No previous action to record.                                        
                                                                               
 HB   4 - No previous action to record.                                        
                                                                               
 HB 137 - No previous action to record.                                        
                                                                               
 HB 171 - No previous action to record.                                        
                                                                               
 HB 136 - No previous action to record.                                        
                                                                               
 HB 235 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/14/93 &                            
          4/19/93.                                                             
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Representative Jerry Mackie                                                   
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of HB 3 & HB 4                           
                                                                               
 Representative Eldon Mulder                                                   
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of HB 136 & HB 137                       
                                                                               
 Judy Mathis, Staff to Representative Ron Larson                               
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on HB 171                          
                                                                               
 Ritchie Sonner, Executive Director                                            
 Hospice & Home Care of Juneau                                                 
 3200 Hospital Drive, #100                                                     
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports HB 171                                        
                                                                               
 Myra Howe, State Director of Special Education                                
 Department of Education                                                       
 800 W. 10th St., Suite 200                                                    
 Juneau, AK 99801-1894                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on HB 235                          
                                                                               
 Juanita Hensley                                                               
 Division of Motor Vehicles                                                    
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 P.O. Box 20020                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802-0020                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Present to respond to questions                        
                      on HB 235                                                
                                                                               
 Chris Christensen, Legal Counsel                                              
 Alaska Court System                                                           
 300 K St.                                                                     
 Anchorage, AK 99501-2084                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Suggested amendment to HB 235                          
                                                                               
 Marc Grober                                                                   
 Nenana, AK                                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Suggested changes to HB 235                            
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
 TAPE 93-38, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN RIEGER  called the Senate Health, Education and Social              
 Services (HESS) Committee to order at 1:45 p.m.  He introduced                
  HB 3  (REGULATION OF HOME CARE PROVIDERS) and  CSHB 4(JUD)                   
 (PROTECT ELDERLY AND DISABLED ADULTS) as the first order of                   
 business.                                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE, prime sponsor of HB 3 and HB 4,                  
 explained the legislation restricts the ability of a home care                
 provider to assume power of attorney and requires criminal                    
 background checks on any individual providing home care                       
 services paid for with public funds for elderly or disabled                   
 persons.  These groups are particularly vulnerable to abuse                   
 because of age, illness, disability and the isolation of being                
 at home alone with a care giver.                                              
                                                                               
 The bill also requires background checks on home care                         
 providers paid through Older Alaskan Commission grants and                    
 respite care providers paid through the Division of Family &                  
 Youth Services.                                                               
                                                                               
 An important aspect of HB 3 is that the Department of Health                  
 and Social Services is required to implement regulations                      
 identifying actions to be taken upon reports of harm by a                     
 home care provider.  It also protects the due process rights                  
 of the provider.                                                              
                                                                               
 Representative Mackie said CSHB 4(JUD) provides that                          
 conviction of a person licensed, certified or regulated by a                  
 board or the Department of Commerce for abuse of an elderly                   
 or disabled person may be considered grounds for disciplinary                 
 proceedings and sanctions.                                                    
                                                                               
 There being no further testimony on HB 3 and CSHB 4(JUD),                     
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked for the pleasure of the committee.                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN moved that HB 3, along with the accompanying                    
 fiscal notes, be passed out of committee with individual                      
 recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved that CSHB 4(JUD), along with the                         
 accompanying fiscal notes, be passed out of committee with                    
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 ordered.                                                                      
 Number 110                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced  CSHB 137(JUD)  (PAROLE OF TERMINALLY              
 ILL PRISONERS) as the next order of business.                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER, prime sponsor of HB 137, said the                
 legislation is a byproduct of the Sentencing Commission's                     
 recommendation that an allowance for special medical parole                   
 for terminally ill patients be placed in statute.  This would                 
 allow the department and the parole board an additional tool                  
 whereby they could save dollars when evaluating people for                    
 parole who have not been eligible for parole in the past.                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked if there was a definition for "terminally                 
 ill."  REPRESENTATIVE MULDER responded that it was left open                  
 because "terminally ill" varies so much and it is impossible                  
 to anticipate all the circumstances or occasions.  The parole                 
 board recommended leaving that definition in that form,                       
 knowing that they are going to very conservatively, if ever,                  
 use this.  It would be used only in those instances where the                 
 board felt that the person being paroled was not a danger to                  
 society, which is a requirement that was put into the bill.                   
                                                                               
 There being no further testimony on CSHB 137(JUD), CHAIRMAN                   
 RIEGER asked for the pleasure of the committee.                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved that CSHB 137(JUD), along with the                       
 accompanying fiscal notes, be passed out of committee with                    
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 ordered.                                                                      
 Number 175                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced  CSHB 171(FIN)  (MEDICAID COVERAGE                 
 FOR HOSPICE CARE) as the next order of business.                              
                                                                               
 JUDY MATHIS, staff to Representative Ron Larson, prime sponsor                
 of HB 171, explained the legislation will extend coverage of                  
 hospice service to Medicaid eligible adults who do not qualify                
 for Medicare.  Hospice care is already a Medicaid covered                     
 service for children and is available to people who qualify                   
 for Medicare.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 190                                                                    
                                                                               
 RITCHIE SONNER, Executive Director of Hospice & Home Care of                  
 Juneau, voiced her support for HB 171, saying the hospice                     
 method of care is a cost-effective way of treating people who                 
 are terminally ill.                                                           
                                                                               
 There being no further testimony on HB 171, CHAIRMAN RIEGER                   
 asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved that CSHB 171(FIN), along with the                       
 accompanying fiscal notes, be passed out of committee with                    
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 ordered.                                                                      
 Number 220                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced CSHB 136(FIN) (DRUNK DRIVING AND                   
 BREATH TEST OFFENSES) as the next order of business.                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER, prime sponsor of HB 136, said the                
 Sentencing Commission report called for alternative sentencing                
 for individuals convicted of DWI's, but it left open what, in                 
 fact, they wanted or desired.                                                 
                                                                               
 In working with the Department of Corrections, the Department                 
 of Law, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the                          
 Department of Public Safety, HB 136 was crafted.  It provides                 
 that those individuals convicted of DWI would serve their time                
 in half-way homes, they would be required to pay for their                    
 time in half-way homes, and while they are in half-way homes,                 
 they will be required to do community service.  The provision                 
 applies to those individuals convicted for the first and                      
 second time.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Representative Mulder said that it is estimated that over a                   
 period of time the legislation will save the state a                          
 substantial amount of money, and it will also diminish the                    
 backlog which currently exists in relation to people waiting                  
 to serve their time.                                                          
                                                                               
 HB 136 also restricts the issuance of limited licenses and                    
 provides that only after a first DWI is an individual allowed                 
 to make application for a limited license.  Currently, an                     
 individual convicted of DWI is eligible to apply for a limited                
 license up to the sixth conviction.                                           
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER referred to page 6, line 14, and asked for the                
 reasoning for having a uniform average cost of imprisonment                   
 rather than having direct costs.  REPRESENTATIVE MULDER                       
 answered that if there is not a half-way house or CRC                         
 established within a community, the commissioner can make                     
 allowance for designating another facility which is                           
 appropriate.  The costs throughout the state are going to vary                
 tremendously, and it was determined that in order to be                       
 equitable and fair that there be an average cost so that one                  
 person would not pay a greater cost than another person.                      
                                                                               
 Chairman Rieger then referred to page 6, line 13 and the                      
 language "varying levels of restrictions," which he thought                   
 was too broad, and he suggested changing the phrase to                        
 "provides a restrictive environment."  Representative Mulder                  
 stated that he would have no problem with making that change.                 
                                                                               
 JUANITA HENSLEY, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of                    
 Public Safety, noted that she was present to respond to                       
 questions regarding the limited licenses portion of the bill.                 
                                                                               
 Number 260                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER moved that on page 6, line 13 and on page 7,                  
 line 13, delete the phrase "varying levels of restriction" and                
 replace them with "a restrictive environment."  Hearing no                    
 objection, the motion carried.                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved that SCS CSHB 136(HES), along with the                   
 accompanying fiscal notes, be passed out of committee with                    
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 ordered.                                                                      
 Number 275                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced  CSHB 235(FIN)  (SPECIAL EDUCATION                 
 & RELATED SERVICES) as the final order of business.                           
                                                                               
 MYRA HOWE, State Director of Special Education, Department of                 
 Education, said the legislation was introduced upon request                   
 of the Department of Education to bring the state into                        
 compliance with federal law.  At present, the department has                  
 a two-year conditional approval of its state plan.  The                       
 conditional approval will expire July 1 of this year, and it                  
 has been indicated that if Alaska does not come into                          
 compliance with federal law by that date, funds in the amount                 
 of $8,344,517 for FY 94 will be withheld.                                     
                                                                               
 Ms. Howe outlined sections of the bill that address changes                   
 required by the U.S. Department of Education.                                 
                                                                               
 Ms. Howe directed attention to a suggested amendment to Senate                
 State Affairs SCS.  The amendment on page 2, line 18 to                       
 Section 6, which relates to independent evaluations, would                    
 add the phrase "from the list provided by the district" after                 
 the word "choosing."  She said the department requires that                   
 the school district maintain a list of independent evaluators                 
 and provide that to the parent upon request if the parent                     
 disagrees with the evaluation provided by the school district.                
 She added that it would not restrict parents as far as                        
 sticking to that list, but that it is the starting point for                  
 considering who is qualified and who isn't to provide an                      
 independent evaluation.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 335                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, Legal Counsel, Judicial Branch, stated the                 
 court system takes no position on the legislation, but they                   
 have a suggested amendment to the State Affairs SCS.  The                     
 amendment would be to paragraph (e) on page 4, which relates                  
 to an indigent person being provided with a court appointed                   
 attorney at public expense, and it clarifies that this                        
 function is assigned to the Office of Public Advocacy.                        
                                                                               
 Number 355                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARC GROBER, testifying from Nenana, said the State Affairs                   
 committee substitute does not really resolve the problems he                  
 sees with CSHB 235(FIN), and he has submitted a suggested                     
 committee substitute.                                                         
                                                                               
 Mr. Grober contends that neither the state nor the legislature                
 has ever received a letter or any other documentation that                    
 says that HB 235 has to be passed or the state looses $8                      
 million.  What has been said is that the state has been out                   
 of compliance allegedly because there is no process to                        
 override a parent's refusal.  He said Alaska can meet the                     
 federal requirements simply by telling the federal government                 
 that our existing statutes meets these issues, and the federal                
 regulations specifically recognize that court proceedings that                
 resolve these issues are adequate to meet the federal                         
 regulations.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Mr. Grober outlined the following areas of concern with the                   
 legislation:                                                                  
                                                                               
  (1)  Despite the "so-called training" for hearing                            
 officers, he has appeared before a number of these hearing                    
 officers and they are by and large not qualified.  He suggests                
 the state implement examination requirements that he has                      
 recommended.                                                                  
                                                                               
  (2)  Districts do not maintain lists of qualified                            
 individuals to conduct independent evaluations.                               
                                                                               
  (3)  The Office of Public Advocacy regularly represents                      
 the child, and there could be a conflict if the same office                   
 were to represent the indigent parent.                                        
                                                                               
  (4)  The bill does not identify what the impact of                           
 withdrawal of consent is, as well as what the definition of                   
 "consent" means.                                                              
  (5)  The proposed definition of "educational records"                        
 goes way beyond what is at issue.                                             
                                                                               
 Concluding his comments, Mr. Grober said the committee                        
 substitute he has offered meets every single point raised by                  
 the Department of Education without any disenfranchisement of                 
 any parent.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 450                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER offered the following amendment to page 1,                    
 line 14:  delete the phrase "have the right to" and replace                   
 it with the phrase "may be provided."  Hearing no objection,                  
 the amendment was adopted.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 475                                                                    
                                                                               
 There was extensive discussion between committee members and                  
 Ms. Howe on the Department of Education's suggested amendment                 
 to page 2, line 18, adding the phrase "from the list provided                 
 by the district."                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO offered, for discussion purposes, an amendment                   
 to page 2, line 17, which after the word "by" and before the                  
 word "person," adds the words "an available qualified."                       
 Following brief discussion, the amendment was withdrawn.                      
                                                                               
 TAPE 93-38, SIDE B                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 055                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO moved the department's amendment to page 2, line                 
 18:  After "choosing" add "from the list provided by the                      
 district."  SENATOR LEMAN objected.  The roll was taken with                  
 the following result:  Senators Rieger, Salo and Sharp voted                  
 "Yea" and Senators Miller and Leman voted "Nay."  The Chair                   
 stated the motion carried.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 075                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER referred to page 3, line 22, and the language                 
 "the parent's lack of consent to evaluation" and suggested                    
 replacing "consent to" with "participation in."  He said that                 
 all that can really be documented is the parent's lack of                     
 participation rather than to document the parent's state of                   
 mind.  He then moved his suggested change as an amendment to                  
 page 3, line 22.  Hearing no objection, the amendment was                     
 adopted.                                                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER referred to paragraph (e) on page 4, lines 20                 
 through 22, and stated he was uncomfortable with the language.                
 SENATOR LEMAN explained that it was added in the State Affairs                
 Committee and it provides that an indigent will be provided                   
 with an attorney if someone else brings suit against that                     
 person.  It levels the playing field to provide that if that                  
 person appeals to the court that they will be provided with                   
 an attorney.                                                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER moved to delete all of the language on lines                  
 20 through 22 on page 4.  SENATOR LEMAN objected.  The roll                   
 was taken with the following result:  Senators Rieger and                     
 Sharp voted "Yea," and Senators Salo, Leman and Miller voted                  
 "Nay."  The Chair stated the motion failed.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 155                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER then moved the amendment suggested by the                     
 court system to page 4, lines 20 through 22, to add language                  
 that empowers the Office of Public Advocacy to provide legal                  
 representation referenced in AS 14.31.095.  Hearing no                        
 objection, the motion carried.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 195                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO referred to the language in Section 12 on the                    
 top of page 5, and questioned if it was necessary to insert                   
 the same language that was suggested by the Department of                     
 Education and added to Section 6 on page 2.  She then moved                   
 that on page 5, line 2, after the word "choosing" insert "from                
 the list provided by the district."  SENATOR LEMAN objected.                  
 The roll was taken with the following result:  Senators                       
 Rieger, Sharp and Salo voted "Yea," and Senators Leman and                    
 Miller voted "Nay."  The Chair stated the motion carried.                     
                                                                               
 Number 220                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN pointed out that the Office of Public Advocacy                  
 had originally submitted a zero fiscal note on the bill, and                  
 he suggested that since the amendment suggested by the court                  
 system has been adopted, they be asked to revisit that fiscal                 
 note.                                                                         
                                                                               
 There being no further amendments or testimony to HB 235,                     
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked for the pleasure of the committee.                      
                                                                               
 Number 230                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO moved that SCS CSHB 235(HES), along with the                     
 accompanying fiscal notes be passed out of committee with                     
 individual recommendations.                                                   
                                                                               
 There being no further business to come before the committee,                 
 the meeting was adjourned at 2:50 p.m.                                        
                                                                               

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