Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/08/1995 09:07 AM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
    SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE                     
                         March 8, 1995                                         
                           9:07 a.m.                                           
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator Lyda Green, Chairman                                                  
 Senator Loren Leman, Vice-Chairman                                            
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
 Senator Judy Salo                                                             
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 All members present.                                                          
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 88                                                            
 "An Act establishing a pilot program for charter schools; and                 
 providing for an effective date."                                             
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 91                                                            
 "An Act creating the crime of criminal transmission of human                  
 immunodeficiency virus (HIV)."                                                
                                                                               
 Presentation by the Division of Public Assistance.                            
                                                                               
 SHES - 3/8/95                                                                 
                                                                              
 SB  98  (PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT OF 1995) was scheduled, but              
 not heard on this date.                                                       
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 SB 88 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated                 
         2/22/95 and 3/1/95.                                                   
                                                                               
 SB 91 - No previous action to record.                                         
                                                                               
 SB 98 - No previous action to record.                                         
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Senator Sharp                                                                 
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime sponsor of SB 88.                                  
                                                                               
 Claudia Douglas, President                                                    
 National Education Association - Alaska (NEA-AK)                              
 114 Second                                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska                                                                
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported the concept of charter schools and             
                      noted some concerns.                                     
                                                                               
 Joe Ambrose                                                                   
 Staff to Senator Taylor                                                       
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed SB 91.                                          
                                                                               
 Barbara Brink, Deputy Director                                                
 Alaska Public Defender Agency                                                 
 900 W 5th, No. 200                                                            
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Urged that SB 91 not be passed.                          
                                                                               
 Randall Burns, Executive Director                                             
 Alaska Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)                                           
 419 Barrow                                                                    
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Stated that ACLU opposed SB 91.                          
                                                                               
 Peter Nakamura, MD, MPH                                                       
 Division of Public Health                                                     
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110610                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0610                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed SB 91 and offered possible amendments            
                      if the bill passes.                                      
                                                                               
 Deborah Vandruff, Director                                                    
 Stop AIDS                                                                     
 520 E 4th Avenue                                                              
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Felt that SB 91 would discourage HIV testing.            
                                                                               
 Rita De Souza, Executive Director                                             
 Alaskans Living with HIV                                                      
 174 S. Franklin, #208                                                         
 Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Read the letter she intended to send to                  
                      newspapers statewide which indicated                     
                      opposition to SB 91.                                     
                                                                               
 Jim Nordlund, Director                                                        
 Division of Public Assistance                                                 
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110640                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0640                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed the briefing document on Public                 
                      Assistance Programs.                                     
                                                                               
 Curt Lomas                                                                    
 Welfare Reform Program                                                        
 Division of Public Assistance                                                 
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110640                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0640                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered additional information.                          
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-11, SIDE A                                                            
                                                                               
 SHES - 3/8/95                                                                 
                                                                               
           SB  88 PILOT PROGRAM FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS                           
                                                                               
 Number 003                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN called the Senate Health, Education and Social                 
 Services (HESS) Committee to order at 9:07 a.m. and   noted that at           
 10:00 a.m. there would be a presentation by the Department of                 
 Health & Social Services.  She introduced  SB 88  as the first order          
 of business before the committee.                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved to adopt the Ford 3/7/95, version F, CS of               
 SB 88 in lieu of the original bill.  Hearing no objections, it was            
 adopted.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP, prime sponsor, reviewed the changes which had been             
 incorporated in the CS.                                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS asked if the added language regarding operating                 
 within a public school district meant that all charter schools                
 under SB 88 would be creations within the public school system.               
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP clarified that a proposal for a charter school must             
 be approved by the local school board and the commissioner of                 
 education.  The charter school would operate under the guidelines             
 of the school districts.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 106                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS asked if charter schools would be public or semi-               
 private schools.  SENATOR SHARP said that SB 88 intended for                  
 charter schools to be a form of public schools which have a                   
 different focus or goal.  The charter school would be funded by the           
 public and overseen by the local school board.                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO expressed concern with the type of discrimination that           
 may be allowed with the students of a charter school.  Another                
 concern is regarding a teacher giving up their contractual rights             
 in the school district in order to teach at a charter school.                 
 SENATOR SHARP understood that existing contractual rights would be            
 honored for all personnel who transfer to a charter school.                   
                                                                               
 In response to Senator Salo, Senator Sharp did not foresee how                
 discrimination could occur unless those applying happened to be               
 skewed to a certain group.  He stated that SB 88 specifies that any           
 children could apply to a charter school and if there were too many           
 applicants then lots would be drawn.                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO clarified her concern regarding the possibility that             
 a child could be discriminated against, denied admission, if they             
 were a low academic student.  SENATOR SHARP did not think so.  The            
 school board would have to approve the methods of the charter                 
 school.  He noted the possibility of problems with busing which the           
 school board would also have to address.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 171                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS thought that SB 88 would utilize academic                       
 discrimination; a student would have to perform to a certain degree           
 on an aptitude test in order to be accepted into the charter                  
 school.  SENATOR SHARP said that SB 88 does not provide for the               
 super selection of students for charter schools unless the school             
 board or commissioner of education approve such selection                     
 standards.  Senator Sharp did not foresee their approval of such.             
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS clarified that if a local board of education and the            
 commissioner of education approved that a certain score on an                 
 aptitude test would for be allowable for admission requirements               
 then it would be as such.  SENATOR SHARP agreed.                              
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if SB 88 was designed after other programs in            
 other states.  SENATOR SHARP said yes, the primary example used for           
 this legislation was the program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.                     
                                                                               
 Number 231                                                                    
                                                                               
 CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President of NEA-AK, stated that NEA-AK supports             
 the concept of charter schools, however, there are concerns that              
 charter schools could undermine education by allowing unprepared              
 individuals to start schools.  She pointed out that charter school            
 plans must meet the following conditions:                                     
  (1) no negative effect on the regular school program,                        
  (2) no diversion of current funds from public schools,                       
  (3) voluntary staff and student assignment to charter schools,               
  (4) direct involvement of all effected school employees in the               
          charter schools design, implementation and government,               
  (5) adequate defense in regards to contract and employment                   
          provisions for all employees,                                        
  (6) appropriate procedures for assessment and evaluation at                  
          predetermined periods within the term of the charter,                
  (7) licensed professional staff,                                             
  (8) health and safety standards for all students and                         
          employees,                                                           
  (9) non discrimination and equal educational opportunities,                  
     (10) adequate defenses ensuring physical accountability,                  
     (11) adequate and equitable funding, including start up money,            
     (12) equitable procedures regarding student admission and                 
          retention, and                                                       
     (13) appropriate safeguards against racial and ethnic                     
          segregation.                                                         
                                                                               
 Ms. Douglas felt that SB 88 does address many of the concerns of              
 NEA-AK.  She suggested adding the language, "may not discriminate             
 as based on AS 14.18 which relates to the basis of intelligence,              
 achievement, aptitude or athletic ability."  Every child should               
 become a part of the classroom, the concept of inclusion.  She did            
 not believe that SB 88 addressed the exclusion of students who may            
 be disabled.  Section 5 poses another concern because with regard             
 to transfers, evaluations, and negotiated agreements only teachers            
 are addressed not all the other school employees.                             
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN pointed out that subsection (b) of the CS may                  
 address that concern.  CLAUDIA DOUGLAS suggested that the title of            
 Section 5 seems misleading and perhaps, the word employee should be           
 used instead of teacher.  Ms. Douglas noted the need for start up             
 money for charter schools.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 311                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER noted that the recommendation by NEA-AK to change              
 "faculty" to "teacher" on line 2, page 2 was encompassed in the CS.           
 He felt that administrators should also be a part of the academic             
 policy committee; the CS does not allow any freedom to add                    
 principals or administrators to this committee.                               
                                                                               
 CLAUDIA DOUGLAS clarified that the recommendation from NEA-AK was             
 to replace "faculty" with "school employees" due to the lack of a             
 definition for "faculty."  She agreed that administrators should              
 also be on the academic policy committee.  There would be no                  
 problem with adding language which would include administrators.              
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved that on page 2, line 2, after the word                   
 "teachers" the words ", school employees" be inserted.  Without               
 objection, the amendment, Amendment 1, was adopted.                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN suggested that the parents be listed first and then             
 the previous amendment.                                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved that CS SB 88(HES) as amended be moved out of            
 committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection,             
 it was so ordered.                                                            
 SHES - 3/8/95                                                                 
                                                                               
             SB  91 CRIMINAL TRANSMISSION OF HIV                             
                                                                               
 Number 350                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN introduced  SB 91  as the next order of business               
 before the committee.                                                         
                                                                               
 JOE AMBROSE, staff to Senator Taylor, explained that the goal of              
 SB 91 was to put Alaska in a proactive position with regard to                
 individuals who knowingly put others at risk to HIV infection.                
 SB 91 intends to be preventative, punitive, and render a criminal             
 rather than moral judgement.  As of December 31, 1994, 272 Alaskans           
 have been confirmed to have AIDS, of those 152 have died.  He noted           
 that the Epidemiology Section of the Division of Public Health                
 reports that 540 Alaskans, only those who voluntarily tested                  
 through the state section of laboratories, have tested positive for           
 HIV infection as of December 31, 1994.  The rate of infection in              
 Alaska is growing.                                                            
                                                                               
 Mr. Ambrose pointed out that under current state law, someone who             
 intentionally attempts to kill another by infecting them with the             
 AIDS virus can be charged with attempted first degree murder.  What           
 happens when an individual does not intend to kill with this virus,           
 but puts others at risk?  He stated that in 1990 the attorney                 
 general suggested that a person who puts others at risk with the              
 AIDS virus could be prosecuted for reckless endangerment.  Reckless           
 endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor which prohibits reckless                
 conduct that creates substantial risk to serious physical injury;             
 most would view becoming infected with HIV as more than a serious             
 physical injury.                                                              
                                                                               
 Mr. Ambrose stated that 26 other states have adopted specific laws            
 regarding knowingly transmitting or exposing another to HIV                   
 infection.  SB 91 creates the crime of criminal transmission of HIV           
 and covers actions and conduct known to transmit the disease.  The            
 bill also provides an affirmative defense when an exposed                     
 individual knows beforehand that the action could result in                   
 infection.  He said that SB 91 is not intended to punish those who            
 have HIV; the bill intends to protect others who may be unknowingly           
 exposed to the virus.  An Illinois Statute that has been in place             
 since 1989 is the basis for SB 91.  He informed the committee that            
 this statute has been upheld in the Illinois court system; the bill           
 has been upheld as constitutional.  Mr. Ambrose discussed the                 
 concern that SB 91 would discourage testing of HIV.  He said that             
 HIV/AIDS tests have been increasing in Illinois since this statute            
 has been in place.                                                            
                                                                               
 Mr. Ambrose said that the suggestions Dr. Nakamura would offer                
 regarding the transmission of the virus to unborn children did not            
 pose a problem for Senator Taylor.  He recognized that SB 91 may              
 encourage some individuals to avoid being tested in order to                  
 alleviate the possibility of criminal prosecution; if the other               
 involved party knows such information then there can be a                     
 consensual choice.  SB 91 addressed intimate contact, blood                   
 transfusions, organ and tissue donations, and drug paraphernalia.             
 SB 91 should encourage safe sex practices rather than discourage              
 testing.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 423                                                                    
                                                                               
 BARBARA BRINK, Deputy Director of the Alaska Public Defender                  
 Agency, informed the committee that she had been a public defender            
 in Alaska for 12 1/2 years.  The Alaska Public Defender Agency                
 expressed concern with the broad language of SB 91.  The prohibited           
 behavior should be clearly specified in order that the average                
 individual knows exactly what actions are prohibited and are                  
 criminal.  SB 91 does not provide due process notice.  She pointed            
 out that much of what is prohibited is sexual contact which is                
 defined very broadly; there is much debate as to conduct that                 
 results in the transmission of HIV.  SB 91 would criminalize                  
 behaviors that she felt were not intended to be criminalized such             
 as the transfer of HIV from a mother to a fetus.  The                         
 criminalization of voluntary blood and organ donations seems                  
 unnecessary since the medical profession already does routine                 
 screening procedures for HIV.                                                 
                                                                               
 Ms. Brink pointed out that SB 91 shifts the burden of proof to the            
 person accused of the crime; normally, the constitution provides              
 that the state must prove someone guilty to the jury beyond a                 
 reasonable doubt.  She stated that the intent of SB 91 was good;              
 every effort to discourage the transmission of HIV is a positive              
 step.  Using criminal law in order to contain a communicable                  
 disease does not seem appropriate.  She felt that SB 91 would                 
 discourage testing.  The fact that testing has increased in                   
 Illinois since they enacted similar legislation proves nothing;               
 testing across the nation has increased as the number of HIV                  
 infections and AIDS has increased.  She posed the example of when             
 the state became involved with crack babies.  Mothers did not seek            
 medical care that was needed for themselves and their babies due to           
 the criminal consequences of having a crack baby; they would lose             
 their baby and have criminal penalties.                                       
                                                                               
 Ms. Brink stressed the need to encourage voluntary testing and                
 behavior modification which SB 91 does not achieve.  She explained            
 that the moral issues attached to AIDS have created discrimination            
 against people with AIDS.  This discrimination poses a barrier to             
 those with the disease and the punitive efforts in SB 91 would                
 further that barrier while making preventative measures more                  
 difficult to achieve.  She emphasized that there are other serious            
 health care concerns in Alaska besides HIV/AIDS such as                       
 tuberculosis and hepatitis.  Other health care issues do not place            
 criminal repercussions on the disease in order to stop the spread.            
 There are better manners in which to promote public health.                   
                                                                               
 Ms. Brink explained that, as a practicing criminal defense                    
 attorney, there are currently laws in Alaska that punish and                  
 isolate persons who deliberately, intentionally, or recklessly                
 infect others.  She informed the committee of various existing laws           
 one of which would prosecute a person for attempted murder if they            
 intentionally transmit the disease.  In conclusion, Ms. Brink urged           
 that SB 91 not be passed in order that the criminal justice system            
 be left untouched in regards to this public health concern.                   
                                                                               
 Number 499                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS inquired as to the difficulty in proving the infected           
 person's knowledge of their disease; are medical records                      
 confidential under all circumstances in a legal proceeding?  How              
 would the state prove that an individual knew their HIV status?               
 BARBARA BRINK explained that there are numerous federal and state             
 regulations, as well as rules of evidence and procedure which                 
 effect the confidentiality of medical records.  Many persons who              
 receive testing not only have confidential testing, but also                  
 anonymous testing.  There would be no way to identify people who              
 were anonymously tested.  Anonymous testing is used in order to               
 prevent the misuse of confidential medical records.                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked Ms. Brink how a trial would proceed under                  
 current law regarding the intentional transmission of the disease             
 as opposed to under SB 91.  BARBARA BRINK explained that under                
 current law in Alaska when a person is charged with an intentional            
 crime, the State of Alaska must prove that person's intention                 
 beyond a reasonable doubt.  Under SB 91, the defense would have to            
 prove that the infection was not intentional because the other                
 person knew of the infection and consented to the conduct; the                
 defense would assume various obligations in order to prove his case           
 to the jury.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 544                                                                    
                                                                               
 RANDALL BURNS, Executive Director of the Alaska Civil Liberties               
 Union (ACLU), noted that a position paper had been sent to the                
 committee.  He expressed concern that there would be an invasion of           
 privacy in order for the state to prove intentional transmission.             
 The case would be the word of two opposing individuals.  He                   
 reiterated the concerns with the court being able to gather                   
 sufficient facts that a person knowingly transmitted the disease.             
 He restated the point that existing law already provides a                    
 mechanism to bring claims against such persons as SB 91 addresses.            
 The most serious repercussion of SB 91 would be the possibility of            
 discouraging testing by criminalizing the transmission of the                 
 disease.  He stated that ACLU was opposed to SB 91.                           
                                                                               
 DR. PETER NAKAMURA, Division of Public Health in the Department of            
 Health & Social Services, reiterated that SB 91 does not                      
 significantly increase the ability to prosecute persons who                   
 knowingly expose others to HIV beyond current law.  He too pointed            
 out that SB 91 could discourage testing in order for persons to be            
 precluded from prosecution under this law.  Criminalization of HIV            
 exposure could undermine the prevention strategy which encourages             
 testing of those at high risk.                                                
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-11, SIDE B                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 587                                                                    
                                                                               
 DR. NAKAMURA addressed concerns that SB 91 could discourage high              
 risk women from HIV testing and discourage HIV positive women from            
 receiving prenatal care.  There is no way to measure the impact of            
 SB 91 with regards to the possibility of decreasing testing.  He              
 assumed that SB 91 would attempt to effect those engaging in high             
 risk behaviors, however, the majority of persons infected with HIV            
 are responsible citizens and would not be in the high risk                    
 category.  Dr. Nakamura stated that if SB 91 were pursued, he would           
 suggest the following amendment:  page 1, line 9, add "voluntary"             
 before "engages" and after "person" add "without the reasonable use           
 of prophylactic measures designed to minimize the risk of                     
 transmission of sexually transmitted disease."                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS asked if the amendments Dr. Nakamura would be                   
 suggesting were in writing.  CHAIRMAN GREEN explained that she                
 intended to have the written amendments at the March 10, 1995                 
 meeting.                                                                      
                                                                               
 DR. NAKAMURA offered another possible amendment on page 1, line 12,           
 after "another" add the following language, "excluding perinatal              
 transmission."                                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO inquired as to the position of the Department of                 
 Health & Social Services.  DR. NAKAMURA stated the department's               
 opposition to SB 91.                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked what are the "reasonable prophylactic measures            
 designed to minimize the transmission of sexually transmitted                 
 disease" and what are the percentages with such measures.  DR.                
 NAKAMURA pointed out that with the use of condoms, the possibility            
 of transmission would be reduced to approximately 1 to 10,000.                
                                                                               
 DEBORAH VANDRUFF, Director of Stop AIDS, reiterated the concern               
 that SB 91 would discourage HIV testing.  Currently three quarters            
 of the Alaskan population have not been tested for HIV.                       
                                                                               
 Number 535                                                                    
                                                                               
 RITA DE SOUZA, Executive Director of Alaskans Living with HIV,                
 informed the committee that this is a state-wide agency which does            
 prevention education and advocacy services on behalf of persons               
 infected with HIV and AIDS and their family and friends.  She                 
 applauded the common sense approach of the previous witnesses.  She           
 indicated that SB 91 would not encourage testing.  This epidemic              
 has been in progress for 14 years.  She mentioned the notion of               
 contributory negligence which means that engaging in high risk                
 behavior without some protection indicates that the newly infected            
 person has been negligent in their own infection.                             
                                                                               
 Ms. De Souza read the letter that she intended to send to                     
 newspapers across the state.  In the letter, she said that SB 91              
 was counter productive in combating HIV disease.  She did not                 
 understand why existing statutes such as assault, sexual assault,             
 rape and attempted murder were not sufficient.  Why not include               
 other sexually transmitted and communicable diseases in with the              
 criminalization of HIV; why is HIV being singled out?  She                    
 expressed concern that SB 91 would discourage testing for HIV.  The           
 World Health Organization states that 90 percent of those infected            
 with HIV do not know they have the disease.  She indicated that               
 testing would not work unless it was confidential or anonymous;               
 people desiring testing may need to be warned of the possibility of           
 becoming liable for the transmission of HIV under SB 91.  Measures            
 such as SB 91 have been defeated in the lower 48 because such                 
 legislation would leave people fearful of being tested and the                
 disease would be driven underground where it would continue to                
 spread.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Ms. De Souza felt that legislative concerns regarding HIV could be            
 better addressed through education prevention.  She expressed                 
 disillusionment that last year's Senate killed the healthy student            
 bill.  She pointed out that the state-wide survey done by the                 
 Epidemiology Section every two years for the past six years has               
 expressed the need to teach HIV education in public schools; 96               
 percent of those polled said that children should be taught how to            
 protect themselves.  SB 91 would address the rare case in which an            
 individual would purposely transmit HIV to another.  Comprehensive            
 HIV education to teens and adolescents would save young lives; they           
 are the fastest growing group of those contracting HIV, according             
 to the CDC.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 479                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN said that he was glad to meet Ms. De Souza.  He                 
 indicated that Ms. De Souza had made a number of comments in the              
 letter that she read that were not true.  He suggested that Ms. De            
 Souza review the record in order to find the truth.  In regard to             
 the mandatory sex education bill, sex education was already being             
 done so why mandate what was being practiced?  He discussed the               
 amendment that he had offered on past legislation.  He too wanted             
 positive measures to end the spread of HIV and he too wanted to               
 educate the public about HIV.  He said that Ms. De Souza was doing            
 an injustice when she distorted his efforts.                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN indicated the need to begin the presentation by the            
 Division of Public Assistance.                                                
                                                                               
 RITA DE SOUZA expressed the need to talk with Senator Leman.  She             
 pointed out that her facts came from the CDC, the World Health                
 Organization, and the Epidemiology Section of the Alaskan                     
 Department of Health & Social Services.  She informed the committee           
 of a poll of parents by the Department of Education which found               
 that 52 percent of parents said that their children were receiving            
 sex education as opposed to the 100 percent that Senator Leman                
 suggested.                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS requested that SB 91 be held until next week because            
 he would be unable to attend Friday's meeting due to state and                
 personal business.  He indicated that he had questions for the                
 sponsor.  He hoped that this committee would spend more time on               
 SB 91.  SENATOR SALO made the same request.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 437                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN invited Mr. Nordlund to begin his presentation.                
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND, Director of the Division of Public Assistance (DPA)             
 for the Department of Health & Social Services, introduced other              
 members of DPA who were available if needed.  He noted that he                
 would review the document, "Briefing on Public Assistance                     
 Programs."  He began with a review of the table of contents which             
 highlights and breaks down the programs of DPA:  Aid for Families             
 with Dependent Children (AFDC), Adult Public Assistance (APA), the            
 Food Stamp Program, Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS), and            
 the Energy Assistance Program.  He noted that there was also a                
 section on the fraud unit within DPA.  The first two pages of the             
 document give an overview of DPA.  He pointed out that AFDC is the            
 biggest portion of income maintenance of DPA.                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked if the change in 1988 to include two-parent                
 families for assistance was responsible for the rapid growth that             
 we see in the figures.                                                        
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND said yes and noted that this issue would be addressed            
 more thoroughly later in the packet.  He mentioned that the                   
 eligibility information system interfaced with the various                    
 departments listed under Interagency Service Coordination.  Page              
 two illustrates the 1996 fiscal year budget for DPA.  The top graph           
 illustrated that the largest portion of the budget are the payments           
 and benefits.  The bottom graph exemplifies that most of the                  
 funding received by DPA is from the federal government.  He noted             
 that the eight percent other funding source would be the hold                 
 harmless of the permanent fund dividend.  Page three shows the                
 unduplicated count of the number of Alaskans who were served                  
 through the programs of DPA.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 362                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN specified that page three did not include those who            
 receive multiple services from DPA.  JIM NORDLUND said yes.                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN inquired as to how many of the 72,000 persons who               
 received public assistance in October of 1994 were able-bodied and            
 could be working; could there be a way in which to obtain such                
 information?  JIM NORDLUND said that he did not know.  Mr. Nordlund           
 noted that DPA was beginning to create profiles of persons in order           
 to determine which persons are more capable with regards to self-             
 sufficiency.                                                                  
                                                                               
 CURT LOMAS, DPA, did not have a count as to which recipients were             
 able-bodied, however, he offered to gather data regarding the                 
 number of persons exempt from the JOBS Program due to health                  
 reasons.  There is no data that takes into account the caseload of            
 all the programs.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN indicated the need to recognize that able-bodied                
 persons should carry the children associated with them.  He stated            
 that many of the staff of DPA had presented him with substantial              
 evidence that numerous cases involved persons who had just arrived            
 in the state or had no intention to work.  Public assistance should           
 be the last stop for needy people.                                            
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND agreed that there are cases of misuse of the system,             
 but characterizing the majority of persons on public assistance as            
 such is unfortunate and does not apply across the board.  There are           
 persons who need support from the state in order to maintain a                
 basic lifestyle.  The division should be vigilant in recognizing              
 the able-bodied persons and offer them incentives to work.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN agreed that some persons may need support to maintain           
 a basic lifestyle, but that support may not need to be primarily              
 from the state.  Perhaps, state support should not be the primary             
 source of support for persons needing assistance, other people and            
 groups should be offering assistance.  He expressed the need to               
 focus on delivering support in a different way than the current               
 system.  JIM NORDLUND said that he would be exploring those                   
 options.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 297                                                                    
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND continued his review of the briefing document on page            
 four which explained the AFDC program.  AFDC is oriented toward               
 helping needy children and the persons who support them.  If a                
 person is eligible for AFDC then they are automatically eligible              
 for Medicaid and energy assistance.  He noted that 50 percent of              
 AFDC families have one child and 78 percent have two or less                  
 children.   He emphasized that most persons on AFDC, 62 percent,              
 receive it for less than two years.                                           
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if Medicaid and energy assistance were                   
 automatically given when a person qualifies for AFDC.  JIM NORDLUND           
 restated that a person would automatically be eligible for Medicaid           
 and energy assistance if they qualified for AFDC.  An unidentified            
 speaker from DPA clarified that a person who is eligible for AFDC             
 would automatically receive Medicaid benefits, and the person would           
 qualify for energy assistance should the person apply.                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there were people who needed only AFDC and            
 not Medicaid.  JIM NORDLUND clarified that in order to receive                
 Medicaid one would need a medical problem, but when one has a                 
 medical problem then they become ineligible.                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN applauded the Governor's bill regarding one shot               
 fixes for the immediate needs of a person needing assistance.                 
                                                                               
 Number 265                                                                    
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND noted the complexity of the eligibility and                      
 determination system.  The burden on this system would be lessened            
 when allowing the qualification of one type of assistance to mean             
 that the person would be eligible for other types of assistance.              
 The administration of these programs would be simpler.                        
                                                                               
 Mr. Nordlund pointed out that Alaska ranks 14th in the number of              
 persons on AFDC when compared to the population.  He offered the              
 explanation that the population in Alaska is younger.  Page 5                 
 reviews the basic criteria of AFDC eligibility.                               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN inquired as to the residency requirement for AFDC.             
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO mentioned that she had heard the notion that people              
 come to Alaska to receive AFDC was exaggerated.                               
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND said that there is basically little empirical evidence           
 to support the notion that people come to Alaska to take advantage            
 of AFDC benefits.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN stated that the staff of DPA, those who do the                  
 interviews for AFDC, have communicated examples of this notion.               
 People come to Alaska for AFDC benefits as well as other benefits             
 and the states they come from advise them to do so.                           
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND directed the committee to page 12 and the graph that             
 illustrated that the primary reason people move to Alaska is to be            
 closer to family followed by those looking for work.  The graph               
 shows that only three percent of the people move to Alaska for                
 state programs.  He commented that this was the only study he knew            
 about that assesses why AFDC participants came to Alaska.                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked Mr. Nordlund to address the top graph on page              
 12.  JIM NORDLUND pointed out that the top graph illustrated that             
 92 percent of those receiving AFDC had been in Alaska for more than           
 12 months.                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO felt that as the graphs seemed to indicate, only three           
 percent of the discussion should be about those persons moving to             
 Alaska for state programs.  Of the three percent, perhaps, the                
 longevity bonus and the permanent fund dividend would be a larger             
 portion of the reason those  persons moved to Alaska.                         
 SENATOR ELLIS mentioned that the court case which attempted to                
 increase residency requirements to two years for the longevity                
 bonus and the permanent fund dividend was struck down.  However,              
 AFDC and Medicaid are federal programs which any U.S. citizens                
 would be entitled to at a level determined by the state.  He                  
 reiterated Senator Salo's point to keep discussions regarding                 
 persons moving to Alaska and receiving AFDC in perspective.  He               
 suggested that the committee could benefit from information about             
 what is allowable under the courts from legislative or legal                  
 services.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 156                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN pointed out that the reality of a person's situation           
 may not be the same as what a person would say their intent was in            
 coming to Alaska.  JIM NORDLUND did not know if such biases were              
 considered in this study.  Policy should not be made on the popular           
 notion that people come to Alaska for the state programs, unless              
 there is proof.                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN maintained that the 92 percent of persons in Alaska             
 on AFDC that had been in Alaska for over 12 months suggested to him           
 the need to have a support structure.  JIM NORDLUND felt that the             
 Knowles' Administration was attempting to find those people jobs.             
 There is a direct correlation between the number of people on these           
 programs and the employment rate; the economy primarily determines            
 how many persons are receiving public assistance.                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS suggested that there could be work on amendments to             
 the welfare bills.  He posed the possibility of requiring persons             
 who want to sign up for public benefits to go to their local church           
 first or other community support agencies for assistance.  This               
 requirement could be used like the diversion program.                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN said that he agreed with Senator Ellis, but he                  
 emphasized that there are other community support agencies and                
 groups that could also be a part of such a program.  JIM NORDLUND             
 stated that the ultimate solution would entail help from the                  
 private sector, private industry.  The private sector needs to                
 realize their part in welfare reform which would be to provide                
 public assistance recipients the opportunity to work.                         
                                                                               
 Number 070                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN emphasized that the ultimate solution would be                  
 everyone as an individual which makes up the private sector.                  
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND continued his briefing on page 6.  He explained that             
 when HB 67 passed, the automatic COLA was eliminated and the amount           
 of AFDC payments was capped.  The needs standard, the cost of                 
 living, continues to rise while the payment level remains constant.           
 Page 7 provides a monthly review of the AFDC caseload.  When                  
 explaining the caseload breakdown, he clarified that cases refer to           
 families and recipients are individuals.  Mr. Nordlund noted that             
 page 8 addressed Senator Salo's concerns that including two-parent            
 families affected the caseload growth.                                        
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-12, SIDE A                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 005                                                                    
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND pointed out that including two-parent families under             
 AFDC was a federal and state decision mandated in order to keep               
 families together.  The Family Support Act of 1988 allowed poor               
 families to receive benefits.  That act did have a fiscal impact on           
 DPA as the light portion of the graph on page 8 indicates.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS added that intact families are statistically more               
 likely to leave the welfare system and move toward self-                      
 sufficiency.  CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there had been any tracking             
 of those that were impacted by that law.                                      
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND specified that all AFDC recipients are required to               
 fill out a monthly report to ensure their eligibility.  Within the            
 JOBS program the federal government requires a 20 percent                     
 participation of the AFDC-Basic caseload while a 50 percent                   
 participation of the AFDC-UP caseload is required.  The concept               
 behind requiring 50 percent participation in the JOBS program of              
 the AFDC-UP families is that one of the parents should be more                
 capable in finding a job since the other parent can provide child             
 care.  He noted that Governor Knowles' welfare reform package will            
 have stricter requirements on two-parent families to find work.               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there was evidence proving that since the             
 Family Support Act had passed that two-parent families were more              
 likely to end the receipt of assistance.  SENATOR ELLIS commented             
 that there is national evidence if the division did not have such             
 information.                                                                  
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND said that the division would get that information to             
 Senator Green.  He continued with his overview on page 9.  Page 9             
 specifies the savings due to the passage of HB 67.  The savings               
 from HB 67 in the fiscal year 1995 will be $11,133.2 million and              
 $15,368.4 million for the 1996 fiscal year.  He directed the                  
 committee to page 10 and the bottom graph which illustrates how               
 long individuals remained in the AFDC program over a ten year                 
 period; 73 percent of the recipients were in the program for less             
 than three years.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 061                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO asked if there should be concern regarding those who             
 received AFDC for 61 months or more.  JIM NORDLUND explained that             
 the 26 percent to which she referred represents those that will               
 never be able to work and will always be on the caseload.  For the            
 most part, those persons are the most needy and dependent.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN pointed out that on page 4 the information                      
 illustrates that 62 percent of AFDC recipients received benefits              
 for less than two years for those in the ten year span.  However,             
 the graph on page 10 says that 61 percent of those current cases              
 receiving benefits have done so for more than two years.                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO thought that the bottom chart on page 10 referred to             
 the last ten years.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 141                                                                    
                                                                               
 CURT LOMAS clarified that the top chart was a snapshot of the                 
 monthly caseload while the bottom chart illustrated a historical              
 view of the caseload since 1984.  Over time, the majority of                  
 families requiring AFDC only need it for a short time while a                 
 snapshot of the caseload would indicate that the long-term                    
 recipients remain and make up the greater portion of the caseload.            
 The greatest portion of the caseload consists of persons who have             
 received AFDC for the long-term.  He explained that the JOBS                  
 program began with a focus on persons who were long-term recipients           
 or who were at risk of being long-term.  One example of a long-term           
 recipient would be a teen mother.  He pointed out that people                 
 remain on AFDC in the long-term as a result of the lack of jobs in            
 some rural areas.  The Governor's package focuses on creating jobs.           
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO said that Alaska is unique in that the long-term AFDC            
 rate here seems to lower than many other states.  She expressed               
 concern that the current snapshot illustrated that there are a lot            
 of long-term recipients as compared to the last ten years.                    
                                                                               
 CURT LOMAS recognized Senator Salo's concern to be legitimate.                
 With a snapshot, there would always be a large portion of persons             
 receiving AFDC in the long-term because they are always present.              
 The persons that cycle in and out of the system would not be in the           
 current caseload for an extended period.  The core group of long-             
 term recipients would always represent a significant portion of the           
 caseload since they do not cycle in and out.                                  
 Number 206                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN stated that budgets and spending are done annually              
 and perhaps, reviewing the data in a snapshot by snapshot manner              
 would be more appropriate.                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR SALO suggested that in one view of these charts the                   
 conclusion could be drawn that more people have entered the system            
 than cycled out.  CURT LOMAS did not think that the charts                    
 illustrated that, but the observation would be accurate.  With                
 caseload growth, more people enter the caseload than those dropping           
 off the caseload.                                                             
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND specified that the economic situation also has                   
 ramifications on AFDC participation.  SENATOR SALO proposed that              
 perhaps these charts are the result of the downturn in the oil                
 industry.                                                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if that impacted the figures for rural areas.            
 JIM NORDLUND responded that these charts do not separate between              
 rural and urban Alaska.                                                       
                                                                               
 JIM NORDLUND continued with the review on page 11 which breaks down           
 AFDC cases by district area, race, and category.  Page 13 uses                
 graphs to present AFDC parents and children by age groups.                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN informed the committee that this presentation would            
 be continued on Friday.                                                       
                                                                               
 There being no further business before the committee, the meeting             
 adjourned at 10:57 a.m.                                                       
                                                                               
                                                                               

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