Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/08/1995 09:07 AM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.