Legislature(1997 - 1998)
04/18/1997 09:05 AM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE April 18, 1997 9:05 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Gary Wilken, Chairman Senator Loren Leman, Vice Chairman Senator Lyda Green Senator Jerry Ward Senator Johnny Ellis MEMBERS ABSENT All members present. COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 117 "An Act relating to an infant care curriculum in the public school system." - MOVED SB 117 OUT OF COMMITTEE CONFIRMATIONS: University of Alaska Board of Regents - Michael Burns, Elsa Demeksa SENATE BILL NO. 164 "An Act relating to the authority of an emergency medical technician at the scene of an accident or emergency." - MOVED CSSB 164(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 117 - No previous Senate action to record. SB 164 - See Senate Health, Education & Social Service minutes dated 4/16/97. WITNESS REGISTER Senator Donley State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of SB 117. Tom Dean, Chief Tok EMS PO Box 811 Tok, Alaska 99780 POSITION STATEMENT: Encouraged passage of CSSB 164(HES). Craig Lewis Alaska EMS Association Interior Region Emergency Medical Services Council 3522 Industrial Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 POSITION STATEMENT: Present for questions. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 97-41, SIDE A SB 117 INFANT CARE CURRICULUM IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS Number 001 CHAIRMAN WILKEN called the Senate Health, Education & Social Services Committee (HES) to order at 9:05 a.m. and introduced SB 117 as the first order of business before the committee. SENATOR DONLEY , Prime Sponsor, said that SB 117 adds the language "including infant care" to the suggested health curriculum for Alaska's public school system. Senator Donley pointed out that the committee packets included a chart which illustrates why Alaska needs better infant care. The chart shows that Alaska has the fewest low weight births, the best early prenatal care, and the fewest births by mothers under 18 years of age. However, the chart shows that Alaska has the highest rate of infant mortality, infants three months to one year, in the nation. This data indicates that something is going wrong during the three months to one year time period. Senator Donley hoped that health classes in the public schools could educate students on caring for a baby. For example, informing the students of SIDS and the need for a baby to sleep on its back not its stomach. The class could educate students in the proper way to hold and feed a baby. The class could provide general information that everyone should learn because not only the mother will be taking care of the baby. In response to Chairman Wilken, SENATOR DONLEY explained that the initial data came from the University of Washington, but his staff has spent much time compiling the data. Number 087 CHAIRMAN WILKEN pointed out that the sponsor statement refers to requiring infant care, but this would be voluntary. SENATOR DONLEY clarified that SB 117 would only add infant care to those suggested for education under the existing law. CHAIRMAN WILKEN noted that SB 117 has a zero fiscal note. SENATOR WARD asked if any school system has a curriculum that includes infant care in its health curriculum. SENATOR DONLEY had not checked every school district in Alaska, but the Anchorage School District does not. Senator Donley informed the committee that the Anchorage School District just performed a review of the health care curriculum, but no one brought forth this issue. CHAIRMAN WILKEN said that he had discussed this with a Fairbanks' School Board member who indicated that the Fairbanks' School Board had discussed such curriculum. This member believed that SB 117 would encourage further discussion of the issue. SENATOR GREEN moved to report SB 117 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. Without objection, it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN WILKEN moved to the nominees of the Board of Regents as the next order of business before the committee. Number 137 MIKE BURNS , UA Board of Regent nominee, said that it was an honor to be nominated for this position. Mr. Burns informed the committee that he came to Alaska in 1985 as the President of Alaska Pacific Bank, Key Bank, and continues in that position today. By training Mr. Burns is a lawyer, but is not admitted to practice in Alaska. Mr. Burns listed the following civic affairs: Chair of the Anchorage Telephone Utility, Governor's Commission on Tort Reform, YMCA Board, Nature Conservancy Board, United Way, etc. SENATOR GREEN inquired as to the university's stand on resource management and agricultural related programs. MIKE BURNS said that he had not gotten into the programs yet. Mr. Burns sensed that the university is now at the point of doing less with less due to declining budgets. Mr. Burns did not know how agriculture fits into all of this. SENATOR WARD said that as budget reductions continue, the Board of Regents need to review how to make the university system work. Senator Ward suggested reducing the campuses down to two; one in Fairbanks and the other in Anchorage. By keeping all the satellites open, some of the core activities of 80 percent of the university population are being damaged. MIKE BURNS said that it is a grave situation and the university needs to determine how to do less because there is less. Before reviewing issues of what is being done, issues of how efficient things are done must be determined. The structure of the administration of the university must be reviewed in order to determine if the correct administrative model is in place for the future. Mr. Burns believed that some things can be done cheaper, perhaps not enough cheaper to salvage everything that is provided today. SENATOR WARD informed the committee that the concept of scaling down to only two campuses comes from the student body of the University of Alaska-Anchorage. MIKE BURNS believed that some input from the Legislature is necessary regarding the direction and scope of the university. With any further cuts, the university will not be able to continue doing what it does today for the next year. Mr. Burns commented that in the short time of his involvement with the university, he has been struck by the involvement of the student body. For example, there is a proposed technology fee and the students' responses indicate that they realize the need for other resources beyond the traditional channels. Number 291 SENATOR ELLIS noted that he and Mr. Burns served on the Governor's Task Force on Tort Reform where Senator Ellis was impressed with Mr. Burns. From that experience, Senator Ellis believed that Mr. Burns would make a good regent. SENATOR LEMAN informed the committee that he was visited by some UAA students today who were concerned with appropriations for periodicals at the UAA Library in order to maintain its accreditation. Senator Leman referred the students to the regents. Senator Leman encouraged Mr. Burns to work within the budget constraints. MIKE BURNS stressed that the funding of the books is an important issue for accreditation. Mr. Burns understood that in the past two years, money has been moved from that area and has been placed into instructional programs. The highest spending priority is what effects the students and accreditation is vital. Mr. Burns said that Peter was being robbed to pay Paul. SENATOR ELLIS commented that 18 years ago when he was a member of the UAA Student Government Senate he was sent to Juneau to lobby for books and periodicals for the UAA Consortium Library. MIKE BURNS pointed out that the aforementioned technology fee would add to the internet capability and help with the periodicals, but does not add hard copies of books. CHAIRMAN WILKEN , SENATOR LEMAN , SENATOR WARD , and SENATOR ELLIS noted that they all had accounts with Key Bank. CHAIRMAN WILKEN said that he was concerned about the lack of knowledge by the Legislature with regard to what the university needs and does for Alaska. Chairman Wilken said that he would work on that during the interim. Chairman Wilken believed that the university and the Legislature should have a banking relationship with the Legislature as the banker. Chairman Wilken has observed in his 16 weeks with the Legislature, that the university and the Legislature do not talk nor do they understand the needs of one another. Chairman Wilken stressed the need for the university system to be held in the same esteem as the K-12 education; that is a goal. Chairman Wilken read the following statement which conveyed his concerns, "It is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the Board of Regents', Governor's, and Legislature's goals to provide a quality and affordable education for Alaskans and promote Alaska jobs and economic development." He said that if there are goals of those three groups, he had not seen those goals and he bet that none of the three groups know the others' goals. Chairman Wilken said that determining what the Regents, the Governor, and the Legislature want is a place to begin. SENATOR WARD commented that Wendy Redman has been the glue holding the three groups together. Senator Ward pointed out that Senator Wilken had been designated to work with the university through the interim to present information back to the next legislative session. Number 406 ELSA DEMEKSA , UA Board of Regent nominee, informed the committee that she was a local business owner and mother of two children. Ms. Demeksa has been a resident of Alaska for about 19 years. With a son that will be ready for college in about three years, Ms. Demeksa has a personal interest in the university. Ms. Demeksa noted her degree in English Literature and graduate work in Mass Media. Ms. Demeksa has served on several boards and just completed a five year term on the Alaska State Board of Parole. Ms. Demeksa said that she had the time, willingness, and energy to commit to the university. SENATOR WARD commented that after talking with people in the halls about Ms. Demeksa, everyone has spoken very highly of her. SENATOR LEMAN asked if Ms. Demeksa had any vision for the university in the future. With the money constraints, Senator Leman mentioned the possibility of consolidation of rural campuses and what the main campuses would offer. He asked if Ms. Demeksa had any thoughts on that. ELSA DEMEKSA felt that the status quo needs to be challenged. The reduction in funding from the Legislature indicates the need to streamline and re-examine the structure of the university. Ms. Demeksa believed that the university needs to review other sources of funding and perhaps, the community could play a larger role. CHAIRMAN WILKEN asked Ms. Demeksa if he could count on her to encourage and participate in the discussion between the Board of Regents and the Legislature. ELSA DEMEKSA replied, absolutely. CHAIRMAN WILKEN thanked the nominees and noted his intent for the letter of confirmation to be signed and forwarded to President Miller. SB 164 AUTHORITY OF EMERGENCY MED TECHS Number 478 CHAIRMAN WILKEN announced that SB 164 was the final order of business before the committee. Chairman Wilken noted that there was a committee substitute for consideration. SENATOR WARD moved that CSSB 164(HES) be adopted. CHAIRMAN WILKEN explained that the CS changed lines 6-8 to require that to be covered by this statute a current EMT identification card must be on the person. Chairman Wilken pointed out that lines 10-13 on page 2 address the enforcement issue. This is just like the fire fighter code in that an EMT cannot enforce the law, the EMT can take the name of the person disobeying instructions and pass that name to the troopers. The troopers decide whether prosecution is in order in a particular situation. SENATOR WARD said that he had no problem as long as the person claiming to be an EMT was clearly identifiable. CHAIRMAN WILKEN noted that people are almost always in uniform, but if not the person is now required to carry identification. TOM DEAN encouraged passage of CSSB 164(HES). CRAIG LEWIS said that he was present for questions. Number 511 SENATOR LEMAN moved to report CSSB 164(HES) out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. Without objection, it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN WILKEN asked if there was anything else to come before the committee. SENATOR WARD noted that he had a suggestion from the public. The suggestion was to take 10 million acres of State of Alaska land and place that into an educational endowment for K through university level. The 10 million acres would have a formula for development to develop so many acres per year or else the land would transfer back to the state. The person that suggested this is a miner. SENATOR LEMAN commented that he had supported several land grant proposals for the university and would be open to looking into the concepts. SENATOR WARD interjected that this suggestion emphasized the need to lease, develop, or explore on a phased basis or the land reverts back to the state over a 20 year period. There being no further business before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 9:45 a.m.