Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

04/06/2021 01:30 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 80 PUBLIC SCHOOLS: MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 91 DETENTION OF MINORS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 91(HSS) Out of Committee
+= SB 92 MISSING PERSONS UNDER 21 YEARS OLD TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 92 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
      SENATE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                    
                         April 6, 2021                                                                                          
                           1:40 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator David Wilson, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Shelley Hughes, Vice Chair                                                                                              
Senator Lora Reinbold                                                                                                           
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 91                                                                                                              
"An  Act   relating  to  the   duties  of  the   commissioner  of                                                               
corrections;  relating to  the detention  of minors;  relating to                                                               
minors  subject to  adult courts;  relating to  the placement  of                                                               
minors  in adult  correctional facilities;  and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 91(HSS) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 92                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to missing persons under 21 years of age."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 92 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 80                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to mental health education."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  91                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: DETENTION OF MINORS                                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/22/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/21       (S)       HSS, STA                                                                                               
03/09/21       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/09/21       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/09/21       (S)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
04/06/21       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  92                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MISSING PERSONS UNDER 21 YEARS OLD                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/22/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/21       (S)       HSS, STA                                                                                               
03/23/21       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/23/21       (S)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
03/30/21       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/30/21       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/30/21       (S)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
04/06/21       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  80                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PUBLIC SCHOOLS: MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) GRAY-JACKSON                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
02/12/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/12/21       (S)       EDC, HSS, FIN                                                                                          
03/10/21       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/10/21       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/10/21       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/19/21       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/19/21       (S)       -- Invited & Public Testimony --                                                                       
03/22/21       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/22/21       (S)       Moved CSSB 80(EDC) Out of Committee                                                                    
03/22/21       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/24/21       (S)       EDC RPT CS  1DP 2NR SAME TITLE                                                                         
03/24/21       (S)       NR: HOLLAND, HUGHES                                                                                    
03/24/21       (S)       DP: BEGICH                                                                                             
04/06/21       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MATT DAVIDSON, Social Services Program Officer                                                                                  
Division of Juvenile Justice                                                                                                    
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented the changes in the CS for SB 91.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TRACY DOMPLING Director                                                                                                         
Division of Juvenile Justice                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified by invitation on SB 91.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELVI GRAY-JACKSON                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 80.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DELANEY THIELE, Intern                                                                                                          
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented the sectional analysis for SB 80.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JASON LESARD, Executive Director                                                                                                
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Alaska                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified by invitation on SB 80.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SHIRLEY HOLLOWAY, Ph.D., President                                                                                              
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) National Board;                                                                      
Vice President, NAMI Alaska                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified by invitation on SB 80.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CLAIRE RHYNEER                                                                                                                  
Mental Health Advocacy through Storytelling (MHATS); and                                                                        
West High School Senior                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified by invitation on SB 80.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
GABRIEL LAIPENIEKS, MHATS Alumni                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified by invitation on SB 80.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KATIE BOTZ, representing self                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 80.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
STEWART THOMPSON, representing self                                                                                             
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified with concerns about SB 80.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ANNIE MASSEY, representing self                                                                                                 
Eagle River, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 80.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
STEVEN PEARCE, Director                                                                                                         
Citizen Commission on Human Rights                                                                                              
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified with concerns on SB 80.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:40:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DAVID WILSON  called the Senate Health  and Social Services                                                             
Standing Committee meeting  to order at 1:40 p.m.  Present at the                                                               
call to order  were Senators Reinbold, Begich  Senator Hughes via                                                               
teleconference, and Chair Wilson.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                   SB  91-DETENTION OF MINORS                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:41:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 91                                                                  
"An  Act   relating  to  the   duties  of  the   commissioner  of                                                               
corrections;  relating to  the detention  of minors;  relating to                                                               
minors  subject to  adult courts;  relating to  the placement  of                                                               
minors  in adult  correctional facilities;  and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He  requested  a  motion  to   adopt  the  work  draft  committee                                                               
substitute (CS).                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:41:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH   moved  to  adopt   the  work   draft  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  SB  91, work  order  32-GS1576\I,  as  the                                                               
working document.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:41:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:42:05 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:42:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON reconvened  the meeting and called  on Matt Davidson                                                               
to explain the changes in the committee substitute.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:43:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MATT  DAVIDSON,  Social  Services Program  Officer,  Division  of                                                               
Juvenile  Justice,  Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services                                                               
(DHSS), Juneau,  Alaska, presented the  changes in the CS  for SB
91 as making  the bill more precise. A summary  of changes to the                                                               
bill were provided to the  committee. The main components changed                                                               
in the bill start in Section 8.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Section 8 allows  the division to hold waived  minors in juvenile                                                               
justice facilities  until they  reach eighteen  years of  age. It                                                               
only deals with waived minors.  The processes, which describe the                                                               
transfer of  eighteen-year-olds to the Department  of Corrections                                                               
(DOC), only apply to waived minors. The processes do not apply                                                                  
to delinquent  minors who are already  a part of the  Division of                                                               
Juvenile Justice (DJJ)  system. Delinquent minors can  be kept at                                                               
DJJ facilities  longer than  age eighteen. The  CS created  a new                                                               
definition for  waived minors.  This definition  is just  for the                                                               
delinquency statute in Section 8.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He stated the CS clarifies  the expectation that waived minors be                                                               
held  in   DJJ  facilities  until   age  eighteen   and  provides                                                               
provisions  for when  they might  be held  in adult  correctional                                                               
facilities. There  are only six  DJJ detention facilities  in the                                                               
state. When first  arrested, delinquent and waived  minors may be                                                               
temporarily  held in  an adult  facility pending  law enforcement                                                               
transport to a DJJ facility.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Waived minors  can be held  temporarily in  an adult lock  up, or                                                               
court  holding facility,  while  they are  attending their  court                                                               
proceedings. Coinciding with current  practice, part B of Section                                                               
8 clarifies that waived minors do  not have to be sight and sound                                                               
separated in  an adult court lock  up, if they are  held for less                                                               
than four hours.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Minors  can  be held  in  an  adult  facility if  the  department                                                               
requests the  court consider an exception.  Considered exceptions                                                               
include:                                                                                                                        
   • An extended trail for a waived minor in a community without                                                                
     a juvenile  justice facility. This is  to avoid transferring                                                               
     a minor  multiple times to  attend trail. This  provides the                                                               
     option for a court  to allow a minor to be  held in an adult                                                               
     facility pending trail. If convicted  and the minor is under                                                               
     eighteen, transport will be to a juvenile facility.                                                                        
   • A minor is unsuitable for a DJJ facility, is close to                                                                      
     turning eighteen and would be moved to an adult facility                                                                   
     within a month or two.                                                                                                     
   • A minor is extremely difficult to handle and is a danger to                                                                
     the facility, staff and other juveniles.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:47:55 PM                                                                                                                    
He stated the Public Defender  Agency requested Section 8 include                                                               
language allowing  public defenders  to participate in  Section 8                                                               
parts  C and  D.  These  parts concern  process,  need and  court                                                               
considerations  when  an  exception  for  an  adult  facility  is                                                               
requested.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Another  major change  in the  CS addresses  how minors  are held                                                               
pending transport  to a juvenile facility.  Section 12 emphasizes                                                               
waived minors  are to  be transported  to juvenile  facilities in                                                               
the same manner as delinquent minors.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He  stated that  by federal  law  delinquent minors  can be  held                                                               
temporarily  in adult  facilities  pending  transport. The  rural                                                               
extension provision allows minors  traveling from remote areas to                                                               
be held  longer. Section 17  specifies that law  enforcement will                                                               
transport  minors  to  a  juvenile  facility  or  in  some  cases                                                               
temporarily to an adult facility.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
The final  major change was  the removal  of Section 14.  DJJ has                                                               
strict  confidentiality standards  for minors.  Allowing DOC  and                                                               
the adult court  system to provide a  waived minor's confidential                                                               
information,    unintentionally    extended   juvenile    justice                                                               
restrictions  to these  agencies. Guidance  on handling  juvenile                                                               
confidentiality rules was instead placed in the bill.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:51:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  commented that the rural  extension provision was                                                               
put  into  law in  September  1992.  Federal reauthorization  was                                                               
stopped until  language he  provided to  Senator Stevens  was put                                                               
into the bill. It benefited  many states. Senator Begich asked if                                                               
the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency  Prevent Act is being put at                                                               
risk.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. DAVIDSON  answered no.  The point  of the  bill is  to comply                                                               
with federal law.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH questioned whether a  waived juvenile must ask for                                                               
adult legal representation or if it is it done by the court.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DAVIDSON deferred to Ms. Dompeling.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:53:24 PM                                                                                                                    
TRACY   DOMPLING   Director,   Division  of   Juvenile   Justice,                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska, testified by invitation  on SB 91. She offered                                                               
her belief  that a minor tried  as an adult is  representation by                                                               
the Public  Defender Agency, if  court requirements are  met. The                                                               
court would appoint the public defender, if appropriate.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:54:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   WILSON  removed   his  objection.   Finding  no   further                                                               
objection, he announced version I was adopted                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He asked  for SB  91 amendments.  Finding none  he asked  for the                                                               
will of the committee.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:54:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  moved to report  the proposed committee  (CS) for                                                               
SB  91, work  order 32-GS1576\I,  from committee  with individual                                                               
recommendations and attached fiscal note(s).                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  found no  objection and CSSB  91 was  reported from                                                               
the Senate Health and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:54:46 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
            SB  92-MISSING PERSONS UNDER 21 YEARS OLD                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[Audio missing due to technical difficulties.]                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:55:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   WILSON  reconvened   the   meeting   and  announced   the                                                               
consideration of SENATE  BILL NO. 92 "An Act  relating to missing                                                               
persons under 21 years of age."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
He  stated   public  testimony  was   heard  on   3/23/21.  After                                                               
discerning there  were no  amendments, he  solicited the  will of                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:56:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  moved to  report SB  92, work  order 32-GS1581\A,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal note(s).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON found  no objection and SB 92 was  reported from the                                                               
Senate Health and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:56:34 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
         SB  80-PUBLIC SCHOOLS: MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:58:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON reconvened the meeting and announced the                                                                           
consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 80 "An Act relating to mental                                                                  
health education."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
[CSSB 80(EDC) was before the committee.]                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:58:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELVI GRAY-JACKSON, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau,                                                                    
Alaska, sponsor of SB 80, read the sponsor statement:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     SB 80  amends the existing health  education curriculum                                                                    
     statute to  include mental health curriculum  in all K-                                                                    
     12 health classrooms to  adequately educate students on                                                                    
     vital   information   pertaining   to   mental   health                                                                    
     symptoms, resources, and treatment.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Currently,  the  health curriculum  guidelines  include                                                                    
     prevention  and treatment  of diseases,  learning about                                                                    
     good  health practices,  including diet,  exercise, and                                                                    
     personal  hygiene  and  bad   health  habits,  such  as                                                                    
     substance abuse,  alcoholism, and patterns  of physical                                                                    
     abuse.  But  the  guidelines   do  not  address  mental                                                                    
     health.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Following passage of  SB 80, the Alaska  State Board of                                                                    
     Education   and  Early   Development  and   the  Alaska                                                                    
     Department  of Education  and Early  Development (DEED)                                                                    
     will  develop  guidelines  for  instruction  in  mental                                                                    
     health in  consultation with  the Alaska  Department of                                                                    
     Health and  Social Services (DHSS)  and representatives                                                                    
     of   national,   state,   and  tribal   mental   health                                                                    
     organizations. Such organizations  include, but are not                                                                    
     limited  to,   the  National  Council   for  Behavioral                                                                    
     Health,   Providence   Health  and   Services   Alaska,                                                                    
     Southcentral  Foundation,  Anchorage  Community  Mental                                                                    
     Health  Services, Inc.,  North  Star Behavioral  Health                                                                    
     System,  and the  National  Alliance  on Mental  Health                                                                    
     Illness  Alaska. The  standards  will  be developed  in                                                                    
     consultation  with   counselors,  educators,  students,                                                                    
     administrators, and  other mental  health organizations                                                                    
     to  form   effective  guidelines  for   school  boards,                                                                    
     teachers, and students.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     After standards  have been developed, the  Alaska State                                                                    
     Board of Education and Early  Development and DEED will                                                                    
     be  responsible   for  implementation   throughout  the                                                                    
     Alaska   school  system.   As   with  existing   health                                                                    
     education  curriculum,  the  DEED, the  DHSS,  and  the                                                                    
     Council on  Domestic Violence  and Sexual  Assault will                                                                    
     provide  technical assistance  to  school districts  in                                                                    
     the  development  of   personal  safety  curricula.  An                                                                    
     existing  school health  education specialist  position                                                                    
     will assist in coordinating the program statewide.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The  State has  a responsibility  to treat  the current                                                                    
     mental  health crisis  in Alaska  as  a serious  public                                                                    
     health  issue.  By  creating  mental  health  education                                                                    
     standards  and encouraging  schools to  teach a  mental                                                                    
     health curriculum,  SB 80 aims  to decrease  the stigma                                                                    
     surrounding  mental  illnesses and  increase  students'                                                                    
     knowledge  of mental  health, encouraging  conversation                                                                    
     around and understanding of the issue.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:01:22 PM                                                                                                                    
DELANEY THIELE, Intern, Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson, Alaska State                                                                 
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska* presented the sectional analysis                                                                   
for SB 80:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1:  This section  adds intent  language stating                                                                  
     it is the  intent of the Legislature that  the Board of                                                                    
     Education and Early  Development develop guidelines for                                                                    
     instruction  in  mental  health  in  consultation  with                                                                    
     representatives  of  mental  health  organizations  and                                                                    
     regional  tribal  health organizations,  including  the                                                                    
     National  Council  for  Behavioral  Health,  Providence                                                                    
     Health  and Services  Alaska, Southcentral  Foundation,                                                                    
     Anchorage  Community  Mental   Health  Services,  Inc.,                                                                    
     North Star  Behavioral Health System, and  the National                                                                    
     Alliance on Mental Health Illness Alaska.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section  2:   This  section  amends  AS   14.30.360  by                                                                  
     removing   the   word   "physical"   when   referencing                                                                    
     instruction  for health  education  and adding  "mental                                                                    
     health" to  the list of curriculum  items each district                                                                    
     includes in their health education programs.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section  3:  Amends  AS 14.30.360  by  clarifying  that                                                                  
     health guidelines  developed by the Board  of Education                                                                    
     and  Early  Development   must  provide  standards  for                                                                    
     instruction  in  mental  health  and  be  developed  in                                                                    
     consultation with  the Department of Health  and Social                                                                    
     Services  and  representatives  of national  and  state                                                                    
     mental health organizations.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Thiele added, guidelines  for the developmentally appropriate                                                               
instruction and mental health shall  be developed in consultation                                                               
with  the  Department of  Health  and  Social Services,  regional                                                               
tribal health  organizations and representatives of  national and                                                               
state mental health organizations.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section 4:  Amends the uncodified  law of the  State of                                                                  
     Alaska  by adding  a  new section  to  read "the  state                                                                    
     Board of Education and  Early Development shall develop                                                                    
     the   mental   health   guidelines   required   by   AS                                                                    
     14.30.360(b), as amended by sec.  3 of this Act, within                                                                    
     two years after the effective date of this Act.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:03:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON  showed a short  video created  last session                                                               
in support of  House Bill 181, "An Act relating  to mental health                                                               
education                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
2:07:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  commented that  staff for  the Mental  Health and                                                               
Suicide  Prevention  Council and  the  Mental  Health Board  made                                                               
recommendations that have been incorporated into the CS.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REINBOLD surmised  many COVID  interventions have  had a                                                               
negative  impact  on  children.  The  interventions  need  to  be                                                               
addressed  quickly   because  they   are  causing   problems  for                                                               
children. She is glad that this bill is before the committee.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:09:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES noted  that there are support  letters from school                                                               
districts and  nonprofit healthcare  organizations. She  asked if                                                             
any  parents  or  parent groups  sent  letters  reflecting  their                                                               
desires.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON replied  she can reach out  to the Anchorage                                                               
School  District  and   superintendent  for  correspondence  from                                                               
parents.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  REINBOLD  opined that  we  are  social beings  who  need                                                               
emotional connection. Masks and  social distancing keep this from                                                               
happening. She requested testifiers weigh in on the impact.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:11:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON announced invited testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:12:08 PM                                                                                                                    
JASON  LESARD, Executive  Director, National  Alliance on  Mental                                                               
Illness   (NAMI)   Alaska,   Anchorage,  Alaska,   Testified   by                                                               
invitation  on SB  80. He  stated  mental health  is health.  The                                                               
National Alliance  on Mental Illness (NAMI)  advocates for mental                                                               
health  education in  school curricula  because incorporating  it                                                               
has been  a struggle. He focused  on two data points.  First, one                                                               
in  five US  adults experience  a mental  illness. He  encouraged                                                               
contemplation of this  statistic. In addition to  a student's own                                                               
mental  wellness and  selfcare, the  bill is  about an  evidence-                                                               
based  curricula that  discusses and  demystifies illnesses  that                                                               
affect 20 percent of the adult population.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The  next data  point  was  50 percent  of  all life-time  mental                                                               
illnesses begin by age 14 and 75  percent by age 24. The onset of                                                             
mental  illness  largely happens  in  the  teenage brain.  It  is                                                               
critical   that   curricula   be   changed   to   promote   early                                                               
intervention, so  students understand  mental illness  and mental                                                               
wellness,  have the  language to  talk  about it  safely and  the                                                               
understanding of how  and where to find  resources for themselves                                                               
and  others. He  stated that  this bill  addresses mental  health                                                               
topics in an evidence based, proactive and thoughtful way.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:15:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SHIRLEY HOLLOWAY,  Ph.D., President, National Alliance  on Mental                                                               
Illness  (NAMI)  National  Board, Vice  President,  NAMI  Alaska,                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska, testified  by invitation on SB  80. She stated                                                               
that she  has served on the  Alaska State Board of  Education and                                                               
has been  a Commissioner for  the Alaska Department  of Education                                                               
and Early Development.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
She learned about NAMI following  the suicide of her mentally ill                                                               
daughter. NAMI  is the nation's largest  grassroots mental health                                                               
organization  and   helps  families   build  better   lives.  Its                                                               
signature   programs   are   evidence-based.  She   stated   that                                                               
education,  early recognition,  intervention  and prevention  are                                                               
keys  to  minimizing  mental  health   issues  common  in  youth.                                                               
Increased understanding of  psychiatric diseases decreases stigma                                                               
and negative  peer perception, which increases  the likelihood of                                                               
youth accepting  treatment. Early intervention leads  to improved                                                               
outcomes for the  state. She stated 70 to 80  percent of children                                                               
living with mental illness do  not receive treatment, which leads                                                               
to   decreased  performance   in   schools.  Twenty-two   million                                                               
adolescents  ages  12-17  have  experienced  a  major  depressive                                                               
episode; it is estimated 60 percent did not receive treatment.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:19:24 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  HOLLOWAY said  the  dropout rate  for  children with  severe                                                               
emotional  and  mental  health  issues is  twice  that  of  other                                                               
students.  According to  the 2017  Youth  Risk Behavioral  Health                                                               
Survey, one  in three  Alaskan students  reported feeling  sad or                                                               
hopeless  every day  for two  weeks; 22.8  percent had  seriously                                                               
considered   suicide.  This   last  year,   with  isolation   and                                                               
associated  pandemic  issues,  significantly more  children  were                                                               
seen in emergency  rooms with mental health issues.  She read the                                                               
following from the CDC:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Beginning in  April 2020, the proportion  of children's                                                                    
     mental health related ER visits  among all pediatric ER                                                                    
     visits   increased   and  remained   elevated   through                                                                    
     October. Compared  with 2019, the proportion  of mental                                                                    
     health related visits for children  aged 5-11 and 12-17                                                                    
     years  increased  approximately  24  percent  [and]  31                                                                    
     percent respectively.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR.  HOLLOWAY asserted  that  strengthening  the existing  Alaska                                                               
public  school   health  curriculum  to  include   mental  health                                                               
education  and awareness  will teach  students  to recognize  the                                                               
warning  signs  of mental  distress  and  provide them  with  the                                                               
language and  resources to access help.  This legislation expands                                                               
existing health  education requirements to include  mental health                                                               
in all K-12 health classrooms.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR. HOLLOWAY said  that NAMI committees, strive  for parental and                                                               
youth  involvement. She  is hopeful  the Department  of Education                                                               
and  Early Development  will create  a curriculum  where parents,                                                               
youth and people with lived  experiences are represented. In this                                                               
challenging time, it  is important to act,  address mental health                                                               
and  provide guidance  to those  impacted. There  is no  physical                                                               
health without mental health.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:22:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD   thanked  Ms.   Holloway  for   the  heartfelt                                                               
testimony. She  admires those who turn  difficult situations into                                                               
positive help for others.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:22:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CLAIRE  RHYNEER,  Mental  Health  Advocacy  through  Storytelling                                                               
(MHATS); and  as a  West High  School Senior,  Anchorage, Alaska,                                                               
testified  by invitation  on SB  80. She  shared that  in seventh                                                               
grade  she was  depressed  and self-harming.  Confused about  her                                                               
behavior, she turned to Google  for answers. In hindsight, she is                                                               
terrified  to  realize she  was  physically  harming herself  but                                                               
uncertain if she  needed help. She is aware of  close friends who                                                               
also experienced  suicidal ideation. They  too filled the  gap of                                                               
metal  health education  with scrappy  online resources.  In 2019                                                               
twenty  percent  of  Anchorage  School  District  (ASD)  students                                                               
reported attempting suicide  one or more times. HB  80 will teach                                                               
youth  how to  recognize symptoms  of mental  illness and  how to                                                               
                                  th                                                                                            
proceed. She  does not wish  her 7   grade experience  on anyone.                                                               
The best  way to achieve this  is education. Do not  be satisfied                                                               
with  Google "university."  She asked  that  HB 80  be passed  so                                                               
students avoid her experience.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:24:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD commented  that legislators  are listening  and                                                             
thanked her for speaking up.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:25:08 PM                                                                                                                    
GABRIEL  LAIPENIEKS, MHATS  Alumni, Anchorage,  Alaska, testified                                                               
by invitation on SB  80. She stated she was a  member of MHAT and                                                               
graduated from  West High  School in 2020.  In middle  school she                                                               
struggled with an  episode of depression. She feels  that had she                                                               
received education  that destigmatized  mental illness  she would                                                               
not  have been  as  scared  and would  have  gotten help  sooner.                                                               
Proportionally,  Alaska has  higher rates  of mental  illness and                                                               
suicide. She  feels fortunate to  have been taught  coping skills                                                               
through MHATS  and other  avenues. These  skills assisted  her in                                                               
successfully  completing her  first year  of college  when, as  a                                                               
result of the  pandemic, social interactions were  limited. A lot                                                               
of students don't have this knowledge, SB 80 can help.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:27:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH disclosed  a potential  conflict; Ms.  Laipenieks                                                               
received  a  scholarship  he provides  through  the  Nick  Begich                                                               
Scholarship Intern Fund.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:28:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES stated  she knows many students  struggle and does                                                               
not  deny that  mental health  is an  important matter.  She also                                                               
knows  there are  supersensitive  subjects,  like sex  education,                                                               
where  parents can  choose if  their  child participates.  Mental                                                               
health issues can  be triggered by supersensitive  issues such as                                                               
abuse, teen  pregnancy or sexual identity.  She referenced Bree's                                                               
Law as an example. She stated  she would like to see an amendment                                                               
to the bill allowing parents  to review the curriculum and choose                                                               
if their child participates.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:30:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GRAY-JACKSON  acknowledged  it will  be  considered  and                                                               
discussed with the Anchorage School District.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:31:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON opened public testimony on SB 80.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:31:29 PM                                                                                                                    
STEWART THOMPSON,  representing self, Wasilla,  Alaska, Testified                                                               
with  concerns about  SB 80.  He stated  he understands  the bill                                                               
attempts  to  improve  mental health  in  Alaska  through  public                                                               
school  education.  He   cautioned  against  establishing  mental                                                               
health instructional  guidelines based on fads  such as: critical                                                               
race theory, gender identity,  protest resolution guesses, sloppy                                                               
diagnoses   of  ADHD,   popularizing  psychotropic   drugging  to                                                               
suppress  still  incomprehensible  mental conditions,  and  mind-                                                               
controlled teaching of  ethics. He stated an  educated person can                                                               
reason,  an  indoctrinated  person   cannot.  He  encouraged  the                                                               
inclusion of diverse professionals,  the employment of the checks                                                               
and balance  theory and openly  verifiable assessments  to create                                                               
effective  education  guidelines.  He  added  legislators  should                                                               
periodically   hold   open   public   hearings   concerning   the                                                               
promulgated  guidelines to  confirm  continued use.  In this  way                                                               
guidelines  can be  created and  advanced scientifically,  rather                                                               
than through consensus of fallacious experts and lobbyists.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:34:44 PM                                                                                                                    
KATIE  BOTZ,  representing  self, Juneau,  Alaska,  testified  in                                                               
support of SB 80.  She stated she is a school  bus driver who was                                                               
diagnosed with  a mental illness  three years ago. She  knows the                                                               
hardship children and adults face  without adequate mental health                                                               
advocacy. COVID-19 isolation  made the past year  difficult. As a                                                               
bus driver,  it was painful  knowing students did not  get needed                                                               
socialization. She attests, mental health  is a factor of overall                                                               
health, as  every night depression  and suicidal  thoughts attack                                                               
her ability to  sleep. Fighting suicidal thoughts is  hard at any                                                               
age. She requested  legislators make mental health  a priority so                                                               
people who  struggle can be  their best and fully  participate in                                                               
society.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:39:18 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:40:56 PM                                                                                                                    
ANNIE MASSEY,  representing self, Eagle River,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in opposition  to SB 80.  She opined that  the number one  way to                                                               
help students' mental  health is to keep schools  open. She feels                                                               
school  districts  ignored sound  data  regarding  the safety  of                                                               
attending school. Two, when making  decisions about mental health                                                               
in  schools,  remember  institutions  are  there  for  education.                                                               
Students  are not  learning because  multiple subjects  are being                                                               
brought into the  education realm that don't belong.  If a person                                                               
needs  mental health  assistance,  they should  be redirected  to                                                               
existing mental health agencies. She  asked that parent rights be                                                               
protected.  Parents  possess the  right  to  give access  to  and                                                               
treatment for  the mental health  of their children.  If enacted,                                                               
there  should   be  an  opt-out   or  election-only   option  for                                                               
curriculum  participation. As  this  crisis is  temporary due  to                                                               
COVID,  there should  be a  stop  date. Parents  should have  the                                                               
option to review all materials and privacy must be protected.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:44:54 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVEN  PEARCE, Director,  Citizen  Commission  on Human  Rights,                                                               
Seattle,  Washington, testified  with  concerns about  SB 80.  He                                                               
stated the intent  to improve mental health  education must focus                                                               
on improving  youth health. From  the "National  Health Education                                                               
Standards,"  CDC Healthy  Schools publication,  he read  standard                                                               
three,  "Students will  demonstrate the  ability to  access valid                                                               
information, products  and services to enhance  health.  He asked                                                               
what information,  products and services will  training materials                                                               
present as valid.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He  referenced Dr.  Allen Frances,  chair of  The Diagnostic  and                                                               
Statistical  Manual  of Mental  Disorders  (DSM)  task force.  He                                                               
stated that Dr. Frances sees  problems with the current diagnoses                                                               
and labeling of children, as evidenced in the following quote:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     In the past  20 years the diagnoses  rates of Attention                                                                    
     Deficient  and  Hyperactivity   Disorder  have  tripled                                                                    
     while  Autistic  Disorder  and Child  Bipolar  Disorder                                                                    
     have each  increased by a  remarkable 40-fold.  This is                                                                    
     not because our kids  have suddenly become sicker, it's                                                                    
     just diagnoses are applied to  them more loosely. It is                                                                    
     a  mass public  health  experiment that  has been  done                                                                    
     without  anyone's informed  consent.  We  have no  idea                                                                    
     about  the long  term affects.  Being wrongly  told you                                                                    
     have mental  health problem at  a young age can  have a                                                                    
     crippling affect for life.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Pearce  contended that  there is a  lot of  information being                                                               
ascribed to mental  health, with the supposition that  the way to                                                               
manage mental illness is through  public mental health systems or                                                               
psychotropic  drugs.  Psychiatry  is   turning  behavior  into  a                                                               
disease. Dr.  Mary Ann Block,  an osteopathic doctor  and author,                                                               
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The  majority  of  her patients  who  have  been  prescribed                                                               
     psychiatric  drugs  did  not have  a  psychiatric  disorder.                                                               
     Normal  life  experiences  or  underlying  medical  problems                                                               
     actually lie at the heart of their symptoms.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Pearce   noted  that  he  provided   the  committee  emailed                                                               
testimony  showing  medical  and  underlying  causes  for  mental                                                               
health  issues.  It  also contains  alternative  ways  to  handle                                                               
mental  health,  that psychiatry  never  shares.  He stated  that                                                               
parents should  be made  aware of these  trainings, which  can be                                                               
done remotely and independently.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The  integrity  of  informed  consent   should  be  preserved  by                                                               
teaching  the  pros  and  cons   of  psychiatric  and  behavioral                                                               
treatments.  Students  do  not  often  understand  the  risks  of                                                               
missing doses,  dosage abuse, addiction, withdrawal  and multiple                                                               
side effects that  psychiatric drugs pose. He  offered his belief                                                               
that it is  a gamble to teach kids that  behavior be treated with                                                               
drugs. It teaches  them that behavior is disease  and pills solve                                                               
problems.  Having  the  bill specify  non-drug  approaches  would                                                               
benefit consumers and citizens.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:48:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON closed public testimony on SB 80.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:49:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH stated  he wants  to  clarify the  bill does  not                                                               
impose curriculum.  The Board of Education  and Early Development                                                               
will  develop guidelines  for instruction  in  mental health,  in                                                               
consultation  with  numerous  entities,   within  two  years.  It                                                               
encourages rather  than mandates guidelines be  adopted. The bill                                                               
adds  mental   health  to  the   health  education   program  for                                                               
curriculum  development under  existing guidelines.  He requested                                                               
the recommendations from testifiers  provided to the committee be                                                               
recorded  and  passed on  to  the  department for  consideration.                                                               
Suicide rates have been a tragedy  in Alaska for a long time. The                                                               
ability to address it comes  with understanding and comprehension                                                               
of mental health.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON   asked  Senator   Gray-Jackson  for   any  closing                                                               
comments.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:50:50 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON  said she appreciated the  committee hearing                                                               
her bill  and Senator  Begich's comments  about exactly  what the                                                               
bill does.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[CHAIR WILSON held SB 80 in committee.]                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:51:35 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Wilson adjourned the Senate Health and Social Services                                                                    
Standing Committee meeting at 2:51 p.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 80 - CSSB 80 (EDC).pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 80
SB 80 version B.PDF SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 80
SB 80 Sponsor Statment.pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 80
SB 80 Sectional Analysis.pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 80
SB 80 Fiscal Note 1 DHSS.pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 80
SB 80 Fiscal Note 2 DEED.pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 80
SB 80 Written Testimonies.pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 80
SB 80 Supporting Documents.pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 80
SB 80 Cotter Letter of Opposition Redacted.pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 80
CS for SB 91 workdraft v I.pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 91
SB 91 Summary of Changes- 32 GS1576 I.pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 91
SB91 Detention of Minors- Scenarios (3-31-21).pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 91
SB 80 - Mental Health Ed Hollloway testimony to Senate EDC Committee 3.10.21.pdf SHSS 4/6/2021 1:30:00 PM
SB 80