Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/23/2001 01:44 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                   
                    SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                                                                
                          April 23, 2001                                                                                        
                             1:44 p.m.                                                                                          
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Robin Taylor, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Dave Donley, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator John Cowdery                                                                                                            
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All Members Present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 32(JUD) am                                                                                                
"An Act relating  to the forfeiture  of property used to  possess or                                                            
distribute  child   pornography,  to  commit  indecent   viewing  or                                                            
photography, to  commit a sex offense, or to solicit  the commission                                                            
of,  attempt  to  commit,  or  conspire   to commit   possession  or                                                            
distribution of child pornography,  indecent viewing or photography,                                                            
or a sexual offense."                                                                                                           
     MOVED SCS CSHB 32(JUD)                                                                                                     
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 116(HES)                                                                                                 
"An Act  relating to the  Alaska temporary  assistance program;  and                                                            
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     MOVED CSSB 116(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 11                                                                                                  
Proposing an  amendment to the Constitution  of the State  of Alaska                                                            
to guarantee the  permanent fund dividend, to provide  for inflation                                                            
proofing, and  to require a vote of  the people before changing  the                                                            
statutory formula for distribution  that existed on January 1, 2001.                                                            
     MOVED CSSJR 11(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 135(HES)                                                                                                 
"An  Act relating  to mental  health  information  and records;  and                                                            
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     MOVED CSSB 135(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 178                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to  the detention  of  delinquent  minors and  to                                                            
temporary detention  hearings; amending Rule 12, Alaska  Delinquency                                                            
Rules; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                    
     MOVED SB 178 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
HB 32 -  See Judiciary minutes dated 4/20/01.                                                                                   
SB 116 - See HESS minutes dated 4/9/01.                                                                                         
SJR 11 - See Judiciary minutes dated 4/18/01.                                                                                   
SB 135 - See HESS minutes dated 4/9/01.                                                                                         
SB 178 - See HESS minutes dated 4/20/01.                                                                                        
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Representative Joe Hayes                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 32                                                                                         
Mr. Jim Nordlund, Director                                                                                                      
Division of Public Assistance                                                                                                   
Department of Health &                                                                                                          
  Social Services                                                                                                               
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99801-0601                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 116                                                                                      
Ms. Christine Baumengen, Assistant AG                                                                                           
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 116                                                                                      
Ms. Nicole Nelson                                                                                                               
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 116                                                                                         
Senator Jerry Ward                                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SJR 11                                                                                        
Ms. Pat Davidson, Legislative Auditor                                                                                           
Legislative Agencies & Offices                                                                                                  
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-3300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 135                                                                                      
Ms. Anne Henry, Special Projects Coordinator                                                                                    
Division of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities                                                                          
Department of Health &                                                                                                          
  Social Services                                                                                                               
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99801-0601                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 135                                                                                      
Ms. Holly Morris                                                                                                                
Staff to Senator Therriault                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 135                                                                                      
Mr. Robert Buttcane, Legislative & Administrative Liaison                                                                       
Division of Juvenile Justice                                                                                                    
Department of Health &                                                                                                          
  Social Services                                                                                                               
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99801-0601                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 135                                                                                      
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 01-21, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called  the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting                                                          
to order at  1:44 p.m.  Senator Ellis,  Senator Therriault,  Senator                                                            
Cowdery and  Chairman Taylor were  present.  Senator Donley  arrived                                                            
at 2:02 p.m.  Chairman  Taylor announced the first order of business                                                            
would be HB 32.                                                                                                                 
            HB 32-SEX CRIME AND PORNOGRAPHY FORFEITURES                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  JOE HAYES, sponsor of HB 32, said  he had new intent                                                            
language for HB 32, which  had the actual case law without the Latin                                                            
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said he thought the  language in the amendment  was                                                            
much clearer.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR ELLIS  moved to adopt amendment 1, Luckhaupt  4/20/01, which                                                            
reads as follows.                                                                                                               
Page l, lines7- 12:                                                                                                             
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
 Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended                                                              
by adding a new section to read:                                                                                                
          INTENT. The forfeitures contemplated by this Act are                                                                  
          intended to be forfeitures imposed in connection with                                                                 
          conviction for a crime. The legislature intends for the                                                               
          courts to continue to provide hearings to interested                                                                  
          persons who have an ownership interest in equipment                                                                   
          subject to forfeiture under this Act and to allow for                                                                 
          remission to innocent nonnegligent third parties as                                                                   
          applied in State v. Rice, 626 P.2d 104 (Alaska 1981),                                                                 
          Fehir v. State, 755 P.2d 1107 (Alaska 1988), and Baum                                                                 
          v. State, P.2d (Alaska App. 2001).                                                                                    
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR noted  the amendment  was a rewrite  of the  intent                                                            
language  in the  first Section  of HB 32.   He  asked if  committee                                                            
members had any questions of the sponsor.                                                                                       
SENATOR  THERRIAULT said  he had  talked with  Representative  Hayes                                                            
earlier in the  week about the new language being  wordier than what                                                            
was  envisioned  but he  liked the  fact  that specific  cases  were                                                            
referred to in  the bill and he also liked the new  intent language.                                                            
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  thanked  Representative   Hayes  for  adding  this                                                            
amendment because he felt the original language was confusing.                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked if there were any objections  to amendment 1.                                                            
There being no objection, amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                              
SENATOR  COWDERY   moved  SCS  CSHB  32(JUD)  from  committee   with                                                            
individual  recommendations.   There  being no  objection, SCS  CSHB
32(JUD) moved from committee.                                                                                                   
           SB 116-AK TEMP. ASSISTANCE PROGRAM AMENDMENTS                                                                    
MR.  JIM  NORDLUND,   Director,  Division   of  Public  Assistance,                                                             
Department of  Health and Social Services (DHSS),  said the original                                                            
bill was  introduced by the  governor and  dealt with one  provision                                                            
that had  been removed from  SB 116, with  the concurrence  of DHSS.                                                            
The governor introduced  the bill because there was a 60-month limit                                                            
to client  benefits under  the Alaska Temporary  Assistance  Program                                                            
(ATAP).   This  program   was  created  with   the  welfare   reform                                                            
legislation  that passed five years  ago.  Although ATAP  contains a                                                            
60-month  limit  to  benefits  for  clients,  20  percent  of  those                                                            
individuals  may be  exempt from  that limit.   Congress  recognized                                                            
that there would  always be people on welfare who  would not be able                                                            
to support themselves and  would need to receive benefits beyond the                                                            
60-month  limit.   The  problem is  that  the 20  percent  exemption                                                            
applies to the current  caseload rather than the caseload "as it was                                                            
way  back when."   And  since  the caseload  had been  lowered  from                                                            
12,000 families to 5,000  families, the number of exempt families is                                                            
much smaller.   DHSS has a problem with that and Senator  Green said                                                            
the HESS committee would  take that issue up next year.  The urgency                                                            
would  be greater  next  year because  the  first families  will  be                                                            
hitting the five-year limit in July 2002.                                                                                       
MR. NORDLUND noted that  Section 2 of CSSB 116(HES) dealt with a two                                                            
parent court case that DHSS lost.  He explained:                                                                                
     During  the summer, DHSS reduces  benefits for two parent                                                                  
     families by half, a policy  choice made by the legislature                                                                 
     and the  administration five  years ago.  That policy  was                                                                 
     developed  because it  was felt that  two parent families                                                                  
     were better able to work  during the summer months because                                                                 
     there was more employment  in Alaska during the summer and                                                                 
     because  one of  the parents  would be able  to stay  home                                                                 
     with the children.                                                                                                         
MR. NORDLUND said  that when language regarding two  parent families                                                            
was put into the new law,  antiquated language from the AFDC law was                                                            
carried  over  saying  benefits  would  be provided  to  two  parent                                                            
families.   The court  looked at  that language  literally and  said                                                            
that  DHSS had  to do an  eligibility  determination  of two  parent                                                            
families  to determine who  was the principal  wage earner  and what                                                            
the unemployment  status was of that  person.  It was the  intent of                                                            
the  legislature  and  the administration   to say  all  two  parent                                                            
families  would have their  benefits cut  during the summer,  except                                                            
families with  one parent who was incapacitated.   But the court did                                                            
not  look  at  it  that  way  and said  that  DHSS  had  to  do  the                                                            
eligibility  determination.   The  determination would  have a  cost                                                            
attached and there would  be some two parent families receiving full                                                            
benefits through the summer  in a way that would be unrelated to the                                                            
intent of the legislation.                                                                                                      
MR. NORDLUND noted  that Section 2 strips the original  bill of that                                                            
antiquated language and  brings the legislation back to the original                                                            
intent.   If  SB  116 does  not  pass, DHSS  would  have  to do  the                                                            
eligibility  determination  this summer  and would  probably end  up                                                            
paying  benefits  to  some  families  who  would  otherwise  not  be                                                            
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked about Section 3.                                                                                          
Number 690                                                                                                                      
MR. NORDLUND said  under ATAP, all families are required  to develop                                                            
a family self-sufficiency  plan, which  is a plan that charts  their                                                            
course from  welfare to work.   The original  law exempted  families                                                            
where one parent  was disabled or incapacitated.   DHSS thinks it is                                                            
a  good idea  for  all  families to  have  a  self-sufficiency  plan                                                            
because  it  assists   DHSS  in  helping  families,  even   disabled                                                            
families, improve their situation in life.                                                                                      
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if  that was just  the exception  from the                                                            
self-sufficiency plan.                                                                                                          
MR. NORDLUND said that is correct.                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked if Section  4 is a transition section  set up                                                            
to allow  each of the  others to  go into effect  so the  department                                                            
could  draw up  new  regulations.  Mr. Nordlund  indicated  that  is                                                            
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  asked  if Sections  5  and  6 are  effective  date                                                            
clauses. Mr. Nordlund indicated that is correct.                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if Section 4 speeds up the  process rather                                                            
that waiting  for  the statutes  to become effective.  Mr.  Nordlund                                                            
said that is correct.                                                                                                           
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if they even need Section 1 at this time.                                                                 
MR. NORDLUND  replied that Section  1 is an attempt to conform  with                                                            
federal law.                                                                                                                    
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  asked  if that  is  the section  the  Senate  HESS                                                            
Committee would take up next year.                                                                                              
MR. NORLUND  indicated that was not  correct; that the section  they                                                            
would take up next year  was already taken out of the original bill.                                                            
He said they are now looking at the committee substitute.                                                                       
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said he thought the first section  talked about the                                                            
five year program.                                                                                                              
MR. NORDLUND  replied that  it was related  to the section  that was                                                            
stripped out of  the bill, but federal law says that  anybody who is                                                            
living  in an Alaska  Native village  is exempt  from the  five-year                                                            
limit. "That's a provision in federal law."                                                                                     
MR. NORDLUND  explained  that our  state law  does not  have such  a                                                            
provision and  so that section conforms state law  to federal law in                                                            
that regard.                                                                                                                    
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR asked  if this  exempts  them from  the 20  percent                                                            
MR. NORDLUND responded, "Yes."                                                                                                  
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR said  that by exempting  them for  five years,  the                                                            
administration  doesn't have to find a job for any  person living in                                                            
a Native village.                                                                                                               
MR. NORDLUND responded:                                                                                                         
     It is  a two-edged sword, I think.  This provision is  not                                                                 
     something  that we necessarily originally promoted  in the                                                                 
     federal  law…. Even  the Native community  would tell  you                                                                 
     that  they see  this  as good  and bad.  The  fact of  the                                                                 
     matter  is that  there aren't  jobs  in so  many of  those                                                                 
     Native  villages and cutting  off individuals from public                                                                  
     assistance  when there's absolutely no hope of  employment                                                                 
     is very harsh.                                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked about  the qualifications of a Native village.                                                            
MR.  NORDLUND replied,  "The  reference  in the  federal  law is  to                                                            
ANCSA, which recognizes the Native communities in the state."                                                                   
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked if it was only the village  corporations that                                                            
would apply.                                                                                                                    
MR.  NORLUND   responded,   "Locations  or   communities  that   are                                                            
recognized  in  the  federal  law as  being  Native  villages  under                                                            
MR. NORLUND said  there is a list of those communities  in committee                                                            
Number 1038                                                                                                                     
SENATOR COWDERY  asked why the term  "gainful activity" was  used in                                                            
Section 2.                                                                                                                      
MR. NORLUND replied that  was a good question and he didn't know why                                                            
they couldn't  use the word "employment"  because that is  what it's                                                            
intended to mean.                                                                                                               
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR said he  thought it might  be defined somewhere  in                                                            
Title 47.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR COWDERY asked if  increased employment in Alaska and welfare                                                            
have remained in proportion to each other.                                                                                      
MR. NORDLUND replied, "Definitely.  The fact that we've had a policy                                                            
change,  first  of  all, is  a  big  piece  of it,  that  we're  now                                                            
requiring clients to look for work."                                                                                            
He said that  the fact that the economy  has been so good  in Alaska                                                            
has been a huge contributor  to the fact that the welfare cases have                                                            
come down so much  across the nation. Another reason  for success is                                                            
that basically the legislature  and administration have been willing                                                            
to put  forward a budget  that's necessary  to help move folks  into                                                            
work - money for child care and case management.                                                                                
MS. KRISTEN BAUMENGEN, Assistant Attorney General, said:                                                                        
     The  term "gainful activity"  is used  in other places  in                                                                 
     this  particular statute  and so it is  a kind of term  of                                                                 
     art that  has been adopted in  AS 47.27.015, AS 47.25.025                                                                  
     and  AS 47.27.030.  It was  a part  of the  original  ATAP                                                                 
     bill.  The term was  used to describe  general employment                                                                  
     activities.  There is a definition  that's been generated                                                                  
     in a substantial  section in the regulations that  address                                                                 
     this.  Using this term now would  make it consistent  with                                                                 
     the other applications of the terms in the act."                                                                           
SENATOR COWDERY said that  assumes the term was being used correctly                                                            
in the other parts of the statute.                                                                                              
MS. BAUMENGEN  said she had a reference to the definition  as it was                                                            
generated in the regulations,  if that would helpful. They indicated                                                            
SENATOR  ELLIS  asked if  Mr.  Nordlund had  addressed  the  House's                                                            
concern about an exemption for caretakers of disabled children.                                                                 
MR. NORDLUND replied:                                                                                                           
     Yes, there  was a discussion on the House side.  The House                                                                 
     version of  the bill does have an additional exemption  in                                                                 
     here. The  exemption you're seeing in this version  brings                                                                 
     it back  to the status  quo situation.  That is, in a  two                                                                 
     parent  family, we will exempt  them from getting the  two                                                                 
     parent  benefit cut  in the summer  months  if one of  the                                                                 
     parents is incapacitated.  The amendment that was added on                                                                 
     the  House side  says that  as well,  if in  a two parent                                                                  
     family, if they have a child  who has a severe disability,                                                                 
     then that two-parent family  is exempt from the two-parent                                                                 
     benefit  cut in  the summer months.  That is  not in  this                                                                 
SENATOR ELLIS asked what his position was on that.                                                                              
MR.  NORDLUND   said  they   were  neutral   on  that  addition   by                                                            
Representative Dyson.                                                                                                           
SENATOR ELLIS  said he raised that as an issue for  the committee to                                                            
consider because  there were some compelling examples,  specifically                                                            
the Jackson family from Pt. Baker.                                                                                              
MR. NORDLUND  said he had  an amendment that  they prepared  for the                                                            
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said they wanted  to make certain that that  option                                                            
is available.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if the federal  exemption was over  the 20                                                            
percent for state exemptions.                                                                                                   
MR. NORDLUND answered that is correct.                                                                                          
SENATOR THERRIAULT  pointed out that language says,  "The department                                                            
shall  disregard the  months  that are  required  to be disregarded                                                             
under that federal  law." He thought Mr. Nordlund  explained that it                                                            
was just a location-based exemption across the board.                                                                           
MR. NORDLUND replied:                                                                                                           
     What we  do as long as somebody  is living in that exempt                                                                  
     village, we  simply do not count that month. We  just stop                                                                 
     the  clock  for those  folks.  If  they  move back  to  an                                                                 
     unexempt  village, the clock  picks up again. Even though                                                                  
     we consider  stopping  the clock for  purposes of the  way                                                                 
     our computer system works,  the Department of Law tells us                                                                 
     it doesn't  matter. From the state's standpoint,  it still                                                                 
     counts  on the  state  clock. So,  if they  run  up to  60                                                                 
     months,  for the  purposes of  the state law,  we have  to                                                                 
     count  those  folks  within  that  20  percent  exemption                                                                  
     category. This is just the  terminology we use to say that                                                                 
     we're stopping the clock for those families.                                                                               
SENATOR  THERRIAULT   asked  if  this  was  an  example   of  lawful                                                            
MR. NORDLUND said he wasn't qualified to answer that question.                                                                  
SENATOR THERRIAULT explained:                                                                                                   
     We're  treating different  groups of  people differently,                                                                  
     based  on some reasoning.  If we treat  them differently,                                                                  
     we've  discriminated between  the benefits  one group  can                                                                 
     get that another  group can't get. The Congress  has found                                                                 
     that there  is justification for doing that and  made that                                                                 
     discrimination  lawful. Is that a correct interpretation?                                                                  
MS. BAUMENGEN  responded that this was based on federal  law and the                                                            
special  relationship with  Native  American and  the Alaska  Native                                                            
populations in the Welfare Reform law. She said:                                                                                
     This  language  was generated  after  the time  the  state                                                                 
     accepted  its language  for the  ATAP program  and it's  a                                                                 
     specific disregard that  mandates in 'shall' language that                                                                 
     the states disregard those months.                                                                                         
SENATOR   THERRIAULT  asked   if  it  treats   individual   Alaskans                                                            
differently  based on some criteria  in federal law and this  change                                                            
to state law would make that acceptable.                                                                                        
MS. BAUMENGEN  responded, "Yes, it addresses all adults  who live in                                                            
an Alaska Native village."                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said, "Interestingly,  a person need not be a Native                                                            
Alaskan,  but  if  you  find  yourself  living  in  that  area,  you                                                            
MS. BAUMENGEN replied that is correct.                                                                                          
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  said  to  Senator   Ellis,  "If  we  conform  [the                                                            
amendment]  by  putting   in  page  1,  line  13,  that's  the  word                                                            
'activity'  that we are seeking to  modify. Is that right  Kristen?"                                                            
MS. BAUMENGEN responded that is correct.                                                                                        
SENATOR ELLIS moved to adopt amendment , which reads as follows.                                                                
                             AMENDMENT 1                                                                                    
     Page  2, line 7                                                                                                            
     Following "activity":                                                                                                    
          Insert "or to be providing care for a child who is                                                                
          experiencing a disability"                                                                                        
MS. NICOLE  NELSON, Anchorage, said  she supported the amendment  on                                                            
caretaker  relatives  of  disabled   children  and  had  no  further                                                            
SENATOR  DONLEY  said he  didn't agree  with  the analysis  that  is                                                            
contained in paragraph  3 of the sponsor statement  that says Alaska                                                            
sets an extremely excessive  goal compared to other states regarding                                                            
welfare reform.  He pointed  out, "I have seen several analyses that                                                            
have  appeared in  national  publications  saying that  we were  the                                                            
least aggressive on welfare of any state in the Union."                                                                         
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said the fiscal note confused him  and asked how it                                                            
could be zero  when, if this law was left unchanged,  there would be                                                            
greater savings. By changing  the law, they are going to spend more.                                                            
MR. NORDLUND explained the reason is:                                                                                           
     Any  time  the  Alaska  Temporary  Assistance  Program  is                                                                 
     changed, is  because of the way the funding mechanism  for                                                                 
     the  program works.  We  get a set  block grant  from  the                                                                 
     federal government regardless  of what happens to the case                                                                 
     load  and regardless  of what  we do with  that caseload,                                                                  
     what kind  of programs we're providing.  Also,  that's the                                                                 
     federal side. On the state  side, we're required to put up                                                                 
     what's  known as a  maintenance of effort,  80 percent  of                                                                 
     the  funding that we  provided in  1994. So, essentially,                                                                  
     the state amount is fixed, as well.                                                                                        
     You have a  fixed amount of money, both federal  and state                                                                 
     to  run  this  program  and if  the  caseload  goes  down,                                                                 
     basically what you do is  you're freeing up money from the                                                                 
     benefit side  of the program to move over to services.  In                                                                 
     addition,  what the legislature  has done in the past  few                                                                 
     years  is take a lot  of those savings,  which really  are                                                                 
     federal savings, using it  to fund other programs in state                                                                 
     government  that are  allowed under the  TANF Program  and                                                                 
     there's  been some general  fund savings  to the state  in                                                                 
     that way.  As an example, we  used to fund childcare  with                                                                 
     about $10 million from the  general fund. With the savings                                                                 
     of welfare  reform, we've been able to move those  federal                                                                 
     funds over,  supplant that, take the G.F. out  and you get                                                                 
     a  budget savings  that  way. But  the overall  amount  of                                                                 
     money we have for the program  is set. So, as the caseload                                                                 
     goes down, we can shift  the money over, but it's internal                                                                 
     to the  program. It doesn't really  show up in the fiscal                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said they understand and commented that they do                                                                 
an accounting and, at the end of that process, they usually end                                                                 
up shifting some funds within the budgeting process.                                                                            
Number 1840                                                                                                                     
SENATOR DONELY said the sponsor statement, dated February 21,                                                                   
2001, doesn't say what bill number it's referring to.                                                                           
MR. NORDLUND explained that this is the Governor's bill and it                                                                  
usually has the Governor's transmittal letter. He didn't think                                                                  
they had a sponsor statement, per se.                                                                                           
SENATOR DONLEY asked if there were any parts of the sponsor                                                                     
statement that were no longer applicable to the committee                                                                       
substitutes that were produced. He asked for an updated sponsor                                                                 
MR. NORDLUND said he would do that; but he didn't know that as a                                                                
rule, they rewrite their transmittal letters.                                                                                   
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he thought that would be a good idea since                                                                 
the bill had changed so much.                                                                                                   
SENATOR ELLIS moved to pass CSSB 116(JUD) from committee with                                                                   
individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was                                                                 
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
          SJR 11-CONST AM: PERM FUND INCOME DISTRIBUTION                                                                    
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced SJR 11 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT   asked  if  the   earnings  reserve   would  be                                                            
maintained,  but  would be  treated as  part  of the  corpus of  the                                                            
Permanent Fund now.                                                                                                             
SENATOR WARD answered yes.                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said they  have a committee substitute that includes                                                            
actual language  instead of leaving the statutory  references within                                                            
the Constitution.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  COWDERY moved  to adopt the  CS, Cook  4/20/01, to  SJR 11.                                                            
There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                 
SENATOR DONLEY  said drafting the bill in this way  has allowed them                                                            
to review the existing  formula for calculating the dividend on page                                                            
2, lines  7 - 9, which  says, "The dividend  may not exceed  the net                                                            
income of the fund for  the fiscal year just ended, plus the balance                                                            
of the earnings reserve account."                                                                                               
He said  that language  was the  basis for the  argument during  the                                                            
September  1999  advisory  ballot  debate.  "It  was  a complicated                                                             
calculation. It was a speculative  argument, but people just assumed                                                            
it as fact for  some of the arguments that were being  put out there                                                            
to the public. I think that language is problematic…"                                                                           
SENATOR DONLEY  said before he could support that  section, which he                                                            
disagrees  with  in current  statute,  he  would want  an  extensive                                                            
analysis. He didn't think  the sponsor agreed with the technical way                                                            
it might function, either.                                                                                                      
SENATOR WARD explained:  "I didn't put the language  into law and if                                                            
there was  going to  be a simplification  of what  he was trying  to                                                            
accomplish and what the  people of Alaska were trying to accomplish,                                                            
this would be the proper place to do it."                                                                                       
SENATOR TAYLOR said all they did in the bill was state existing                                                                 
state law.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR WARD said it would take a constitutional amendment to                                                                   
change the formula.                                                                                                             
SENATOR WARD did not want to change existing law at this time,                                                                  
because people in his district like it the way it is.                                                                           
SENATOR DONLEY  agreed with Senator Ward, but he thought  that there                                                            
were very few  Alaskans that know  the ramifications of those  three                                                            
sentences  for some future  calculation of  their dividend.  "That's                                                            
what worries me. That sentence  hasn't kicked in yet, but if it did,                                                            
I think there would be a lot of shocked people out there."                                                                      
SENATOR  WARD said he  didn't disagree  with that.  "If the  Finance                                                            
Committee wants to change  existing law in the form of a vote of the                                                            
people, then  I think it's something  they, as a committee,  need to                                                            
come up with - what the  ramifications are and the various models of                                                            
that, because we're talking dollars now."                                                                                       
SENATOR  COWDERY moved  to pass  CSSJR 11(JUD)  from committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
SENATOR ELLIS objected:                                                                                                         
     This on its  face has some popular appeal, but  I can't be                                                                 
     the  only one at  this table  who is concerned  about  the                                                                 
     potential risks and the  chain of events this could set in                                                                 
     motion.  There  was  a  lot  of  discussion  at  the  last                                                                 
     committee  hearing  about the  IRS. I  got more  and  more                                                                 
     nervous  as that discussion  went on.  I think if there's                                                                  
     any  contact with the  IRS, I think that's  a bad idea  to                                                                 
     start  with….If there's  any contact to  be done, I  would                                                                 
     hope it  could be done in an  institutional fashion,  in a                                                                 
     very  reserved and careful  way so that  we ask the  right                                                                 
      questions. I think asking the questions is dangerous in                                                                   
     and of itself.                                                                                                             
SENATOR ELLIS again said he wasn't the only person at the table                                                                 
who was concerned about this and he knew there was a perception                                                                 
in the public, but he didn't think the Permanent Fund Dividend                                                                  
was in imminent danger from this legislature.                                                                                   
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said that he also has grave concerns about the                                                                  
same subject, but he thought they should have the discussion.                                                                   
There being  no further discussion,  he asked for a roll  call vote.                                                            
SENATORS  DONLEY,  COWDERY,  THERRIAULT,   and  TAYLOR  voted  yeah;                                                            
SENATOR ELLIS  voted nay; and the bill was passed  from committee by                                                            
a vote of 4 to 1.                                                                                                               
TAPE 01-21, SIDE B                                                                                                            
SENATOR THERRIAULT  noted that the  Trustees had requested  that                                                                
another proposal  be introduced and  he said he would move  that                                                                
alternative  also, so that the Finance  Committee has different                                                                 
ideas to look at.                                                                                                               
         SB 135-MENTAL HEALTH INFO/RECORDS/COMMUNICATIONS                                                                   
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced SB 135 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
TAPE 01-22, SIDE A                                                                                                            
MS. PAT  DAVIDSON,  legislative auditor,  said,  "Without data,  the                                                            
Department  is unable to determine  if services are being  paid dual                                                            
billed, paid  for both with Medicaid  funds and state funds  nor can                                                            
they offer  the providers  feedback  about services  and  associated                                                            
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if this concern came from  the findings of                                                            
an audit.                                                                                                                       
MS. DAVIDSON  answered  yes. The first  audit was  on mental  health                                                            
services  in 1997.  Senate Finance  was concerned  about  escalating                                                            
costs in that  program. They found  and in the subsequent  follow-up                                                            
(January  2001) is that a  fee for service  Medicaid financing  plan                                                            
and a state  funded grant program  are inherently difficult  to work                                                            
with. Providing  client data  to the Department  to do the  analysis                                                            
will allow  that Department to actually  manage the program  the way                                                            
it needs to be done.                                                                                                            
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  noted for  the  record  that he  was  the one  who                                                            
requested that audit in 1997. He added that:                                                                                    
     We  found that  the reserve accounts  of a  couple of  our                                                                 
     larger  providers  had grown  significantly  to the  place                                                                 
     where they had between half  and two-thirds of a year cash                                                                 
     income  reserves  setting  in their  account.  Nobody  was                                                                 
     asking  them to spend down those  reserves before we  gave                                                                 
     them state money even though  my mental health programs in                                                                 
     Ketchikan  and  other places  where communities  assisted                                                                  
     them, before the community  would step in and assist, they                                                                 
     would  make sure  those reserves  were spent  down to  the                                                                 
     place where  they had maybe a month or six weeks  worth of                                                                 
     reserves.  Some of these larger  entities had six to  nine                                                                 
     months  reserves and  were paying  themselves significant                                                                  
     salary  increases. In  one year, south  central paid a  14                                                                 
     percent across  the board salary increase to every  one of                                                                 
     the employers,  including their executive director,  which                                                                 
     would  have violated  state law, had  they been paying  it                                                                 
     under state monies…                                                                                                        
SENATOR  ELLIS asked  why  the entire  mental  health  record of  an                                                            
individual  client  is  needed.  He  asked  if it  was  possible  to                                                            
transmit  only the information  that was  necessary for the  express                                                            
purpose.  He also said that  the broad title  of this bill  troubles                                                            
him, although there was nothing specific he wanted to preclude.                                                                 
Number 364                                                                                                                      
MS. ANN  HENRY, Special  Projects  Coordinator,  Division of  Mental                                                            
Health  and  Developmental  Disabilities,  answered  Senator  Ellis'                                                            
question saying:                                                                                                                
     The information that we  gather is demographic information                                                                 
     that   uses   a  unique   identifier   rather   than   the                                                                 
     individual's  name  and  social security  number.  We  use                                                                 
     initials,  the last  four digits  of the  social security                                                                  
     number  and  the person's  birth  date  to  identify  that                                                                 
     person and then link that  person to subsequent documents,                                                                 
     which give  information about the kind of encounters  they                                                                 
     have  had, the  duration of  the encounter,  that sort  of                                                                 
She said they  don't request the entire file or go  through progress                                                            
notes. "It's  just the  diagnosis, the  person's housing  situation,                                                            
their legal  status,  things like  that that allow  us to  determine                                                            
what kind of help  different communities need and  what we're seeing                                                            
in the big picture  for the mental health situation  for the state."                                                            
SENATOR THERRIAULT said,  "We need to get enough information so that                                                            
we can  track how  services  are being  offered to  this person.  If                                                            
we're looking  for some accountability, you've got  to know what the                                                            
person is getting."                                                                                                             
He also  explained regarding  the title, that  when he had  the bill                                                            
drafted, he wasn't  anticipating any chicanery or  things tacked on.                                                            
He wasn't opposed to tightening the title.                                                                                      
MS. HENRY  continued saying  that her division  had worked  with the                                                            
community mental  health providers  for several years trying  to get                                                            
this  data  from  them  and  haven't  been  successful  for  various                                                            
reasons.  She said the  lawsuit by  the Board  of the Mental  Health                                                            
Center that was  suing will be put aside with passage  of this bill.                                                            
That is why the  bill covers some of the issues that  it covers. She                                                            
explained  that they had  also amended the  initial bill to  include                                                            
requiring that  the mental health centers provide  data for the last                                                            
two years.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  said  that  the  lawsuit  was  initiated  by  a                                                            
Fairbanks provider  and he concurred that they backed  away from the                                                            
litigation with the introduction of this bill.                                                                                  
SENATOR ELLIS  moved to tighten up  the title to SB 135.  There were                                                            
no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                            
SENATOR  COWDERY moved  to pass  CSSB 135(JUD)  from committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations.  There were no objections  and it was so                                                            
               SB 178-DETENTION OF DELINQUENT MINORS                                                                        
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced SB 178 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
MS. HOLLY MORRIS, staff to Senator Therriault, sponsor, said:                                                                   
     SB  178 doesn't  change our statute.  What  it does is  it                                                                 
     brings  us into  compliance  with a  federal  law and,  in                                                                 
     doing  so,  allows  us  to  access  some regulatory   time                                                                 
     exemptions  to  lower  violation rates  and  preserve  our                                                                 
     federal  funding.  It is  in regards  to  juveniles  being                                                                 
     detained  in rural  areas in  an adult  lock up facility.                                                                  
     They have 24 hours to, as  quickly and safely as possible,                                                                 
     move those  juveniles to a juvenile detention  center. Our                                                                 
     current  statute  allows us  up to  48 hours,  if that  is                                                                 
     necessary.  However, in changing  the statue to match  the                                                                 
     federal  language,   we  don't  extend  the  time  that  a                                                                 
     juvenile  may be  held in an  adult lock  up facility.  In                                                                 
     fact, it allows,  if a juvenile is going to be  held in an                                                                 
     adult lock up facility for  longer than 24 hours, they are                                                                 
     to be given  an arraignment in that period. So,  it speeds                                                                 
     up  their due  process if  they can't  get  to a juvenile                                                                  
     detention  center. In changing the statute to  comply with                                                                 
     this  federal law, it  allows us to  optimize our federal                                                                  
     funding possibilities.                                                                                                     
SENATOR THERRIAULT said  that federal law says that for those states                                                            
that  require an  initial  hearing  within 24  hours,  if the  state                                                            
statute says 24  hours, we have access some federal  exemptions. Our                                                            
statute currently  says 48 hours.  So, we don't have access  to that                                                            
wiggle room to  deal with our remote rural lock up  situations where                                                            
a juvenile  might be housed while  they are waiting for the  weather                                                            
to clear or a plane to  be available to transport them to a juvenile                                                            
detention  facility. "We're  in danger of  losing about $160,000  of                                                            
federal funds  that can be used for alternatives -  youth courts and                                                            
things  of  that  nature.  In  addition,   if  we  don't  come  into                                                            
compliance,  an  additional   $500,000  of  federal  funds  will  be                                                            
mandatorily steered to state moving towards compliance."                                                                        
Mr.  ROBERT  BUTTCANE,  Division  of  Juvenile  Justice,  said  that                                                            
Senator Therriault  did an excellent job of explaining  the bill and                                                            
he didn't have anything to add.                                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR asked if  this would "prevent  us from handcuffing                                                             
them to a D8 Cat in Yakutat."                                                                                                   
MR. BUTTCANE  answered  that  he hoped  they didn't  ever have  that                                                            
authority,  but when it has  happened, they  have probably  had some                                                            
time limits to deal with.                                                                                                       
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR thanked him  for the things  that he had done  over                                                            
the years and  noted that his division had gone a  long ways towards                                                            
restructuring the state's  criminal justice system for juveniles and                                                            
making it more accountable.                                                                                                     
SENATOR THERRIAULT  wanted verification  that this would  not change                                                            
the speed  with which  juveniles who  are in a  more urban  setting,                                                            
where a youth  facility is available,  get to initial arraignments.                                                             
MR.  BUTTCANE responded  that  was right.  The  24-hour arraignment                                                             
would apply only to those  juveniles who would be housed in an adult                                                            
facility  in a  remote part  of the  state. "We  would continue  the                                                            
current  law   as  it  would  apply   to  juveniles  who   would  be                                                            
incarcerated in a youth facility in an urban area."                                                                             
SENATOR ELLIS moved to  pass SB 178 with individual recommendations.                                                            
There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR adjourned the meeting at 2:51 p.m.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects