Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/25/2004 08:00 AM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                       ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                               
                  SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                           February 25, 2004                                                                                    
                               8:00 a.m.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   TAPE(S) 04-8&9                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
   MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
   Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                 
   Senator Scott Ogan, Vice Chair                                                                                               
   Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                      
   Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                         
   Senator Hollis French                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   All members present                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   SENATE BILL NO. 217                                                                                                          
   "An Act  relating  to  genetic  privacy; and  amending  Rule  82,                                                            
   Alaska Rules of  Civil Procedure, and  Rule 508, Alaska  Rules of                                                            
   Appellate Procedure."                                                                                                        
        HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   SENATE BILL NO. 333                                                                                                          
   "An Act relating to  judicial relief before  final administrative                                                            
   decisions of state agencies."                                                                                                
        HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 260(JUD)                                                                                               
   "An Act  relating  to  immunity  for free  health  care  services                                                            
   provided by certain health  care providers; and providing  for an                                                            
   effective date."                                                                                                             
        HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 252(STA)                                                                                               
   "An Act relating to  the terms and  duties of the members  of the                                                            
   State Board of  Registration for  Architects, Engineers  and Land                                                            
   Surveyors."                                                                                                                  
        SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   BILL: SB 217                                                                                                               
   SHORT TITLE: GENETIC PRIVACY                                                                                                 
   SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) OLSON                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   05/09/03       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
   05/09/03       (S)       HES, JUD                                                                                            
   01/28/04       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                        
   01/28/04       (S)       Moved CSSB 217 (HES) Out of Committee                                                               
   01/28/04       (S)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                         
   01/30/04       (S)       HES RPT CS  1DP  1NR 2AM  NEW TITLE                                                                 
   01/30/04       (S)       DP: DYSON; NR: GUESS;                                                                               
   01/30/04       (S)       AM: GREEN, WILKEN                                                                                   
   02/06/04       (S)       JUD AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                        
   02/06/04       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                        
   02/06/04       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                         
   02/18/04       (S)       JUD AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                        
   02/18/04       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                             
   02/25/04       (S)       JUD AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   BILL: SB 333                                                                                                               
   SHORT TITLE: IF UNREAS. AGENCY DELAY, COURT DECIDES                                                                          
   SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) THERRIAULT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
   02/16/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
   02/16/04       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                            
   02/25/04       (S)       JUD AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   BILL: HB 260                                                                                                               
   SHORT TITLE: IMMUNITY FOR PROVIDING FREE HEALTH CARE                                                                         
   SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) SEATON                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   04/11/03       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
   04/11/03       (H)       L&C, JUD                                                                                            
   04/28/03       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                           
   04/28/03       (H)       Moved CSHB 260(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                
   04/28/03       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
   04/30/03       (H)       L&C RPT CS(L&C) 2NR 5AM                                                                             
   04/30/03       (H)       NR: LYNN, ROKEBERG; AM: GATTO,                                                                      
   04/30/03       (H)       CRAWFORD, GUTTENBERG, DAHLSTROM,                                                                    
   04/30/03       (H)       ANDERSON                                                                                            
   05/09/03       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                          
   05/09/03       (H)       Moved CSHB 260(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                
   05/09/03       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                         
   05/10/03       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) 6DP                                                                                 
   05/10/03       (H)       DP: HOLM, GARA, OGG, GRUENBERG,                                                                     
   05/10/03       (H)       SAMUELS, MCGUIRE                                                                                    
   05/19/03       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                  
   05/19/03       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 260(JUD)                                                                              
   05/20/03       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
   05/20/03       (S)       HES, JUD                                                                                            
   01/28/04       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                        
   01/28/04       (S)       Moved SCS CS HB260 (HES) Out of                                                                     
                            Committee                                                                                           
   01/28/04       (S)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                         
   01/30/04       (S)       HES RPT SCS 2DP  2AM  SAME TITLE                                                                    
   01/30/04       (S)       DP: DYSON, WILKEN; AM: GREEN, GUESS                                                                 
   02/25/04       (S)       JUD AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   BILL: HB 252                                                                                                               
   SHORT TITLE: OCC LICENSING: TERMS OF BD & CONT. EDUC                                                                         
   SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) MCGUIRE                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   04/08/03       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
   04/08/03       (H)       L&C, STA                                                                                            
   05/02/03       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                           
   05/02/03       (H)       Moved CSHB 252(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                
   05/02/03       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
   05/05/03       (H)       L&C RPT CS(L&C) NT 4DP                                                                              
   05/05/03       (H)       DP: LYNN, DAHLSTROM, ROKEBERG, ANDERSON                                                             
   05/07/03       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                          
   05/07/03       (H)       Moved CSHB 252(STA) Out of Committee                                                                
   05/07/03       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                         
   05/08/03       (H)       STA RPT CS(STA) NT 4DP 1NR                                                                          
   05/08/03       (H)       DP: DAHLSTROM, LYNN, SEATON, WEYHRAUCH;                                                             
   05/08/03       (H)       NR: BERKOWITZ                                                                                       
   05/15/03       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                  
   05/15/03       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 252(STA)                                                                              
   05/16/03       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
   05/16/03       (S)       L&C, JUD                                                                                            
   05/19/03       (S)       L&C RPT 2DP 1NR                                                                                     
   05/19/03       (S)       DP: SEEKINS, STEVENS G; NR: FRENCH                                                                  
   05/19/03       (S)       L&C AT 8:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                            
   05/19/03       (S)       Moved SCS(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                     
   05/19/03       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
   02/18/04       (S)       JUD AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                        
   02/18/04       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                        
   02/18/04       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                         
   02/25/04       (S)       JUD AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                   
   Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                         
   Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                       
   POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 260                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
   Mr. Mike Haugen                                                                                                              
   Alaska Physicians and Surgeons                                                                                               
   4325 Laurel St.                                                                                                              
   Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                
   POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports CSHB 260(JUD)                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   Ms. Marie Darlin                                                                                                             
   AARP - Capital City Task Force                                                                                               
   Juneau, AK                                                                                                                   
   POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports CSHB 260(JUD)                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   Ms. Pat Senner                                                                                                               
   Alaska Nurses Association                                                                                                    
   Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                
   POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports CSHB 260(JUD)                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   Mr. Dave Stancliff                                                                                                           
   Staff to the Administrative Regulation Review                                                                                
     Committee                                                                                                                  
   Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                         
   Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                       
   POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 333                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   Mr. Doug Wooliver                                                                                                            
   Alaska Court System                                                                                                          
   303 K St.                                                                                                                    
   Anchorage, AK  99501-2084                                                                                                    
   POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions in regard to SB 333                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   Mr. Dan Houghton                                                                                                             
   Chief Financial Officer                                                                                                      
   Alaska Regional Hospital                                                                                                     
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 333                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                          
   Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                         
   Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                       
   POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 217                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   Ms. Robbie Meyer                                                                                                             
   American Council of Life Insurers                                                                                            
   No address provided                                                                                                          
   POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns about SB 217                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   Ms. Jennifer Rudinger                                                                                                        
   Alaska Civil Liberties Union                                                                                                 
   Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                
   POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns about SB 217                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   TAPE 04-8, SIDE A                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR  RALPH  SEEKINS   called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                          
   Committee meeting  to order  at 8:00 a.m.  Senators Ogan,  Ellis,                                                            
   French and  Chair  Seekins  were  present.  The  first  order  of                                                            
   business to come before the committee was CSHB 260(JUD).                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
         CSHB 260(JUD)-IMMUNITY FOR PROVIDING FREE HEALTH CARE                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   REPRESENTATIVE PAUL  SEATON,  sponsor of  HB  260, explained  the                                                            
   purpose of  HB  260 is  to  encourage  health care  providers  to                                                            
   provide services to Alaskans  who would not otherwise be  able to                                                            
   obtain proper health  care. It  does so  by offering immunity  to                                                            
   liability for civil  damages resulting from  an act  of omission.                                                            
   HB 260 is consistent with the Volunteer Protection  Act passed by                                                            
   Congress in  1997.  The  bill requires  written  notification  to                                                            
   patients of the provider's immunity to civil prosecution.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   [SENATOR THERRIAULT arrived.]                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said  the  Senate  HESS Committee  made  a                                                            
   change to Section 3;  it clarifies that  the health care  must be                                                            
   provided in conjunction  with a  government entity or  non-profit                                                            
   organization and the  health care provider  is acting  within the                                                            
   scope of the provider's  actively maintained license.  Nothing in                                                            
   the legislation  provides immunity  for  the agency  or the  non-                                                            
   profit  agency;  they  must  carry  malpractice  insurance.  CSHB
   260(JUD) will allow health  care providers, especially  those who                                                            
   have retired  and  no  longer  carry  malpractice  insurance,  to                                                            
   provide services.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
   He noted  the sideboards  in the  legislation  are that  immunity                                                            
   does not  apply to  the organization  or to  gross negligence  or                                                            
   willful acts. He indicated members' packets  contain a definition                                                            
   of  gross  negligence  and   willful  act  used   throughout  the                                                            
   statutes. He offered to answer questions.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR OGAN said he did not see any specific  mention of retired                                                            
   health care  providers in  CSHB 260(JUD)  and asked  if the  bill                                                            
   will apply to others.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  it  provides  immunity  for  anyone                                                            
   working within the scope of his or her  license. It is especially                                                            
   critical for retired  medical providers because  many of  them do                                                            
   not carry medical malpractice  insurance. He pointed out  it will                                                            
   not prevent compensation for expenses, so that  a community could                                                            
   provide transportation  and  housing  to a  medical  professional                                                            
   when traveling to the community to provide  services but the term                                                            
   "compensation" is well defined in the legislation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked how  it might  apply to  a health  care                                                            
   provider who offered free  services on a cruise ship  and whether                                                            
   that person would get a free cruise and be covered.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  noted   "compensation"  means   receiving                                                            
   something of value, which is defined in the federal law as well.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS asked if  non-profit organizations are  required to                                                            
   carry medical malpractice insurance.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   REPRESENTATIVE SEATON deferred to Mr. Haugen for an answer.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS  said he  wondered  if anyone  would  be liable  if                                                            
   these services  are  provided  at  the facilities  of  non-profit                                                            
   organizations.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
   REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said   the  bill  specifically   requires                                                            
   written recognition  by  the patient  that  the  provider is  not                                                            
   liable. In  addition,  the provider  must  be  working under  the                                                            
   authority of  a  non-profit organization  or  another agency.  He                                                            
   said it does not  apply to an  individual who provides  a service                                                            
   independently; there must be some contractual relationship.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR  FRENCH  asked  how   many  health  care   providers  are                                                            
   currently offering free services at their  own economic detriment                                                            
   and how many might participate if CSHB 260(JUD) is enacted.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said he  could  not provide  a number.  He                                                            
   said numerous  medical professional  associations have  contacted                                                            
   him and they all support this bill.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR FRENCH complimented  Representative  Seaton and staff  on                                                            
   the excellent back-up material they provided.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS  announced  that the  committee  would take  public                                                            
   testimony.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   MR. MIKE  HAUGEN,  Director of  Alaska  Physicians and  Surgeons,                                                            
   said  his  association   represents  about   170  physicians   in                                                            
   Anchorage and  2  in  Fairbanks.  He noted  statistics  cite  the                                                            
   average age  of an  Alaskan  physician at  51.  In addition,  the                                                            
   state is not recruiting enough new doctors  to replace them. Many                                                            
   of his members are  in their late  50s and 60s; he  believes many                                                            
   of them would take  advantage of a  bill like this. They  are not                                                            
   ready  to  "hang   up  their  shingles"   and  walk   away  after                                                            
   accumulating a lifetime of  knowledge. He believes  CSHB 260(JUD)                                                            
   will give physicians  an incentive to  retire in Alaska  and help                                                            
   the communities that are  not well served. A  Providence Hospital                                                            
   study reported that Anchorage alone has a shortage  of 160 to 200                                                            
   doctors.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR FRENCH  asked  how  much  medical  malpractice  currently                                                            
   costs for a general practitioner, or non-specialist.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   MR. HAUGEN  said  he  believes  a general  internist  pays  about                                                            
   $15,000 per  year  and that  the  premiums have  been  increasing                                                            
   rapidly.  He  said  most  physicians  do  not  carry  malpractice                                                            
   insurance once they retire.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS asked  if a  retired physician without  malpractice                                                            
   insurance could have hospital privileges throughout the state.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
   MR. HAUGEN could not answer that question.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS  said he was  wondering if  the Fairbanks  Memorial                                                            
   Hospital,  for  example,  could  allow  a  retired  physician  to                                                            
   perform  surgery  at   no  charge   with  the  patient's   signed                                                            
   understanding  that  the  physician  did  not  carry  malpractice                                                            
   insurance.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   MR. HAUGEN thought  each hospital  would make that  determination                                                            
   on an individual basis.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Mr.  Haugen,  as an  attorney,  if he  would                                                            
   recommend that a hospital allow that.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   MR. HAUGEN said probably not.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR OGAN asked if a paid staff person  follows a direct order                                                            
   of a physician who is immune from liability  would also be immune                                                            
   from liability.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   MR. HAUGEN said he believes  the facility would be  liable if the                                                            
   paid staffer is  employed by the  facility, however  he hesitated                                                            
   to give a definitive answer.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR OGAN asked if other states have similar legislation.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   MR. HAUGEN said Alaska  would be one  of the last states  to pass                                                            
   such legislation. Over 40 states currently have similar laws.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR OGAN asked if any case law has been established.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
   MR. HAUGEN said  he has  been told  that very  few lawsuits  have                                                            
   been brought against  physicians who are  immunized by  this type                                                            
   of legislation.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR FRENCH asked what  standard a paid staffer would  be held                                                            
   to - negligence or gross negligence.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   MR. HAUGEN said  the bill  would not immunize  paid staff  so the                                                            
   standard would remain the same.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS  asked where  the paid  staffer would  fall in  the                                                            
   matter of responding to that superior.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   MR. HAUGEN said he could not answer that question.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  pointed  out  that  Version V  contains  a                                                            
   slight drafting error.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR THERRIAULT  moved  to  adopt  Version  V as  the  working                                                            
   document before the committee.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS  announced that  without objection,  Version V  was                                                            
   before the committee.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON noted  on  page  2,  line  22,  the  words                                                            
   "medical  clinic,"  should  be  inserted  between  "in  the"  and                                                            
   "governmental entity."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR THERRIAULT moved to  make the aforementioned  addition to                                                            
   page 2, line 22.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR  SEEKINS  announced  that  without  objection,  the  motion                                                            
   carried. He then took public testimony.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   8:23 a.m.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   MS. MARIE DARLIN, Coordinator of the Capital  City Task Force for                                                            
   AARP, informed members  that AARP submitted  a written  letter of                                                            
   support. AARP believes this  legislation will help  alleviate the                                                            
   overall need for physicians  in Alaska. At least 43  other states                                                            
   have enacted similar  legislation, so it  has been  tried before,                                                            
   found to work, and created a win-win situation for everyone.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   MS. PAT  SENNER,  Alaska  Nurses  Association (ANA),  said  ANA's                                                            
   interest in  this bill  stems  from its  efforts  to have  nurses                                                            
   ready to volunteer in a  time of need, whether that  be a natural                                                            
   disaster, act  of terrorism  or  disease outbreak.  She said  the                                                            
   current  statutes  have  been  patched  together  over  time  and                                                            
   contain holes. It would be  helpful to review those  statutes and                                                            
   draft a more  comprehensive set.  However,  in the meantime,  the                                                            
   current  statutes  do  not   cover  health  care   providers  who                                                            
   volunteer to  care  for  individuals  with  non-life  threatening                                                            
   illnesses in times of  protracted emergency events.  For example,                                                            
   after September  11, the Red  Cross sheltered  air travelers  who                                                            
   were stranded in  Anchorage. Those travelers'  lives were  not in                                                            
   immediate danger, but they had a need for health care services.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   MS. SENNER thanked  Representative Seaton  for amending  the bill                                                            
   to include  "temporary  emergency site,"  as  its inclusion  will                                                            
   help  health   care   providers   who  volunteer   in   emergency                                                            
   situations. She  said  the  important  factors  are  under  whose                                                            
   auspices individuals volunteer and whether they  are qualified to                                                            
   provide health care services  - not where they  provide services.                                                            
   The amended language  addresses those  factors. Another  group of                                                            
   health care providers covered by this bill  would be employees of                                                            
   the federal government who are covered by  the federal government                                                            
   legal system in terms  of malpractice insurance.  Those employees                                                            
   do not carry their own malpractice insurance.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked   if  nurses  normally   carry  malpractice                                                            
   insurance.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   MS. SENNER said the ANA  encourages them to do so  but they often                                                            
   rely on their employers' insurance.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS  asked  where a  nurse  would purchase  malpractice                                                            
   insurance.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   MS. SENNER said the  ANA offers malpractice insurance  except for                                                            
   the delivery of babies.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS  noted that  with no  further participants,  public                                                            
   testimony was  closed. He  then said  he would hold  the bill  in                                                            
   committee  so  that  the  committee  could  get  answers  to  the                                                            
   question of  liability  of staff  taking  direct  orders and  the                                                            
   question of liability for nurses providing emergency care.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
             SB 333-IF UNREAS. AGENCY DELAY, COURT DECIDES                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS announced that Version  A of SB 333  was before the                                                            
   committee.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR GENE  THERRIAULT, sponsor  of SB 333,  told members  this                                                            
   legislation  is  the  third  piece  of  a  package  of  bills  he                                                            
   introduced   that   makes   changes   to   the   regulatory   and                                                            
   administrative hearings  process.  SB  203 reforms  the  internal                                                            
   administrative process  with  a  central  panel concept;  SB  287                                                            
   provides for legislative input  into the regulatory  process; and                                                            
   SB 333 allows a person to take an administrative  hearing case to                                                            
   the superior court if he or she feels caught in an endless loop.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR THERRIAULT explained that SB 333 provides  a safety valve                                                            
   in the administrative  process. Under current  law, a  person has                                                            
   no access to the court  system until he or she  has exhausted the                                                            
   administrative process.  However,  it is  possible  that a  final                                                            
   decision may never be reached  in that process. People  caught in                                                            
   that process often feel that  delays are an attempt  to wear them                                                            
   down. SB 333  establishes an  extraction option  by allowing  the                                                            
   court to  intervene. It  will provide  an  incentive to  finalize                                                            
   administrative  hearings   and  leave   the   integrity  of   the                                                            
   administrative process intact;  however, it changes  the dynamics                                                            
   by putting hearing officers on notice.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   MR.  DAVE  STANCLIFF,  staff  to  the  Administrative  Regulation                                                            
   Review Committee  (ARRC), informed  members that  this reform  is                                                            
   based in part  on testimony  heard on  SB 203.  People said  they                                                            
   have  been  stuck  in  the  administrative  hearing  process  for                                                            
   growing  periods  of  time  while  costs  accrue  to  both  state                                                            
   government and the  private sector. The  principle behind  SB 333                                                            
   is similar to the  120-day legislative session limit  so applying                                                            
   a time limit on the  executive branch does not chart  new ground.                                                            
   In addition,  the  judicial  review  process under  AS  44.62.300                                                            
   allows a petitioner to find that a regulation  is invalid. SB 333                                                            
   gives the court wide discretion  to determine whether or  not the                                                            
   petitioner is making a  valid argument that  he or she  no longer                                                            
   has the financial  resources  and will be  damaged without  quick                                                            
   finality to a decision.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   MR.  STANCLIFF  said  he  worked  with  one   of  Senator  Ogan's                                                            
   constituents who came  to Senator  Ogan saying  he needed  to get                                                            
   his case into  court. He  said people often  feel they  are being                                                            
   denied  due  process  because   of  the  expense  and   time  the                                                            
   administrative hearing process  takes. SB  333 will provide  some                                                            
   assurance for  people with  fewer  resources. He  noted that  the                                                            
   cost to  the  private  sector  is  3  times  the  cost  to  state                                                            
   government so SB 333 will provide a  stable, predictable business                                                            
   climate.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
   8:40 a.m.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR OGAN asked if  SB 333 could  act as a "stand  alone" bill                                                            
   even though it is part of a package.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   MR. STANCLIFF said  SB 333 could  have been incorporated  into SB
   203 but  the sponsor  and those  involved  with the  negotiations                                                            
   felt this matter should stand independently.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR THERRIAULT clarified that  the language on page  2, lines                                                            
   5-12, contains  the conditions  that must be  satisfied before  a                                                            
   person can ask for  court intervention. SB  333 does not  allow a                                                            
   shortcut; the  petitioner  must  have  satisfied  all  procedural                                                            
   requirements and  show that  further delay  will cause  financial                                                            
   harm.  The  court  must  then  determine  that   the  agency  has                                                            
   unreasonably delayed the process.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR OGAN expressed concern  that "unreasonably delayed"  is a                                                            
   subjective term.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR FRENCH asked  how long  a typical administrative  hearing                                                            
   takes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   MR. STANCLIFF  said  the length  of  time  varies a  great  deal,                                                            
   depending on the complexity  of the matter, the agency  and which                                                            
   rules apply  under the  Administrative Procedures  Act (APA).  He                                                            
   thought that a sufficient track record has  been established from                                                            
   which the court  can make a  determination. He also  thought that                                                            
   the timelines that will come into play with SB  203 will help the                                                            
   court decide  whether an  agency has  been timely.  He noted  the                                                            
   court could  establish  a  time  certain for  resolution  by  the                                                            
   agency or decide to take it  up. He said a number  of people have                                                            
   been stuck  in the  administrative  hearing process  for over  10                                                            
   years, and a  fair number over  5 years, according  to statistics                                                            
   gathered by the  ARRC. Nothing  requires an  agency to  resolve a                                                            
   matter in  finality within  a certain  timeframe.  The number  of                                                            
   times an  agency can  ask for  information is  unlimited, and  an                                                            
   agency  can  continually   remand  decisions   within  areas   of                                                            
   expertise. He said  if a  person has expert  legal advice,  he or                                                            
   she will  not approach  the  court without  a  solid history  and                                                            
   track record of the case.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR FRENCH  said he  heard two  answers: that  the court  can                                                            
   look at a track record and that there is no  way to tell. He said                                                            
   if a  track  record exists,  he  would like  to  see  a copy.  He                                                            
   pointed out that  a court  does not  do research  on its own;  it                                                            
   asks for evidence and whoever brings the  best evidence wins. The                                                            
   petitioner will have to convince  the court that an  agency delay                                                            
   is unreasonable so  it will fall  on the petitioner  to determine                                                            
   the average  length of cases.  He sees  that as  onerous for  the                                                            
   petitioner and asked  Mr. Stancliff if  he has done  any research                                                            
   in that area that would give the court some guidelines.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   MR. STANCLIFF said he asked the senior law  judge of Colorado the                                                            
   longest  amount  of  time   a  person  should  be  held   in  the                                                            
   administrative hearing process. He said 180 days.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS  maintained that  the courts  interpret words  like                                                            
   "egregious" or  "frivolous" regularly  so he  does not believe  a                                                            
   judge  would   have   difficulty  determining   an   unreasonable                                                            
   timeframe. He said he believes  SB 333 will provide  an incentive                                                            
   to agencies to make sure their practices  are defensible in front                                                            
   of a judge.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR OGAN said  the Regulatory Commission  of Alaska  (RCA) is                                                            
   one  of  the  more  controversial  agencies  with  administrative                                                            
   hearing powers, especially in  regard to the  telephone industry.                                                            
   That  industry  is  one   of  the  fastest   changing,  regarding                                                            
   technology and services.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
   TAPE 04-8, SIDE B                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   He said by  the time the  telephone companies  get a  ruling, the                                                            
   industry has morphed to  a whole new  dynamic and the  ruling may                                                            
   be a moot  point. He  asked if SB  333 affects  the RCA  and will                                                            
   motivate it to issue decisions in a timelier manner.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   MR. STANDCLIFF indicated SB  333 touches the RCA and  every other                                                            
   regulatory body in the state.  He said SB 333 can  save the state                                                            
   and private sector an incalculable  amount of money but  its main                                                            
   purpose is  to provide  a better  way  for the  government to  do                                                            
   business and to  balance the power  of the executive  branch with                                                            
   the legislative and judicial branches.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR FRENCH asked if the administrative  hearing process would                                                            
   continue while the court  makes its determination or  whether the                                                            
   proceeding would  be automatically  stayed upon  an action  being                                                            
   filed in court.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   MR. STANCLIFF said  SB 333 is  silent on that  issue. He  said he                                                            
   believes the agency would be  able to continue and  that it might                                                            
   entice the  agency  to wrap  a  case up  rapidly  to avoid  court                                                            
   action.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR THERRIAULT said he would want  the administrative process                                                            
   to continue. He stated:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
        ...The fact  that  you  are  availing yourself  of  the                                                                 
        ability to  go to  court may  [indisc.]  the agency  to                                                                 
        wrap things  up. They  may realize  that their  actions                                                                 
        have  been  egregious   and  rather  than   suffer  the                                                                 
        embarrassment of  going  to court  and  being told  so,                                                                 
        they'll wrap  things up.  What we're trying  to get  to                                                                 
        here is  the final  decision  so I  wouldn't want  this                                                                 
        process  to  prevent  you  from  getting   to  a  final                                                                 
        decision. It's not  like a court  case, I  don't think,                                                                 
        where  you   feel   something   has   been   determined                                                                 
        incorrectly and  you  want to  stay  the whole  process                                                                 
        while you  get that  question  answered necessarily  on                                                                 
        appeal. So, unless  Senator French  has some reason  to                                                                 
        do otherwise, I  think letting  the process forward  is                                                                 
        probably the correct thing to do.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR FRENCH referred to  the language on page 2,  lines 24-28,                                                            
   and said it implies that the administrative  proceeding is stayed                                                            
   because it  says  if  the court  decides  that  a person  is  not                                                            
   eligible for  judicial  relief,  the  agency shall  continue  the                                                            
   proceeding. He argued that direction would be  unnecessary if the                                                            
   proceeding was allowed to continue simultaneously.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR  THERRIAULT   thought   that   language   needs   further                                                            
   clarification and  said  he  does  not  want a  court  filing  to                                                            
   automatically stop the administrative proceeding.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR OGAN  asked if the  court could  remand the  case to  the                                                            
   agency.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
   MR. STANCLIFF explained  that the language  on page 2,  lines 15-                                                            
   22, gives  the  court  wide discretionary  authority.  The  court                                                            
   could enjoin  the administrative  proceeding,  which suggests  to                                                            
   him  that  until  it  does  so,  the   proceeding  continues.  He                                                            
   suggested getting an interpretation from the legal drafter.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS agreed.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR FRENCH asked if the  bill contains a limit  on the number                                                            
   of  times  a  person  can   go  to  court  and   claim  that  the                                                            
   administrative proceeding is taking too long.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   MR. STANCLIFF said it does not.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR  SEEKINS  announced   the  committee   would  take   public                                                            
   testimony.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   MR. DOUG WOOLIVER, Administrative Attorney,  Alaska Court System,                                                            
   said as is the court's typical practice, it  takes no position on                                                            
   SB  333.  He   said  the   Alaska  Court   System  submitted   an                                                            
   indeterminate fiscal note because  it does not have a  good sense                                                            
   of how many cases  will be filed.  He explained that in  order to                                                            
   move out of the  administrative setting into the  superior court,                                                            
   the petitioner must  allege the  agency is unreasonably  delaying                                                            
   the process and the delay is causing  significant and irreparable                                                            
   harm. The  petitioner would  file  a petition  but  the court  is                                                            
   unlikely to rule  without considering  the agency's rebuttal  and                                                            
   holding a hearing  to decide whether  the delay  is unreasonable.                                                            
   He said it  is entirely  likely that the  court system  will only                                                            
   see a  handful  of cases,  particularly  in  light of  the  other                                                            
   proposed reforms. He  added that  if the administrative  hearings                                                            
   were not stayed when a  motion is filed, SB 333  would spur quick                                                            
   agency action. He  noted, however, that  a significant  number of                                                            
   people within the  administrative process  will feel  the process                                                            
   is unreasonably delayed.  He said many  hundreds of cases  may be                                                            
   pending before the  regulatory agencies and  only a  small number                                                            
   of those could have a  big impact on the court  system. The court                                                            
   system does not have a clear idea of whether  this option will be                                                            
   used judiciously. He said  he is putting the  court's uncertainty                                                            
   on the record in case it is necessary to  request relief from the                                                            
   legislature next year.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR  SEEKINS   asked   how  the   court   would  determine   an                                                            
   "unreasonable" delay.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   MR. WOOLIVER said that  determination would be  fact-specific and                                                            
   made on a  case-by-case basis.  It may depend  on how  many times                                                            
   the agency asks  for information, whether  the issue  is seasonal                                                            
   and could vary by industry.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS  asked how  long it  might  take for  the court  to                                                            
   create guidelines for future cases.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
   MR. WOOLIVER said  that is possible  to some extent  but superior                                                            
   court cases are not precedent  setting. He said attorneys  who do                                                            
   a lot  of  work in  this  area  would start  to  get  a sense  of                                                            
   timeliness  but  attorneys  will  not   necessarily  present  the                                                            
   petitioners.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR THERRIAULT  believed  the expense  of  taking  a case  to                                                            
   court would keep a lot  of cases without merit from  being filed.                                                            
   He then  said  the purpose  behind  the central  hearing  officer                                                            
   panel is to create a more efficient system.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR FRENCH asked Mr. Wooliver if he sees  any right of appeal                                                            
   from a superior court's determination to the supreme court.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   MR. WOOLIVER said a person always has one right  of appeal to the                                                            
   supreme court, except criminal cases or an appellate case.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS asked  if the regulatory  agency is more  likely to                                                            
   appeal a decision.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   MR. WOOLIVER said he believes so.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked  Mr.  Wooliver  to comment  on  Senator                                                            
   French's question about the  number of times a person  could file                                                            
   a petition  and whether  he believes  the bill  should contain  a                                                            
   cap.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   MR. WOOLIVER said that is  the legislature's call. He  imagined a                                                            
   first appeal might not be meritorious but a  second one could be.                                                            
   He noted the  court has  rules to  deal with frequent  litigants.                                                            
   The court can  require a  person to  jump through specific  hoops                                                            
   before filing another claim.  He said the  court tends to  have a                                                            
   high tolerance at first but then shuts the door.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   The committee took a 5-minute recess.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   MR.  DAN  HOUGHTON,   Alaska  Regional  Hospital,   recounted  an                                                            
   administrative hearing  procedure the  hospital was involved  in.                                                            
   The  hospital  appealed  its  1991  [Medicaid]  rate  setting.  A                                                            
   hearing officer heard the  appeal in March  of 1997 and  issued a                                                            
   favorable decision on  May 26, 2000.  The decision  was submitted                                                            
   to Commissioner Livey, who issued his final  decision in April of                                                            
   2001, which reversed the  hearing officer's decision.  The Alaska                                                            
   Regional Hospital then  appealed to  superior court,  which ruled                                                            
   favorably.  However,  that   decision  was   then  sent   to  the                                                            
   commissioner's office, and the  hospital awaits an  oral argument                                                            
   with a hearing officer.   He stated  support for SB 333  and said                                                            
   had the  Alaska Regional  Hospital had  the ability  to take  its                                                            
   case to  superior  court  earlier,  the agency  would  have  been                                                            
   motivated to move  the case forward  and both parties  would have                                                            
   saved time and effort.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR SEEKINS announced that with no further  testimony, he would                                                            
   hold SB 333 in committee.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                        SB 217-GENETIC PRIVACY                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT  moved to  adopt Version I  of SB  217 as                                                            
   the working document before the committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   CHAIR  SEEKINS  announced  that  without   objection  the  motion                                                            
   carried.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR OGAN  asked for  an explanation  of the  changes made  in                                                            
   Version I.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   SENATOR DONNY  OLSON, sponsor  of SB 217,  informed members  that                                                            
   three changes were made in Version I:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
         · A letter of intent replaces the legislative findings                                                                 
        section in the bill                                                                                                     
      · Language that required researchers to get informed consent                                                              
        to use DNA information for research purposes was deleted,                                                               
        because researchers already have such requirements                                                                      
      · The definition of "DNA analysis" was refined to eliminate                                                               
        other tests outside of the parameters of genetic studies,                                                               
        for example a family history.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON added, "We also have protection for the DNA analysis under                                                        
Section 3 to make sure that the intent is still there under the genetic                                                         
characteristics."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked if this bill protects the privacy of one's DNA                                                              
analysis, not of one's family history.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON replied:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The DNA specific is what we're trying to go ahead and protect.                                                             
     The integrity of that is the main reason for this legislation.                                                             
     What comes out as far as  predisposition for other diseases and                                                            
     other problems  that you can get  through other means,  such as                                                            
     taking a family history and going  and taking some of the other                                                            
     blood tests, CBC  for sickle cell anemia and  things like that,                                                            
     is not part of what's in here.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON said  there are two polarized opinions: one  from those who                                                       
support  protection rights  and the  other from  the insurance  industry.                                                       
Version I is  his best effort to  accommodate those views and  tackle the                                                       
main  issues. He  pointed out  this legislation  is a  starting point  so                                                       
problems that surface in the future can be dealt with then.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked if anything in  this bill would preclude someone from                                                       
using a DNA analysis to contradict family history.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON said that is correct;  SB 217 only gives an individual full                                                       
control of his DNA information to  prevent exploitation. Although the DNA                                                       
analysis  is the  property of  the  individual, the  bill contains  three                                                       
exceptions:  for criminal identification,  paternity  disputes and  for a                                                       
medical necessity.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
With no  further questions for Senator  Olson, CHAIR SEEKINS  took public                                                       
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBBIE MEYER,  an attorney for the American Council  of Life Insurers                                                       
(ACLI), a national trade association  that represents about 70 percent of                                                       
the life insurance  businesses nationwide, said the ACLI  is committed to                                                       
the  principle  of   genetic  privacy  but  it  has   concerns  with  the                                                       
legislation.  Life  insurance companies  are  obligated  to keep  medical                                                       
information confidential. However, life  insurers need to obtain, retain,                                                       
use and cautiously  share consumers' personal information  to perform the                                                       
very insurance functions that consumers  purchase. The ACLI is opposed to                                                       
SB 217 in its current form and urges  that it be amended to exclude life,                                                       
disability, and long-term care insurers.  The ACLI is concerned that this                                                       
bill  could  unintentionally  interfere  or  jeopardize  its  ability  to                                                       
perform  critical business  functions,  such as  underwriting and  paying                                                       
claims.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEYER  said insurance companies are  unique in that they  are already                                                       
subject to a host of federal and  state privacy laws and regulations that                                                       
govern  an insurer's  ability to  obtain, maintain  and disclose  genetic                                                       
information.  In  addition, Alaska's  Division  of  Insurance is  in  the                                                       
process of adopting  a privacy regulation that will  govern all insurers'                                                       
ability  to disclose  medical information.  It will  require insurers  to                                                       
develop extensive security programs to  protect the integrity of customer                                                       
information.  Meanwhile,  insurers  are  already  subject  to  a  federal                                                       
privacy  bill and, most  importantly,  all insurers'  ability to get  any                                                       
medical information  is subject to  the Health Insurance  Portability and                                                       
Accountability Act (HIPAA). She cautioned  that the exceptions are not as                                                       
clear as they  need to be with  respect to retaining DNA  samples. SB 217                                                       
does not distinguish  between the requirements applicable  to DNA samples                                                       
versus  the results  of DNA  analyses.  That gives  rise to  a number  of                                                       
ambiguities with respect to insurers'  obligations. The ACLI is concerned                                                       
about  the requirement  of specific  consent  because if  anyone has  the                                                       
right  to revoke  an  insurers' ability  to  retain medical  information,                                                       
insurers'  will  not  be  able  to  continue  to  underwrite  or  pay  an                                                       
individual's claims. The  ACLI feels the consumer's  privacy with respect                                                       
to life  insurance or long-term care  insurance is addressed  by existing                                                       
federal  law and the  new Division  of Insurance  regulations. She  again                                                       
asked that life, disability and long-term  care insurers be exempted from                                                       
the legislation.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked if insurers sell medical information.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEYER said they do not.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked if all ACLI members can access each others files.                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEYER  said ACLI has 400  members so she  could not say, but  if they                                                       
do, it is contrary to ACLI policy and federal law.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked how those companies  can share information  if doing                                                       
so is against the law.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEYER said the HIPAA privacy rule  and another federal law require an                                                       
individual's consent  unless the information  is being shared  to perform                                                       
business  operations,  for law  enforcement  purposes or  other  specific                                                       
purposes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-9, SIDE A                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEYER  added the new regulations  of the Division of  Insurance track                                                       
the federal laws.  3AAC 26.680 contains specific  provisions with respect                                                       
to disclosure of medical information.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  if ACLI believes this bill is not  just a redundancy                                                       
of other laws but breaks new ground.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEYER said  she believes  it  breaks new  ground unintentionally  by                                                       
virtue of the fact that it requires  specific consent to get a DNA sample                                                       
or  perform a  DNA test.  What ACLI  finds troublesome  is the  revocable                                                       
consent  to retain  and  disclose the  information  without any  business                                                       
exceptions. She  repeated that privacy  protections are already  in place                                                       
because insurers are subject to other laws.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:55 a.m.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. JENNIFER RUDINGER,  Executive Director of the  Alaska Civil Liberties                                                       
Union (AkCLU),  told members the  AkCLU is opposed  to Version I  for the                                                       
following reasons.  First, in order  to protect an  individual's privacy,                                                       
the   bill  must   contain  a   comprehensive   definition  of   "genetic                                                       
characteristic" or  "genetic information." The AkLCU presented  a written                                                       
recommendation for  that definition  in a letter  to the  committee dated                                                       
February  24.  The definition  in  the  bill  is  so narrow,  just  about                                                       
everything would be  covered in the exceptions. Routine  diagnostic tests                                                       
should  require informed  consent  from  the subject  before  the DNA  is                                                       
collected,  used, distributed  or  disclosed.  The exemption  means  that                                                       
informed  consent  for  genetic  testing   or  retaining  information  is                                                       
unnecessary if the  genetic information is discovered in the  course of a                                                       
common diagnostic procedure.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. RUDINGER said  the AkCLU believes the bill must  include some "teeth"                                                       
to prevent  employers and  insurers from  collecting genetic  information                                                       
and  discriminating against  individuals,  with  certain exceptions.  The                                                       
AkCLU maintains  that DNA information  is a constitutional  privacy right                                                       
rather than a property right. A privacy  right is supreme over a property                                                       
right. She  believes calling human  material property creates  a slippery                                                       
slope. She noted  the definition of "person" includes  a corporate entity                                                       
but  does not  speak to  a government  agency, which  the AkCLU  believes                                                       
should also  be liable  for improper  disclosure of genetic  information.                                                       
The  AkCLU  also believes  the  law  enforcement exemption  should  allow                                                       
collection  of genetic information  only for  those activities  allowable                                                       
under Alaska state law.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN asked Ms. Rudinger:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Some  of your  comments  concern  me. These  ethical  questions                                                            
     oppose  themselves  repeatedly  in various  contexts,  such  as                                                            
     whether people  should be  able to buy  and sell  human organs,                                                            
     fetuses, babies, etcetera.  Of course babies are a  person so -                                                            
     but I guess it's a little bit  undefined whether or not they're                                                            
     a person  in the womb  and I guess there's  a little bit  of an                                                            
     oxymoron there with some of your  positions on those issues but                                                            
     are  you talking  about babies  inside or outside  the womb?  I                                                            
     mean obviously you can't sell a baby - that's slavery but....                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. RUDINGER replied:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     ...Senator  Ogan, we're  talking  about  human material.  We're                                                            
     talking  about  people,  human   beings,  we're  talking  about                                                            
     fetuses, we're talking  about DNA in the context  of this bill.                                                            
     We're talking about human genetic material.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. RUDINGER said  the question involves a philosophical  discussion that                                                       
may  be outside  the scope  of the  bill. She  noted the  bill refers  to                                                       
genetic information  as a property  right. She said  Roe v. Wade  was not                                                       
decided  on   the  basis  of   property  rights,   it  was  based   on  a                                                       
constitutional privacy right. She said  a constitutional right would give                                                       
this matter the highest level of protection.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked about blood.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. RUDINGER said  people sell blood,  eggs and sperm and the  AkCLU sees                                                       
that as  a slippery slope that  presents a difficult policy  question for                                                       
the legislature.  She said  the AkCLU is  concerned about  human material                                                       
being considered as  property that can be bought and sold  because of the                                                       
fear that  poor people  could be  induced or  coerced into  selling their                                                       
genetic material.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said  he believes the definition of DNA  analysis is clear                                                       
in the bill. He asked if a cholesterol  test could be considered as a DNA                                                       
analysis.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON replied:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     To  a certain  degree, we  need to  be careful  here because  a                                                            
     cholesterol test obviously is one  thing that gives you certain                                                            
     information. Even  though cholesterol  itself, if you  think of                                                            
     it biochemically,  is just an  alcohol that's got  some sterols                                                            
     related to  it, but there is  the lipoproteins that  are actual                                                            
     carriers of the body fats and  so when you start thinking about                                                            
     high density  lipoproteins, low  density lipoproteins,  the LDL                                                            
     [indisc.] low  density of  proteins, you  start getting  into a                                                            
     complicated  detail there  that's certainly  not the intent  of                                                            
     this bill.  But you  are correct that  in the  purest, simplest                                                            
     form, a cholesterol test is not included.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked if his doctor runs  a cholesterol test and gives him                                                       
the results, the  doctor would only be  in trouble under this  bill if he                                                       
used that blood to test for genetic characteristics.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON said that is correct.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said  that chromosomal tests are routine  for certain birth                                                       
defects. He asked if those tests would be prohibited under SB 217.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON  said not  at all.  He said the  intent of  the bill  is to                                                       
require informed consent to do any genetic testing.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Senator Olson if  he intended to  include government                                                       
agencies in the definition of "person."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON answered:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I wrote the  bill, Mr. Chairman, and obviously there  is a fair                                                            
     amount of  tension between  the previous  testimony as  well as                                                            
     the  testimony  we just  heard.  The  bill  is intended  to  be                                                            
     exactly the  way it is right now  because of what's going  on -                                                            
     the tension  that's there,  there has  to be  a fair  amount of                                                            
     give and take. There are details  on one side that one wants to                                                            
     go into, details that the other  side really wants to get into,                                                            
     but this is the best-crafted bill we have so far.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said  he was trying to determine whether  Senator Olson was                                                       
looking at "the entire universe and not  trying to split it, of people or                                                       
entities that  could collect  this information  and possibly  disseminate                                                       
it." He  asked if  Senator Olson  does not  intend to include  government                                                       
agencies into that net.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON said that is correct.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if the  bill applies  to any DNA  test required                                                       
under the criminal statutes.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON said  that is correct. The three exceptions  in the bill on                                                       
page  2 pertain  to  law enforcement,  medical  necessity, and  paternity                                                       
determination.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS announced  that he would  hold SB 217 in committee  so that                                                       
further questions  could be  answered. He then  adjourned the  meeting at                                                       
10:06 a.m.                                                                                                                      

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