Legislature(2007 - 2008)BELTZ 211

02/28/2008 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 113 NURSING MOTHERS IN WORKPLACE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ SB 258 PAID SICK LEAVE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
+= SB 160 MANDATORY UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
= SB 147 WORKERS' COMP EMPLOYER LIABILITY
Moved SB 147 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                        
                       February 28, 2008                                                                                        
                           1:32 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Johnny Ellis, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Gary Stevens, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
Senator Con Bunde                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 258                                                                                                             
"An Act establishing requirements  and limitations related to the                                                               
payment of sick leave by  certain employers; and providing for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 147                                                                                                             
"An Act clarifying when a  project owner or general contractor is                                                               
considered  an employer  for  purposes  of workers'  compensation                                                               
exclusive liability."                                                                                                           
     MOVED SB 147 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 113                                                                                                             
"An  Act  relating to  break  times  for  employees who  nurse  a                                                               
child."                                                                                                                         
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 160                                                                                                             
"An  Act establishing  an Alaska  health care  program to  ensure                                                               
insurance  coverage   for  essential  health  services   for  all                                                               
residents  of  the state;  establishing  the  Alaska Health  Care                                                               
Board  to  define  essential health  care  services,  to  certify                                                               
health care  plans that provide  essential health  care services,                                                               
and to administer  the Alaska health care program  and the Alaska                                                               
health   care  fund;   establishing   the   Alaska  health   care                                                               
clearinghouse to administer the  Alaska health care program under                                                               
the  direction  of the  Alaska  Health  Care Board;  establishing                                                               
eligibility  standards and  premium assistance  for persons  with                                                               
low income;  establishing standards  for accountable  health care                                                               
plans; creating the Alaska health care fund; providing for                                                                      
review of actions and reporting requirements related to the                                                                     
health care program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                      
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 258                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PAID SICK LEAVE                                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/01/08       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/01/08       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
02/28/08       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 147                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: WORKERS' COMP EMPLOYER LIABILITY                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) FRENCH                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
03/28/07       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/28/07       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
01/17/08       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
01/17/08       (S)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
01/22/08       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
01/22/08       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/22/08       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
01/25/08       (S)       L&C AT 3:00 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
01/25/08       (S)       -- Rescheduled from 01/24/08 --                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 113                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NURSING MOTHERS IN WORKPLACE                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) ELLIS                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
03/12/07       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/12/07       (S)       L&C, HES                                                                                               
02/28/08       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 160                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MANDATORY UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) FRENCH                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
04/23/07       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/23/07       (S)       HES, L&C, FIN                                                                                          
09/10/07       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM Anch LIO Conf Rm                                                                        
09/10/07       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
09/10/07       (S)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
01/30/08       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
01/30/08       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/30/08       (S)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
02/18/08       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/18/08       (S)       Moved CSSB 160(HES) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/18/08       (S)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
02/19/08       (S)       HES RPT CS  3DP 1DNP  NEW TITLE                                                                        
02/19/08       (S)       DP: DAVIS, THOMAS, ELTON                                                                               
02/19/08       (S)       DNP: DYSON                                                                                             
02/26/08       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/26/08       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/26/08       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/28/08       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
STEVE CLEARY, Executive Director                                                                                                
Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG)                                                                                  
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 258.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MARIE DARLIN                                                                                                                    
AARP                                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 258.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH                                                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 147 and SB 160.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK CUNNINGHAM                                                                                                              
Legislative intern to Senator Ellis                                                                                             
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented sponsor statement on SB 113.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DANA KENT, Coordinator                                                                                                          
Clinic Operations and State WIC Breastfeeding                                                                                   
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 113.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
STEPHANIE BIRCH, Chief                                                                                                          
Section of Women, Children and Family Health                                                                                    
Division of Public Health (DPH)                                                                                                 
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 113.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SARAH GROSSHUESCH, Public Health Educator                                                                                       
Department of Health and Human Services                                                                                         
Municipality of Anchorage                                                                                                       
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 113.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CATHERINE TAPEY, President                                                                                                      
Alaska Breastfeeding Coalition                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 113.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN HENNON, Coordinator                                                                                                       
Women, Infants and Children's Program                                                                                           
Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC)                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 113.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DEBI BALLAM, Lactation Consultant                                                                                               
Bartlett Regional Hospital                                                                                                      
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 113.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEGH BARNETT, representing herself                                                                                              
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 113 and SB 160.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SARAH FERRENCY, Teacher                                                                                                         
Sitka Alternative Highs School                                                                                                  
Sitka, AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 113.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
NICKI NEAL, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Personnel                                                                                                           
Department of Administration (DOA)                                                                                              
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: No position on SB 113.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEADRA HALL, representing herself                                                                                               
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 113.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
GREG LIGHT, representing himself                                                                                                
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 113.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MARIE DARLIN                                                                                                                    
Capital City Task Force                                                                                                         
AARP                                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 160.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KATIE SAUNDERS, representing herself                                                                                            
Copper Center, AK                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 160.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MARILYNN RUSSEL, representing herself                                                                                           
Fairbanks, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 160.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SUE JOHNSON, representing herself                                                                                               
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 160.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. BUTLER, Chief Medical Officer                                                                                               
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on SB 160.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR JOHNNY ELLIS called the  Senate Labor and Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at 1:32:55  PM. Present at the call to                                                             
order were Senators Bunde, Davis and Ellis.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                     SB 258-PAID SICK LEAVE                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:34:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ELLIS announced SB 258 to be up for consideration.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS joined the committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
STEVE   CLEARY,  Executive   Director,  Alaska   Public  Interest                                                               
Research Group (AKPIRG), supported SB  258. He said everyone gets                                                               
sick, but not  everyone can afford to miss work  and to take care                                                               
of themselves  or their  family. That  is why  more than  a dozen                                                               
states are addressing  the need for paid sick days.  He said that                                                               
only  60  percent  of  workers  in Alaska  have  paid  sick  days                                                               
according to  data from  U.S. Bureau  of Labor  statistics; other                                                               
states  hover  around  50 percent.  This  leaves  almost  120,000                                                               
Alaskan workers without a sickness  policy. Low-wage workers have                                                               
the least access  to paid sick days with only  27 percent covered                                                               
and  certain industries  have exceptionally  poor  paid sick  day                                                               
policies such as restaurants at  14 percent. A person serving you                                                               
your meal  potentially at a  restaurant may be compelled  to come                                                               
to work sick exposing you to their illness.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A  modest plan  insuring  a  minimum paid  sick  day standard  in                                                               
Alaska would save  over $9 per worker per  week. This calculation                                                               
came from reduced  turn over, lower productivity  losses for sick                                                               
workers on the job, avoiding  something like a short-term nursing                                                               
home stay  and a  healthier workforce  in general.  He said  if a                                                               
sick  worker has  to  send  his sick  child  to  school and  that                                                               
illness spreads  around the  school, it can  have quite  a ripple                                                               
effect and cost economically.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He said SB 258  will guarantee a worker a modest  one hour a week                                                               
of paid  sick leave  if their employer  does not  already provide                                                               
it. It  can be  for themselves  or their  family. It  also allows                                                               
employees to  be away from work  because he/she is the  victim of                                                               
sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking crime.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLEARY said research shows  that paid sick leave is essential                                                               
for most  workers. It shows if  employees who are unable  to take                                                               
time  off  for routine  health  care  visits  often end  up  with                                                               
serious  illnesses that  force  them to  miss  longer periods  of                                                               
work.  Research  also   shows  that  going  to   work  while  ill                                                               
(presenteeism) actually  results in greater loss  of productivity                                                               
than the combined  cost of the employees' absence  and health and                                                               
disability benefits. Also,  when employees do not  have paid time                                                               
off,  they may  lose their  jobs in  extreme cases  which require                                                               
employers to  hire and train new  staff and incur costs  that are                                                               
required with turn over.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ELLIS  asked what  is  going  on in  other  industrialized                                                               
countries and other states.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLEARY replied  that 13  other states  are considering  this                                                               
along with the District of Columbia.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARIE  DARLIN said  she would  let  her letter  stand for  AARP's                                                               
position in support of SB 258.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ELLIS announced the bill would be held for further work.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
            SB 147-WORKERS' COMP EMPLOYER LIABILITY                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ELLIS announced SB 147 to be up for consideration.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH,  sponsor of  SB 147, recapped  that this  bill is                                                               
about rectifying  an imbalance in  the workers'  compensation law                                                               
with respect  to the ability of  injured workers at a  work place                                                               
to bring  a lawsuit against a  person that injured them.  The way                                                               
the  law works  now, if  you're  a subcontractor,  you can  never                                                               
bring a lawsuit against a  project owner because of the inclusion                                                               
of   the  words   "potentially  liable   for"  in   the  workers'                                                               
compensation  statutes. Removing  that phrase  would restore  the                                                               
balance to the way it was before  - "if you have a policy, you're                                                               
protected, if you don't have a policy, you're not protected."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:44:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DAVIS  moved  to  report  SB  147  from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BUNDE  objected  saying  that   it  puts  owners  in  an                                                               
untenable  position.  They  can't get  workers'  compensation  to                                                               
protect  themselves from  subcontractor employees.  If they  were                                                               
able to  get it that  would make some sense.  It will add  to the                                                               
cost of  doing business in  Alaska and "I  think we have  far too                                                               
many of those."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken. Senators  Davis, Stevens  and Ellis                                                               
voted  yea;  Senator  Bunde  voted  nay; so  SB  147  moved  from                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
              SB 113-NURSING MOTHERS IN WORKPLACE                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:46:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ELLIS announced SB 113 to be up for consideration.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK CUNNINGHAM, legislative intern  to Senator Ellis, sponsor                                                               
of SB 113,  said in February of this year  Governor Palin created                                                               
a planning  counsel to  develop strategies  to respond  to health                                                               
care issues in Alaska. It  provided seven policy recommendations;                                                               
the policy  given the highest  priority was a  recommendation for                                                               
personal  responsibility and  prevention in  health care.  SB 113                                                               
responds to these priorities.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He said  the current  statute that was  passed in  1998 prohibits                                                               
municipalities  from  enacting  an ordinance  that  prohibits  or                                                               
restricts  a woman  who is  breastfeeding  a child  in public  or                                                               
private  locations  where  the  woman  and  child  are  otherwise                                                               
authorized to  be. He said  39 states including Alaska  have laws                                                               
allowing women to  breast feed in any public  or private location                                                               
as  of 2008;  14 additional  states have  gone forward  with laws                                                               
relating to  breastfeeding in  the workplace.  He noted  that the                                                               
Pacific states other than Alaska had enacted law.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
The  United  States  Breastfeeding   Committee's  mission  is  to                                                               
improve  the  nation's  health   by  working  collaboratively  to                                                               
protect,  promote and  support breastfeeding.  It  has 40  member                                                               
organizations that  have done a  lot of research in  this regard.                                                               
They found  that breastfeeding provides  numerous well-documented                                                               
health benefits  to infants  and mothers;  they are  the greatest                                                               
when  human milk  is the  baby's primary  food for  at least  the                                                               
first six months of life. A year is even better.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. CUNNINGHAM  said studies indicate breastfed  babies have less                                                               
frequent and severe  infectious illness, less at  risk for death,                                                               
meningitis,    childhood   cancers,    diabetes,   obesity    and                                                               
developmental delay.  For the nursing  mother there is  a reduced                                                               
risk  for   breast  cancer,  ovarian  cancer   and  osteoporosis.                                                               
Developing  children  have   demonstrated  higher  IQs,  improved                                                               
reading  comprehension,   mathematical  and   scholastic  ability                                                               
during the school years.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He said  demographics show that  mothers are the  fastest growing                                                               
segment  of the  U.S. labor  force. Approximately  70 percent  of                                                               
employed  mothers with  children  younger than  three years  work                                                               
full  time; one-third  of  these mothers  return  to work  within                                                               
three  months  after  birth  and  two-thirds  return  within  six                                                               
months. Mothers who work outside  the home initiate breastfeeding                                                               
at  the same  rate  as  mothers who  stay  at  home; however  the                                                               
breastfeeding rate  declines substantially in mothers  who return                                                               
to work. This  results in a shorter duration  of breastfeeding of                                                               
children.  In 2000  -  2003,  42 percent  of  Alaskan mothers  of                                                               
newborns  reported  they  were currently  in  school  or  working                                                               
outside of their  home. Of the mothers  who stopped breastfeeding                                                               
their infants  22 percent  reported that one  reason they  did so                                                               
was because they were returning to work or school.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. CUNNINGHAM said a study  in two California corporations found                                                               
twice as  many absences  related to a  sick baby  among employees                                                               
who did not breastfeed compared  with those who did. Among babies                                                               
who  were  never  sick,  88 percent  were  breastfed.  Among  the                                                               
breastfed  mothers  there  was  less  employee  turnover,  faster                                                               
return from  maternity leave, less employee  absenteeism, reduced                                                               
overtime  or   temporary  worker  costs,  lower   utilization  of                                                               
employee  health  care  benefits, improved  employee  morale  and                                                               
loyalty, improved image of the  company as being family-friendly,                                                               
improved  recruiting  for  personnel and  improved  retention  of                                                               
employees after child birth.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:53:14 PM                                                                                                                    
He said the trend in  employment legislation seems to be evolving                                                               
with a combination  of these approaches: specifying that  it is a                                                               
discriminatory practice to  stop a woman from  expressing milk or                                                               
breastfeeding  on her  breaks or  to treat  her differently  from                                                               
other   employees  because   she   is  breastfeeding,   requiring                                                               
employers to provide  sufficient break time to express  milk in a                                                               
private sanitary  place and providing  mothers with a  remedy for                                                               
violation of the  law from civil penalties and fines  to award of                                                               
attorney fees.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Some of  the minimum conditions  to support breastfeeding  in the                                                               
workplace are: allow a 20 -  30 minute break for both morning and                                                               
afternoon for  mother to  nurse her infant  or express  her milk,                                                               
providing a private clean area,  providing a safe, clean and cool                                                               
place to store  expressed milk, having a clean  safe water source                                                               
and sink nearby for washing hands and equipment.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CUNNINGHAM  said SB  113  has  three components.  First  the                                                               
employer shall provide  reasonable unpaid break time  each day to                                                               
nursing  mothers,  the break  time  run  concurrently with  other                                                               
break times  and must occur  at times that reasonably  insure the                                                               
health  and  comfort  of  the  mother and  child  and  allow  the                                                               
employee  to maintain  breast  milk supply  and  lastly it  says,                                                               
unless to do so would create  a substantial undue hardship on the                                                               
employer, he  shall provide a  private, secure and  sanitary room                                                               
or other location in close proximity  to the work area other than                                                               
a toilet stall for expressing milk or breastfeeding.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:55:02 PM                                                                                                                    
The  bill has  two definitions,  one  for employer  that means  a                                                               
corporation,    company,    partnership,    firm,    association,                                                               
organization  or  sole proprietor  including  the  state and  any                                                               
political subdivision  of the state. "Undue  hardship" is defined                                                               
as  an   action  that  unreasonably  difficult   or  costly  when                                                               
considered in  relation to  factors like  the size  and financial                                                               
resources of  the business  and the nature  and structure  of its                                                               
operation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:55:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BUNDE asked how it provides  for a mother who chooses not                                                               
to breast  feed, but who would  want the opportunity to  feed her                                                               
infant.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. CUNNINGHAM replied that was a good suggestion.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:56:13 PM                                                                                                                    
DANA  KENT,   Clinic  Operations  and  State   WIC  Breastfeeding                                                               
Coordinator,  Department of  Health and  Social Services  (DHSS),                                                               
supported SB 113.  She said she has been working  with the Women,                                                               
Infants and Children  Program for about 20 years in  the State of                                                               
Alaska and  has a lot  of experience with breastfeeding  moms and                                                               
babies.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. KENT  stated that it's clear  that breast milk is  a superior                                                               
way  to  feed  a  baby  over formula.  Returning  to  work  makes                                                               
maintaining  milk  supply  difficult.  Obstacles  are  inflexible                                                               
break times  and not having a  private place to nurse  or express                                                               
milk. She  concurred with  Mr. Cunningham's  list of  benefits to                                                               
breast  feeding  and added  less  sudden  infant death  syndrome,                                                               
allergies,  asthma, diabetes,  respiratory  illness and  disease,                                                               
Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis  and, particularly in Alaska,                                                               
childhood  overweight  and  obesity. Breastfeeding  is  good  for                                                               
mothers in terms of reducing risk of cancers and lupus.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:00:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ELLIS  recounted that  one of  the remaining  challenges is                                                               
that it  is more of a  burden on some businesses  than others. He                                                               
asked if she  could work with employers to  find those reasonable                                                               
accommodations to  educate employers about the  benefits to their                                                               
bottom line of  making this possible for employees if  the law so                                                               
requires.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. KENT replied  that the administration didn't  have a position                                                               
on this bill yet and that she  was looking at the benefits from a                                                               
health and social services perspectives.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:01:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked  if this might require a  business to allow                                                               
a  mother to  bring her  child to  the workplace  and to  provide                                                               
facilities for children in their business.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:02:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. KENT replied  that someone with more knowledge  of the intent                                                               
of the bill could better answer that.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
STEPHANIE  BIRCH, Chief,  Section of  Women, Children  and Family                                                               
Health,  Division of  Public Health  (DPH), Department  of Health                                                               
and Social Services  (DHSS) supported SB 113 and  the comments of                                                               
previous speakers.  She said the American  Academy of Pediatrics,                                                               
the  American College  of  Obstetricians  and Gynecologists,  the                                                               
American  Academy  of  Family  Practitioners,  the  World  Health                                                               
Organization and  the United Nation's Children's  Fund along with                                                               
many  other organizations  recommend exclusive  breastfeeding for                                                               
the first  six months of  life and continued  breastfeeding along                                                               
with appropriate  supplemental foods until  12 or more  months of                                                               
age.  Women with  infants and  toddlers are  the fastest  growing                                                               
segment of  today's workforce and  more than 50 percent  of women                                                               
who are working  when they become pregnant return to  work by the                                                               
time their infant is only 8  - 12 weeks old. Employers save money                                                               
because  of lower  absenteeism, parents  with breastfed  children                                                               
have fewer  days of  work because  their children  are healthier.                                                               
Health care  costs are lower  for breastfed babies;  they require                                                               
fewer sick care visits, prescriptions and hospitalizations.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
For every 1,000  babies who are never breastfed,  there are 2,033                                                               
excess office visits, 212 excess  days of hospitalization and 609                                                               
excess prescriptions  that are written.  This is documented  in a                                                               
study  done  by  the  Oregon   Department  of  Health  and  Human                                                               
Services. In  2001 the U.S.  Department of  Agriculture estimated                                                               
that a minimum  of $3.6 billion would be saved  if the prevalence                                                               
of exclusive  breastfeeding increased  from the current  rates to                                                               
those recommended by the surgeon  general. Other studies estimate                                                               
a societal cost savings $250 - $840 per year per child.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BIRCH  also concurred  that  breastfeeding  is a  protective                                                               
factor of SIDs  which is an especially serious  problem in Alaska                                                               
where  its rate  was reported  to be  1.5 times  higher than  the                                                               
nation's for 2000 - 2002.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ELLIS said  that the health benefits  of breastfeeding have                                                               
been  established  on   the  record  and  he   hasn't  heard  any                                                               
disagreement on that and that  drafters did not intend to require                                                               
child care on the premises.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:07:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SARAH GROSSHUESCH,  Public Health Educator, Department  of Health                                                               
and Human Services, Municipality  of Anchorage, supported SB 113.                                                               
She  explained the  Municipality of  Anchorage WIC  program is  a                                                               
strong advocate  for breastfeeding  and the  ability for  moms to                                                               
pump at work is a major  concern that is constantly brought up by                                                               
clients when they are returning to  work. A woman must pump every                                                               
2-3 hours  preferably in  a private space,  not the  bathroom and                                                               
for 15-20 minutes. In addition,  she said, the mayor's task force                                                               
on  obesity and  health identified  three key  areas that  impact                                                               
obesity  in  the community  -  physical  activity, nutrition  and                                                               
built    environment.    Encouraging   employers    to    support                                                               
breastfeeding employees  with adequate  break time and  a private                                                               
space to  express milk  is a strategy  identified by  the 10-year                                                               
plan to improve nutrition in the workplace.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:10:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CATHERINE  TAPEY,  President,   Alaska  Breastfeeding  Coalition,                                                               
supported SB 113. She supported all the previous testimony.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:11:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SUSAN  HENNON,   Coordinator,  Women,  Infants   and  Children's'                                                               
Program,  Southeast Alaska  Regional Health  Consortium (SEARHC),                                                               
said one of the most rewarding  aspects of her job is helping the                                                               
women she  serves be successful  in their  breastfeeding efforts.                                                               
Her comments agreed with previous speakers in support of SB 113.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:15:19 PM                                                                                                                    
She  said  SEARHC  established a  breastfeeding  policy  in  2006                                                               
because  they understood  they  couldn't  encourage employers  to                                                               
allow their employers time to  breastfeed or express milk without                                                               
implementing such  a policy themselves. Their  policy goes beyond                                                               
the scope  of SB 113  by providing paid  time in which  to either                                                               
breastfeed on  site or to  express the  milk. She put  together a                                                               
packet  for the  committee to  use  as a  guide for  implementing                                                               
similar policies. This is an exception  to the no children in the                                                               
workforce policy. They have  successfully implemented this policy                                                               
for two  years. She encouraged  the State  of Alaska to  take the                                                               
lead as well and pass SB 113 without delay.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:18:10 PM                                                                                                                    
DEBI  BALLAM, Lactation  Consultant, Bartlett  Regional Hospital,                                                               
said she runs a new parent support  group. One of the women in it                                                               
worked at  the University  and had  to express  milk in  a toilet                                                               
stall  and she  said "That  is untenable."  They should  think of                                                               
things as risks of not being  breastfeed - not benefits. It's not                                                               
that your  IQ is  higher because  you are  breastfed; your  IQ is                                                               
lower  because you  were not  breastfed.  They need  to think  of                                                               
breastfeeding as the  norm. She said women need to  return to the                                                               
workforce in  the U.S. and  here in Alaska especially  because of                                                               
the high cost of  living and they need to be  supported to do so.                                                               
She said  all the public  health agencies support the  work force                                                               
supporting breastfeeding.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ELLIS  asked if  business groups have  come around  on this                                                               
subject.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BALLAM  answered  SEARHC has  and  while  Bartlett  Regional                                                               
Hospital doesn't have  a policy in place, it supports  all of the                                                               
employees  by providing  break time  and a  place for  mothers to                                                               
express milk  or feed the baby.  They are not advocating  a place                                                               
on site.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:20:47 PM                                                                                                                    
MEGH BARNETT, representing herself, Anchorage, supported SB 113.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SARAH FERRENCY,  Teacher, Sitka  Alternative Highs  School, asked                                                               
if political subdivisions include  local governments and schools.                                                               
She had an experience about five  years ago where a student had a                                                               
baby and had a very supportive  partner who brought the baby into                                                               
nurse.  The school's  policy really  didn't  accommodate her  and                                                               
ultimately she was forced to  choose between nursing her baby and                                                               
completing  her education  and she  chose nursing  her baby.  Her                                                               
child is  a brilliant  kindergartener now.  She sacrificed  a lot                                                               
and she shouldn't have had to.  She is a successful employee, but                                                               
didn't get her high school diploma.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FERRENCY  said  the  state should  also  consider  that  her                                                               
daughter had  a friend who  chose to  stay on welfare  instead of                                                               
going back  to work so that  she would be able  to breastfeed her                                                               
child  because she  knew that  was the  best thing  for him.  She                                                               
could have been a working parent during that time.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Another friend wasn't able to express  her milk and a good friend                                                               
brought her baby  in so she was able with  a flexible employer to                                                               
nurse her  baby. Finally  she wanted to  see guidelines  for what                                                               
constitutes "reasonable"  because 20 minutes  twice a day  is not                                                               
enough to  keep up  a milk  supply if  you have  a two  month old                                                               
baby.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:23:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ELLIS asked if  it's common for a mother not  to be able to                                                               
express the milk.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. FERRENCY replied she didn't know.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:24:19 PM                                                                                                                    
NICKI  NEAL,  Director,  Division  of  Personnel,  Department  of                                                               
Administration  (DOA), didn't  have a  position on  this bill  at                                                               
this time, but wanted clarification  on what is meant by "private                                                               
and  secure." Currently,  she  said, the  State  of Alaska  makes                                                               
every  effort to  accommodate  women who  breastfeed  or need  to                                                               
express milk - sometimes letting them use a conference room.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:25:29 PM                                                                                                                    
DEADRA HALL, representing herself, said  she is a State of Alaska                                                               
employee, a  member of the  ASEA and a breastfeeding  mother; she                                                               
supported SB  113. She  related that  she has  a lot  of problems                                                               
because she  is trying to supply  milk to her child  and her milk                                                               
production has  gone down  since she has  returned to  work. Most                                                               
bathrooms don't  have plug-ins  and you  need electricity  to run                                                               
the pump along with privacy to use it.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:27:06 PM                                                                                                                    
GREG LIGHT,  representing himself, said  he supported SB  113. As                                                               
an office  manager he  has two  nursing mothers.  He is  lucky to                                                               
have  an  empty office  that  he  is  allowing  them to  use  for                                                               
expressing milk  and it  has improved their  morale and  he knows                                                               
they came  back earlier  from maternity  leave because  they were                                                               
going to be able to do that.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:28:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BUNDE  said  he  thought  the  zero  fiscal  notes  were                                                               
inaccurate and that there would be  a cost to the state to create                                                               
places for this to happen.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ELLIS  said the  bill has  a further  referral to  the HESS                                                               
committee where some of the health issues would be covered.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS said  he thought the committee  needed to address                                                               
the issue  of children in  the workplace  and make it  very clear                                                               
they are not  talking about changing any rules on  no children in                                                               
the work place.  Second, he wanted to know if  they would have to                                                               
provide  facilities in  any political  subdivisions of  the state                                                               
including high schools.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ELLIS said they wanted the  issues up front and held SB 113                                                               
for further consideration.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
             SB 160-MANDATORY UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:30:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ELLIS announced SB 160 to be up for consideration.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH,  sponsor of  SB  160,  said his  comments  would                                                               
center  on  the  employer contribution,  questions  that  Senator                                                               
Bunde had earlier.  He said the employer provisions  are there to                                                               
make  sure everyone  contributes something  to health  insurance.                                                               
For businesses with  zero to 10 full time  employees the employer                                                               
levy is nothing; for 20 or  more employees the levy is 2 percent.                                                               
There are  three ways to  get around the levy;  one is to  pay 33                                                               
percent  of the  premium  costs  for your  employees,  two is  to                                                               
enroll  25 percent  of your  employees in  an employer  sponsored                                                               
plan  and three,  establish a  Section 125  plan (about  $300 per                                                               
employee).                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  said the chart  before them compares the  levy as                                                               
it's  proposed  in  SB 160  with  California,  Massachusetts  and                                                               
Vermont  by income  levels. It  indicates that  California has  a                                                               
much steeper  levy that  goes from  1 -  6.5 percent  of payroll.                                                               
Massachusetts and  Vermont crafted compromises with  the business                                                               
community and decided on one standard  fee so they didn't have to                                                               
quibble  about  what the  income  was  and  what the  numbers  of                                                               
employees were. If you don't  provide health insurance at the job                                                               
site in Massachusetts the cost is a flat $295.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He said SB 160 would not  fix the Medicare crisis or the problems                                                               
brought on by  the low reimbursement rates.  It doesn't establish                                                               
a single payer plan like socialized  medicine which it is not. He                                                               
emphasized:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Frankly, this  is a right-wing  solution to  the health                                                                    
     care problem that's been  crafted by conservative think                                                                    
     tanks and has been  adopted by Massachusetts and proved                                                                    
     to enroll more  people in insurance and  I think that's                                                                    
     the break through the country  has been waiting for for                                                                    
     some time.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH   said  this  legislation  doesn't   address  the                                                               
shortness  of  doctors in  the  state;  but  it will  reduce  the                                                               
unspoken  financial  penalty  everyone with  insurance  pays  for                                                               
people who don't have it.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:36:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  what  impact this  would  have on  Alaska                                                               
Native health care  system which affects about 20  percent of the                                                               
population.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH replied  this system will not  supplant the Native                                                               
health  care system.  Language on  page  6 allows  any Native  to                                                               
participate if  they want  to; it lists  individuals who  are not                                                               
mandated to participate.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:38:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MARIE DARLIN,  Capital City Task  Force, AARP, supported  SB 160.                                                               
She  said  access to  health  care  is important.  Those  without                                                               
health care  delay treatment  so it  is more  costly in  the long                                                               
run.  Some  of the  questions  they  have,  however, are  who  is                                                               
covered,  how  comprehensive  the  coverage  is,  if  SB  160  is                                                               
efficient  and  practical and  will  it  result in  fairness  and                                                               
equity.  Another  concern was  how  much  choice does  it  really                                                               
permits.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:41:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MEGH BARNETT, representing herself, supported SB 160.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:42:00 PM                                                                                                                    
KATIE SAUNDERS,  representing herself,  said she lives  in Copper                                                               
Center and goes to school in  Anchorage and that she supported SB                                                               
160.  Prevention is  the best  way  to approach  health care  she                                                               
said.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:42:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MARILYNN  RUSSEL,   representing  herself,  said  she   lives  in                                                               
Fairbanks  and  supported SB  160.  She  is uncomfortable  around                                                               
people who don't have coverage.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:43:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SUE JOHNSON,  representing herself,  said she lives  in Anchorage                                                               
and supported SB 160.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:44:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked Dr. Butler  about how this would affect the                                                               
Native  Health Service.  He knows  when  a Native  goes to  their                                                               
health care facility the first  payer is their personal insurance                                                               
and  then if  they don't  have it  he assumed  the Native  health                                                               
service picked it up. If SB  160 passed would that make the state                                                               
become  the  first   payer  and  would  the   state  actually  be                                                               
supplanting  federal  dollars  in   health  care  costs.  He  was                                                               
concerned  about  the  loss  of funding  to  Native  health  care                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BUTLER,  Chief Medical  Officer,  Department  of Health  and                                                               
Social Services (DHSS), responded that  while he wasn't an expert                                                               
on  Indian  health  coverage, he  could  contribute  that  Alaska                                                               
Natives have  a poorer health  status than non-Natives  living in                                                               
the  state.  A  recent  analysis  of  the  effects  of  universal                                                               
coverage in  Taiwan, 10  years before and  10 years  after, found                                                               
the people  with poorest  levels of  health increased  their life                                                               
expectancy after  universal health  care became  available. There                                                               
was some diminution  in the disparities between  the groups. This                                                               
raises  the  question  of  whether   or  not  more  access  could                                                               
potentially address the disparity question.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE commented that the  parallel might be with Medicare                                                               
where no one wants to take you  with Medicare; so you end up with                                                               
a health care system you can't use. He didn't know if that would                                                                
work the same way with the Native health care system or not.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:48:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ELLIS said SB 160 would be held for further work and                                                                      
adjourned the meeting at 2:49:12 PM.                                                                                          

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