Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/19/1993 09:22 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                 SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                
                         April 19, 1993                                        
                            9:22 a.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Senator Loren Leman, Chairman                                                
  Senator Mike Miller, Vice Chairman                                           
  Senator Robin Taylor                                                         
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  Senator Jim Duncan                                                           
  Senator Johnny Ellis                                                         
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 235(FIN)                                               
  "An Act relating  to educational  programs and services  for                 
  children  with disabilities  and other  exceptional children                 
  and  to  persons  with  a  handicap;  and  providing  for an                 
  effective date."                                                             
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
  HB 235 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/14/93.                            
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  Myra Howe, Director of Special Education                                     
  Chris Niemi, Special Education Division                                      
  Department of Education                                                      
  801 W. 10th St., Duite 200                                                   
  Juneau, AK 99801                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on HB 235                           
  Marc Grober                                                                  
  Nenana, AK                                                                   
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke against amendments to HB 235                      
  Bud Martin                                                                   
  Ketchikan School District                                                    
  Pouch Z                                                                      
  Ketchikan, AK 99901                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 235                                     
  Portia Babcock, Staff to Senate State Affairs                                
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on amendments                       
                       to HB 235                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-29, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
  The meeting of the Senate State Affairs Committee was called                 
  to order by Chairman Loren Leman at 9:22 a.m.                                
  SENATOR LEMAN  brought  CSHB 235(FIN)  (SPECIAL EDUCATION  &                 
  RELATED SERVICES) before  the committee as the only order of                 
  business.   He  noted  Anchorage, Fairbanks,  Ketchikan  and                 
  Nenana  would  be  participating  in  the  meeting  via  the                 
  teleconference network.     He  then invited  Myra Howe  and                 
  Chris  Niemi of  the  Department of  Education  to join  the                 
  committee at the table.                                                      
  Number 040                                                                   
  SENATOR   LEMAN   directed   attention   to  four   proposed                 
  Amendment  No.  1 is  a  conceptual amendment  providing the                 
  right to counsel for indigent parents.                                       
  Amendment No. 2 provides that  children in nonpublic schools                 
  have the right to the services, but they are not required to                 
  receive those services.                                                      
  Amendment  No.  3  relates  to   hearing  officers  and  the                 
  methodology  for  preparing a  list  and maintaining  it and                 
  Number 060                                                                   
  MYRA  HOWE,   Director  of  Special   Education,  addressing                 
  subsection (i) in  Amendment No.  3, related that  currently                 
  the department  doesn't have  an examination.   They hire  a                 
  national trainer from Washington, D.C.  who does two days of                 
  training.    They  have  maintained  a  list of  12  hearing                 
  officers, which  they do  by taking  applications, and  when                 
  they have  completed the training, they are considered to be                 
  qualified to serve as hearing officers.                                      
  CHRIS NIEMI added  that currently, the hearing  officers are                 
  located in Southeast  Alaska, Fairbanks and Anchorage.   She                 
  outlined the  process for training  these hearing  officers,                 
  saying it  does involve  considerable cost  to the  state to                 
  train hearing  officers.   She added  that in  the last  ten                 
  years, the department has had two training sessions.                         
  SENATOR LEMAN suggested  changing the amendment to  say that                 
  the department shall qualify  hearing officers by completion                 
  of training  which shall  be open  to all  residents of  the                 
  state, and  this qualification  for a period  not to  exceed                 
  five  years.   He  said this  would  be consistent  with the                 
  department's current practice.                                               
  MYRA HOWE referred  to the  second part of  Amendment No.  3                 
  which provides that the costs for an appeal will be paid for                 
  by  the school  district, and  she related  that the  appeal                 
  currently is paid for the Department  of Education.  SENATOR                 
  LEMAN suggested staying with the current policy.                             
  MS HOWE also pointed out that in the State of Missouri, they                 
  set a certain number  of choices for a hearing  officer that                 
  the district and  the parent  can agree on.   She  suggested                 
  limiting it to three choices.  CHRIS NIEMI suggested  saying                 
  that the parent and the district would need to agree to  one                 
  of  the  first  three  of  the available  hearing  officers,                 
  because occasionally someone will not be available.                          
  Number 220                                                                   
  SENATOR  LEMAN  directed attention  to  Amendment #4,  which                 
  relates  to  selecting a  person  to conduct  an independent                 
  evaluation.  MYRA  HOWE clarified the  process they have  in                 
  place  right  now.   The  way  the amendment  reads,  she is                 
  concerned  about  the costs  it  is  going to  incur  to the                 
  districts to fly  all over getting  evaluations if there  is                 
  someone  closer by who is equally  qualified.  She suggested                 
  limiting it  by changing  the language to  provide that  the                 
  person must be  someone mutually agreed  to by the  district                 
  and the parent.                                                              
  Number 258                                                                   
  MARC GROBER, testifying from  Nenana, spoke against changing                 
  the amendment, saying there should not  be any limitation to                 
  any list because  he thinks the  districts have done a  poor                 
  job  in  maintaining  the statutorily  mandated  lists.   He                 
  suggested leaving the amendment in its current form.                         
  Number 325                                                                   
  MARC GROBER stated  he has a  problem with Amendment No.  1,                 
  saying  it  doesn't  resolve the  immediate  concern  that a                 
  parent needs counsel  when the  issues first arise,  because                 
  having   a  review  on  a  record   that  is  incomplete  or                 
  inappropriate  is not going  to help anybody.   He suggested                 
  that to make it work, to afford the indigent parents counsel                 
  at the hearing level, or instead  of having a shadow process                 
  to use the real court system for the initial hearing.  VINCE                 
  BERRY, Department of Education, said his fear that it  could                 
  possibly  create endless  involvements  on relatively  minor                 
  issues.   He noted  that over the past  ten years there have                 
  only been 12 to 14 cases.                                                    
  Number 353                                                                   
  BUD  MARTIN,  Ketchikan  School  District,  testifying  from                 
  Ketchikan, said he thought the whole  purpose of this was to                 
  get parents and the school district together to try and work                 
  out a solution, as opposed to  hiring two attorneys going at                 
  each other.  MARC GROBER countered  that by the time the due                 
  process  hearing  is  requested,  that  kind  of  "lets  get                 
  together and resolve  the problem" scenario has  not worked.                 
  He added  that if there have been only  12 cases in the last                 
  ten years, there shouldn't be a  whole lot of money that  is                 
  Number 398                                                                   
  SENATOR  MILLER   moved  the   adoption  of  the   following                 
  conceptual Amendment No. 1:                                                  
  "Conceptual" Amendment:  Make clear in statute that indigent                 
  parents have the right to state appointed counsel during the                 
  court appellate review  process if the parents  appeal under                 
  AS 14.30.193(g)                                                              
  Hearing no objection, Amendment No. 1 was adopted.                           
  Number 400                                                                   
  SENATOR MILLER moved the adoption of the following Amendment                 
  No. 2:                                                                       
  Page l, line 12:  Add a new Section 2 to read:                               
       AS 14.30.186 is amended to read:                                        
            (e)  nonpublic  school children have the  right to                 
  public agency services under AS 14.30.180 - AS 14.30.350.  A                 
  parent who  elects to educate  their exceptional child  in a                 
  nonpublic   education   program   in  accordance   with   AS                 
  14.30.010(b) shall not be compelled to receive srvices under                 
  AS 14.30.180 - AS 14.30.350.                                                 
  Hearing no objection, Amendment No 2 was adopted.                            
  Number 405                                                                   
  SENATOR MILLER moved the adoption  of a conceptual Amendment                 
  No. 3.                                                                       
  PORTIA BABCOCK, staff to the  Senate State Affairs Committee                 
  outlined a conceptual Amendment No. 3 as follows:                            
  Page 3, line 16:  Add new subsections to read:                               
       (h)  The department shall maintain  a list of qualified                 
  hearing  officers.   The  department shall  qualify  hearing                 
  officers  through a training program, which shall be open to                 
  all  residents  of  the  state  and  shall  qualify  hearing                 
  officers for  a period not  to exceed five years.   The list                 
  shall be maintained as public record.                                        
       (i)  The parent involved in the hearing must consent in                 
  writing  to  the hearing  officer  selected among  the first                 
  three hearing officers considered.                                           
  Hearing no  objection, the  conceptual Amendment  No. 3  was                 
  Number 422                                                                   
  SENATOR MILLER moved the adoption of the following Amendment                 
  No. 4:                                                                       
  Page  4,  line  8:    Following  "to  obtain an  independent                 
  evaluation"  insert "by a person of the parent's choosing or                 
  by agreement between the parent and school district."                        
  Page 4, line 27:   Following "who receives services"  insert                 
  "or whose parent requests services"                                          
  Page 5,  line 16:   Following "to teach  the child  at home"                 
  insert "in accordance with AS 14.30.010(b)"                                  
  Hearing no objection, Amendment No. 4 was  adopted.                          
  There being no  further discussion on HB  235, SENATOR LEMAN                 
  asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                     
  Number 425                                                                   
  SENATOR MILLER moved that SCS CSHB  235(STA), as amended, be                 
  passed  out of  committee  with individual  recommendations.                 
  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                                     
  There  being  no   further  business  to  come   before  the                 
  committee, the meeting was adjourned at 10:04 a.m.                           

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