Legislature(1997 - 1998)
04/15/1997 04:55 PM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE April 15, 1997 4:55 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Lyda Green, Chairman Senator Jerry Ward, Vice-Chairman Senator Jerry Mackie MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Mike Miller Senator Jim Duncan COMMITTEE CALENDAR CONFIRMATION HEARINGS ON GOVERNOR APPOINTEES TO BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS: State Commission for Human Rights; Commission on Judicial Conduct; Alaska Labor Relations Agency; Personnel Board; Alaska Public Office Commission; Assessment Review Board; and Alaska Public Defender HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 16 Relating to a federal balanced budget amendment. - MOVED HJR 16 OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 76 "An Act relating to long-term plans of certain state agencies and recommendations regarding elimination of duplication in state agency functions." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT TAKEN UP SENATE BILL NO. 88 "An Act relating to the Board of Public Accountancy; extending the termination date of the Board of Public Accountancy; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED SB 88 OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 89 "An Act relating to regulation of barbers and hairdressers; extending the termination date of the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED SB 89 OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 90 "An Act relating to dental licensing; extending the termination date of the Board of Dental Examiners; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED SB 90 OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 91 "An Act relating to the regulation of physical therapists and physical therapy assistants; extending the termination date of the State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED CSSB 91(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 103 "An Act relating to hearings before and authorizing fees for the State Commission for Human Rights; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED CSSB 103(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 116 "An Act relating to welfare to work tax credits under the Alaska Net Income Tax Act; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED SB 116 OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 9 Declaring June 1 - 7, 1997, to be Alaska Garden Week. - MOVED SCR 9 OUT OF COMMITTEE PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HJR 16 - No previous action to record. SB 76 - No previous action to record. SB 88 - See Labor and Commerce Committee minutes dated 3/6/97. SB 89 - See Labor and Commerce Committee minutes dated 3/25/97. SB 90 - See Labor and Commerce Committee minutes dated 3/18/97 and 4/3/97. SB 91 - See Labor and Commerce Committee minutes dated 3/18/97. SB 103 - No previous action to record. SB 116 - See Senate State Affairs Committee minutes dated 3/25/97 and 3/27/97. SCR 9 - No previous action to record. WITNESS REGISTER Representative Al Vezey State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of HJR 16 Catherine Reardon, Director Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Commerce & Economic Development P.O. Box 110809 Juneau, AK 99811-0809 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on SB 89 & SB 90 Scott Crowther 1726 Bellevue Loop Anchorage, AK 99515 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 90 Dr. Dennis Anderson 17638 Kahiltna Drive Eagle River, AK 99577 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 90 Annette Kreitzer, Staff to Senate Labor & Commerce Committee State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Suggested amendment to SB 91 Paula Haley, Executive Director Alaska State Commission for Human Rights 800 A St., Suite 204 Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 103 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 97-20, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN GREEN called the Senate State Affairs Committee to order at 4:55 p.m. and stated the first order of business would be the confirmation hearings on Governor Knowles' appointees to boards and commissions. There being no testimony or questions on the nominees, she requested a motion, adding that she had some questions on the appointment of Richard Heacock to the State Commission on Human Rights but that she would address that separately in a letter or a phone call. SENATOR WARD moved the names of the following appointees be forwarded to a joint session for consideration: State Commission for Human Rights: Martha L. Gore, Kathy Wistof, Richard Heacock Commission on Judicial Conduct: Dianne I. Brown, Ethel Staton Alaska Labor Relations Agency: Robert A. Doyle, Blair Schad Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Board of Trustees: John Pugh Personnel Board: Katie T. Hurley Alaska Public Offices commission: Joyce Michaelson Assessment Review Board: Rick Stovarsky Alaska Public Defender: Barbara Brink Hearing no objection, CHAIRMAN GREEN stated the motion carried, and clarified that the committee members' signatures on the report do not necessarily indicate endorsement of the appointees. Number 030 HJR 16 SUPPORT FEDERAL BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT CHAIRMAN GREEN brought HJR 16 before the committee as the next order of business. REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY, prime sponsor of HJR 16, explained the resolution encourages and commends Alaska's congressional delegation for supporting a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. SENATOR MACKIE moved HJR 16 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. SB 88 BOARD OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SB 88 before the committee, and there being no testimony on the legislation, she requested a motion to move SB 88 out of committee. SENATOR MACKIE moved SB 88 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. SB 89 BARBERS AND HAIRDRESSERS CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SB 89 before the committee as the next order of business. CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce & Economic Development, voiced the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers' support for the language change made in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee relating to cosmetologists. SENATOR MACKIE pointed out that the Labor & Commerce Committee also changed the sunset dates from "2003" to "2001" on all pieces of legislation relating to boards that were before the committee. There being no further testimony on SB 89, CHAIRMAN GREEN requested a motion on the legislation. SENATOR MACKIE moved SB 89 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. SB 90 DENTISTS: LICENSING & EXTEND EXAMINING BD CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SB 90 before the committee as the next order of business. Number 080 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce & Economic Development, voiced the department's support for extending the sunset date of the Board of Dentistry. However, she said the board has concerns with Sections 4 and 5 relating to amalgam fillings and does not support those two sections. Number 097 SCOTT CROWTHER, testifying from Anchorage, stated he was testifying on SB 90 because he is a dental amalgam victim. He said the purpose of Sections 4 and 5 are to remove the dental amalgam issue from the public arena into the professional area where he believes it belongs. He pointed out Colorado has recently adopted a similar statute and several other states are working on the same issue. European countries and Canada have taken steps to phase out and ban the dental amalgam because of existing scientific documents on the damage that it does to the human body. Sections 4 and 5 will allow the dentist to inform the patient of the toxic insult being received from the amalgam, and, if the patient desires, the dentist can remove the amalgam and not have to be working with the threat of board review as is the current situation. Number 134 DR. DENNIS L. ANDERSON, an Eagle River dentist testifying from Anchorage, stated he has been practicing dentistry in Alaska for over 20 years. He has served on the Board of Dental Examiners for five years, part of which time he served as its chairman. He said he was trained in dental school to believe that the mercury in the amalgam was retained in the filling and stayed there. However, new technology showed that the mercury vapor actually came out of the amalgam fillings. Animal studies documented that the mercury came out of the fillings and went to the major organs in the body. After working around mercury for over 20 years he started having neurological problems, which he found out were the result of working with mercury all those years. He thinks dentists are in a position where they can help people who may be experiencing problems because of mercury toxicity, which is in the best interest of their patients. Number 187 CHAIRMAN GREEN commented that SB 90 provides that the board may not impose a disciplinary sanction on a dentist based solely on the grounds that the dentist removed, replaced or recommended removal or replacement of a professionally recognized restorative material, etc., so the legislation is not related specifically to amalgam. CATHERINE REARDON said the dental board's basic concern is not about choosing to put in the composite plastic fillings or the metal fillings into new or old cavities. The concern appears to be that some people who have metal fillings in their mouth that are not broken or defective in any way might be told by a naturopath or another health practitioner that they need to go and have them all taken out and replaced with the composite plastic fillings. The board is concerned about exaggerated claims relating to health benefits in having the metal filling removed. The board is concerned that in some cases people could be lead into expensive treatment that won't help them and that they may not need, and they would not want to be prohibited from the possibility of disciplining a dentist who was taking out peoples' existing metal fillings. Number 245 There being no further testimony on SB 90, SENATOR MACKIE moved SB 90 and the accompanying zero fiscal note be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 250 SB 91 PHYSICAL THERAPY AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SB 91 before the committee as the next order of business. ANNETTE KREITZER, staff to the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee, stated that when CSSB 91(L&C) moved out of that committee, the drafter did not catch a technical change that needed to be made to a reference in AS 08.84.065. She suggested amending the bill by inserting a new Section 4 to correct the omission. SENATOR MACKIE moved the following amendment to CSSB 91(L&C): Page 3, line 28: Insert a new Section 4 to read as follows: *Sec. 4. AS 08.84.065(a) is amended to read: (a) The board may issue a nonrenewable temporary permit to an applicant for licensure by acceptance of credentials or by examination who (1) meets the requirements of (A) AS 08.84.030(a)(1) or (b)(1); or (B) AS 08.84.032(a)(2) and (4) or (b)(2) and (4) [(b)(2) AND (3)]; and (2) pays the required fee. Renumber following sections accordingly. Hearing no objection, CHAIRMAN GREEN stated the amendment was adopted and would be incorporated in a State Affairs CS. SENATOR MACKIE moved CSSB 91(STA) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 280 SB 103 HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FEES & HEARINGS CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SB 103 before the committee as the next order of business. PAULA HALEY, Executive Director, Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, testifying from Anchorage on SB 103, stated the legislation is part of their agency's response to the increased demand for services for the public in the wake of diminishing resources. She pointed out that during the past 15 years complaints of discrimination filed with the commission have nearly tripled, while during the same time frame, the agency lost 35 percent of its staff. Due to the extraordinary increase in filings of complaints their case inventory has increased to an all time high. To better face this increased workload, the commission has reviewed and revised procedures, amended its regulations, proposing further amendments, as well as proposing this legislation. Ms. Haley explained SB 103 will allow for both cost-saving measures and the authority to charge fees for certain services. Any fees generated and, most importantly, the money saved from the holding the hearings at the commission's office and not transcribing each hearing will be used towards the investigation and enforcement of the human rights law. The money will allow the agency to use temporary staff in the processing of investigations, pay for overtime and possibly will allow them to schedule more hearings so there is not delay at that end of the process. In closing, Ms. Haley urged the committee's support for passage of SB 103. Number 309 SENATOR MACKIE noted correspondence had been received from the Alaska Native Brotherhood relating to their concern that there may be individuals who do not have the resources to post a fee, and he asked Ms. Haley if these individuals would be denied services if they were unable to post the fee. MS. HALEY responded that the same concern was raised in the House in hearings on HB 155 so the word "educational" was added in front of the words "services, information and materials". She added that the genius of this particular bill originated from the fact that one of the commission's roles is to eliminate discrimination, not only from enforcement but through prevention education, so the commission is not so much concerned about filing fees. SENATOR MACKIE moved the following amendment to SB 103: Amendment No. 1 Page 1, line 12: Between the words "for" and "services" insert "educational" Hearing no objection to the amendment, CHAIRMAN GREEN stated the amendment was adopted and would be incorporated into a State Affairs CS. SENATOR MACKIE moved CSSB 103(STA) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 355 SB 116 WELFARE TO WORK TAX CREDITS CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SB 116 back before the committee. There being no additional testimony on the legislation, she asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR MACKIE moved SB 116 and the accompanying fiscal note be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. SCR 9 ALASKA GARDEN WEEK CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SCR 9 before the committee as the final order of business. SENATOR MACKIE moved SCR 9 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, CHAIRMAN GREEN adjourned the meeting at 5:20 p.m.