Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

04/12/2005 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SCR 8 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Moved CSSB 152(STA) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 12, 2005                                                                                         
                           3:39 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Gene Therriault, Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Thomas Wagoner, Vice Chair                                                                                              
Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                         
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 152                                                                                                             
"An Act  making a  special appropriation for  a survey  to review                                                               
pay differentials; and providing for an effective date."                                                                        
     MOVED CSSB 152(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 8                                                                                              
Encouraging the Regulatory Commission  of Alaska expeditiously to                                                               
complete  its  investigation  of  the Cook  Inlet  Gas  Gathering                                                               
     MOVED SCR 8 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 95(RLS) am                                                                                                
"An Act  relating to the duties  of the Department of  Health and                                                               
Social  Services as  those duties  pertain to  public health  and                                                               
public  health emergencies  and  disasters;  relating to  medical                                                               
treatment,   information,  isolation   and  quarantine   for  the                                                               
prevention  and   management  of  conditions  of   public  health                                                               
importance; relating to duties of  the public defender and office                                                               
of  public  advocacy  regarding  public  health  emergencies  and                                                               
disasters; relating to liability  for actions arising from public                                                               
health procedures; making conforming  amendments; relating to the                                                               
treatment and  transportation of  dead bodies; amending  Rules 4,                                                               
7, 8,  38, 40, 65, 72,  and 77, Alaska Rules  of Civil Procedure;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 152                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: APPROP: COST-OF-LIVING SURVEY                                                                                      
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) WAGONER                                                                                                  
03/24/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/24/05       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
03/31/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/31/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/31/05       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
BILL: SCR  8                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: COOK INLET GAS GATHERING SYSTEM COMPLAINT                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): RESOURCES                                                                                                           
04/06/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/06/05       (S)       STA, RES                                                                                               
04/12/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
BILL: HB  95                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTERS/EMERGENCIES                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
01/21/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/05       (H)       HES, JUD                                                                                               
02/10/05       (H)       HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/10/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 95(HES) Out of Committee                                                                    
02/10/05       (H)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
02/11/05       (H)       HES RPT CS(HES) NT 2DP 2NR 1AM                                                                         
02/11/05       (H)       DP: CISSNA, WILSON;                                                                                    
02/11/05       (H)       NR: GARDNER, ANDERSON;                                                                                 
02/11/05       (H)       AM: KOHRING                                                                                            
03/04/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/04/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/04/05       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/07/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/07/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 95(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                    
03/07/05       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/09/05       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) NT 1DP 6NR                                                                             
03/09/05       (H)       DP: ANDERSON;                                                                                          
03/09/05       (H)       NR:    GRUENBERG,    KOTT,    DAHLSTROM,                                                               
                         COGHILL, GARA, MCGUIRE                                                                                 
03/31/05       (H)       RLS AT 9:00 AM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
03/31/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 95(RLS) Out of Committee                                                                    
03/31/05       (H)       MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                            
04/01/05       (H)       RLS RPT CS(RLS) NT 3DP 2NR 1AM                                                                         
04/01/05       (H)       DP: HARRIS, MCGUIRE, ROKEBERG;                                                                         
04/01/05       (H)       NR: COGHILL, KOHRING;                                                                                  
04/01/05       (H)       AM: BERKOWITZ                                                                                          
04/01/05       (H)       RETURNED TO RLS COMMITTEE                                                                              
04/05/05       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/05/05       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 95(RLS) AM                                                                               
04/06/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/06/05       (S)       HES, JUD                                                                                               
04/08/05       (S)       STA REPLACES HES REFERRAL                                                                              
04/12/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
AMY SEITZ,                                                                                                                      
Staff to Senator Wagoner                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 152 for the sponsor                                                                         
ART CHANCE, Director                                                                                                            
Labor Relations                                                                                                                 
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions about SB 152                                                                          
MARY JACKSON,                                                                                                                   
Staff to Senator Wagoner                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SCR 8 for the sponsor                                                                          
KATE GIARD, Chair                                                                                                               
Regulatory Commission of Alaska                                                                                                 
701 W Eighth Ave., Suite 300                                                                                                    
Anchorage, AK  99501                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SCR 8                                                                                           
DAN BRANCH,                                                                                                                     
Senior Assistant Attorney General                                                                                               
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions about CSHB 95(RLS)am                                                                  
DR. RICHARD MANDSAGER, Director                                                                                                 
Division of Public Health                                                                                                       
Department of Health &                                                                                                          
  Social Services                                                                                                               
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99801-0601                                                                                                          
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Discussed   House  amendments   to  CSHB                                                             
MR. MICHAEL MACLEOD-BALL, Executive Director                                                                                    
Alaska Civil Liberties Union (AkCLU)                                                                                            
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Discussed   AkCLU's  concerns  with  CSHB                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR GENE  THERRIAULT called the  Senate State  Affairs Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 3:39:08 PM.  Present were Senators                                                             
Davis,  Huggins, Wagoner  and Therriault.  Senator Elton  arrived                                                               
              SB 152-APPROP: COST-OF-LIVING SURVEY                                                                          
CHAIR GENE THERRIAULT  announced SB 152 to be the  first order of                                                               
business.  He  recognized  Ms.   Seitz  and  noted  the  proposed                                                               
AMY SEITZ,  Staff to Senator  Wagoner, reminded members  that the                                                               
issue  of using  Seattle as  the out-of-state  reference for  the                                                               
cost-of-living survey was discussed at  a previous hearing on the                                                               
bill.  The discussion  centered  on the  fact  that the  cost-of-                                                               
living  in  Seattle  has  increased so  much  that  Alaska  state                                                               
employees living in Seattle would  get a higher pay increase than                                                               
in-state  employees.  The  proposed amendment  would  change  the                                                               
location  for  the cost-of-living  survey  to  the greater  Puget                                                               
Sound area.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  THOMAS WAGONER  motioned to  adopt Amendment  1, labeled                                                               
CHAIR  THERRIAULT announced  that without  objection, the  motion                                                               
3:41:35 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SEITZ told  members the cost of the study  was also discussed                                                               
and most members feel $500,000 is reasonable.                                                                                   
CHAIR  THERRIAULT said  he anticipates  that  the Senate  Finance                                                               
Committee would  wrap the cost  into a larger  appropriation bill                                                               
and consider the amount at that time.                                                                                           
SENATOR WAGONER asked  that the Administration speak  to the cost                                                               
of the study and how the findings would be implemented.                                                                         
ART   CHANCE,   Director,    Labor   Relations,   Department   of                                                               
Administration, felt  confident the  state could get  a competent                                                               
survey  for   $500,000.  He   said  he   does  not   believe  the                                                               
implementation  costs   of  the   1984  study  were   ever  truly                                                               
determined. Many  of the findings were  implemented through union                                                               
negotiations  and arbitrations  - the  process of  implementation                                                               
created considerable controversy. He  said unless the legislation                                                               
specifically  says otherwise,  the  study's  findings would  just                                                               
count as a  suggestion for employees whose  wages are established                                                               
by collective bargaining. He further stated:                                                                                    
     To the  extent that  we still  recognize it,  and we've                                                                    
     sort  of changed  the way  we pay  those people,  their                                                                    
     contracts  still reflect  the  old  federal 25  percent                                                                    
     differential  for  cost  of  living  -  never  able  to                                                                    
     successfully  truly  change  that.   We  were  able  to                                                                    
     bargain  and  adjudicate  implementation with  all  the                                                                    
     other  represented employees  the  results  of the  '84                                                                    
     study. It wasn't until ...  the '89 round of bargaining                                                                    
     that we  actually got it  all implemented,  applying to                                                                    
     all  other  represented   employees  of  the  executive                                                                    
     branch. To  make it apply  to non-union  employees, you                                                                    
     would have  to enact  it in  statute as  a part  of the                                                                    
     39.27.011 state pay plan.                                                                                                  
     The  Administration  has  taken  no  position  on  this                                                                    
     aspect of  it but I can  tell you that I  do not relish                                                                    
     the idea of  having to bargain all of this  into all of                                                                    
     our contracts and if I were  to have to bargain that, I                                                                    
     would be  over here asking  you for money for  the next                                                                    
     round   of  bargaining   to  support   that  bargaining                                                                    
     endeavor,  particularly  with  those  units  that  have                                                                    
     interest arbitration.                                                                                                      
     For those of you who  aren't intimate to the collective                                                                    
     bargaining process,  those employees who  cannot strike                                                                    
     if we do  not agree with them  voluntarily, they submit                                                                    
     their  proposals to  an arbitrator,  the state  submits                                                                    
     its and the  arbitrator decides. To get  such a general                                                                    
     state study into those contracts  I would probably have                                                                    
     to hire  the contractor and maybe  some other economist                                                                    
     to come in and testify  to that interest arbitrator and                                                                    
     convince  them -  have the  arbitrators agree  with the                                                                    
     state that  the results of  such a study are,  in fact,                                                                    
     the  differentials  that  should be  applied  to  those                                                                    
     contracts.  That's  particularly   important  with  the                                                                    
     state troopers, since  they are all over  the state and                                                                    
     tend  to be  in some  of  the higher  cost areas.  I'll                                                                    
     guarantee you  if a new  study were to reflect  a lower                                                                    
     differential to  that which  they currently  have, they                                                                    
     would resist it vehemently.  It's somewhat important to                                                                    
     some  institution employees.  We  do have  correctional                                                                    
     facilities and  correctional officers, which  are class                                                                    
     1 in Nome, Bethel, and  there's long been agitation for                                                                    
     a geographic differential for Spring Creek.                                                                                
     So these are  all things that we would  have to contest                                                                    
     either  through  a   negotiated  agreement  or  through                                                                    
     interest  arbitration.  And  then  the  legislature  to                                                                    
     apply it  to non-covered employees would  have to enact                                                                    
     it  in statute  and  the results  of  the '84,  despite                                                                    
     several   attempts,  have   never  been   enacted  into                                                                    
3:47:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WAGONER asked  what would happen if  the federal cost-of-                                                               
living  allowance  (COLA)  goes away,  particularly  with  marine                                                               
highway employees.                                                                                                              
MR.   CHANCE  responded   marine  highway   employees  have   had                                                               
collective bargaining long before PERA, perhaps since 1962.                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON  asked if this  bill obligates the DOA  to contract                                                               
for a study sometime in the  next fiscal year. He anticipated the                                                               
contract obligation to be fulfilled 18 to 24 months from now.                                                                   
MR. CHANCE  said it could be  sooner. He thought an  RFP could be                                                               
out on  the street by  September. He  thought most of  the survey                                                               
could be  completed in  that fiscal year  but assumed  the remote                                                               
site  and statistical  data would  be done  in the  second fiscal                                                               
year.  He noted  the Division  of Personnel  has a  good research                                                               
section so it would not be starting from scratch.                                                                               
SENATOR  KIM ELTON  said it  appears the  report will  go to  the                                                               
executive branch and not to the legislature.                                                                                    
CHAIR THERRIAULT  said the  money would  be appropriated  to DOA,                                                               
which would conduct the study.                                                                                                  
SENATOR ELTON asked if DOA would  incur any obligation to vet the                                                               
MR.  CHANCE  maintained that  DOA  would  have an  obligation  to                                                               
manage it. He anticipates the  Division of Personnel would make a                                                               
proposal  to  the  legislature  to   adopt  some  sort  of  state                                                               
personnel pay plan  to replace the current plan. It  would be his                                                               
job to  follow the  legislative directive  to achieve  success in                                                               
3:52:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  THERRIAULT  informed members  the  bill  does not  have  a                                                               
fiscal note because it is an appropriation bill.                                                                                
3:52:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WAGONER motioned  to report  CSSB 152(STA)  and attached                                                               
fiscal  notes  from  committee with  individual  recommendations.                                                               
There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
        SCR  8-COOK INLET GAS GATHERING SYSTEM COMPLAINT                                                                    
CHAIR   GENE  THERRIAULT   announced   SCR  8   to   be  up   for                                                               
MARY JACKSON,  Staff to  Senator Wagoner,  told members  that the                                                               
Senate and House Resources Committees  met in Kenai last February                                                               
and  listened  to  industry  make   8  different  points.  SCR  8                                                               
addresses  one  of those  points  by  encouraging the  Regulatory                                                               
Commission of Alaska  (RCA) to complete its  investigation of the                                                               
Cook Inlet  Gas Gathering System  (CIGGS). The RCA  has developed                                                               
an accelerated  review process  for the  CIGGS and  the complaint                                                               
before it. An RCA commissioner  attended the February meeting and                                                               
spoke about the  need to go forward with the  complaint. SCR 8 is                                                               
to  be  complementary  to the  RCA's  efforts.  Furthermore,  the                                                               
Senate Resources  Committee chair does  not intend to  take sides                                                               
on this issue, she said.                                                                                                        
3:56:24 PM                                                                                                                    
KATE  GIARD, Chair,  Regulatory Commission  of Alaska,  testified                                                               
via teleconference and told members  she appreciates knowing that                                                               
the  legislature cares  enough about  an issue  to bring  forth a                                                               
resolution. That enables the RCA to  keep its eyes on the "bottom                                                               
line" issues that are important to the state as a whole.                                                                        
She informed  members that she  could discuss the  guidelines the                                                               
RCA is using for the case.                                                                                                      
3:57:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR THERRIAULT  asked Ms. Giard if  anything in SCR 8  could be                                                               
used as justification for either party's argument.                                                                              
MS. GIARD replied,  "As long as I keep within  the yellow line, I                                                               
think you guys are free to  wander as you will." Both parties are                                                               
highly respected and have a  large economic impact on Cook Inlet;                                                               
so when  the parties clash the  issues can be quite  divisive and                                                               
technical  in  nature.  She  believes   SCR  8,  as  drafted,  is                                                               
respectful of the complexity of the issue.                                                                                      
CHAIR  THERRIAULT  asked if  anything  about  the issue  is  time                                                               
sensitive or  whether the legislature  weighing in  would benefit                                                               
one party over the other.                                                                                                       
MS. GIARD replied:                                                                                                              
     No,  because we'll  ignore  you if  we  feel that  what                                                                    
     you're doing  is going to  put this case in  a conflict                                                                    
     with due  process -  respectfully so.  But what  I hear                                                                    
     you saying  is that  you want  us to  expeditiously but                                                                    
     carefully  -   and  certainly  Ms.   Jackson's  opening                                                                    
     statements  reiterated  that  -  consider  the  matter.                                                                    
     Don't let  it sit. Too  much is  at stake. We  hear you                                                                    
     and we feel that ourselves.                                                                                                
SENATOR  THOMAS WAGONER  thanked  Ms. Giard  for  her candor  and                                                               
desire to bring the matter to a quick conclusion.                                                                               
SENATOR  KIM   ELTON  asked  whether  the   RCA's  definition  of                                                               
"expeditious" is the same as the sponsor's definition.                                                                          
MS. GIARD said she believes the  sponsor means: do a good job, do                                                               
it fast, don't let it sit, but  don't put it in conflict with due                                                               
process otherwise  the RCA  will end  up in  court and  the issue                                                               
will never get resolved.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  WAGONER  suggested  that  the RCA  has  adopted  a  very                                                               
aggressive schedule,  which is in  tune with what  the resolution                                                               
MS. GIARD  told members  the RCA adopted  that schedule  in early                                                               
March as the  result of conversations it had earlier  in the year                                                               
on the Kenai,  but the RCA has  a sense of urgency  on the matter                                                               
as well.                                                                                                                        
4:01:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  THERRIAULT  said  the legal  counsel  to  the  Legislative                                                               
Budget and  Audit Committee has  not expressed concern  that this                                                               
decision would  have any future  impact on the gas  pipeline from                                                               
the North Slope  and spur lines to Southcentral. He  asked if any                                                               
of the issues the  RCA is being asked to weigh  in on could apply                                                               
to those lines.                                                                                                                 
MS.  GIARD said  she doesn't  know what  ramifications the  final                                                               
order will have  on other gas lines on the  North Slope. She said                                                               
the RCA  will make  a thoughtful order  that addresses  in detail                                                               
the statutory and decision-making process the RCA went through.                                                                 
4:02:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR THERRIAULT  closed public  testimony and mentioned  the two                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
4:02:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WAGONER motioned to report  SCR 8 and two attached fiscal                                                               
notes from committee with individual recommendations.                                                                           
CHAIR  THERRIAULT announced  that without  objection, the  motion                                                               
       CSHB 95(RLS)am-PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTERS/EMERGENCIES                                                                   
CHAIR  GENE THERRIAULT  announced  CSHB 95(RLS)am  to  be up  for                                                               
consideration and informed members it  is the House equivalent of                                                               
SB 75, previously heard by the committee.                                                                                       
4:03:51 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN BRANCH, Senior Assistant Attorney  General, Department of Law                                                               
(DOL), said he  provides legal representation to  the Division of                                                               
Public  Health. He  said DOL  approves of  the many  changes that                                                               
were made in  response to comments expressed  by various entities                                                               
and members of the House Judiciary and House Rules Committees.                                                                  
CHAIR THERRIAULT  reminded members  when SB 75  was heard  in the                                                               
Senate State  Affairs Committee,  members were  asked to  hold it                                                               
and await  the House version.   He  asked Dr. Mandsager  to bring                                                               
the committee up  to speed on the general issue  and then discuss                                                               
the changes made in the House.                                                                                                  
DR.  RICHARD  MANDSAGER,  Director, Division  of  Public  Health,                                                               
Department  of Health  and Social  Services (DHSS),  told members                                                               
CSHB  95(RLS)am reforms  Alaska's public  health laws.  Alaska is                                                               
the only  state in  the country  without quarantine  authority in                                                               
the case  of a  bioterrorism event.  Just such  an event  was the                                                               
major  reason for  the  bill's introduction  and  another was  to                                                               
address the Alaska  Law Review study in 2000  that found Alaska's                                                               
public health laws  to be antiquated. Most of those  laws date to                                                               
pre-territorial days  with a few updates  for specific epidemics.                                                               
In addition to  creating a statutory framework  to support public                                                               
health  mission  services  and   roles,  the  bill  states  clear                                                               
authority for control and updates the due process provisions.                                                                   
DR. MANDSAGER  said the House  made four categories of  change to                                                               
the  bill.  The first  category  pertains  to the  limitation  on                                                               
governmental powers.  Clearly identifying  those limits  has been                                                               
the focal point of discussion  in committees. The second category                                                               
deals  with  penalties  for  state  employees  for  violation  of                                                               
statutory provisions.  That was the  sole focus of debate  on the                                                               
House  floor.  The  third  category  is  personal  responsibility                                                               
regarding  issues raised  by Christian  Scientists and  the AkCLU                                                               
about  both  individual  responsibility and  choice.  The  fourth                                                               
category addresses miscellaneous changes.                                                                                       
4:09:48 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MANDSAGER detailed  the specific amendments made  to the bill                                                               
as follows.   First,  the title  of the bill  was changed  to add                                                               
detail and clarity. Second, the  bill was amended to allow claims                                                               
for  damages  caused  by  medical  treatment  provided  by  state                                                               
employees. This  issue centered  on state  liability for  a state                                                               
employee  who  supervises  medical   treatment,  like  any  other                                                               
medical  practitioner in  the  state. The  decision  was to  hold                                                               
state employees  to the  same standard of  care as  other medical                                                               
practitioners.  Third, the  bill limits  the state's  immunity to                                                               
$500 per  day if it  isolates a  person with gross  negligence or                                                               
intentionally  violates  a  provision  governing  quarantine  and                                                               
isolation. The bill originally gave  the state total immunity. He                                                               
pointed out  a state employee  can only quarantine  an individual                                                               
without court supervision for a maximum of 72 hours.                                                                            
SENATOR  KIM ELTON  asked  if  state denial  of  access to  legal                                                               
counsel to  a quarantined person  would subject the state  to the                                                               
$500 per day penalty.                                                                                                           
MR. BRANCH  said that would be  a matter for the  court to decide                                                               
because   the  court   would  appoint   legal  counsel   for  the                                                               
DR.  MANDSAGER continued  to say  that the  division had  lengthy                                                               
discussions  with the  AkCLU  about the  acquisition  and use  of                                                               
identifiable health information. The  language in the bill limits                                                               
the  division's  access  to   medical  information  that  relates                                                               
directly to  a public health  purpose that cannot be  achieved at                                                               
least as well using non-identifiable  health information. He said                                                               
the division  can accomplish a  lot with  non-identifiable health                                                               
4:13:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  THERRIAULT referred  to subsection  (2) on  page 3  of the                                                               
bill and asked  how damages caused by the failure  to establish a                                                               
quarantine would work.                                                                                                          
MR. BRANCH said  the main concern of the House  members who asked                                                               
for that  change was for an  individual to have some  recourse if                                                               
the state fails to provide the  rights set out in the statute. He                                                               
explained if someone  gets quarantined on an  emergency order and                                                               
the state fails to notify the  court within 48 hours, that person                                                               
would have  recourse to get $500  per day for that  violation. He                                                               
said the  House felt  that penalty was  necessary to  provide the                                                               
bill with "teeth."  The penalty does not apply to  the failure to                                                               
impose or  establish quarantine;  it applies when  quarantine was                                                               
imposed  and an  individual feels  his/her statutory  rights were                                                               
CHAIR THERRIAULT clarified that subsection (2) is a limitation.                                                                 
DR. MANDSAGER continued to say that  a further change is that the                                                               
collection of  health information  is limited  with a  higher bar                                                               
under AS 18.15.355-395 than other  limitations. He stated, "We're                                                               
dealing with  personal health problems.  We don't want  people to                                                               
be  branded with  some scarlet  letter  that they  have some  bad                                                               
problem and so on - that we  need to achieve a very high standard                                                               
if we're going to get information under this act."                                                                              
The bill also says that as  soon as the division is finished with                                                               
medical  information,  the  information  must  be  confidentially                                                               
expunged   immediately.  The   last   two   changes  pertain   to                                                               
misdemeanor  penalties  for   knowingly  disclosing  identifiable                                                               
health  information  or  for   knowingly  violating  a  provision                                                               
related to quarantine  and isolation. A compromise  worked out on                                                               
the House  floor was that  intentional disclosure  of information                                                               
is punishable by  a class A misdemeanor. That  is consistent with                                                               
other  statutes that  pertain to  state employee  confidentiality                                                               
4:18:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON  asked  what  would happen  if  a  state  employee                                                               
discloses information and did not  know about the confidentiality                                                               
MR. BRANCH said  the district attorney wouldn't  prosecute such a                                                               
case because the employee's mental state could not be proven.                                                                   
SENATOR ELTON remarked ignorance of the law isn't an excuse.                                                                    
MR. BRANCH  responded the  words "knowingly"  and "intentionally"                                                               
are terms  of art defined  in AS 11.81.900. His  understanding is                                                               
that  to  act knowingly  means  the  employee  was aware  of  the                                                               
statutory  requirement and  acted anyway.  He offered  to discuss                                                               
the matter further with Senator Elton's staff.                                                                                  
SENATOR ELTON said his concern is  that a person who is given the                                                               
power of quarantine should know the law.                                                                                        
DR. MANDSAGER agreed  with Senator Elton that it  is the division                                                               
managers' responsibility to  make sure that staff  knows the law.                                                               
He continued describing the next  change made by the House, which                                                               
provides  the right  to  refuse treatment  if  the individual  is                                                               
willing to  take steps  to prevent the  spread of  a communicable                                                               
disease.  The   least  restrictive  alternative  would   be  used                                                               
whenever  possible when  isolating  or quarantining  individuals.                                                               
"Least  restrictive  alternative" is  defined  in  the bill.  The                                                               
division's experience  is that  most of time  the state  does not                                                               
have  to get  a  court  order to  isolate  an individual  because                                                               
people tend  to voluntarily agree.  The division always  needs to                                                               
pursue that route before taking court action.                                                                                   
DR. MANDSAGER said another issue  of concern was that quarantines                                                               
might  be  imposed  on  flu   victims  or  people  with  ordinary                                                               
infectious diseases. For  that reason, the bill  said the illness                                                               
must pose  a significant risk  to public health  before isolation                                                               
or quarantine can occur.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  ELTON pointed  out  that other  provisions  of the  bill                                                               
refer  to a  substantial  risk  to public  health.  He asked  why                                                               
"substantial" was used elsewhere.                                                                                               
DR. MANDSAGER noted the word  "substantial" remains in two places                                                               
in the  bill. He asked  Mr. Branch if  that matters from  a legal                                                               
CHAIR  THERRIAULT suggested  that for  consistency the  committee                                                               
should  make the  change now,  otherwise the  courts would  argue                                                               
about it for years.                                                                                                             
MR. BRANCH  said the division  worked with Legislative  Legal and                                                               
Research Services to try to get the same term used.                                                                             
DR. MANDSAGER  said the  word "substantial" is  used on  page 13,                                                               
line  19.  That  word  is   linked  to  risk  of  transmitting  a                                                               
contagious disease. The word "significant"  is used when it poses                                                               
a significant  risk to public  health. He again asked  Mr. Branch                                                               
if he thought that makes a difference from a legal standpoint.                                                                  
MR.  BRANCH   replied  there  is  justification   for  using  the                                                               
different  terms  even  though  they are  similar.  He  said  the                                                               
statement about discussing the matter  with Legislative Legal and                                                               
Research  Services  is  still  accurate.  He  believes  the  bill                                                               
appropriately distinguishes between the two terms.                                                                              
DR. MANDSAGER  said the  next change  states preference  for home                                                               
quarantine  or isolation  unless exceptional  circumstances exist                                                               
that would jeopardize  public health. The House  also requires on                                                               
page  14 that  an  affidavit  in a  court  petition must  contain                                                               
specific facts to support allegations.  The petition must include                                                               
all of the elements listed on page 14.                                                                                          
DR.  MANDSAGER  said the  next  change  removes denial  of  party                                                               
status  to  parents or  guardians  of  a  minor in  isolation  or                                                               
quarantine  proceedings. The  next change  adds a  paragraph that                                                               
says that a person exposed  to hazardous materials that can cause                                                               
serious  illness or  injury by  transmission to  others could  be                                                               
subject to quarantine or isolation.  He gave two examples: severe                                                               
radiation exposure and the Sarin  incident in Japan, where people                                                               
who were  exposed to the Sarin  gas could expose other  people to                                                               
it  when exhaling.  The division  is also  required to  submit an                                                               
annual report  to the  legislature on  its activities  under this                                                               
statute. Definitions  of "least  restrictive" and  "public health                                                               
purpose"  were added.  Indirect court  rule amendments  were also                                                               
added to address  the court changes. Last, a  provision was added                                                               
to  the bill  that urges  the division  to apply  for appropriate                                                               
funding  sources  related  to transforming  health  care  quality                                                               
through information technology.                                                                                                 
4:28:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR THERRIAULT asked Dr. Mandsager  which areas of the bill are                                                               
still contentious.                                                                                                              
DR. MANDSAGER said  the director of the AkCLU does  not feel that                                                               
the bill  goes far  enough regarding  the standards  the division                                                               
would  have  to  achieve  before   instituting  a  quarantine  or                                                               
isolation. The bill has  come a long way but he  would like it to                                                               
be more specific.                                                                                                               
SENATOR   WAGONER  asked   how  this   legislation  compares   to                                                               
quarantine legislation in other states.                                                                                         
DR. MANDSAGER  said quarantine laws  vary among the  states. Some                                                               
states  have  authority  that  can be  enhanced  or  provide  for                                                               
expedited performance  during an  emergency. Some  states updated                                                               
their emergency  powers after 911.  He said if one  compares this                                                               
bill to  the model  act that was  developed, this  legislation is                                                               
more  restrictive  regarding  governmental  powers  and  reflects                                                               
Alaska's   privacy  standards.   The  quarantine   and  isolation                                                               
provisions require  more steps  and court  action than  the model                                                               
MR. BRANCH  told members  Alaska's current  statute is  unique in                                                               
that it  does not  give the division  authority to  quarantine or                                                               
isolate for  anything but  SARS or TB.  In general,  other states                                                               
have  more  authority  because  it  is  necessary  to  deal  with                                                               
CHAIR THERRIAULT  asked if the enhanced  or expedited performance                                                               
authority that  other states have  is triggered by  a declaration                                                               
from the executive.                                                                                                             
DR. MANDSAGER said  that is usually the case, but  in some states                                                               
a commissioner of health has similar authority.                                                                                 
SENATOR ELTON recollected the  committee discussed the definition                                                               
of "condition  of public  health importance"  (page 19,  line 23)                                                               
because  obesity  could  fall under  that  definition.  He  asked                                                               
whether tightening that  definition by using the  word "acute" or                                                               
something that  more narrowly  defines collection  of information                                                               
was considered.                                                                                                                 
DR. MANDSAGER  said that  definition has  been discussed  and the                                                               
AkCLU discussed  a 2 or  3-tiered system. The  division struggled                                                               
with  that  question and  didn't  think  it  could come  up  with                                                               
language inclusive  enough to  do that.  The division  feels that                                                               
definition is balanced by the  other tests it must achieve before                                                               
it  can do  work  in the  areas of  "condition  of public  health                                                               
CHAIR THERRIAULT  asked if  the House  committees debated  how to                                                               
rein that definition  in and just couldn't come  up with workable                                                               
MR.  BRANCH said  it was  addressed but  in a  different context.                                                               
Using  Senator  Elton's example  of  establishing  obesity as  an                                                               
excuse  to  collect  private  information,   he  noted  that  the                                                               
language on  page 9, lines  10-18, limits the  division's ability                                                               
to collect identifiable information.                                                                                            
DR. MANDSAGER said all of the  amendments made in the category of                                                               
limitations of governmental powers  limit the division's power to                                                               
collect identifiable  health information,  to quarantine,  and to                                                               
isolate. The amendments  reflect the House's attempt  to strike a                                                               
balance rather than change the definition.                                                                                      
MR. BRANCH told  members that on page 9 a  provision was added to                                                               
AS  18.15.362,  which  limits   acquisition  of  information.  In                                                               
conjunction  with  AS  18.15.365,   it  is  designed  to  enhance                                                               
security safeguards.                                                                                                            
DR. MANDSAGER pointed out  that identifiable information wouldn't                                                               
be necessary  to get  obesity data; that  data could  be obtained                                                               
with non-identifiable information.                                                                                              
SENATOR ELTON  said he was  still struggling with  the definition                                                               
and asked that the AkCLU comment.                                                                                               
4:37:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR THERRIAULT asked Mr. Michael MacLeod-Ball to testify.                                                                     
MICHAEL MACLEOD-BALL, Executive  Director, Alaska Civil Liberties                                                               
Union  (AkCLU),  opined   that  this  version  of   the  bill  is                                                               
substantially  better  than  the original  version.  Although  he                                                               
appreciates  the efforts  the division  has  made to  accommodate                                                               
some of  the AkCLU's  concerns, it still  has some  concern about                                                               
the degree of privacy and  the amount of information the division                                                               
needs to  do its job and  the risks of limiting  that information                                                               
MR. MACLEOD-BALL said  the AkCLU continues to  be concerned about                                                               
the  following areas.  First, the  "conditions  of public  health                                                               
importance" enforcement provisions require  the division to prove                                                               
that a significant  risk to public health exists  to maintain its                                                               
quarantine  order on  people quarantined  against their  will. He                                                               
questioned  the enforcement  procedure  and  whether due  process                                                               
would  be  served  if  the  state  acts  improperly.  Adding  the                                                               
provisions that require the state  to prove an individual poses a                                                               
significant risk to public health  helps protect the individual's                                                               
rights. However, that  does not solve the  entire problem because                                                               
the  term "significant  risk to  public health"  is not  defined.                                                               
AkCLU's  concern   is  the  shift   in  importance  in   the  two                                                               
definitions. The  court would then decide  what "significant risk                                                               
to public  health" means because  the bill does not  provide that                                                               
The AkCLU  suggested including three concepts  in the definition:                                                               
one having to  do with the degree of contagion;  one having to do                                                               
with the severity  of the health threat; and the  third having to                                                               
do with the  means of transmission. He said the  division was not                                                               
willing  or able  to  come  up with  a  workable definition  that                                                               
included the three concepts.                                                                                                    
MR. MACLEOD-BALL  told members the  AkCLU believes  the provision                                                               
regarding access  to identifiable health information  remains too                                                               
broad in  AS 18.15.362. The AkCLU  would like to see  a provision                                                               
included that offers  protection against loss of job  and loss of                                                               
housing as a direct result of quarantine or isolation.                                                                          
MR. MACLEOD-BALL said  the ex parte language is still  an area of                                                               
concern because  the division could  get an order from  the court                                                               
without the  presence of or  representation for the  other party.                                                               
Because the  party would  already know  about the  hearings going                                                               
forward,  the   AkCLU  doesn't   see  the   need  for   ex  parte                                                               
4:44:08 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON  thanked  all participants  for  the  effort  they                                                               
expended on  the legislation. He  then asked Mr.  MacLeod-Ball if                                                               
he was suggesting that the  lack of a definition for "significant                                                               
public risk"  could be  a complicating  factor because  the state                                                               
could end  up in  court with  a judge  who is  not a  health care                                                               
professional  deciding  what  constitutes  a  significant  public                                                               
health risk.                                                                                                                    
MR. MACLEOD-BALL  said he  believes it  would be  preferable that                                                               
medical  experts  find the  parameters  of  where the  court  can                                                               
operate in  this area. From  the AkCLU's perspective, it  is more                                                               
of  a  question of  making  sure  the  person  with AIDS  is  not                                                               
isolated.  Without  a definition,  an  activist  judge or  public                                                               
health  official  could  use  the   relative  ambiguity  of  that                                                               
definition and  apply it to  circumstances other than what  it is                                                               
intended for.  He emphasized that  tightening the  definition now                                                               
will prevent ambiguity later.                                                                                                   
SENATOR ELTON asked  Mr. MacLeod-Ball if he sees  anything in the                                                               
bill  that would  allow  the  state to  prevent  access to  legal                                                               
MR. MACLEOD-BALL said  he believes the Office  of Public Advocacy                                                               
(OPA) is given authority to  represent individuals under both the                                                               
testing order and  the quarantine order section. He  said how OPA                                                               
would do that in remote areas is questionable.                                                                                  
CHAIR  THERRIAULT asked  Dr. Mandsager  how much  discussion took                                                               
place  about the  possibility of  an individual  losing a  job or                                                               
housing while in isolation.                                                                                                     
DR.  MANDSAGER  said  the  division  has had  a  fair  amount  of                                                               
discussion with  the Department of  Law and the AkCLU  about that                                                               
issue.  He said  the division's  primary  job is  to protect  the                                                               
public's  health. The  number of  days a  person can  be isolated                                                               
without court  involvement is very  limited and the  division can                                                               
only  isolate  an  individual without  court  involvement  in  an                                                               
emergency. Also, if  isolation is imposed and a  person is unable                                                               
to work, the  question is whether the state should  be liable for                                                               
damages. The  judgment to date  is that  the state should  not be                                                               
CHAIR THERRIAULT asked  about the AkCLU's concern  about the loss                                                               
of  housing  and  whether  that   should  be  addressed  in  this                                                               
legislation. He questioned whether the  issue centers on a person                                                               
being evicted by a landlord.                                                                                                    
MR.  MACLEOD-BALL said  AkCLU's  concern  is that  discrimination                                                               
might befall people  who are in isolation or  quarantine. He said                                                               
it might  be better to  have that issue  be the subject  of other                                                               
legislation but this legislation is available now.                                                                              
CHAIR  THERRIAULT said  the potential  for  those problems  exist                                                               
MR. MACLEOD-BALL agreed.                                                                                                        
SENATOR ELTON said  with regard to the  definition of significant                                                               
public health risk, it makes sense  to have some kind of a recipe                                                               
for  the  court   to  follow  so  that   judges  make  consistent                                                               
DR. MANDSAGER asked Senator Elton  if his concern is mostly about                                                               
the  significant  risk to  public  health  in the  isolation  and                                                               
quarantine  section, and  not as  much about  the tests  required                                                               
before the division can collect identifiable health information.                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON said  he is  concerned about  both but  the bigger                                                               
issue is the quarantine issue.                                                                                                  
DR. MANDSAGER asked if the  tests for acquisition of identifiable                                                               
public health information on page 9, lines 13-18, make sense.                                                                   
SENATOR ELTON  replied, "It seems  to me  that number 3  would be                                                               
the squishy one. You might have  more knowledge about that than a                                                               
judge would - about what processes otherwise could be used."                                                                    
DR. MANDSAGER  said this  bill has a  much better  definition and                                                               
better  restriction on  the collection  and  use of  identifiable                                                               
health information  than the  current statute.   Although  it may                                                               
not be  perfect, the division  believes its practices  would hold                                                               
up to  scrutiny. He referred  to page 13,  line 6, and  said with                                                               
regard to  isolation and  quarantine, the  division has  not been                                                               
able to come  up with a definition of significant  risk to public                                                               
health yet.                                                                                                                     
4:54:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR THERRIAULT said he did not intend to move the bill today.                                                                 
MR.  MACLEOD-BALL pointed  out the  phrase  "substantial risk  to                                                               
public health" is on page 14, line  5 and is in the section about                                                               
allegations that  must be included  in the petition. He  said use                                                               
of "significant risk  to public health" on page 16,  line 2 is of                                                               
most concern  to AkCLU because  that is  what the court  needs to                                                               
CHAIR THERRIAULT  asked members  if they  are satisfied  with the                                                               
explanation that "substantial"  is tied to the  transmission of a                                                               
disease on  page 13, but  it is not  tied to transmission  on the                                                               
next  page.  He  suggested  that staff  discuss  with  the  legal                                                               
drafters the need to use a consistent phrase.                                                                                   
4:56:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  THERRIAULT stated  that the  committee  would likely  take                                                               
final action on CSHB 95(RLS)am on Thursday.                                                                                     
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Therriault adjourned the meeting at 4:56:38 PM.                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects