Legislature(2009 - 2010)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/27/2009 01:30 PM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 09:00 am 03/28/09 --
Heard & Held - Assigned to Subcommittee
Moved CSHB 35(FIN) Out of Committee
Committee Discussion/Amendments
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
HOUSE BILL NO. 35                                                                                                             
     "An Act  relating to  notice and  consent for  a minor's                                                                   
     abortion;  relating  to   penalties  for  performing  an                                                                   
     abortion;  relating to a  judicial bypass procedure  for                                                                   
     an abortion; relating to  coercion of a minor to have an                                                                   
     abortion; relating  to reporting of  abortions performed                                                                   
     on minors; amending Rule  220, Alaska Rules of Appellate                                                                   
     Procedure, and  Rule 20, Alaska Probate  Rules, relating                                                                   
     to judicial  bypass for an  abortion; and  providing for                                                                   
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
2:33:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHN COGHILL,  SPONSOR,  provided history  of                                                                   
the legislation and spoke to anticipated amendments.                                                                            
Representative   Gara  referred   to  a   request  from   the                                                                   
Department  of Health  and Social  Services (DHSS)  regarding                                                                   
the issue of consent from foster parents and guardians.                                                                         
Co-Chair  Stoltze asked  whether  Commissioner William  Hogan                                                                   
had   designated    someone    to   answer   the    question.                                                                   
Representative  Coghill  did  not  know the  answer.  He  had                                                                   
questions regarding  how many  young teens under  foster care                                                                   
have sought abortions.                                                                                                          
2:36:17 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Austerman  queried the  version  of the  bill                                                                   
before the committee. Representative  Coghill replied that he                                                                   
had  introduced  version  A  as the  version  that  had  been                                                                   
significantly  amended  in  committees  during  the  previous                                                                   
legislature. He stated that the  version was a compromise for                                                                   
Co-Chair Stoltze clarified that  a previous committee had not                                                                   
amended the bill.                                                                                                               
Representative  Foster reported that  his rural district  was                                                                   
83  percent  Native  and  that they  valued  human  life.  He                                                                   
referred  to  historic  high fatality  rates  and  how  those                                                                   
affected  child rearing  in  the present.  He  did not  think                                                                   
there was an issue  with abortion in the past  and noted that                                                                   
getting an  abortion in the  present requires  traveling long                                                                   
distances  at high  expense. He  thought  the bill  pertained                                                                   
more to people in urban areas.                                                                                                  
2:39:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze brought up the issue of amendments.                                                                            
Representative Gara  told the committee  that he was  open to                                                                   
feedback  and that  he  did not  plan  to introduce  all  the                                                                   
amendments. He did not believe  a fiscal note from DHSS would                                                                   
change  the  mind  of  committee.  He  referenced  statements                                                                   
during  the previous  legislature  regarding accurate  fiscal                                                                   
notes,  and  requested  one  from   DHSS  before  introducing                                                                   
amendments to the bill.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair Stoltze  replied that  DHSS had  been asked  for the                                                                   
fiscal note and could not explain why it was not there.                                                                         
Representative  Coghill  added  that information  was  needed                                                                   
regarding  how many  female  foster care  teens  would be  in                                                                   
state  custody and  how  many  have chosen  to  elect for  an                                                                   
abortion.    He  pointed  out  that there  are  no  rules  or                                                                   
restrictions  at present  related  to foster  care teens  who                                                                   
seek an abortion, so the state cannot know the numbers.                                                                         
Co-Chair  Stoltze  felt  that the  question  was  legitimate.                                                                   
Representative   Coghill  stated   that  he   was  open   for                                                                   
discussion but that time is running out.                                                                                        
2:43:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Fairclough requested  additional  information                                                                   
regarding previous testimony by  Dr. Whitefield, specifically                                                                   
the  48-hour notice  for  parents and  medical  complications                                                                   
that might require a faster abortion.                                                                                           
Representative  Coghill  replied  that  the  48-hour  waiting                                                                   
period would  be a  legal question.  He noted the  concurrent                                                                   
nature of the  waiting period.  He disagreed  with the charge                                                                   
that the waiting period was restrictive  and believed that it                                                                   
allowed  for planning  and communication.  He  referred to  a                                                                   
U.S.  Supreme Court  case regarding  the  issue, and  quoted:                                                                   
"The 48-hour  delay provides the  parents the  opportunity to                                                                   
consult with his  or her spouse, family physician  to inquire                                                                   
into the  competency of  the abortion  doctor and to  discuss                                                                   
the decision on religious moral  implications with the minor,                                                                   
and provide needed  guidance and counsel on  how the decision                                                                   
will affect  their future. The  delay imposes only  a minimal                                                                   
burden on the minor's rights."                                                                                                  
Representative  Coghill added  that another  issue was  where                                                                   
the pregnant  teen lived.  Whether she lived  in an  urban or                                                                   
rural area,  the teen would  not be able  to get  a pregnancy                                                                   
test one day  and abortion the next. The process  takes three                                                                   
days; notification follows a similar timeline.                                                                                  
2:47:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Coghill  continued that the  emergency medical                                                                   
issue was  a separate  legal question. He  had asked  Dr. Jay                                                                   
Butler,  Alaska's Chief  Medical Officer,  who believed  that                                                                   
the medical instability mentioned  on page 2, line 29 is open                                                                   
to  interpretation by  medical  doctors. He  was  open to  an                                                                   
amendment to clarify  the language; however,  Dr. Butler also                                                                   
said  that  the  remaining  language   regarding  a  doctor's                                                                   
judgment about what constitutes  a medical emergency was very                                                                   
Representative  Fairclough felt  that  the medical  emergency                                                                   
language in the  bill needed to be revisited  to clarify what                                                                   
a doctor needed  to do. She asked about the  judicial bypass.                                                                   
She mentioned public testimonies  given regarding pregnancies                                                                   
caused by  incest and  questioned the  necessity of  a second                                                                   
signature for the judicial bypass.                                                                                              
2:49:59 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Coghill directed attention  to page  3, which                                                                   
discusses the  issue of  minors being a  victim of  abuse. He                                                                   
clarified that it was not judicial  bypass, but bypass of the                                                                   
judicial  system. A  court hearing  is not  required, only  a                                                                   
signed statement  and a witness that is knowledgeable  of the                                                                   
abuse. He stressed  that he did not want to  create loopholes                                                                   
for  perpetrators.  He felt  that  having  a witness  to  the                                                                   
signature was wise.                                                                                                             
2:51:39 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Fairclough  shared from  personal  experience                                                                   
the  difficulty  in  identifying  sexual  abuse  of  a  minor                                                                   
because  of delays  in  reporting and  the  lack of  physical                                                                   
Representative  Gara  felt  that everyone  on  the  committee                                                                   
would  agree  about  the  importance   families  having  open                                                                   
dialogue about  the issues.  He had  questions about  the 48-                                                                   
hour  waiting   period,  and  the  court  process   with  the                                                                   
affidavit.  Regarding the  48-hour waiting  period, the  bill                                                                   
requires a pregnant minor and  her parent to first talk about                                                                   
the pregnancy and come to a decision.  Then the bill requires                                                                   
the family  to wait another day.  A family from a  rural area                                                                   
would have  to stay in a hotel  the two days. He  agreed that                                                                   
the family should talk; he questioned  the law requiring them                                                                   
to wait two days after talking.                                                                                                 
2:54:33 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Coghill reiterated  the concurrent  nature of                                                                   
the  waiting  period.  He  thought   the  question  was  more                                                                   
appropriate  for families  from  urban areas.  He quoted  the                                                                   
U.S.  Supreme  Court  ruling: "The  states'  48-hour  waiting                                                                   
period  is necessary to  enable notified  parents to  consult                                                                   
with their daughters  or their physicians so if  they so wish                                                                   
results  in   a  little  or   no  delay,  and   therefore  is                                                                   
constitutional." He thought the  notification was appropriate                                                                   
to allow for family deliberation.                                                                                               
Representative  Gara believed the  bill worked if  the family                                                                   
is  perfect, but  all families  are  not prefect.  He gave  a                                                                   
hypothetical  example illustrating the  problem with  the 48-                                                                   
hour waiting period. He questioned  the family having to wait                                                                   
after making a decision.                                                                                                        
2:56:49 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Coghill believed  that  48 hours  is a  small                                                                   
period  of time  given the  circumstance.  He considered  the                                                                   
wait an opportunity for deliberation.  He outlined a possible                                                                   
series of  events. He  did not think  the waiting  period was                                                                   
unreasonable. He thought it was a notification issue.                                                                           
Co-Chair  Stoltze   asked  that   the  discussion   focus  on                                                                   
Representative Gara informed the  committee that he would not                                                                   
offer  an  amendment  on  the   48-hour  waiting  period.  He                                                                   
reiterated his desire for a response from DHSS.                                                                                 
Co-Chair Stoltze agreed that the question was pertinent.                                                                        
Representative Joule spoke to  the importance of fiscal notes                                                                   
for  the Finance  Committee.  He thought  the  administration                                                                   
should provide the information to the committee.                                                                                
Representative  Coghill repeated  his  commitment to  finding                                                                   
the requested information. He  admitted he had not written to                                                                   
any department head for the fiscal note.                                                                                        
3:02:27 PM          AT EASE                                                                                                   
3:23:03 PM          RECONVENED                                                                                                
WILLIAM HOGAN, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL                                                                   
SERVICES, apologized  to the  committee regarding  the fiscal                                                                   
Representative  Gara asked  for clarification  about how  the                                                                   
legislation  would  apply  to   foster  children,  especially                                                                   
regarding who would give consent.                                                                                               
Commissioner  Hogan  explained  that  the  state  takes  over                                                                   
guardianship and makes decisions  either directly or with the                                                                   
courts in foster  care situations where parental  rights have                                                                   
been   terminated.  If   parental   rights   have  not   been                                                                   
terminated, DHSS would continue  to work with the guardian or                                                                   
natural  parents  to make  the  best decision  regarding  the                                                                   
3:25:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Coghill added that  the minor is free to go to                                                                   
court  without the  custodian's  knowledge  and have  someone                                                                   
assigned  to them  at no  charge, regardless  of whether  the                                                                   
parents or  the state is the  custodian. He thought  the real                                                                   
question is  what would  happen if the  minor seeks  to avoid                                                                   
consent from the state.                                                                                                         
Representative Gara  reiterated that the bill  works for good                                                                   
families where the minor has support.  He was concerned about                                                                   
the others  the bill will affect:  the 2,000 children  in the                                                                   
state who are in the foster care  system, plus many others in                                                                   
bad circumstances in their families.                                                                                            
Representative  Gara asked  whether  a minor  in foster  care                                                                   
would have to  get parental consent if the  guardian is still                                                                   
the parent  who is  not living  with her. Commissioner  Hogan                                                                   
thought  the  practice  would  be  to  talk  to  the  natural                                                                   
3:28:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Coghill explained that  the minor  could seek                                                                   
emancipation if a  minor in state custody was  in a situation                                                                   
with parents who did not care.                                                                                                  
Representative Gara asked how  emancipation would occur for a                                                                   
pregnant minor who has deadlines.  Representative Coghill did                                                                   
not  know  the  details.  He  did  know  that  a  minor  must                                                                   
demonstrate  the ability  to be self-sufficient  in  order to                                                                   
gain  emancipation;  such a  person  could seek  an  abortion                                                                   
without consent.                                                                                                                
Representative   Gara   asked  for   further   clarification.                                                                   
Commissioner  Hogan  explained   that  the  child  protective                                                                   
services  system  first  tries  to reunite  kids  with  their                                                                   
families.  When that  is not possible,  the  next step  is to                                                                   
seek placement outside  the home. He added that  much depends                                                                   
on the  minor's history  with the family  and noted  that all                                                                   
decisions  about  the child's  status  are made  through  the                                                                   
Co-Chair  Stoltze asked  if Representative  Gara's  questions                                                                   
would  lead  to an  amendment  to  provide  a focus  for  the                                                                   
3:32:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  stated that his focus was  that the bill                                                                   
has been around  for six years and no one has  considered how                                                                   
it  would work  in a  foster care  situation.  He wanted  the                                                                   
information before  he put together an amendment.  He did not                                                                   
want one law for minors with parents  that required minors in                                                                   
foster care to go to court.                                                                                                     
Representative Gara  asked what would happen for  a minor who                                                                   
is  in  foster care  but  the  natural  parent is  still  the                                                                   
guardian. Commissioner  Hogan pointed out that  the described                                                                   
situation applies  to the typical child who  first enters the                                                                   
foster care  system. The  state must  determine over  time if                                                                   
the family can be reunited. The  intent is to keep the family                                                                   
together if possible.                                                                                                           
Representative Gara  thought it might be unhealthy  to make a                                                                   
child obtain consent from a parent  who does not take care of                                                                   
her anymore. Commissioner Hogan agreed.                                                                                         
Representative Gara  asked if those children  would then have                                                                   
to go  to court and  wondered if that  would be healthy  in a                                                                   
torn family. Commissioner thought  the child would have to go                                                                   
to court. He acknowledged the  difficulty of the decision. He                                                                   
thought  the state  would go  to court  but try  to make  the                                                                   
process as easy as possible.                                                                                                    
3:36:18 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara asked whether  social work staff would be                                                                   
involved  in the  process. Commissioner  Hogan answered  that                                                                   
social work staff would be involved.                                                                                            
Representative Coghill  added that current law  provides only                                                                   
minimal protection.  A child abused while in  the foster care                                                                   
system  could  be  coerced  by  the  perpetrator  to  get  an                                                                   
abortion without  anyone's consent, even  if the minor  is in                                                                   
state custody. House  Bill 35 would provide  recourse for the                                                                   
minor; she  can appeal without  costs to herself. She  can go                                                                   
directly to a doctor  or some other adult and  make an appeal                                                                   
for an abortion.                                                                                                                
3:38:01 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara  referred  to  statistics  showing  that                                                                   
approximately  50 percent  of  youth in  foster  care end  up                                                                   
pregnant  before  age  18.  Commissioner  Hogan  thought  the                                                                   
number seemed high and offered to get figures.                                                                                  
Representative  Gara speculated  that additional staff  would                                                                   
be needed  if the  statistics were  high. Commissioner  Hogan                                                                   
thought  that all  child  protective service  workers  should                                                                   
have the  skills needed  and did  not believe the  department                                                                   
would need  additional  staff. He noted  that the  department                                                                   
has increased staff training.                                                                                                   
3:39:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara  requested clarification  regarding  the                                                                   
training.  Commissioner Hogan  reported  that the  department                                                                   
had implemented new training in January 2009.                                                                                   
Representative  Gara  asked  who  would be  the  guardian  if                                                                   
parental rights  had been  terminated but  the minor  has not                                                                   
been      assigned     a      foster     care      placement.                                                                   
Commissioner  Hogan  replied  that  the state  would  be  the                                                                   
guardian;  regulations would  be needed  specifying who  that                                                                   
would be. He thought the courts should also be involved.                                                                        
Representative  Gara  expressed  alarm  at a  federal  review                                                                   
reporting  that social  workers do  not see  youth more  than                                                                   
once every eight months in 30  percent of cases. Commissioner                                                                   
Hogan did not  recognize the exact statistic  but agreed that                                                                   
the state needs to see youth in foster care more often.                                                                         
Representative Gara  wondered if social workers  did not know                                                                   
foster  children  well in  many  circumstances.  Commissioner                                                                   
Hogan  hoped   that  the  social   worker  would   develop  a                                                                   
relationship with the child.                                                                                                    
3:42:17 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara  asked if  there  were  cases where  the                                                                   
social worker did not spend the  necessary time. Commissioner                                                                   
agreed that that does happen on occasion.                                                                                       
Representative Crawford described  experience with the foster                                                                   
care system. In  the four years he had a foster  child during                                                                   
an  adoption process,  the  social  worker visited  once  per                                                                   
year. When  they called  with questions,  they sometimes  did                                                                   
not get an answer  for a month. The state had  explained that                                                                   
there  is less  contact with  a stable  family; others  might                                                                   
have had  real problems. He felt  the foster care  system was                                                                   
understaffed and overworked in Alaska.                                                                                          
Commissioner  Hogan  hoped  that  the  system  would  respond                                                                   
better to  foster parents  and that  calls would be  returned                                                                   
promptly.  He emphasized  the importance  of foster  families                                                                   
and apologized.                                                                                                                 
3:45:55 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Crawford emphasized  that he was not trying to                                                                   
fault social workers, but when  the timing was as critical as                                                                   
it would be for  a pregnant teen, the system  had to respond.                                                                   
Commissioner Hogan agreed.                                                                                                      
Representative  Gara  pointed  out  that  in  his  experience                                                                   
foster  youth feel  like different  rules apply  to them.  He                                                                   
asked  if there  could be  psychological damage  if a  foster                                                                   
child  was told  they must  go to  court. Commissioner  Hogan                                                                   
responded  that the  state tries  to be sensitive  to what  a                                                                   
foster child needs and works hard  to not make the child feel                                                                   
3:48:59 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara wanted a pregnant  minor without a stable                                                                   
family  to consult  with  an adult  in  making decisions.  He                                                                   
wondered  if the  emphasis  in the  legislation  could be  on                                                                   
giving  notice rather  than requiring  consent.  Commissioner                                                                   
Hogan  pointed  out  that  the bill  is  about  consent,  not                                                                   
notification.   He  stated  that   the  department   supports                                                                   
Representative Coghill's  bill, although it would  be willing                                                                   
to work on language.                                                                                                            
3:52:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  LESMANN,  COMMUNITY  RELATIONS  MANAGER  &  LEGISLATIVE                                                                   
CONTACT, OFFICE OF CHILDREN'S  SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH                                                                   
AND SOCIAL SERVICES,  detailed the Alaska statute  related to                                                                   
a  parent's  residual rights  (AS47.10.084).  Under  residual                                                                   
rights,  birth parents  have the  right to  consent to  major                                                                   
medical procedures.  If the child is in state  custody, state                                                                   
staff  is absolutely  not  authorized to  consent  to a  non-                                                                   
emergency  major  medical  procedure;  parents  approval  are                                                                   
required unless  the parent's rights have been  terminated by                                                                   
the court.  If the parent is  not willing to give  consent, a                                                                   
court order  is required in order  for the procedure  to take                                                                   
Representative  Coghill added  that the  parental rights  law                                                                   
did not  apply to abortion, which  was one of the  reasons he                                                                   
thought HB 35  was necessary. The courts have  been trying to                                                                   
figure out for years how to balance the rights.                                                                                 
3:54:45 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze observed that  the bill had not been amended                                                                   
to date and thought it would be amended on the House floor.                                                                     
Representative  Gara  repeated  concerns  about  expecting  a                                                                   
child  to obtain  consent  from  a parent  who  has not  been                                                                   
involved. He did  not want a social worker or  judge who does                                                                   
not  know  the child  to  be  able to  override  the  child's                                                                   
decision.  He wanted  a child  to have  someone rational  and                                                                   
caring to talk to.                                                                                                              
Representative  Coghill  responded that  when  someone is  in                                                                   
state  custody,  there is  a  legal conundrum  regarding  who                                                                   
should  give  consent. However,  a  minor  has the  right  to                                                                   
bypass  the  legal  guardian.  A  judge  would  consider  the                                                                   
maturity of the minor and the  level of stress created by the                                                                   
circumstances. The judge could  be a rational decision maker.                                                                   
There could be  other rational persons, including  the social                                                                   
3:58:19 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara  wanted  to  know  for  the  record  the                                                                   
average  tenure   of  a  social  worker  at   the  Office  of                                                                   
Children's  Services.  Commissioner  Hogan thought  a  social                                                                   
worker tended  to stay  two to  two and  a half years;  after                                                                   
that length  of time,  they tended to  stay longer.  He added                                                                   
that the vacancy rate was down.                                                                                                 
3:59:38 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara  wanted   language  in  the  legislation                                                                   
stipulating that it applied to  good families. Representative                                                                   
Coghill responded  that four  out of five  parts of  the bill                                                                   
are targeted for people in less than good circumstances.                                                                        
Representative Gara  did not like one of the ways  to get out                                                                   
of parental consent, which is  to go to a judge that does not                                                                   
know the  child. He  also did  not like  a second way,  which                                                                   
says a child's affidavit is not  good enough, that there must                                                                   
be another witness to the abuse who signs an affidavit.                                                                         
Co-Chair Stoltze  asked for amendments.  As there  were none,                                                                   
he turned to the fiscal notes.                                                                                                  
Commissioner  Hogan spoke to  fiscal note  number 2  by DHSS,                                                                   
explaining that  it was indeterminate because  the department                                                                   
did not  know which minors  enrolled in Medicaid  had consent                                                                   
from a  parent or guardian;  the department does  not require                                                                   
consent.  He   indicated  the   explanation  for   costs  for                                                                   
abortions   and  qualifications   connected  with   the  Hyde                                                                   
amendment.   He stressed the  difficulty in finding  a dollar                                                                   
CRAIG  TILLERY, DEPUTY  ATTORNEY GENERAL,  DEPARTMENT OF  LAW                                                                   
(via  teleconference),   commented  regarding   indeterminate                                                                   
fiscal  note number  1 by  the  Department of  Law (LAW).  He                                                                   
explained that LAW does not put  anticipated litigation costs                                                                   
into  fiscal  notes;  the department  tried  to  provide  the                                                                   
committee  with  information  that  would  give  an  idea  of                                                                   
potential  costs involved  with  litigation.  He opined  that                                                                   
litigation  is  likely;  the  last time  a  similar  law  was                                                                   
litigated, LAW  ended up  spending approximately  $500,000 on                                                                   
the case. Both in-house and outside  counsel were used in the                                                                   
case. In  addition, there  was a court  award of  $940,000 to                                                                   
the prevailing  party against the state. He  anticipated that                                                                   
in future the  state would make every effort  to litigate in-                                                                   
house.  He thought  that costs  would be in  the $300,000  to                                                                   
$400,000  range.  In addition,  there  would  be court  award                                                                   
costs depending on who won the case.                                                                                            
4:04:23 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  asked if Mr.  Tillery had read  the bill                                                                   
and  the  court  opinion  declaring   the  last  similar  law                                                                   
unconstitutional. Mr. Tillery responded in the affirmative.                                                                     
Representative  Gara pointed out  that the last  decision had                                                                   
determined  that the  parental consent  part of  the law  was                                                                   
unconstitutional. He asked if  the court might make a similar                                                                   
determination  again  about  parental  consent.  Mr.  Tillery                                                                   
responded that it was not a foregone  conclusion that the law                                                                   
would  be  declared unconstitutional,   although he  was  not                                                                   
predicting  that response again  from the  court as  the vote                                                                   
was close the last time. House  Bill 35 modifies the previous                                                                   
law  in a  way that  brings the  law closer  to the  majority                                                                   
opinion that  struck it  down. In particular,  HB 35  adds an                                                                   
exception,  a victim  of documented  abuse,  with respect  to                                                                   
judicial bypass.  In terms  of time  and ability to  navigate                                                                   
the system,  HB 35 reduces the  time from five  business days                                                                   
to  three business  days; it  also reduces  appeal time  from                                                                   
nine days to  eight days. The new proposed  law also provides                                                                   
a  confidential form  for  school excuse  for  a hearing.  He                                                                   
added that  at least two of  the justices will  have changed,                                                                   
which could affect a new decision.                                                                                              
Representative Gara  requested an explanation of  the concept                                                                   
"stare decisis."  Mr. Tillery explained that  "stare decisis"                                                                   
indicates that when  faced with a similar situation  that has                                                                   
been previously ruled on by a  court, the court will continue                                                                   
with the  ruling in  order to provide  some certainty  to the                                                                   
way  people order  their affairs,  unless  the situation  has                                                                   
dramatically  changed. Changes  could  be those  in the  bill                                                                   
itself, or changes in social mores.  He did not believe stare                                                                   
decisis would  play a  large role because  the court,  by the                                                                   
very nature  of its  analysis, would  be determining  whether                                                                   
there have been sufficient changes  in the law to allow it to                                                                   
be declared unconstitutional.                                                                                                   
4:08:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hawker  MOVED to  REPORT HB  35 from Committee  with                                                                   
individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.                                                                           
Representative Gara OBJECTED.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Hawker WITHDREW the MOTION.                                                                                            
Representative Gara MOVED Amendment 1:                                                                                          
     1.   Page 2, lines 3-4:                                                                                                    
          Following "notice":                                                                                                   
          Delete "and consent"                                                                                                  
     2.   Page 3, lines 7-8:                                                                                                    
          Following "performed":                                                                                                
          Delete "and the parent, legal guardian, or                                                                            
          custodian has consented in writing to the                                                                             
          performance or inducement of the abortion"                                                                            
     3.   Page 3, lines 10-11:                                                                                                  
          Following "notice":                                                                                                   
          Delete "and consent"                                                                                                  
     4.   Page 3, lines 13-14:                                                                                                  
          Following "notice":                                                                                                   
          Delete "and consent"                                                                                                  
     5.   Page 5, line 5:                                                                                                       
          Following "to":                                                                                                       
          Delete "and the consent of"                                                                                           
     6.   Page 5, line 8:                                                                                                       
          Following "to":                                                                                                       
          Delete "or the consent of"                                                                                            
     7.   Page 5, line 17:                                                                                                      
          Following "to":                                                                                                       
          Delete "or the consent of"                                                                                            
     8.   Page 5, lines 20-21:                                                                                                  
          Following "notice to":                                                                                                
          Delete "or the consent of"                                                                                            
     9.   Page 5, line 24:                                                                                                      
          Following "the":                                                                                                      
          Delete "consent of"                                                                                                   
          Insert "notice to"                                                                                                    
     10.  Page 6, line 7:                                                                                                       
          Following "to":                                                                                                       
          Delete "or the consent of"                                                                                            
     11. Page 6, line 11:                                                                                                       
          Following "such":                                                                                                     
          Delete "consent"                                                                                                      
          Insert "notice"                                                                                                       
     12. Page 6, line 27:                                                                                                       
          Following "to":                                                                                                       
          Delete "or the consent of"                                                                                            
     13. Page 6, line 30-31:                                                                                                    
          Following "to"                                                                                                        
          Delete "or the consent of"                                                                                            
     14. Page 8, lines 15-16:                                                                                                   
          Following "to":                                                                                                       
          Delete "and the consent of"                                                                                           
     15. Page 8, line 25:                                                                                                       
          Following "to":                                                                                                       
          Delete "and the consent of"                                                                                           
     16. Page 9, line 18:                                                                                                       
          Following "to":                                                                                                       
          Delete "and the consent of"                                                                                           
     17. Page 9, lines 30-31:                                                                                                   
          Following "to":                                                                                                       
          Delete "or the consent of"                                                                                            
Representative Fairclough OBJECTED.                                                                                             
Representative Gara  explained that the amendment  says it is                                                                   
fine to  give a non-abusive family  notice that the  minor is                                                                   
pregnant  and seeking  an  abortion so  that  the family  can                                                                   
discuss  the matter,  but  that consent  is  not required  in                                                                   
cases where consent  seems impossible, such as  from a foster                                                                   
parent who  has not seen  the child for  two years.  Since he                                                                   
did not know  how to word the amendment,  Representative Gara                                                                   
WITHDREW Amendment 1.                                                                                                           
Representative Gara MOVED Amendment 2:                                                                                          
     Page 3, lines 20-28:                                                                                                       
          Delete all text.                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Hawker OBJECTED.                                                                                                       
Representative  Gara detailed that  Amendment 2 addresses  an                                                                   
exception on  page 3 that  the child does  not have to  go to                                                                   
court if the child is the victim  of physical or sexual abuse                                                                   
but needs  a second witness  to the abuse.  In a  small town,                                                                   
the abusive parent who the child  is trying not to tell might                                                                   
find out.  The amendment says  that the second  witness might                                                                   
be the abuser  or the abuser's  spouse; the minor may  not be                                                                   
able  to secure  the second  witness  statement. Amendment  2                                                                   
says the minor's affidavit is enough.                                                                                           
Representative   Coghill  objected   to  the  amendment.   He                                                                   
asserted  that the  purpose of  the  list is  to protect  the                                                                   
minor in  cases of abuse, and  that abusers could  pressure a                                                                   
minor to go to a doctor for an abortion.                                                                                        
4:13:33 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara clarified that  the amendment has  to do                                                                   
with  page 3,  line 20.  He thought  all could  agree that  a                                                                   
parent  who physically  abuses  a child  loses  the right  to                                                                   
consent.  However, in  order  for the  minor  to comply,  the                                                                   
minor must fill out the affidavit  and then find someone with                                                                   
personal knowledge  of the abuse.  He pointed out  that there                                                                   
may not  be another  person with  personal knowledge  to fill                                                                   
out the  second affidavit.  He thought  requiring the  second                                                                   
witness would make the provision unusable.                                                                                      
4:15:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Coghill disagreed.  He referred to  testimony                                                                   
by  people  who  had  reached  out to  minors  and  found  it                                                                   
improbable  that  no one  would  know  about the  abuse.  His                                                                   
primary concern was for the minor.                                                                                              
Representative Kelly stated that  in a chaotic situation, the                                                                   
default position is  that someone dies; he would  opt for the                                                                   
keeping someone  alive. He  supported the legislation,  while                                                                   
acknowledging that it is not perfect.  He believed DHSS would                                                                   
help.  He placed  equal value  on  the unborn  child and  the                                                                   
4:20:17 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara WITHDREW  Amendment  2.  He thought  the                                                                   
problem  with the amendment  reflected  the problem with  the                                                                   
bill.  He thought  government was  bad on  how people  should                                                                   
communicate within  their home. He  stressed that he  did not                                                                   
believe that the victim of any  abuse should have the duty to                                                                   
go to the abuser to get consent for an abortion.                                                                                
4:21:38 PM          AT EASE                                                                                                   
4:26:29 PM          RECONVENED                                                                                                
Representative Gara  indicated that he would  not be offering                                                                   
Amendment 3.                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara MOVED Amendment 4:                                                                                          
     Page 7, line 25:                                                                                                           
          Following "have":                                                                                                     
          Insert "or refrain from having"                                                                                       
Co-Chair Hawker OBJECTED.                                                                                                       
Representative Gara  took issue with  Section 9 of HB  35. He                                                                   
believed it  should be a crime  to coerce someone to  have an                                                                   
abortion. Coerced  is defined as  to "restrain or  dominate a                                                                   
minor  by  force,  threat  of  force,  deprivation  of  food,                                                                   
support, or shelter."  He did not think the  committee should                                                                   
take  sides  in  the  pro-life  or  pro-choice  debate;  both                                                                   
forcing someone to  have an abortion and forcing  someone not                                                                   
to have an abortion should be  a crime. He intended Amendment                                                                   
4 to balance the bill.                                                                                                          
Representative Coghill  asserted that the bill's  purpose was                                                                   
regulating abortions, not regulating  the decision whether to                                                                   
have one. He agreed  that coercion is bad in  many cases, but                                                                   
did not think the issue was coercion.                                                                                           
Co-Chair Hawker MAINTAINED his OBJECTION.                                                                                       
Representative   Gara   argued   that   the   amendment   was                                                                   
appropriate  to  the  bill,  and  that  the  bill  was  about                                                                   
abortion. He  turned to page  7, line  25, which says  that a                                                                   
person may  not coerce  a minor  who is  pregnant to  have or                                                                   
refrain from having  an abortion. He agreed with  the part of                                                                   
the bill  that wanted families  to talk about the  issue, but                                                                   
the amendment  did not relate  to that  part of the  bill. He                                                                   
did not want to  create a crime that makes those  on the pro-                                                                   
life side of the issue happy but  discriminates against those                                                                   
on  the pro-choice  side of  the issue.  He did  not want  to                                                                   
protect minors  who decide  not to have  an abortion  and not                                                                   
protect minors  who do decide  to have one when  the decision                                                                   
is legal.                                                                                                                       
4:30:31 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly expressed  reluctance to force  lawyers                                                                   
on everyone who is counseling the minor against abortion.                                                                       
Representative  Coghill  repeated that  the  bill intends  to                                                                   
protect the  minor if  she chooses to  have the baby.  Should                                                                   
she  choose  not  to  have  the   baby,  she  would  have  to                                                                   
demonstrate  maturity.  He  thought   part  of  the  question                                                                   
related to an  immature person choosing to have  an abortion.                                                                   
The amendment would strike at  the parental consent part. The                                                                   
legal  question would  be that  a parent  disagreeing with  a                                                                   
minor  about  having  an  abortion   could  be  portrayed  as                                                                   
coercion.  He  maintained  that  the  measure  is  about  the                                                                   
regulation of abortion.                                                                                                         
Representative Coghill argued  the legitimacy of the question                                                                   
of maturity; many other statues  address the issue. He read a                                                                   
statement  by  the Alaska  Association  of School  Boards  on                                                                   
maturity:  "Students who  have  not yet  graduated from  high                                                                   
school are  too young to  make the life-changing  decision to                                                                   
forego  basic education."  He maintained  that accepting  the                                                                   
amendment would result in a legal challenge to coercion.                                                                        
4:34:12 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Crawford thought  it would be wrong to force a                                                                   
child to have an  abortion when she did not want  one, but it                                                                   
would  also be  wrong to  coerce the  minor to  do what  they                                                                   
wanted by  withholding food or  shelter. He acknowledged  the                                                                   
difficulty of the issue.                                                                                                        
Representative  Austerman  pointed out  that  the whole  bill                                                                   
would be  legally challenged, not  just the part of  the bill                                                                   
that would be affected by the amendment.                                                                                        
Representative Coghill reported  that he had been told by the                                                                   
American Civil Liberties Union  (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood                                                                   
that they  definitely intended  to challenge the  measure. He                                                                   
stressed that he  did not like coercion, but  maintained that                                                                   
the section  of the bill  addressed by the amendment  relates                                                                   
to coercion and opens the door to legal challenge.                                                                              
4:38:50 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Gara  asserted  that   the  bill   would  be                                                                   
Representative Coghill did not  think the issue was so clear.                                                                   
He read  part of the Supreme  Court decision saying  that the                                                                   
relocation  of fundamental  right from  minors to parents  is                                                                   
"constitutionally  suspect." He  thought the  court was  very                                                                   
definite that  the parents  had the  right and definite  that                                                                   
the minors are  immature in their choices. The  Supreme Court                                                                   
was  looking for  less restrictive  means;  he believed  less                                                                   
restrictive means were crafted into HB 35.                                                                                      
Representative Gara understood  the philosophical points, but                                                                   
pointed  out that  the  amendment was  narrower.  He did  not                                                                   
believe it was right to have a  law that made it a crime if a                                                                   
person was  coerced into  having an  abortion, but  would not                                                                   
stand behind  a person  who is  coerced to  not have  a legal                                                                   
abortion.  He asserted  that the amendment  says that  either                                                                   
kind of coercion should be illegal.                                                                                             
A roll call was taken on the motion.                                                                                            
IN FAVOR: Crawford, Gara, Joule, Salmon, Austerman                                                                              
OPPOSED: Fairclough, Foster, Kelly, Thomas, Stoltze, Hawker                                                                     
The MOTION FAILED (5-6).                                                                                                        
4:43:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara MOVED Amendment 5:                                                                                          
     Page 2, line 27:                                                                                                           
          Following "death":                                                                                                    
          Insert "or a substantial risk to the minor's                                                                          
     Page 2, line 28-30:                                                                                                        
          Delete all text.                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                                      
Representative Gara  explained that the bill  has a provision                                                                   
that  says that  in  the case  of  a medical  emergency,  the                                                                   
doctor  can  perform  an  abortion to  save  the  minor  from                                                                   
physical  harm   or  death.  He   thought  the   wording  was                                                                   
difficult. On line  29, the bill says that  the physical harm                                                                   
that would be  avoided must be proved to be  irreversible. He                                                                   
asserted that  a doctor cannot  always know if the  injury is                                                                   
irreversible;   a  doctor  could   be  subject  to   criminal                                                                   
prosecution. The  amendment would  clarify that in  a medical                                                                   
emergency,  an  abortion can  be  performed if  necessary  to                                                                   
prevent  death, or  to prevent  serious risk  to the  minor's                                                                   
Representative  Coghill responded that  he would  object less                                                                   
to the amendment  if it said to "physical health"  so that it                                                                   
would not be open to a subjective interpretation.                                                                               
Representative  Gara  agreed  and  offered  an  amendment  to                                                                   
Amendment 5, to insert the word "physical" before "health."                                                                     
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze  asked if there  was continued  objection to                                                                   
Amendment 5 as amended.                                                                                                         
Representative Kelly OBJECTED.                                                                                                  
Representative  Coghill  stated   that  he  would  not  speak                                                                   
against the amendment.                                                                                                          
Representative Kelly WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                    
There  being  NO  further  OBJECTION,   it  was  so  ordered.                                                                   
Amendment 5 as amended was PASSED.                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Hawker  MOVED CSHB  (FIN)  35 from  Committee  with                                                                   
individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.                                                                           
4:49:51 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  OBJECTED for discussion. He  thought the                                                                   
main  part of  the bill  presents  legitimate discussion.  He                                                                   
wanted minors to discuss matters  such as abortion with their                                                                   
parents. However, he did not know  how a law could be written                                                                   
to require families  to talk to one another,  especially when                                                                   
the family is  dysfunctional or when the minor  does not have                                                                   
a  family.   He  had  concerns   about  foster   children  in                                                                   
particular. He took  issue with a provision in  the bill that                                                                   
states that  there has to  be a 48-hour  wait after  a parent                                                                   
consents  to   a  minor's  abortion.  He  pointed   out  that                                                                   
legislative  researchers reported  that there  is no  48-hour                                                                   
waiting period for any other procedure  in Alaska. He thought                                                                   
the provision  was disrespectful  to the parent's  choice. He                                                                   
reiterated concerns about the  second person required to sign                                                                   
an affidavit.                                                                                                                   
4:52:44 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly  agreed   that  the  bill  was  a  very                                                                   
difficult one. He opined that  the default position should be                                                                   
choosing  life  and not  death  in  a confusing  and  chaotic                                                                   
situation. He thought the sponsor had found a balance.                                                                          
Representative  Joule thought  the issue  was highly  charged                                                                   
and he appreciated the respectful tone of the debate.                                                                           
4:55:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Crawford concurred that  the issue  is tough.                                                                   
He discussed  his  views of abortion  and the  topic of  when                                                                   
life begins. He pointed out that  there were abortions before                                                                   
it was made legal, and conjectured  that there would still be                                                                   
abortions  if  they  were  made  illegal.  He  believed  that                                                                   
Planned Parenthood  had reported  that there  were 18  in the                                                                   
past year that HB 35 would have  covered; 14 of the girls had                                                                   
involved parents  and 4 did not.  He feared that HB  35 would                                                                   
force the four  to have underground abortions  and questioned                                                                   
whether the bill  would fix the problem it  was purporting to                                                                   
fix. He emphasized his desire  to pass legislation that would                                                                   
not have unintended negative consequences.                                                                                      
4:59:40 PM                                                                                                                    
There being NO further OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                            
CSHB  (FIN)  35 was  REPORTED  out  of  Committee with  a  no                                                                   
recommendations  and two previously  published fiscal  notes:                                                                   
FN1 (LAW), FN2 (HSS).                                                                                                           
Representative Foster noted that  in the Bush, hospitals fall                                                                   
under   federal  guidelines   and  are   exempt  from   state                                                                   
regulations. The doctors and nurses  answer to other laws. He                                                                   
wondered if Bush hospitals still operate this way.                                                                              
Co-Chair  Hawker noted  that Commissioner  Hogan would  get a                                                                   
formal response to the question.                                                                                                
5:02:08 PM          AT EASE                                                                                                   
5:12:00 PM     RECONVENED                                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
A M E N D M E N T 1 - Gara.doc HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 35
A M E N D M E N T 2 - Gara.doc HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 35
CSHB161 Explanation of Changes from (H)CRA.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 161
Exec Budg Act-HB127-detailed comments 3-23-09.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 127
AK Railroad briefing.ppt HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 127
AMHTA Subport HB161 Admin Briefing Paper 3 24 09.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 161
Blank Rome memo to ARRC 032309.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 127
A M E N D M E N T 3 - Gara.doc HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 35
A M E N D M E N T 4 - Gara.doc HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 35
A M E N D M E N T 5 - Gara.doc HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 35
CSHB161(CRA)-DOR-TRS-03-27-09FN Corrected.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 161
DHSS Response 033009.doc HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 35
HB127 Letter AK Miners Assoc..pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 127
HB127 Opposition Letter.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 127
HB127_Sponsor_Stmt.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 127
HB161 SPONSOR STATEMENT.mht HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 161
HB161 Labor Bldg. Lease Costs.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 161
Rep Millet Response from Dept of Admin.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 161
Rep Millet Response from The Land Trust.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 161
Rep. Millet Questions.pdf HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 161
Subport Architect Presentation.ppt HFIN 3/27/2009 1:30:00 PM
HB 161