Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/31/2009 03:00 PM House HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 192(HSS) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB 192-CHILD SUPPORT/CASH MEDICAL SUPPORT                                                                                     
3:04:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 192, "An  Act relating to nonpayment  of child                                                               
support; relating  to certain judicial and  administrative orders                                                               
for medical support  of a child; relating to  periodic review and                                                               
adjustment  of  child support  orders;  relating  to relief  from                                                               
administrative child  support orders;  relating to  child support                                                               
arrearages;  relating  to medical  support  of  a child  and  the                                                               
Alaska  Native family  assistance  program;  amending Rule  90.3,                                                               
Alaska Rules of  Civil Procedure; and providing  for an effective                                                               
3:05:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  moved to  adopt  CSHB  192, Version  26-                                                               
LS0483\P,  Mischel,  3/30/09, as  the  working  document.   There                                                               
being  no objection,  CSHB 192,  Version  P, was  adopted as  the                                                               
working document.                                                                                                               
3:06:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL,  prime sponsor  of HB  192, said  that HB
192  was introduced  at the  request of  the administration.   He                                                               
presented a high level review of  the bill, and explained that it                                                               
emanated  from a  federal  requirement.   He  noted  that HB  192                                                               
included  conforming  language,  a   definition  of  the  Uniform                                                               
Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA),  and the administration of                                                               
the order  of support  for the  Child Support  Services Division.                                                               
He referred to  Section 3 of the bill, and  ascertained that this                                                               
was  a federal  mandate in  order for  Alaska to  receive federal                                                               
money.   He  directed  attention to  the  definition for  "state"                                                               
contained  in Section  3 (19)  which was  amended to  include "an                                                               
Indian tribe."   He pointed  out that Alaskan tribal  issues were                                                               
based in  enrollment, bloodline,  and corporation whereas  in the                                                               
Lower  48,  the  tribal  issues  were based  on  geography.    He                                                               
explained the intent language in Section 1(b) which read:                                                                       
     In  Alaska, the  scope  of tribal  authority to  enter,                                                                    
     modify,  or  enforce  a  child   support  order  is  an                                                                    
     unsettled legal  question, due in  part to the  lack of                                                                    
     Indian  country in  most  of the  state.   In  adopting                                                                    
     UIFSA conforming  amendments, the legislature  does not                                                                    
     intend  to grant  or  restrict  tribal jurisdiction  to                                                                    
     enter,  modify, or  enforce child  support orders,  and                                                                    
     the  amendments are  not intended,  either directly  or                                                                    
     impliedly, to  acknowledge, expand, or  restrict tribal                                                                    
He summarized  that this tribal  definition declared  that Alaska                                                               
was different than the 48 contiguous states.                                                                                    
3:09:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  asked if  the Tanana  chiefs were  involved with                                                               
this definition.                                                                                                                
3:10:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  replied  that   he  had  worked  on  the                                                               
definition with the Office of  the Attorney General.  He stressed                                                               
that this  definition was  an unsettled  question in  Alaska, and                                                               
that acceptance  of the federal  definition could  create serious                                                               
issues in Alaska.   He expressed his desire that  it not become a                                                               
big issue in Alaska.                                                                                                            
3:10:52 PM                                                                                                                    
RYNIEVA MOSS, Staff to Representative  John Coghill, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, said that she would  divide the sections of the bill                                                               
into four  categories: Sections 2,  4, 5, 9,  10, 11, and  12 add                                                               
cash medical support for sections of  the law that apply to child                                                               
support  and  health  insurance under  existing  law;  Section  1                                                               
redefines the word  "state" to include "the  United States Virgin                                                               
Islands" and "an Indian tribe";  Section 4 required child support                                                               
to review  cases on a  three year cycle;  Sections 7 and  8 allow                                                               
the  child support  agency  to  correct a  clerical  error in  an                                                               
administrative  order without  a motion  from the  obligor.   She                                                               
noted that  the first  three categories  were required  to comply                                                               
with  federal  law,  or  lose $18  million  annually  in  federal                                                               
3:13:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  referred to  cash medical  support orders,                                                               
and asked if  this bill was seeking conforming  language, or were                                                               
these support orders currently issued.                                                                                          
MS. MOSS replied that Alaska  had medical support orders, but not                                                               
cash medical  support orders.   She reported that the  bill would                                                               
include  both.   She explained  that  this would  extend to  both                                                               
custodial and non-custodial parents.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL reported  that it  was currently  assumed                                                               
the obligor had insurance, but  that this proposed bill broadened                                                               
that  both parents  would be  assumed to  have insurance  or cash                                                               
medical support, in lieu of insurance.                                                                                          
3:15:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  whether there  was a  necessity for                                                               
cash medical support if there was medical insurance.                                                                            
3:16:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL, in  response  to Representative  Seaton,                                                               
said that the cash was for medical coverage.                                                                                    
3:17:40 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN MALLONEE, Director, Anchorage  Central Office, Child Support                                                               
Services Division,  Department of Revenue (DOR),  said that child                                                               
support  was a  federally mandated,  but state  operated program.                                                               
He  explained the  federal requirements  and the  federal funding                                                               
for  the program.    He described  the three  areas  that HB  192                                                               
addressed  for changes  of the  state  statute in  order to  meet                                                               
federal requirements for funding:   the first area was within the                                                               
Uniform  Interstate  Family Support  Act  (UIFSA),  an act  which                                                               
provided  efficient  procedures  for   the  collection  of  child                                                               
support  in  interstate  cases and  eliminated  multiple  support                                                               
orders, and he pointed out  that the Alaska definition of "state"                                                               
would need  to conform to that  in UIFSA; the second  area was in                                                               
regard to child  medical support, and he pointed out  that HB 192                                                               
added  to existing  law "the  authority to  order either  or both                                                               
parents  to pay  cash medical  support if  warranted;" the  third                                                               
area addressed  support orders,  and he noted  that under  HB 192                                                               
clients  could now  request  a  review at  any  time, that  child                                                               
support orders must  now be reviewed at least  every three years,                                                               
and that language  was removed which limited who  could request a                                                               
correction of (1)  a clerical mistake in  an administrative order                                                               
or, (2) a  decision based on default income, and  not the ability                                                               
to pay.                                                                                                                         
3:23:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER  asked if  the state had  been out  of compliance                                                               
since 1996.                                                                                                                     
MR. MALLONEE agreed, with regard for the definition of "state."                                                                 
CO-CHAIR KELLER  asked what  had occurred to  make this  now more                                                               
important than in 1996.                                                                                                         
MR. MALLONEE said that this had  been brought to the attention of                                                               
the federal  Office of  Child Support  Enforcement, which  sent a                                                               
pre-notice letter of consequences  for non-compliance to (Alaska)                                                               
Child Support Services Division.                                                                                                
MR. MALLONEE, in response to  Co-Chair Herron, offered his belief                                                               
that it had been previously overlooked.                                                                                         
3:25:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  referred to page  3, line 20 of  the bill,                                                               
which read,  "agency shall issue  a support order," and  he asked                                                               
to define a cash medical support order.                                                                                         
3:26:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MALLONEE  explained that the Child  Support Services Division                                                               
first determined  whether either party had  health insurance, and                                                               
if not, then  a set amount of money was  required as cash medical                                                               
3:27:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  if this  was limited  to co-pay  or                                                               
deductibles in addition to the insurance.                                                                                       
3:28:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MALLONEE, in  response to  Representative Seaton,  said that                                                               
the cash  medical support  was in  lieu of  insurance.   He noted                                                               
that   non  covered   medical  payments,   such  as   co-pay  and                                                               
deductibles, were already  addressed in statute.   He pointed out                                                               
that  this  applied  to  people  who  had  no  medical  insurance                                                               
available to them,  so that some money was  available for medical                                                               
3:29:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked to  clarify the  need for  "or both"                                                               
language in the bill with  reference to "a medical support order"                                                               
and "a cash medical support order."                                                                                             
3:29:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MALLONEE  replied that  it  was  required language,  and  he                                                               
theorized on the possibilities for the need of both.                                                                            
3:30:58 PM                                                                                                                    
STACY  STEINBERG, Chief  Assistant  Attorney General;,  Statewide                                                               
Section  Supervisor,  Commercial/Fair   Business  Section,  Civil                                                               
Division (Anchorage), Department of Law  (DOL), said that she was                                                               
available to answer questions.                                                                                                  
3:31:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KELLER  asked what  legal  effect  the proposed  intent                                                               
language for the  definition of "state" in HB 192  would have for                                                               
a legal determination to tribal jurisdiction.                                                                                   
3:32:32 PM                                                                                                                    
PETER  PUTZIER,  Senior  Assistant  Attorney  General,  Opinions,                                                               
Appeals, & Ethics, Civil Division  (Anchorage), Department of Law                                                               
(DOL), replied that the legal  question was whether the state was                                                               
changing any  procedures under  the UIFSA.   He relayed  that the                                                               
tribal argument  might be the  implication that  jurisdiction was                                                               
intended.  He said that the  intent language of HB 192 was clear,                                                               
and that this was not  a position, merely a conforming amendment.                                                               
He  said that  the unresolved  issues were  whether the  inherent                                                               
jurisdiction  of  the  tribes  was  extended  for  child  support                                                               
orders, specifically in Alaska.  He  opined that HB 192 would not                                                               
be a central argument for resolution.                                                                                           
3:36:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  referred to "other insurance  coverage" on                                                               
page 3, line 24, and asked if that was Denali Kid Care.                                                                         
3:37:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  STEINBERG explained  that Denali  Kid Care  was not  private                                                               
insurance, but a  form of public assistance;  therefore, it would                                                               
not cover this.   She said that Indian Health  Service care would                                                               
suffice, as would military health care.                                                                                         
3:38:24 PM                                                                                                                    
GINGER  BLAISDELL,  Director, Administrative  Services  Division,                                                               
Department  of  Revenue (DOR),  reiterated  that  the first  pre-                                                               
notice letter for non-compliance was  received on March 27, 2009,                                                               
and it stated that block  grant funds for Temporary Assistance to                                                               
Needy  Families (TANF)  would be  at risk  if the  state did  not                                                               
enact conforming child  support legislation.  She  stated that HB
192  would enact  all the  necessary conforming  laws.   She said                                                               
that the  amount of  money at  risk for the  state was  about $85                                                               
million.   She  emphasized that  it  was critical  to conform  to                                                               
3:40:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  asked if Alaska had  been aware of not  being in                                                               
conformity, even though the federal government was not.                                                                         
3:41:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAISDELL said  that Alaska had been aware for  a short time.                                                               
She said that Alaska had requested  a waiver on January 29, 2009,                                                               
which was denied.                                                                                                               
3:41:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAISDELL, in response to  Co-Chair Herron, said that she did                                                               
not know when a warning letter would arrive.                                                                                    
3:42:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  said that,  unless Alaska was  willing to                                                               
do  something else  for its  citizens, it  was necessary  to pass                                                               
this bill.                                                                                                                      
3:43:45 PM                                                                                                                    
BOB  LOESCHER, Judiciary  Committee, Sub  Committee of  State and                                                               
Tribal Affairs, Central Council Tlingit  & Haida Indian Tribes of                                                               
Alaska,  reported  that  he  had  been  working  on  the  federal                                                               
compliance issue for  several months, and he  stressed the impact                                                               
this would have  on Alaskan families and children.   He discussed                                                               
the  Central Council  of  Tlingit &  Haida  tribal child  support                                                               
program, which did  not use state funds, but  was funded directly                                                               
from  the  federal   government.    He  shared   that  the  tribe                                                               
cooperated  with the  state children  services and  the DOR.   He                                                               
confirmed that  Alaskan tribes were  recognized under  the United                                                               
States constitution, by  the U.S. Congress, and  by the Secretary                                                               
of  the  Interior.    He  pointed  out  that  the  Statehood  Act                                                               
recognized  Alaskan native  peoples,  which was  based on  tribal                                                               
enrollment.  He asked that  the legislature recognize that tribes                                                               
did exist,  as there  was a mutual  benefit for  cooperation with                                                               
the tribes  on programs of common  interest.  He noted  that this                                                               
kept people  working, kept children  safe, and kept  families fed                                                               
and  taken care  of.   He pointed  out that  Alaska was  the only                                                               
state which  did not  include "Indian tribe"  in adoption  of the                                                               
federal act.  He said that  the Central Council supported HB 192,                                                               
but he  opined that Section 1(b)  of the intent language  did not                                                               
comply  with federal  law.   He suggested  that the  jurisdiction                                                               
should  be  decided  by  the  courts, and  not  be  written  into                                                               
legislation.  He  offered his opinion that it was  not helpful to                                                               
the relationships.                                                                                                              
3:52:41 PM                                                                                                                    
JESSIE  ARCHIBALD,   Attorney,  Tribal  Child   Support  Program,                                                               
Central  Council  Tlingit  &  Haida   Indian  Tribes  of  Alaska,                                                               
explained  that   the  purpose   of  UIFSA  was   for  conforming                                                               
procedures  among  states  and  tribal  jurisdictions  for  child                                                               
support orders.  She stated  that Section 1(b) was contradictory,                                                               
and  did not  support  the purpose  of UIFSA.    She shared  that                                                               
tribes  in  Alaska  now  had their  own  federally  funded  child                                                               
support programs.   She  offered her belief  that the  purpose of                                                               
the  program was  to provide  child support,  not to  argue about                                                               
jurisdiction.  She agreed that this was a procedural statute.                                                                   
3:55:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON asked to clarify  that Mr. Loescher supported the                                                               
proposed CS for HB 192, except for Section 1(b).                                                                                
MR. LOESCHER  asked to  clarify that  "uncodified" meant  that it                                                               
was proposed  and that  "codified" meant that  it was  already in                                                               
3:57:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  FORD, Assistant  Attorney  General  & Legislative  Liaison,                                                               
Legislation  &  Regulations  Section,  Civil  Division  (Juneau),                                                               
Department of  Law (DOL), said  that the reference  to uncodified                                                               
law meant that there was not  an AS section assigned, and that it                                                               
was  in a  different section  of the  statutes, but  he clarified                                                               
that it was still law.                                                                                                          
3:58:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL,  in response  to  Mr.  Loescher and  Ms.                                                               
Archibald, said  that there were  other tests of authority  to be                                                               
worked  out.   He  affirmed  that this  needed  to  work for  all                                                               
Alaskans.  He  explained that Alaska had  different tribal issues                                                               
than  the  lower  48  states,   and  he  noted  that  Alaska  had                                                               
enrollment based  programs which  were not  geographically based,                                                               
as  in most  other  states.   He  welcomed  the  Tlingit &  Haida                                                               
involvement  with child  support programs  and the  TANF program.                                                               
He explained  that the language in  HB 192, Section 1(b)  was not                                                               
intended to grant  or restrict tribal jurisdiction.   He endorsed                                                               
support for Alaskan families and children.                                                                                      
4:03:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KELLER reiterated  that  the bill  language in  Section                                                               
1(b)  stated  "does not  grant  or  restrict,"  which was  not  a                                                               
statement on tribal jurisdiction.   He considered the rest of the                                                               
bill to be procedural for conformation to federal regulations.                                                                  
4:04:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LOESCHER asked about the  guidance memo from the governor and                                                               
the commissioner of  the DOR.  He reflected that  the language in                                                               
that memo was clearer than the language in Section 1(b).                                                                        
4:05:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  asked that  the guidance memo  be placed  in the                                                               
bill file.   He  noted that  Mr. Loescher  and Ms.  Archibald had                                                               
concerns with Section 1(b), and that  they suggested for it to be                                                               
4:06:13 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 4:06 p.m. to 4:07 p.m.                                                                       
4:07:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER  moved to report  CSHB 192,  Version 26-LS0483\P,                                                               
out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                               
accompanying zero  fiscal note.   There being no  objection, CSHB
192 (HSS) was reported from  the House Health and Social Services                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HSS192pkt.PDF HHSS 3/31/2009 3:00:00 PM
HSS190pkt.PDF HHSS 3/31/2009 3:00:00 PM
HSS71pkt.PDF HHSS 3/31/2009 3:00:00 PM