Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

02/11/2010 03:00 PM House HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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03:15:34 PM Start
03:15:56 PM SB101
05:00:34 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Heard & Held
Scheduled But Not Heard
Scheduled But Not Heard
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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
      HOUSE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                     
                       February 11, 2010                                                                                        
                           3:15 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Wes Keller, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Tammie Wilson, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Lindsey Holmes                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Bob Herron, Co-Chair                                                                                             
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Senator Linda Menard                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 101                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to questionnaires and surveys administered in                                                                  
the public schools."                                                                                                            
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 260                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to preventive care and disease management                                                                      
services for medical assistance recipients; and providing for an                                                                
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 309                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to preventive care and disease management                                                                      
services for medical assistance recipients; and providing for an                                                                
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
HOUSE BILL NO. 265                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to preventive care and disease management                                                                      
services for medical assistance recipients; and providing for an                                                                
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 101                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STUDENT QUESTIONNAIRES AND SURVEYS                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DAVIS                                                                                                    
02/06/09       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/06/09       (S)       EDC, HSS                                                                                               
03/11/09       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/11/09       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/11/09       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/18/09       (S)       EDC RPT   1DP 2NR                                                                                      
03/18/09       (S)       DP: DAVIS                                                                                              
03/18/09       (S)       NR: OLSON, HUGGINS                                                                                     
03/18/09       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/18/09       (S)       Moved SB 101 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/18/09       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/25/09       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/25/09       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/25/09       (S)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
03/27/09       (S)       HSS AT 1:15 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/27/09       (S)       Moved SB 101 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/27/09       (S)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
03/30/09       (S)       HSS RPT  3DP                                                                                           
03/30/09       (S)       DP: DAVIS, THOMAS, PASKVAN                                                                             
03/30/09       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/30/09       (S)       Moved Out of Committee 3/27/09                                                                         
03/30/09       (S)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
04/16/09       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
04/16/09       (S)       VERSION: SB 101                                                                                        
04/16/09       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/16/09       (H)       HSS, FIN                                                                                               
02/02/10       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/02/10       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
02/11/10       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
TOM OBERMEYER, Staff                                                                                                            
to Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SB 101 on behalf of the prime                                                                 
sponsor, Senator Bettye Davis.                                                                                                  
CARL ROSE, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB)                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 101.                                                                          
KATE BURKHART, Executive Director                                                                                               
Alaska Mental Health Board;                                                                                                     
Governor's Advisory Board on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse                                                                            
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified and answered questions during                                                                  
discussion of SB 101.                                                                                                           
MARILYN DAVIDSON, Director of Instruction                                                                                       
Kodiak Island Borough School District                                                                                           
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified and answered questions during                                                                  
discussion of SB 101.                                                                                                           
WARD HURLBURT, Chief Medical Officer                                                                                            
Director, Division of Public Health                                                                                             
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified and answered questions as a                                                                    
spokesman for the administration during discussion of SB 101.                                                                   
HTWE CHEMBARS                                                                                                                   
Fort Wainwright, Alaska                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to SB 101.                                                                       
SILVER CHORD                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to SB 101.                                                                       
PAT FINK                                                                                                                        
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during discussion of SB 101.                                                                   
PATTY OWEN, Public Health Specialist                                                                                            
Division of Public Health                                                                                                       
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Answered questions during  discussion of SB
101 regarding YRBS.                                                                                                             
HARRIETTE KLANN                                                                                                                 
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during discussion of SB 101.                                                                   
CYNTHIA HITE                                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to SB 101.                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:15:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WES KELLER  called the House Health  and Social Services                                                             
Standing   Committee    meeting   to    order   at    3:15   p.m.                                                               
Representatives Keller,  Seaton, Cissna,  Holmes, T.  Wilson, and                                                               
Lynn were present at the call  to order.  Senator Menard was also                                                               
in attendance.                                                                                                                  
           SB 101-STUDENT QUESTIONNAIRES AND SURVEYS                                                                        
3:15:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be SENATE  BILL NO. 101,  "An Act relating to  questionnaires and                                                               
surveys administered in the public schools."                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KELLER  noted  that  Representative  Peggy  Wilson  had                                                               
introduced  a similar  bill, HB  130, and  she asked  that it  be                                                               
deferred to SB  101.  He pointed out that  the collection of data                                                               
was  very  important, but  he  established  that it  was  equally                                                               
important to  respect privacy.   He opined that it  was necessary                                                               
to have data in order to make decisions to address any problems.                                                                
3:19:06 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  OBERMEYER,  Staff  to Senator  Bettye  Davis,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  said  that   SB  101  was  an   act  to  administer                                                               
questionnaires  and  surveys  in  the  public  schools,  and  its                                                               
purpose was  to change the  parental consent requirement  for the                                                               
voluntary and  anonymous Youth Risk  Behavior Survey  (YRBS) from                                                               
written or  expressed consent to  implied consent if there  is no                                                               
objection or  written denial  for the  student to  participate in                                                               
the survey.   He stated that there would still  be ample time for                                                               
the parents  or students to opt  out.  He clarified  that written                                                               
permission  was  still  required  for  all  other  surveys.    He                                                               
observed  that it  had been  an  expensive burden  on the  school                                                               
districts  to obtain  parental permission,  and often  there were                                                               
not enough  participants to allow use  of the data.   He reported                                                               
that research  and experience suggested  that more  often parents                                                               
were amenable to  the survey but neglected to  return the consent                                                               
forms.   He opined that  the YRBS  was the most  important survey                                                               
administered  every  other year,  and  it  was necessary  for  60                                                               
percent  participation,  at  the  state level,  to  validate  the                                                               
statistics.   He  reported that  the results  of the  YRBS survey                                                               
were  integral  in  the  development  of  health  and  prevention                                                               
programs.   He listed the  many state and federal  grant programs                                                               
that  relied  on the  data,  which  included tobacco  prevention,                                                               
obesity  prevention,   and  substance   abuse  prevention.     He                                                               
summarized  that  the  data  was   necessary  to  understand  the                                                               
important  health   and  social  issues  that   affected  student                                                               
3:22:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON  asked what evidence pointed  to lack of                                                               
interest from the parents.                                                                                                      
3:22:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. OBERMEYER replied  that it may be anecdotal,  but that school                                                               
districts  members had  reported  it.   He  reported that  school                                                               
districts went  to great lengths  to follow  up on the  return of                                                               
participation  forms.   He advised  that participation  was often                                                               
close  to  62  percent,  with  60  percent  being  necessary  for                                                               
validation.  He relayed that,  as students were given the written                                                               
permission forms  to return  to the school,  it was  not uncommon                                                               
for students  not to deliver them.   He emphasized the  impact on                                                               
the agencies if validation percentages were not attained.                                                                       
3:24:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON  asked for an explanation  to the survey                                                               
and the process.                                                                                                                
MR.  OBERMEYER explained  that the  YRBS survey  was given  every                                                               
other year to the 9-12 grades.                                                                                                  
3:24:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON expressed concern with  the process for                                                               
obtaining the permission.                                                                                                       
MR. OBERMEYER  replied that  it was  difficult to  distribute the                                                               
procedural information,  and he  suggested a number  of remedies,                                                               
including  mailing   the  permission  request  directly   to  the                                                               
3:26:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER declared that some  parents chose not to sign the                                                               
permission requests.                                                                                                            
3:26:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN expressed  concern with  the content  of the                                                               
survey,  and  he referred  to  his  earlier  blog response  to  a                                                               
similar bill,  HB 130.  He  voiced apprehension of a  change from                                                               
opt  in to  opt  out.   He  declared  this to  be  an attempt  to                                                               
"pervert the system."                                                                                                           
3:28:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. OBERMEYER stated his agreement  with Representative Lynn, but                                                               
he  defended  this as  an  anonymous  survey.   He  detailed  the                                                               
procedure to  ensure anonymity  for each  survey.   He emphasized                                                               
that this  was a  voluntary survey.   He declared  the importance                                                               
for the survey  which allowed local, state,  and federal agencies                                                               
to "adequately  deal with children's  behavior and try  to modify                                                               
it  or prevent  improper behavior  or to  give them  education on                                                               
prevention..."   He  stressed  the  value for  any  data, and  he                                                               
pointed to the current inadequacy for data collection.                                                                          
3:30:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN clarified  that the  intent by  teachers and                                                               
administration to curtail "these  horrendous behaviors" was good,                                                               
but  the  "unintended  consequence  far  outweigh  any  potential                                                               
good."   He  declared support  for  anyone attempting  to make  a                                                               
positive  difference  in  student  behavior, but  he  called  the                                                               
content and the process for the YRBS survey "seriously flawed."                                                                 
3:31:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER explained that it was  not the intent to move the                                                               
bill  today,  but  that  this  was an  opportunity  to  "get  the                                                               
questions  on the  table."   He indicated  that he  had questions                                                               
with the wording and the groundwork for the bill.                                                                               
3:32:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked  to clarify that SB  101 allowed that                                                               
YRBS to be the only survey with an "opt out."                                                                                   
MR.  OBERMEYER  replied  that all  other  surveys  would  require                                                               
parental consent, as written in SB 101.                                                                                         
3:34:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  stated  that  he  brings  "some  degree  of                                                               
expertise  to this"  discussion as  a parent  of six  children, a                                                               
retired  public school  teacher,  and a  recipient  of a  Masters                                                               
degree in Educational Administration.                                                                                           
3:35:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. OBERMEYER, in response to  Co-Chair Keller, said that Section                                                               
2(d) still applied, but expanded  the due process requirements to                                                               
give  written notice  to  the  parents.   He  explained that  due                                                               
process  protected the  privacy of  the student  and family,  yet                                                               
provided for the return of more YRBS surveys.                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR KELLER expressed  concern that SB 101  was ambiguous and                                                               
may not accomplish the intent.                                                                                                  
3:37:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER questioned  the constitutionality of SB  101.  He                                                               
read Section  1(a), and offered  his belief that  a questionnaire                                                               
or  survey  that  inquired  into   "personal  or  private  family                                                               
affairs..." could  not be administered without  parental consent.                                                               
He called attention to The  Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment,                                                               
[Included in  committee packets.] read  the list of  eight survey                                                               
categories which required written  parental consent, and declared                                                               
that  these were  all private  family issues.   He  conceded that                                                               
federal law  exempted [the need  for written  parental permission                                                               
for]  Center  for  Disease  Control  surveys  which  asked  these                                                               
questions,  but that  the  Constitution of  the  State of  Alaska                                                               
guaranteed  the  "basic  fundamental   right  to  privacy."    He                                                               
acknowledged  the need  for interpretation  of the  constitution,                                                               
and  he  expressed a  desire  for  the House  Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee  to   review  the  bill.     He  identified  it   as  a                                                               
"fundamental,  constitutionally given  right here  that is  being                                                               
violated or  restricted by requiring  an opt out, instead  of the                                                               
existing  active  permission...  to   answer  questions  on  this                                                               
private matter,"  and compared it  to the "fundamental  right" to                                                               
carrying fire arms.  He  opined that constitutional rights can be                                                               
denied based on  "common, public good," but if SB  101 was deemed                                                               
for  the common  public good,  then there  would be  the need  to                                                               
review  "infringing on  what our  parents rights  would be."   He                                                               
argued that the ten year collection  of YRBS data proved that the                                                               
collection  of  active, written  permission  by  the parents  was                                                               
effective.   He referenced  the February  9 presentation  of YRBS                                                               
data by  the Mat-Su Substance  Abuse Prevention Coalition  to the                                                               
House Health and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                            
3:43:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER  emphasized that good data  was important, though                                                               
often  expensive  to collect  and  to  use.   He  questioned  the                                                               
justification for removal of the  parents' rights when data could                                                               
be obtained in  another way.  He allowed that,  from a government                                                               
perspective, data collection was necessary.                                                                                     
3:45:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES, referring to  the presentation by the Mat-                                                               
Su  Substance   Abuse  Prevention  Coalition,  pointed   out  its                                                               
inability  to  access local  YRBS  data  because of  insufficient                                                               
participation to  guarantee validity.   She asked  if this  was a                                                               
prevalent state-wide problem.                                                                                                   
3:47:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   KELLER  acknowledged   that   the  coalition   clearly                                                               
supported SB 101.                                                                                                               
3:47:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  OBERMEYER  reported  that some  school  districts  were  not                                                               
allowed to participate.   He acknowledged that  not every student                                                               
was offered the survey, but that  it was necessary for 60 percent                                                               
participation  to determine  adequate  sampling  for an  accurate                                                               
representation of behaviors.                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER offered  his belief that the issue  had created a                                                               
divide, and  he pointed to  the drug testing of  student athletes                                                               
in Juneau.   He stated that the parents of  student athletes were                                                               
required to  submit an  active permission  slip allowing  for the                                                               
drug test.   He  suggested the  need for  a standard  criteria to                                                               
data gathering.                                                                                                                 
3:52:27 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked for  a school district representative                                                               
to describe the procedure for administering the YRBS.                                                                           
CO-CHAIR KELLER  replied that he  would prefer a  public response                                                               
to his question as a basis for testimony.                                                                                       
3:52:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON, agreed  with Representative Seaton, and                                                               
asked how and to whom the survey was being given.                                                                               
3:53:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   KELLER   agreed   to  first   hear   school   district                                                               
3:53:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CARL  ROSE,  Executive  Director, Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
Boards (AASB),  testified that  it was a  matter of  necessity in                                                               
instruction to assess the measure  of success.  He reflected that                                                               
the last  YRBS was validated  in 2005 and some  indicators showed                                                               
that the risk behavior trend was  being reversed.  He stated that                                                               
youth  success  would  be  ensured  by  adult  support  from  the                                                               
community:  school,   family,  faith,  and  social   clubs.    He                                                               
indicated that youth  were making better decisions.   He stressed                                                               
that a reversal of trends was  essential, but that a large enough                                                               
sampling was necessary to validate that information.                                                                            
3:57:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE offered his belief that  this survey was in the public's                                                               
best interest,  as substance  abuse among  youth was  at epidemic                                                               
proportion.   He stated that  he understood the "other  side" and                                                               
that he  was sensitive to those  concerns.  He explained  that SB
101  offered anonymity  to YRBS  participants and  that the  data                                                               
would  contribute  to  the   baseline  understanding  for  social                                                               
impacts.   He declared that  AASB supported  SB 101.   He pointed                                                               
out   that   the  53   school   districts   each  had   different                                                               
relationships  with its  community  and each  administered a  bit                                                               
3:59:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN asked about the margin of error.                                                                            
4:00:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE  said  that  a  65-70  percent  return  allowed  for  a                                                               
corporeal  indicator  of "what  your  community  is doing."    He                                                               
commented that  it was more  difficult for multiple  school sites                                                               
to generate an adequate return of surveys.                                                                                      
4:00:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  asked  if   private  or  parochial  schools                                                               
requested this survey.                                                                                                          
MR. ROSE said that he did not have that information.                                                                            
4:00:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON  asked if the survey was  offered to all                                                               
the students.                                                                                                                   
MR. ROSE  replied that  it was  offered to  all students  who had                                                               
given permission.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON asked what  the option would be if there                                                               
was not enough permission granted.                                                                                              
MR. ROSE replied  that it was difficult to  seek permission prior                                                               
to the survey, as opposed to  a passive approach.  He stated that                                                               
it was much  more difficult in larger school  districts, and that                                                               
even  the combined  student population  of the  smaller districts                                                               
was still only a small percentage of the total.                                                                                 
4:02:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER read AS 14.03.110(b):                                                                                           
     For  an  anonymous  questionnaire  or  survey,  written                                                                    
     permission required  under (a)  of this section  may be                                                                    
     obtained annually  and is valid until  the commencement                                                                    
     of the  subsequent school year  or until the  parent or                                                                    
     legal guardian  who gave  permission submits  a written                                                                    
     withdrawal of permission to the  school principal.  The                                                                    
     school  shall provide  each student's  parent or  legal                                                                    
     guardian   at   least    two   weeks'   notice   before                                                                    
       administering a questionnaire or survey described                                                                        
     under this subsection.                                                                                                     
He  said  that this  was  an  option  for school  districts  with                                                               
schools which were widely dispersed.                                                                                            
4:04:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  T.  WILSON asked  if  high  school students  were                                                               
required to have  permission to go on field trips,  and how often                                                               
fewer than 60 percent of the students participated.                                                                             
MR. ROSE  replied that as  AASB did  not operate schools,  he did                                                               
not  have  that  information,  but  he  offered  to  supply  that                                                               
information to the committee.                                                                                                   
4:04:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE,  in response to  Representative Seaton, said  that AASB                                                               
supported passive  approval as  mentioned in  Section 4,  but had                                                               
not looked at the specifics for application.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  requested   that  other  school  district                                                               
representatives also respond to his question.                                                                                   
4:06:23 PM                                                                                                                    
KATE BURKHART,  Executive Director,  Alaska Mental  Health Board;                                                               
Governor's Advisory Board on Alcoholism  & Drug Abuse, Department                                                               
of Health and Social Services  (DHSS), explained that both boards                                                               
were established to give advice  to the Executive and Legislative                                                               
branches, and  she clarified  that the  boards did  not represent                                                               
the position of  DHSS or the Governor's office.   She stated that                                                               
she  represented  the  positions  of  the  board  members.    She                                                               
expressed her  appreciation for  the balancing  of the  rights of                                                               
parents  with the  interest of  the public  for the  information.                                                               
Referring  to  the  YRSB  student  participation  rate  prior  to                                                               
required active consent,  she noted that there was  78 percent in                                                               
1995 and 80  percent in 1999.  She compared  those figures to the                                                               
student   participation  after   active   parental  consent   was                                                               
required,  and stated  that student  participation dropped  to 62                                                               
percent in  2003, 55  percent in  2005, and  60 percent  in 2007.                                                               
She  shared that  in both  2003 and  2007, schools  were able  to                                                               
"just  barely" meet  the minimum  threshold of  60 percent.   She                                                               
testified that  schools had to  spend money on pizza  parties and                                                               
other  incentives, just  to get  the  permission slips  returned.                                                               
She said  that the school  districts reported that the  effort to                                                               
get  the  permission  slips  was  very  expensive,  and  diverted                                                               
funding from other projects.                                                                                                    
4:10:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BURKHART said  that the  2008 Board  meeting in  Kenai heard                                                               
significant public comment about  the difficulties to getting the                                                               
necessary  data.   She  informed the  committee  that the  Juneau                                                               
determination for  student athlete drug testing  incorporated the                                                               
YRBS data  into the decision making,  but that it was  a struggle                                                               
for the school district to get that data.                                                                                       
4:11:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER asked  about any benefit for the  extra effort to                                                               
collect the parental permission slips for YRBS.                                                                                 
MS. BURKHART  replied that she did  not know of any  benefit, but                                                               
expressed  her  concern   for  the  amount  of   money  spent  on                                                               
CO-CHAIR  KELLER  clarified that  his  concern  was not  just  to                                                               
receive the data, but to collect  "the data in a less restrictive                                                               
4:12:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  asked  for   reasons  to  the  decrease  in                                                               
MS. BURKHART  replied that  she did  not know  of any  survey for                                                               
parents who did  not return the permission slips.   She explained                                                               
that about  69 percent  agreed to the  survey, and  10-11 percent                                                               
responded  to not  give permission.    It was  that remaining  20                                                               
percent of parents not returning  the slips that were affected by                                                               
SB 1.  She voiced the desire for a response from this group.                                                                    
4:15:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER reflected  on an anomaly of human  nature to deal                                                               
with difficult issues.                                                                                                          
MS. BURKHART, in response to  Representative Seaton, offered that                                                               
the  board understood  the notice  requirements  in Section  2(d)                                                               
would  apply  to  the  YRBS.   She  affirmed  the  importance  of                                                               
balancing   the   board   responsibilities   for   planning   and                                                               
coordination with  advocating for its stakeholders  and remaining                                                               
a conduit  for public comment.   She  declared that SB  101 would                                                               
balance  the public  need  for  data with  the  private right  to                                                               
determine participation.                                                                                                        
4:17:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER mused  whether the right to  privacy for children                                                               
had been extended beyond what the parent had control over.                                                                      
4:18:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  directed  attention to  Section  2(d)(8),                                                               
which allowed the student to  refuse to answer specific questions                                                               
or to  refuse to  participate in the  survey, and  suggested that                                                               
even  with  parental consent,  the  student  could refuse,  which                                                               
could supersede Section 4(g).                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR KELLER agreed that this was a valid factor.                                                                            
4:20:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MARILYN DAVIDSON, Director of  Instruction, Kodiak Island Borough                                                               
School  District, said  that she  was speaking  on behalf  of the                                                               
Kodiak Island Borough School District.  She reported:                                                                           
     At  this   time,  the  Kodiak  Island   Borough  School                                                                    
     District  is divided  in  our  thinking regarding  this                                                                    
     proposal and the  idea of passive approval.   Points in                                                                    
     our thinking that  are in support of  the proposal are:                                                                    
     first of  all, the  information gained from  surveys is                                                                    
     valuable to  us in  many ways,  allowing us  to monitor                                                                    
     and  adjust  our   programmatic  development,  adoption                                                                    
     processes, and  revision processes; second, we  do need                                                                    
     to hear from  as many of our  constituents as possible,                                                                    
     in  order  to  determine  an accurate  picture  of  the                                                                    
     communities we  serve.   Points not  in support  of the                                                                    
     proposed  change  include:    first,  the  support  and                                                                    
     protection  of  parent and  family  rights  is of  high                                                                    
     importance  as  is  the need  for  involvement  of  all                                                                    
     parents  and families  in  their children's  education.                                                                    
     As  we  work  in   this  district  to  increase  parent                                                                    
     involvement   in  all   aspects  of   their  children's                                                                    
     education,  this   would  be  a  reduction   of  active                                                                    
     involvement in an area that  is sensitive and personal.                                                                    
     It could  potentially diminish the  interaction between                                                                    
     parents,  families,  their  children, and  the  school.                                                                    
     Second, in  the most  recent survey regarding  drug use                                                                    
     and  sexual behavior  requiring active  consent, and  I                                                                    
     believe  that  was  a YRBS,  Kodiak  High  School,  our                                                                    
     largest school,  achieved an 80 percent  response rate.                                                                    
     While this  required some effort  on the part  of staff                                                                    
     members, there  is great value in  the personal contact                                                                    
     with parents  and families.   As an  aside, I  can just                                                                    
     add, as  one of the  parents who had failed  to respond                                                                    
     to that, I  received an e-mail, I printed  out the form                                                                    
     that was  attached, and was  able to get that  back and                                                                    
     my  students did  participate.   I  don't  know of  any                                                                    
     incentives that  were offered to  parents in  regard to                                                                    
     that.  Third point, in  many cases parents and families                                                                    
     of younger  children, and I  believe YRBS, and  I would                                                                    
     stand  to be  corrected if  I'm wrong,  I believe  YRBS                                                                    
     goes  into  middle school,  and  for  us that  includes                                                                    
     grade  six.   In many  cases, parents  and families  of                                                                    
     younger children,  in particular,  have deemed  some of                                                                    
     the  questions on  the survey  as highly  inappropriate                                                                    
     for   their  child's   level  of   social  development,                                                                    
     bringing up thoughts,  questions, and potential actions                                                                    
     that  their children  may have  had no  encounters with                                                                    
     and  have  not  had  any   reason  to  entertain.    In                                                                    
     conclusion, we  believe that parents and  families will                                                                    
     be  responsive when  they understand  the need  for the                                                                    
     information and  the importance  of the  information to                                                                    
     the  community and  the well  being of  their children.                                                                    
     We  believe   that  the  support  and   enhancement  of                                                                    
     partnership between families and  the schools are vital                                                                    
     to  supporting  the  advancement of  the  education  of                                                                    
     Alaskan youth.   Thank you  for the opportunity,  and I                                                                    
     can take any questions.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON asked about the number of students                                                                     
enrolled at the high school, and asked how the permission slips                                                                 
were collected after the initial request.                                                                                       
MS.  DAVIDSON  replied that  Kodiak  High  School had  about  800                                                               
students in grades 9-12.   She explained that office secretaries,                                                               
the  parent  facilitator,  and counseling  staff  had  follow  up                                                               
communication with the parents.                                                                                                 
4:25:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked to clarify the grades surveyed by                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN read the first  question on the survey, which                                                               
asked  the  participant age,  and  noted  the range  of  response                                                               
choices to include "12 years old or younger" and "17 years old."                                                                
4:26:24 PM                                                                                                                    
WARD  HURLBURT,  Chief  Medical Officer;  Director,  Division  of                                                               
Public Health,  Office of the Commissioner,  Department of Health                                                               
and  Social  Services  (DHSS),   identified  that  the  YRBS  was                                                               
developed  by  the Centers  for  Disease  Control and  Prevention                                                               
(CDC)  in 1988,  and  Alaska  began participation  in  1995.   He                                                               
observed that  all states,  with the  exception of  Alaska, Utah,                                                               
and  New Jersey,  had an  opt in.   In  1999, House  Bill 70  had                                                               
changed Alaska from  an opt out to its current  opt in provision,                                                               
and he noted  that Governor Parnell, as a  legislator during that                                                               
time, had supported  House Bill 70.  He observed  that the survey                                                               
was  provided statewide  to  20 school  districts  on a  randomly                                                               
selected basis.  He elaborated  that within each selected school,                                                               
classes were also selected by  random.  He explained that parents                                                               
were   given  a   two  week   notice  to   sign  permission   for                                                               
participation.   He affirmed  that children  were also  given the                                                               
option  to participate.   He  provided that  about 17  percent of                                                               
parents  stated  in writing  not  to  participate, and  about  25                                                               
percent did not respond.  He  remarked that these figures were at                                                               
a  slight variance  to those  stated earlier,  and he  noted that                                                               
this  resulted in  a participant  percentage below  the necessary                                                               
statistical validity  of 60 percent.   He reported  that although                                                               
60 percent  participation was  not a magical  number, it  was the                                                               
percent  that  the  statisticians  and  CDC  had  determined  for                                                               
validity and the subsequent award of grants.                                                                                    
DR. HURLBURT  shared that participation  in 2003 was  62 percent;                                                               
in 2007, it was  60 percent; and in 2009, it was  62 percent.  He                                                               
noted that in  2005, it did not  reach a level for  validity.  In                                                               
agreement  with Representative  Lynn, he  commented that  some of                                                               
the  questions were  very personal  and sensitive,  but that  the                                                               
data  was  helpful  in  identifying  the  problems  necessitating                                                               
4:31:25 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. HURLBURT  reported that the administration  had concerns with                                                               
SB  101,  based  on  consistency   with  the  governor's  earlier                                                               
position.  He shared that  the governor encouraged innovation for                                                               
participation.   He reported that  $100,000 was available  to the                                                               
schools for parent participation incentives,  but he did not know                                                               
if  the schools  supplied additional  funding.   He identified  a                                                               
problem  with   SB  101  was   its  failure  to   strengthen  the                                                               
involvement of parents with their children and the school.                                                                      
4:33:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON asked  if federal funding  was attached                                                               
to use of the YRBS data.                                                                                                        
DR.  HURLBURT  replied that  the  availability  of the  data  did                                                               
impact the award of grants.                                                                                                     
4:33:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER  asked if there  was any  departmental discussion                                                               
or  concern for  "private."   He  pointed  to the  constitutional                                                               
right  to   privacy,  and  he  expressed   concern  for  possible                                                               
DR. HURLBURT  said he was not  aware of any discussion,  but that                                                               
the intent was to have privacy built in to the YRBS procedures.                                                                 
4:34:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON  asked for the cost  of achieving enough                                                               
participant response to validate the survey.                                                                                    
DR. HURLBURT  replied that he  would get that information  to the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked about the scope of the grants.                                                                      
DR. HURLBURT  said that  he did  not think  any major  grants had                                                               
been denied,  and that the  current concern was for  the jeopardy                                                               
to future grants.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  about the  magnitude of  the grants                                                               
that we did receive.                                                                                                            
DR. HURLBURT said that he would  get the information, but that it                                                               
was in the hundreds of thousands  of dollars, not the millions of                                                               
4:37:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  read several of  the questions and  asked if                                                               
there had  been any  research of the  potential harm  to students                                                               
participating in the YRBS.                                                                                                      
DR. HURLBURT relayed  the CDC response that  asking questions did                                                               
not result in more problems.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN asked  if a  survey  respondent's desire  to                                                               
appear normal could influence the survey results.                                                                               
DR.   HURLBURT  responded   that   high   school  students   were                                                               
susceptible to many influences.                                                                                                 
4:40:40 PM                                                                                                                    
HTWE CHEMBARS  said that  every decision  for children  should be                                                               
decided  by the  parents.   She  declared  that school  districts                                                               
should only  offer kids  an education, and  she did  not consider                                                               
this  an  education.    She voiced  her  opposition  to  exposing                                                               
children to this material.                                                                                                      
4:43:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SILVER CHORD conveyed  that he was an educator with  a Masters in                                                               
school psychology,  as well as  a director of  special education.                                                               
He stated that it  was a travesty to even consider  SB 101, as it                                                               
was  "selling  parents   down  the  tube  to  get   money."    He                                                               
recommended that a cost benefit  analysis should be performed for                                                               
all programs.  He opined that  there was a lack of responsibility                                                               
on the effectiveness  of many programs.  He  reported that school                                                               
mission  statements declared  to  be "for  children  and that  we                                                               
invite the parents to be supportive  of the schools."  He offered                                                               
his  belief that  the  lack  of participant  form  returns was  a                                                               
result of  the decline  for school support  due to  school system                                                               
behaviors.  He suggested that a  very bad precedent was being set                                                               
with  this  "permission  by  omission."    He  suggested  payment                                                               
directly   to  parents   for  the   return  of   the  participant                                                               
permissions,  instead  of payment  for  incentive  programs.   He                                                               
noted a lack of parental testimony.                                                                                             
4:47:03 PM                                                                                                                    
PAT FINK, establishing that she  was a retired teacher, asked the                                                               
following list  of questions: how many  school district personnel                                                               
had read the  YRBS; had the questions changed since  2005; does a                                                               
school district need prior permission  to administer a drug test;                                                               
and, does  a school district demand  permission for immunizations                                                               
and field  trips.  She suggested  sending the YRSB home  with the                                                               
permission slip.                                                                                                                
4:49:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KELLER, in  response  to Ms.  Fink,  replied that  each                                                               
district  had different  policies.   He replied  that he  did not                                                               
know if the YRBS questions had changed.                                                                                         
4:50:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON, in response  to Ms. Fink, said that she                                                               
would  respond with  answers regarding  the Fairbanks  North Star                                                               
Borough School District.                                                                                                        
4:50:23 PM                                                                                                                    
PATTY OWEN, Public Health Specialist,  Division of Public Health,                                                               
Department of  Health and Social Services  (DHSS), testified that                                                               
the  YRBS questions  had  not  changed since  1995,  in terms  of                                                               
general  content.   She established  that  there were  occasional                                                               
opportunities  to modify  and add  emerging  issues, for  example                                                               
bulimia, or prescription drug use.   She emphasized that the YRBS                                                               
was designed  to track  trends over time,  so consistency  of the                                                               
questions was necessary.                                                                                                        
4:51:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN, in response to  Ms. Fink, asked her reaction                                                               
upon reading the YRBS.                                                                                                          
MS. FINK replied that she was  startled by the questions, and she                                                               
suggested for parents to read it before giving permission.                                                                      
4:52:36 PM                                                                                                                    
HARRIETTE KLANN stated  that a school board should  not usurp the                                                               
responsibility  of the  parents.    She declared  that  it was  a                                                               
fundamental  right and  responsibility  of  parents to  determine                                                               
what was  right for  their children.   She cautioned  against the                                                               
assumption  that "non-return  is  non-interest."   She  announced                                                               
that "school boards are branching  out from teaching our children                                                               
to value  judgment retrieval systems."   She suggested permitting                                                               
more  involvement  from  churches, communities,  and  social  and                                                               
private sectors.  She offered  her belief that "those in control"                                                               
assumed "the  general public  does not  have the  intelligence or                                                               
care enough  for their kids to  get help, so those  in power must                                                               
make the decisions for us."   She observed that the difficulty in                                                               
retrieving  the participant  permissions indicated  opposition to                                                               
SB 101, instead of parental non-interest.                                                                                       
4:54:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON asked if Ms. Klann had read the YRBS.                                                                  
MS. KLANN  replied that she had  not read the entire  survey, and                                                               
in response  to Representative T.  Wilson, stated that  she would                                                               
not offer it in the classroom.                                                                                                  
4:55:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON asked for  a 2005 survey to  review the                                                               
CO-CHAIR KELLER indicated that these would be supplied.                                                                         
4:55:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CYNTHIA  HITE  offered her  belief  that  SB  101 was  about  the                                                               
process for  collecting data, and  that its "intent was  to seize                                                               
the  rights  of  parents  and   award  them  to  public  schools,                                                               
administrators, and teachers."   She stated that  she opposed the                                                               
bill.  She  indicated that every parent enrolling  their child in                                                               
the Anchorage  School District signed a  blanket permission slip,                                                               
which listed the surveys with  the opportunity to agree or refuse                                                               
to  participate.   She questioned  the reason  that YRBS  was not                                                               
included  with  that permission  agreement.    She announced  her                                                               
distrust of public agencies and public officials.                                                                               
4:57:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  T.  WILSON  asked about  the  blanket  permission                                                               
MS.  HITE  identified  this  as  "Important  Rights  for  Parents                                                               
Concerning  Student  Surveys."    She announced  that  it  was  a                                                               
requirement to sign this in person.                                                                                             
4:59:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KELLER clarified  that  this system  was "a  permissive                                                               
thing" and that it varied by district.                                                                                          
MS.  HITE suggested  that all  districts  should incorporate  the                                                               
Anchorage system.                                                                                                               
4:59:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER read a list of people still on line to testify.                                                                 
[SB 101 was held over.]                                                                                                         
5:00:34 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Health and Social Services Standing Committee meeting was                                                                       
adjourned at 5:00 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB309pckt.PDF HHSS 2/11/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 309
HB265pckt.PDF HHSS 2/11/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 265