Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/21/1997 03:19 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 134 - BARBERS AND HAIRDRESSERS                                           
                                                                               
 Number 1230                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee would address HB 134, "An           
 Act relating to regulation of barbers and hairdressers; extending             
 the termination date of the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers; and            
 providing for an effective date."                                             
                                                                               
 Number 1246                                                                   
                                                                               
 RANDY WELKER, Legislative Auditor, Legislative Audit Division, came           
 before the committee to explain HB 134.  He informed the committee            
 members that the bill makes two changes to statutes.  Section 1               
 relates to the sunset extension date.  Mr. Welker said in Section             
 2 requests a change in the make-up of the board to delete one of              
 the barber members and replace it with a cosmetologist.  Currently,           
 the board regulates barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists and              
 there is no representation on the board from the cosmetology                  
 profession.  He said as of June 30, 1996, there were 260 licensed             
 barbers, 482 licensed cosmetologists and 2,127 licensed                       
 hairdressers.  So with almost a two to one ratio between                      
 cosmetologists and barbers, they did not think it was unreasonable            
 to reduce the current two barber members to one and provide for a             
 cosmetologist member.  There is a transitional section that would             
 allow for the current barber member to continue until a term                  
 expires or when there is a vacancy for the appointment of a                   
 cosmetologist.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 1336                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said, "Mr. Welker, I'm trying to look at the                
 audit.  The figures you gave about the various members..."                    
                                                                               
 MR. WELKER explained they are not in the audit.  He said he got the           
 futures from the Division of Occupational Licensing's FY 96 annual            
 report.                                                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG referred changing the membership from a barber to           
 a cosmetologist and asked if he has received any input from the               
 board.                                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. WELKER said he would defer the question to Ms. Reardon.                   
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing               
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development, informed the                 
 committee that the board discussed this at their last meeting.                
 They agreed it would be a good idea to have a cosmetologist on the            
 board, but they would prefer to achieve that in another manner.               
 She said as she understands their preference is to retain the two             
 barbers, but require that one of the two hairdressers also be a               
 cosmetologist.  There are a number of licensees that are both                 
 hairdressers and cosmetologists.  She said in this case                       
 "cosmetologist" means the care of the skin, facials, etc.  The                
 board thought they could retain their two barbers, keep their one             
 public member and have one of their two hairdressers serve the duel           
 role of being both the cosmetologist and the hairdresser.                     
                                                                               
 Number 1456                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG questioned what the name of the board is.  He               
 asked if it is Board of Barbers and the Board of Hairdressers and             
 Beauty Culture Examiners.                                                     
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON responded that it is called the Board of Barbers and              
 Hairdressers.                                                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said, "That is what it is now, but also it does             
 the licensure for cosmetologists?"                                            
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON answered, "It does, skin care as well."                           
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said, "Representative Brice is not here.  Maybe             
 even eventually manicurists - trying to get that bill through."               
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said, "There is specifically in statute right now a               
 prohibition against the board moving into the area of licensing               
 manicurists.  That bill would have changed that instead of                    
 licensure of manicurists."                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated there seems to be some controversy                
 about the nature of the bill and the recommendation of the board.             
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said she doesn't know if it is a major controversy                
 because she doesn't know how strongly Mr. Welker feels about the              
 need to actually remove a barber.  She said she thinks both the               
 board and the sponsor agrees that having a cosmetologist on the               
 board to offer the expertise about skin care and help with testing            
 of that subject would be a good thing.  She said it hasn't erupted            
 into a major controversy at this point.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1570                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said he has a copy of the January 27 and 28,                
 1997, minutes from the board where they say that the board felt               
 that a member could hold both a cosmetologist and a hairdressers              
 license.  Therefore, the board would have two hairdressers, two               
 barbers and a cosmetologist without losing a barber or hairdresser.           
 He said there would be two hairdresser, two barbers and a                     
 cosmetologist.                                                                
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON pointed out one of the hairdressers would also be the             
 identical person as the cosmetologist.  She said if she were to               
 draft an amendment, on page 1, line 12, it might be changed to                
 read, "one person licensed as a hairdresser under this chapter."              
 Then line 13 could read, "one person licensed as both, a                      
 cosmetologist and a hairdresser under this chapter."                          
                                                                               
 Number 1642                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he was looking at the reason why we have           
 this board in the state and asked if the state assumes any kind of            
 a liability for all of the occupational licenses.  He said if                 
 somebody meets the statutory standards and they turn out be                   
 somebody really dangerous, would the state have any liability.                
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON responded somebody from the Department of Law could               
 best answer that.  She said her belief is that the state wouldn't             
 be liable as long as we are, in good faith, carrying out the                  
 statute or attempting to carry out the statute and aren't being               
 grossly negligent in our behavior.  Ms. Reardon noted that issue              
 has come up in marine pilotage because much more money is at stake.           
 When a cruse ship is involved in an accident, the insurance company           
 and the cruse ship company have raised the issue that perhaps the             
 state is liable for having given the license and required us to               
 take on this person who was not competent.  She said Gail Horetski            
 has had to look into that topic in more detail.  Ms. Reardon said             
 the state has never been held liable for that purpose to this                 
 point.                                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON suggested maybe that should be included in              
 statute.  He said he would presume that all of the boards                     
 essentially pay for themselves.  He asked Ms. Reardon how her costs           
 in administrating the program are covered.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1810                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said they have both a centralized licensing statute and           
 individual chapters for each occupation.  The centralized licensing           
 statute applies to all of them.  Ms. Reardon said AS 08.01.065,               
 which is the centralized statute, says that each occupation will              
 pay for itself.  She read from the statute, "The department shall             
 establish fees so that the total amount of fees collected for an              
 occupation approximately equals the actual regulatory costs of the            
 occupation."  It then goes on to say that the division will review            
 and move the fees up and down.  She said in this section,                     
 regulatory costs means the costs of the department that are                   
 attributable to regulation of an occupation plus all the expenses             
 of the board.  Ms. Reardon explained that previous to FY 93, there            
 used to be some general fund support - oil money, and that's all              
 been withdrawn over time as budget realities hit.  So at this                 
 point, the division tracks and bills programs for everything from             
 attorney general costs of reviewing regulations to the actual board           
 meeting, travel costs, and the cost of employing her and her entire           
 division.  Ms. Reardon explained the costs of her salary are billed           
 out on a per capita basis to each of the 35,000 licensees.  The               
 people who actually do more specific work on a specific board area,           
 such as licensing examiners, keep time sheets.  When long distance            
 phone calls are made, they key in what occupation they are making             
 the call on.  She said it is true that over time the sense of what            
 costs are caused by regulating occupations has been expanding.                
 Attorney General regulation review costs used to be something that            
 was paid out of pure general fund oil money and now it is all                 
 program receipt user fees.  The costs of the computer system in the           
 Division of Administrative Services and some of the costs of the              
 commissioner's office are being billed out to occupations.  That is           
 a sore part with some of them because some of them feel that the              
 public protection that is provided, perhaps by enforcement                    
 activities such as legal fees, are not fairly placed on just those            
 licensees because everyone was protected when they removed an                 
 unsafe doctor.  She said the licensees covers all of those costs              
 and it is about a $5 million budget.  Ms. Reardon discussed charts            
 that she had given the committee members.  She noted she would say            
 that probably an average of four professions come to the                      
 legislature every two years wanting to be licensed.                           
                                                                               
 Number 2038                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked how many people are in Division of                
 Occupational Licensing.                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON responded approximately 62 people.  A fair number of              
 those people are involved in business licensing, which is a tax               
 that generates surplus.  The fee for that is set in statute at $50            
 every two years.  She explained ten people are involved in                    
 investigations of citizen complaints of competence and that type of           
 things.                                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON referred to when people are investigated and            
 asked if there is a penalty structure.                                        
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON informed the committee that in every occupation there             
 is grounds for disciplinary sanctions which varies occupation to              
 occupation.  They use the Attorney General to review a charge                 
 document and represent the division in administrative hearings.               
 She noted they can be appealed to the superior court.  Ms. Reardon            
 said unlicensed activity is a criminal matter because the boards              
 don't have jurisdiction over people who aren't licensees.  If it is           
 a matter where the division finds out that somebody is practicing             
 without a license, the district attorney would take the case                  
 through a criminal misdemeanor.  If it is a licensee who is                   
 performing incompetently, then it is through the Civil Section of             
 the Attorney General's office with the department's hearing officer           
 and the board ultimately decides.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 2420                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said the division has a lot of regulations.  She said             
 they follow the APA for their disciplinary procedures.  In terms of           
 each profession, there are a substantial number of regulations                
 fleshing out requirements, definitions, etc.                                  
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-27, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said, "...I presume at any rate they pretty             
 much, again, preview the regulations and make certain that the                
 standards and the procedures and all that type of stuff are ones              
 that they want, but do you find any complaints against the                    
 regulatory regimen and the various licensures?"                               
                                                                               
 Number 041                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON responded, "When there is a board, we have 35 programs,           
 20 of them have boards, 15 we run on our own and make all the                 
 licensing decisions without the benefit of boards.  When there are            
 boards, it's the board itself that has the regulation writing                 
 adoption authority the department just has a ministerial role and,            
 so there it's always what the board wanted because they wrote it,             
 except sometimes the AG's office says `no.'  But I suspect that in            
 every profession there are people out there who don't agree with              
 all the regulations the way they are written.  There are 35,000               
 licensees.  In general, our statutes are very specific meaning -              
 compared to something like the Department of Health and Social                
 Services where they might have something saying `You can adopt                
 regulations to promote the health and welfare of the citizenry of             
 Alaska,' and they can set up whole programs like AFDC through their           
 reg authority.  With ours, if you look at them, almost always the             
 legislature has been very specific about exactly what exams people            
 have to pass, exactly what kind of education they need.  So there             
 really isn't too much leeway to decide there will be new                      
 requirements to be a real estate agent, for example.  So we don't             
 have the opportunity to perhaps go way overboard and overstep                 
 legislative intent the way you might be able to in another area.              
 But I'm sure that there are people who don't believe credentialing            
 statute requirements or the regs that go with them are right for              
 different programs.  You think that the wrong amount of education             
 is being required -- all this type of thing.  And in general, if              
 there is a frustration with the system, I must say it's probably              
 that people believe our investigations and disciplinary actions are           
 too slow, not enough disciplinary action."                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked, "Is that because you don't have enough           
 people?"                                                                      
 MS. REARDON responded, "What bureaucrat would not say `yes' to that           
 question."                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said, "It seems to me like you can draw your            
 own revenues.  I mean we've given you (indisc.) authority to go               
 ahead and increase -- in most cases."                                         
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said that although it's true that the department could            
 choose to raise fees and generate $10 million, the check is that              
 the legislature sets their expenditure authority.  If the                     
 legislature says she can spend $5 million, there is no good reason            
 for her to collect $10 million.  She said that is where the check             
 is.  Ms. Reardon explained that in the Governor's budget, a new               
 medical investigator has been requested.  She hope that will be               
 approved because the division has about 140 open complaints at any            
 one time.  They receive between 500 and 600 new complaints every              
 years for all of the licensees.  Ms. Reardon explained there are              
 two things that seem to be slowing things.  One is investigations             
 and the other is attorney general time.  It has evolved into a                
 process where most people are accused of things have attorneys                
 representing them and it becomes a full blown legal process.                  
                                                                               
 Number 340                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Ms. Reardon to provide the committee with             
 the numbers of complaints by the boards and the numbers of license            
 revocation actions.  He also asked to provide numbers on the how              
 many barbers, hairdressers, etc., there are.                                  
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said she would forward the information to the                     
 committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he would also like sort of a budget                
 breakdown.  He asked how much of the total collection goes to the             
 citizen board member's activities at board meetings.  He also asked           
 how much is paid out in per diem.  Representative Hudson said if              
 the division collects $6 million, how much of that goes towards               
 board meetings, etc.                                                          
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said she would also provide that information.  Ms.                
 Reardon said, "If I could mention one small issue which I will deal           
 with in the Senate and then perhaps come to you.  When it came to             
 the issue of disciplinary action, in the barbers and hairdressers             
 statute there is very little language about grounds for                       
 disciplining any licensee.  We have this whole structure and very             
 little enforcement capability for incompetence so -- in fact what             
 it says is the board may suspend or revoke a license - another type           
 of permit, for failure to comply with the chapter, but then the               
 chapter just requires licensing.  So I would propose that we add              
 `or incompetent or unsafe practice' because for example, when                 
 someone comes, which doesn't happen often, but says `I was burned             
 by some chemical' or something, you look and say well `what part of           
 the chapter did it say be safe' and legally, it starts crumbling in           
 front of you.  And so if we're going to license 3,000 people and              
 have this whole set up, I think it might be a good time to                    
 just...."                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 526                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said he has been reviewing Title 8 and is a                 
 little bit disturbed because some of the penalty provisions for               
 revocations, board memberships and removal of boards, there are a             
 lot of inconsistencies.  There are certain sections in the front              
 part of the chapter that provides for some general things that                
 could apply to almost all of the boards and commission.  Some of              
 them have redundant provisions.  He said the whole chapter could              
 use some review.                                                              
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said because they way that Title 8 has been developed             
 with each occupation coming with its own bill over 20 or 30 years,            
 there are a great number of inconsistencies within it.  She                   
 informed Chairman Rokeberg that she does have a draft omnibus                 
 occupational licensing bill in which they are looking for a sponsor           
 for.  She said the bill provides for about 50 percent clean-up.               
                                                                               
 Number 685                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said, "I would just like to say that I                  
 believe of all the testimony that I have heard in the                         
 Administration that this young lady is the most forthcoming honest            
 and easy to work with that I've run into and I really appreciate              
 that."                                                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated HB 134 would be held.                             

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