Legislature(1997 - 1998)
03/21/1997 03:19 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.