Legislature(1999 - 2000)
02/02/1999 01:05 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 2 - REGISTRATION PLATES FOR DISABLED CHAIR MASEK announced the first order of business was House Bill No. 2, "An Act relating to issuance of a motor vehicle registration plate to or parking permit for a person who is disabled." REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, Alaska State Legislature, came forward to testify as sponsor of HB 2. She read the following sponsor statement into the record: House Bill 2 makes one simple change to Title 28, "Vehicle Registration and Title," allowing licensed nurse practitioners to provide proof of disability for veterans to receive specially designed license plates. Currently, only licensed physicians are authorized to provide proof of disability. Alaska has many medical facilities in both rural and urban settings where a nurse practitioner is the only licensed medical person available, and this bill would allow much-needed flexibility. Number 0215 REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN questioned how an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) would know that an individual was 70 percent disabled. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES pointed out that many individuals have already had that evaluation done somewhere else. She explained that the particular person who asked her to file this piece of legislation is a nurse practitioner who works with veterans, and their disability has often already been established. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if this bill would apply to other disabled individuals besides veterans. Number 0418 MIKE FORD, Attorney, Legislative Legal and Research Services, Legislative Affairs Agency, was introduced by Representative James to respond to Representative Hudson's question. He indicated that HB 2 would apply to all kinds of disabled persons, not just veterans. CHAIR MASEK sought clarification as to what percentage of people who qualify would be impacted by this bill. MR. FORD did not have the specific number of Alaskans who qualify for disability plates or permits; however, he emphasized that this legislation would apply to 100 percent of those who qualify. He added that this bill would greatly benefit individuals in areas without a resident physician. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON commented that although this bill does not have a fiscal note, it would create a positive financial benefit for Alaskans. Number 0537 REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN inquired as to how disability is defined, and wondered if all that is needed is a written statement to that effect. MR. FORD confirmed that a written statement is needed, and he referred the committee to the standard in the statute located on lines 7 and 8 which describes a "disability that limits or impairs the ability to walk as defined in 23 C.F.R. 1235.2." It would become the responsibility of the physician and/or nurse practitioner to determine if these criteria are met. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON began a motion to move HB 2 out of committee; however, upon hearing that someone was waiting on teleconference to testify, he withdrew his motion. Number 0865 EDWARD L. KNOEBEL testified via teleconference from Glenallen. He suggested that the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) might save money by using the current veteran's purple heart plate and simply adding a sticker to it. MR. FORD believed that the DMV has considered that; however, under this section, the category "disabled" can apply to a number of individuals besides veterans. He deferred further clarification to the DMV, but felt they like to keep those categories separate. He added that the "70 percent level" is only for those that do not otherwise qualify under federal law; an individual's level of disability does not necessarily have to rise to 70 percent. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON explained that Mr. Knoebel's recommendation does not apply to HB 2, which is to allow advanced nurse practitioners to authorize disability, as this bill does not concern itself with costs involved with plates. Number 1164 ANNE M. LILLEY, Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP), Department of Veteran Affairs, testified in support of HB 2 via teleconference from Fairbanks. She read the following written testimony into the record: I would like to thank you for sponsoring a bill to allow nurse practitioners to fill out the required forms for handicap parking permits issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. As you may know, in Fairbanks the Veteran's Administration sponsors some physician care in the community, but the clinic here has no physician on staff and I serve as the primary care provider for many veterans in Fairbanks. Many of the veterans are ineligible for care in the community unless they have a medical condition that requires physician follow-up. As a result, if they need a handicap parking permit, they need to pay for a new patient visit at a local physician's office solely for the purpose of having the form filled out. Many of our patients, especially those with disabilities, are on limited fixed incomes and this represents a significant financial burden, as well as inappropriate use of health care resources. Because these patients are well known to me, it takes very little time for me to fill out the form. Many people in Alaska, especially in rural areas, identify nurse practitioners and physician assistants as their sole health care providers. We need to be able to provide health care information in an official capacity to the DMV, the Division of Public Health, and other state agencies when our patients request our assistance in obtaining services from these agencies. Number 1256 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion to move HB 2 from the committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note(s). He asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, HB 2 moved from the House Transportation Standing Committee.