Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

04/02/2015 03:30 PM Senate EDUCATION

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         SB 37-SEXUAL ABUSE/ASSAULT PREVENTION PROGRAMS                                                                     
3:33:58 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR HUGGINS announced the consideration of SB 37.                                                                        
SENATOR GIESSEL  moved to  adopt the  CS for  SB 37,  labeled 29-                                                               
LS0488\N, as the working document.                                                                                              
3:34:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR LESIL  MCGUIRE, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor  of SB
37, introduced her staff, Lauren Rasmussen.                                                                                     
SENATOR MCGUIRE  related that SB 37  is known as the  Alaska Safe                                                               
Children's Act  and the  main part  of the bill  is from  what is                                                               
known  as  Erin's  Law.  She said  that  sexual  assault  victims                                                               
requested  that the  bill's name  be changed  to the  Alaska Safe                                                               
Children's  Act. She  related that  the root  of the  bill is  to                                                               
institute  a   policy  and  a  training   program  for  teachers,                                                               
administrative  staff,  students, and  parents  on  the topic  of                                                               
sexual assault.                                                                                                                 
She pointed out that Alaska still  leads the nation in numbers of                                                               
sexual  assault  on children  in  every  age group,  across  both                                                               
genders, and in every economic level,  in all parts of the state.                                                               
She  related that  the  main point  expressed  by sexual  assault                                                               
victims  is that  they were  not able  to tell  anyone about  the                                                               
assault or  bad things  would happen to  their family.  They said                                                               
they  felt  that  if  they  had  had  a  class  in  sexual  abuse                                                               
prevention  it  would  have  helped them.  She  shared  that  the                                                               
experience  was  an  isolating  experience  and  knowing  it  had                                                               
happened to other people would have helped.                                                                                     
SENATOR  MCGUIRE said  the  other  part of  the  bill  is from  a                                                               
request of a mother  of a girl who was killed  by her boyfriend -                                                               
a victim of dating violence. The  girl's mother, Ms. Moore, is on                                                               
line and will testify about  her experience with dating violence,                                                               
stalking and  harassment. The bill  requires school  districts to                                                               
implement  age-appropriated   training  and  curricula   on  teen                                                               
violence, stalking, and abuse. She  shared that girls between the                                                               
ages of  16 and 24  are four times  more likely than  the general                                                               
population to be victims of  partner violence. Only 33 percent of                                                               
those teens have ever told another person about their abuse.                                                                    
3:42:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCGUIRE said  the bill would require  school districts to                                                               
implement  age appropriate  training on  sexual abuse  and sexual                                                               
assault K  - 12.  There is  a provision in  the bill  that allows                                                               
parents  to  opt  out  of  the  training.  The  training  is  age                                                               
appropriate and is  borne out of requests by  abused young people                                                               
who felt  that if  they would  have been told  about some  of the                                                               
tools they  could have used,  their lives would have  been vastly                                                               
She  said another  section of  the bill  adds volunteer  athletic                                                               
coaches  to the  existing  mandatory reporting  statute under  AS                                                               
47.17.020(a). The  bill would  provide for four  hours in  a four                                                               
consecutive week period,  or twenty hours in  a one-month period,                                                               
of training  for volunteer  coaches. She  shared that  there were                                                               
examples of abuse  situations that could have been  stopped at an                                                               
earlier point had there been training available.                                                                                
3:45:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MCGUIRE noted  there are  some controversial  aspects of                                                               
the  bill. School  districts  are  being asked  to  do more  with                                                               
respect to children.  She asked the committee to  think about how                                                               
the bill's  provisions can be  gradually added to  the districts,                                                               
whether  as  a  voluntary  policy now  or  included  in  existing                                                               
SENATOR  MCGUIRE  noted some  additions  to  the bill.  The  bill                                                               
repeals  a requirement  that school  districts  pay for  physical                                                               
examinations  for   teachers  and  repeals  a   requirement  that                                                               
certificated preschool teachers are  fingerprinted a second time.                                                               
It  also   repeals  AS  14.30.070(a),  which   says  that  school                                                               
districts shall  provide for and  require a  physical examination                                                               
of every  child attending a  school in the district.  However, AS                                                               
14.30.070(b),  which says  the Department  of  Health and  Social                                                               
Services  (DHSS)   may  require   school  districts   to  conduct                                                               
additional examinations  it considers  necessary, remains  in the                                                               
bill, but  provides that  DHSS will  reimburse the  districts for                                                               
those costs.                                                                                                                    
3:48:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MCGUIRE concluded  that Alaska  Safe  Children's Act  will                                                               
empower children, parents, and teachers  by providing a structure                                                               
for  pulling  the  stories  of  abuse out  of  the  shadows.  She                                                               
recalled her  work on  this issue. The  bill shows  Alaskans that                                                               
the  legislature is  a leader  in  prevention. She  hoped to  see                                                               
Alaska go to  last place for numbers of sexual  assault. She used                                                               
an example of  changing the culture surrounding  drunk driving as                                                               
a comparison  to changing  the culture  around sexual  abuse. She                                                               
spoke  of  "soul  death"  when  children  are  abused.  She  also                                                               
addressed the cost of abuse to the state.                                                                                       
She  asked  the  committee   to  consider  creative,  alternative                                                               
solutions to financing this curriculum in schools.                                                                              
3:52:17 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR HUGGINS asked for questions.                                                                                         
SENATOR  STEVENS questioned  who would  not want  their child  to                                                               
have   this  education   or   inquiries   into  personal   family                                                               
SENATOR MCGUIRE  said she agreed  with Senator  Steven's concern,                                                               
but does not  want to see the rights of  parents eroded. She said                                                               
she has accepted  it as a compromise in the  bill. She hoped that                                                               
the level  of awareness will rise  and the societal norm  will be                                                               
3:56:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER  gave an  example of a  student who  was behaving                                                               
sexually  inappropriately  and  the  school  called  her  parents                                                               
instead of reporting it. There  is a concern about parent rights,                                                               
but also a concern about kids that most need the help.                                                                          
She  questioned  adding volunteer  coaches  to  the program.  The                                                               
statutory  requirement for  training says  to train  employees in                                                               
the  first six  months of  employment  and coaches  often do  not                                                               
follow that  schedule. She did  not know  if it was  practical to                                                               
train volunteer coaches.                                                                                                        
3:59:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MCGUIRE said  she has  tried to  make the  training less                                                               
onerous.   She   commented   on  the   appropriateness   of   the                                                               
requirements  of  volunteer  coaches.   She  said  she  has  been                                                               
compelled by  testimony that  said this  training could  help. In                                                               
this  case, the  devastation to  children  is so  great that  the                                                               
training is needed.                                                                                                             
4:02:02 PM                                                                                                                    
LAUREN  RASMUSSEN, Staff,  Senator  Lesil  McGuire, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented information related  to SB 37. She assumed                                                               
the training was done within  the first six months of employment.                                                               
She said she would check on it.                                                                                                 
SENATOR  GARDNER  pointed  out  that  the  training  for  coaches                                                               
applies to  those in a  public or  private school, or  with teams                                                               
sponsored by  the state, municipality  or other  local government                                                               
or a  sports team  that receives public  funding. She  said there                                                               
are  also private  sport clubs  and  those coaches  would not  be                                                               
covered by the bill. She said  athletic teams share a lot and are                                                               
very  close   and  the   coach/team  relationship   might  reveal                                                               
4:04:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCGUIRE said  the bill does include  a broader definition                                                               
of  volunteer  coaches. She  said  it  is  a discussion  for  the                                                               
committee. She  agreed with the  description of a  close coaching                                                               
relationship. She  said it is  a question, culturally, of  how we                                                               
want to deal with this issue.                                                                                                   
She said,  as the bill  is worded on page  3, she agreed  a coach                                                               
might miss out on the training. She was open to suggestions.                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER related  that she used to be  a mandated reporter                                                               
and the  training took  much longer than  an hour.  She cautioned                                                               
not to make the training onerous.                                                                                               
SENATOR MCGUIRE  agreed it  was a fair  point. A  volunteer might                                                               
not want  to go through  the training. She  said if there  was no                                                               
training, a child might be missed.  It is an additional burden on                                                               
schools  and on  society. She  stressed that  it is  important to                                                               
proceed for the right reason and to save lives.                                                                                 
4:08:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL related  that she has examined  children who have                                                               
suffered this  abuse. She said government  can't protect everyone                                                               
from  everything.  She  said  parents  are  sometimes  afraid  of                                                               
reporting  due to  the  ramifications that  could  happen to  the                                                               
family.  She  stressed that  she  has  sometimes been  afraid  of                                                               
reporting and that it is a  huge responsibility to be a reporter.                                                               
She did not oppose teachers  and coaches being trained because it                                                               
would  prevent  frivolous claims.  She  concluded  it is  a  very                                                               
difficult issue.                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MCGUIRE thanked  Senator  Giessel.  She reiterated  that                                                               
even having a committee hearing  is an improvement from the past.                                                               
She agreed it is a very serious issue.                                                                                          
MS. RASMUSSEN  stated that  the language  that deals  with Erin's                                                               
Law and  dating violence  has been  clarified. It  clarifies that                                                               
notices  are sent  to parents  instead of  student/parent/teacher                                                               
notifications.  It   replaces  "employees"  and   clarifies  that                                                               
training   is   required   for  mandated   reporters;   teachers,                                                               
administrators, and athletic coaches.  It clarifies the frequency                                                               
of training.                                                                                                                    
4:13:41 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR HUGGINS questioned how  to address liability. He asked                                                               
about  the backlog  of rape  kits. He  wondered if  date rape  in                                                               
college  should  be  included  in   the  bill.  He  stressed  the                                                               
importance of taking time on the bill.                                                                                          
VICE CHAIR HUGGINS told how he heard the story of Ms. Moore.                                                                    
CINDY MOORE, representing  herself, testified in favor  of SB 37.                                                               
She thanked  the sponsor of  the bill for adding  dating violence                                                               
education  language to  the bill.  She noted  that 21  states now                                                               
include  this in  their curriculum.  She  spoke of  the cycle  of                                                               
dating  violence  and  the  need   to  change  the  social  norms                                                               
surrounding it.  She described how  dating violence  has affected                                                               
her  family when  her daughter  was  killed by  a boyfriend.  She                                                               
questioned why  her daughter  did not seek  help. She  hoped that                                                               
with her story she could inspire leaders of the state to help.                                                                  
4:19:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MOORE shared  dating violence  statistics. She  related that                                                               
Alaska  is the  most dangerous  state in  the country  for women.                                                               
Alaska needs  to educate youth  about healthy  relationships. She                                                               
said  prevention holds  the promise  for  improvement and  dating                                                               
violence is a preventable epidemic.                                                                                             
4:22:53 PM                                                                                                                    
BUTCH MOORE, representing  himself, testified in favor  of SB 37.                                                               
He noted  that his daughter's  friends all knew about  the abuse.                                                               
He  suggested adding  to the  list, "knowing  who to  tell" as  a                                                               
measure of  stopping abuse.  He hoped that  the program  would be                                                               
instituted in schools. He asked what  the cost is to not have the                                                               
program. He  thanked the committee  for considering the  bill and                                                               
adding dating violence.                                                                                                         
VICE CHAIR HUGGINS  noted the bill would be  before the committee                                                               
4:26:45 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID HOLTHOUSE,  representing himself, testified in  favor of SB
37. He  stressed the  importance of  including the  curriculum in                                                               
schools.  He  shared  a  personal  experience  about  others  who                                                               
experienced  abuse by  the same  person as  he did.  He suggested                                                               
removing  another unfunded  mandate  and replacing  it with  this                                                               
one. He compared sexual abuse of children to murder.                                                                            
4:30:49 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT   BOYLE,   Superintendent,  Ketchikan   School   District,                                                               
testified against  the mandated  training required  in SB  37. He                                                               
noted that  public schools are the  "go to agency" when  it comes                                                               
to efficiency, quality, and creating  massive changes in society.                                                               
It is unfair  for districts to have to foot  the cost for another                                                               
mandated training.  He said including volunteer  coaches protects                                                               
them legally as mandated reporters.                                                                                             
4:32:58 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN SHIPLEY,  Superintendent, Kake  City Schools,  testified in                                                               
support of  SB 37,  but against the  unfunded mandate.  He shared                                                               
how  the  district  works  with other  agencies  to  provide  the                                                               
training  on  Domestic  Violence.  He said  domestic  and  dating                                                               
violence  should be  high  on the  list and  the  state or  other                                                               
agencies should  bear the cost  of funding it. He  encouraged the                                                               
legislature to do it right.                                                                                                     
4:35:05 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR HUGGINS listed the number  of people on line to answer                                                               
4:35:37 PM                                                                                                                    
LAURIE  MORTEN, Executive  Director,  State  Council on  Domestic                                                               
Violence  and Sexual  Assault,  testified on  SB  37. She  shared                                                               
information  about  various  programs  the  Council  provides  on                                                               
preventing  teen  dating  violence.  She referred  to  a  handout                                                               
called  "Start  the  Conversation,"  which is  for  parents.  She                                                               
discussed suggestions by teens on how to address prevention.                                                                    
She said the  Council did a three-year evaluation  of the "Fourth                                                               
R,"  a  healthy  relationships curriculum,  and  found  promising                                                               
practices  proven to  work in  Alaska to  reduce dating  violence                                                               
among teens.                                                                                                                    
4:38:26 PM                                                                                                                    
LISA  SKILES-PARADY,  Executive Director,  Alaska  Superintendent                                                               
Association, testified against SB 37.  She spoke of the stress on                                                               
teachers'  instructional  time  and the  unfunded  mandates.  She                                                               
noted a resolution by ASA opposing unfunded mandates.                                                                           
VICE CHAIR  HUGGINS closed public  testimony, but noted  it would                                                               
open again next Tuesday.                                                                                                        
VICE CHAIR HUGGINS held SB 37 in committee.                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1. SB 37 Legislation.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
2. SB 37 Fiscal Note.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
3. CS for SB 37 - Legislation.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
4. CS for SB 37 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
5. CS for SB 37 - Explanation of Changes.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
10. CS for SB 37 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
7. CS for SB 37 - David Holthouse Article.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
8. CS for SB 37 - Cindy Moore Teen Dating Violence Letter.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
12. CS for SB 37 - Nebraska Lindsay Ann Burke Act.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
13. CS for SB 37 - ANDVSA Letter of Support.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 37
SB 89 Legislation.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 89
CS for SB 89 Legislation.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 89
CS for SB 89 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 89
CS for SB 89 Explanation of Changes.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 89
SB 89 Fiscal Note.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 89
SB 89 Emails of Support.pdf SEDC 4/2/2015 3:30:00 PM
SEDC 4/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 89