Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/29/1996 09:25 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 493(JUD) am An Act relating to treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse. Co-chairman Halford directed that CSHB 493(Jud) am be brought on for discussion. Senator Rieger advised that discussion with the sponsor indicates that the sponsor has no problem with amendments relating to the first two issues raised at yesterday's hearing on the bill. While the sponsor has no problem with the third item, he pointed out that language relating to an individual who wilfully initiates an involuntary commitment petition is very close to existing law which appears to be working. Senator Rieger advised that he had prepared an amendment to cover the first two items. Co-chairman Halford referenced a pending motion by Senator Zharoff for adoption of Amendment No. 1. BARBARA CRAVER, Assistant to the Attorney for the City and Borough of Juneau, came before committee. She explained that the amendment would add a new section to allow a public health facility to take custody and establish an alcohol hold on a person for a short period of time. It would also allow for transfer of the individual to a public treatment facility as soon as the individual is medically stable. In response to questions from Co-chairman Halford, Ms. Craver said the amendment would not change time-limit provisions. The public treatment facility would use a 48- hour hold (existing law under AS 47.37.180). Under subsection (c), the facility could ask the court to extend that hold an additional three days (a total of five days). That would require court authorization rather than merely an administrative proceeding. For the initial 48 hours, the health facility could hold the individual. Hopefully, within that time the individual could be transferred to the public treatment facility. If the individual needed to be held longer at either a public treatment or health facility, the public treatment administrator would notify a superior court judge and request that the hold be extended up to three additional days. That is usually done over the phone. Within that period of time, the public treatment facility would have to determine whether to release the individual at the end of the five days or file a petition with the superior court for 30-day involuntary alcohol commitment. Co-chairman Halford inquired regarding the standard that would apply should an individual file civil charges against having been held. Ms. Craver guessed that the claim might be false imprisonment. She said that has never happened. The individual would have to prove that the application was made in bad faith or on insufficient grounds. Ms. Craver stressed that authorization to hold would be provided through the courts. She noted that in making application to hold, the administrator of a facility would have to provide the court with a physician's certificate for extension beyond 48 hours. The certificate consists of a signed statement from the physician citing the facts upon which the physician believes the individual is intoxicated and incapacitated by alcohol or drugs. While the certificate does not constitute sworn testimony, it provides the kind of evidence upon which the court would rely. Co-chairman Halford called for objections to Amendment No. 1. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 1 was ADOPTED. Senator Rieger moved for adoption of Amendment No. 2. He explained that the amendment addresses potential for an unintentional increase in liability. Addition of new language at page 5, line 9, deleting "shall provide" and inserting "must be capable of providing," is intended to ensure that individuals will be assigned to appropriate facilities. The second change at page 7, line 18, is intended to ensure that facility administrators and peace officers will not be held criminally or civilly liable for detaining, "or failing to detain," or releasing an individual. Co-chairman Halford called for objections to Amendment No. 2. No objection having been raised, Amendment No. 2 was ADOPTED. Co-chairman Halford queried members regarding disposition of the bill. Senator Sharp MOVED that SCS CSHB 493 (Fin) pass from committee with accompanying fiscal notes. No objection having been raised, SCS CSHB 493 (Fin) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a $75.4 fiscal note from the Court System, an indeterminate note from the Dept. of Administration (OPA), and zero notes from the Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Administration (PDA), Dept. of Law, and Dept. of Health and Social Services.