Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/29/1996 09:25 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                 
  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                 
  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.                                                             

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