Legislature(2019 - 2020)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/24/2019 09:00 AM Senate FINANCE

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+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 95 Out of Committee
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
SENATE BILL NO. 10                                                                                                            
     "An  Act   extending  the   termination  date   of  the                                                                    
     Statewide  Suicide  Prevention Council;  and  providing                                                                    
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
9:04:37 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SCOTT KAWASAKI, SPONSOR, introduced himself.                                                                            
JACOB GERRISH, STAFF, SENATOR SCOTT KAWASAKI, introduced                                                                        
Senator Kawasaki discussed SB 10. He read from a Sponsor                                                                        
Statement (copy on file):                                                                                                       
     Senate  Bill 10  would extend  the termination  date of                                                                    
     the  Statewide  Suicide  Prevention  Council  to  2027,                                                                    
     ensuring  another eight  years of  support for  suicide                                                                    
     prevention  efforts   in  Alaska.  The   Council  would                                                                    
     otherwise be terminated on June 30, 2019.                                                                                  
     According  to  the  Alaska  Department  of  Health  and                                                                    
     Social  Services Section  of Epidemiology,  the suicide                                                                    
     rate  in Alaska  increased by  13 percent  between 2012                                                                    
     and  2017, making  suicide the  leading cause  of death                                                                    
     for  Alaskans between  the  ages  of 10  and  64. As  a                                                                    
     matter   of   public   health,    the   state   has   a                                                                    
     responsibility  to address  this  disturbing trend  and                                                                    
     must actively continue to  pursue strategies to prevent                                                                    
     suicide in Alaska.                                                                                                         
     The  Statewide Suicide  Prevention Council  was created                                                                    
     in 2001 and consists of  14 public and private members,                                                                    
     including four  state legislators. Under  AS 44.39.350,                                                                    
     the Council is statutorily responsible for:                                                                                
          ?Advising legislators and the Governor on ways to                                                                     
          improve Alaskans' health and wellness by reducing                                                                     
          ?Improving public awareness of suicide and risk                                                                       
          ?Enhancing suicide prevention efforts;                                                                                
          ?Working    with    partners    and    faith-based                                                                    
          organizations to develop healthier communities;                                                                       
          ?Creating a statewide suicide prevention plan and                                                                     
          putting it in action; and                                                                                             
          ?Building and strengthening partnerships to                                                                           
          prevent suicide.                                                                                                      
     The Council  holds public meetings, publishes  a 5-Year                                                                    
     State Suicide  Prevention Plan, and works  with schools                                                                    
     and community groups to  provide resources that educate                                                                    
     Alaskans on how to prevent suicide.                                                                                        
     Last  year,  the  Council  partnered  with  the  Alaska                                                                    
     Community  Foundation and  Alaska  Children's Trust  to                                                                    
     continue  the  GCI  Suicide Prevention  Grant  Program.                                                                    
     Nine  grants  were funded  in  2017  across the  state,                                                                    
     totaling  $100,000.  The  Council  also  helped  secure                                                                    
     funding for a 5-year  grant from the National Institute                                                                    
     of   Mental  Health   to  create   the  Alaska   Native                                                                    
     Collaborative Hub  for Resilience Research,  which will                                                                    
     help Alaska  Native communities share  knowledge, guide                                                                    
     research,  and  identify  culturally  relevant  suicide                                                                    
     prevention strategies in rural Alaska.                                                                                     
     Terminating  the Statewide  Suicide Prevention  Council                                                                    
     would  jeopardize  the  state's efforts  at  addressing                                                                    
     this   heartbreaking,   but   preventable,   issue.   I                                                                    
     respectfully ask for your support of SB 10 this year.                                                                      
Senator Kawasaki added that the council would sunset on                                                                         
June 30, 2019 if it were not extended.                                                                                          
9:07:46 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Olson considered the extension of the council and                                                                       
reflected on the proposed eight-year extension. He wondered                                                                     
how to determine whether the council had been effective.                                                                        
Senator Kawasaki responded that there had been recent                                                                           
progress in the area of prevention.                                                                                             
9:09:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Olson queried whether there were numbers to show                                                                        
the council had been effective in reducing suicide.                                                                             
Senator Kawasaki preferred to let council members discuss                                                                       
the work of the council.                                                                                                        
9:10:02 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair von  Imhof noted that  there was  invited testimony                                                                    
to address questions.                                                                                                           
9:10:32 AM                                                                                                                    
KRIS  CURTIS,   LEGISLATIVE  AUDITOR,  ALASKA   DIVISION  OF                                                                    
LEGISLATIVE AUDIT, referenced the  audit "A Sunset Review of                                                                    
the  Department of  Health  and  Social Services,  Statewide                                                                    
Suicide  Prevention  Council   (council)"  dated  August  3,                                                                    
2018(copy  on file).  She read  from the  report conclusions                                                                    
from the front page of the audit:                                                                                               
     The audit  found the council  operated in  the public's                                                                    
     interest by actively  broadening the public's awareness                                                                    
     of suicide  prevention and coordinating the  efforts of                                                                    
     other  suicide  prevention   entities  including  State                                                                    
     agencies,  regional   groups,  coalitions,   and  local                                                                    
     communities.  Additionally, the  council fulfilled  its                                                                    
     statutory  duty   by  issuing  the   2018-2022  Suicide                                                                    
     Prevention Plan  and working closely  with stakeholders                                                                    
     to  add and  refine the  plan's strategies,  resources,                                                                    
     and   indicators.  The   audit   also  concluded   that                                                                    
     administrative  improvements  were   needed  to  ensure                                                                    
     council meetings are adequately  public noticed and the                                                                    
     executive  director  is  consistently evaluated  on  an                                                                    
     annual basis.                                                                                                              
Ms. Curtis referenced Page 4  of the audit, which showed the                                                                    
council's schedule of expenditures  and funding sources. The                                                                    
council was  funded by General Fund  (GF) appropriations for                                                                    
just  over  $650,000 in  FY  18.  The expenditures  for  the                                                                    
council were just under $600,000 in FY 18.                                                                                      
Ms. Curtis  referenced Pages  9 and 10  of the  audit, which                                                                    
showed  a list  of council  activities. She  noted that  the                                                                    
council   was    very   active.   The   council    had   two                                                                    
recommendations for  the council, which  were administrative                                                                    
and   should    be   easily   addressed.   She    read   the                                                                    
recommendations listed on Page 12 of the audit:                                                                                 
     Recommendation No. 1:  The council's executive director                                                                    
     should  develop  and  implement  procedures  to  ensure                                                                    
     public notices  for meetings  are published  timely and                                                                    
     From  July 2014  through  March 2018,  five  of the  18                                                                    
     meetings held  (28 percent) were not  public noticed or                                                                    
     not  public noticed  properly.  Specifically, two  were                                                                    
     not  published on  the  State's  Online Public  Notices                                                                    
     system,  two  were  published  with  incorrect  meeting                                                                    
     dates,  and one  was  published one  day  prior to  the                                                                    
     meeting. Th  e deficiencies  were caused  by a  lack of                                                                    
     written procedures to ensure  notices are posted timely                                                                    
     and contain accurate meeting dates.                                                                                        
     Recommendation No. 2: The  council chair should develop                                                                    
     and implement written  procedures to ensure performance                                                                    
     evaluations  are completed  annually for  the council's                                                                    
     executive director.                                                                                                        
     Between July 2014 and March  2018, two evaluations were                                                                    
     completed  for  the  executive director;  however,  two                                                                    
     more  should have  been completed.  Specifically, there                                                                    
     were no evaluations for the  period of November 2014 to                                                                    
     November  2015, and  November 2015  to  June 2016.  Per                                                                    
     discussion with council staff  and the previous council                                                                    
     chair,  it  is unclear  why  the  evaluations were  not                                                                    
     completed for the executive director.                                                                                      
The responses  to the  audit began on  Page 23.  The council                                                                    
and  the department  concurred with  the report  conclusions                                                                    
and recommendations.                                                                                                            
9:13:10 AM                                                                                                                    
BEV   SCHOONOVER,  ACTING   EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,   STATEWIDE                                                                    
SUICIDE PREVENTION COUNCIL, thanked  the committee for their                                                                    
work. She  noted that  she had  been acting  in the  role of                                                                    
executive  director since  January 2019.  She said  that the                                                                    
council had been established by  the legislature in 2001 and                                                                    
served  as  an advisory  council  to  the governor  and  the                                                                    
legislature regarding suicide  awareness and prevention. She                                                                    
shared that  there were 13  volunteer members,  appointed by                                                                    
the  governor, and  4 ex-officio  members  appointed by  the                                                                    
legislature. She stated that the  council had one, full-time                                                                    
staff  member, co-located  in the  shared  offices with  the                                                                    
Alaska Mental Health  Trust board and the  Advisory Board on                                                                    
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. She  related that the council met                                                                    
three times  per year  via video  conference, and  held one,                                                                    
in-person   meeting,  per   year,  typically   in  a   rural                                                                    
Ms. Schoonover  noted that most of  the council's activities                                                                    
involved   coordinating    collaborative   efforts   between                                                                    
stakeholders,  supporting outreach  in educational  programs                                                                    
through  the Suicide  Awareness  Prevention and  Postvention                                                                    
grant programs, advocating for  federal and private funding,                                                                    
and  providing technical  assistance as  needed. She  shared                                                                    
that one  example of statewide coordination  efforts was the                                                                    
completion   of  the   5-year   prevention  plan   entitled,                                                                    
 Recasting the  Net: Promoting  Wellness to  Prevent Suicide                                                                    
in Alaska.   She furthered that  thanks to  extensive public                                                                    
input  and stakeholder  collaboration hundreds  of Alaskans,                                                                    
from all  over the  state, participated  in the  creation of                                                                    
the plan.  She related that  the number one  goal identified                                                                    
in  the  plan by  all  the  stakeholders was  that  Alaskans                                                                    
accept responsibility for preventing suicide.                                                                                   
Ms. Schoonover  expressed the belief that  all Alaskans have                                                                    
been  touched  by  suicide and  had  the  responsibility  to                                                                    
address and reduce  the risk of suicide  statewide. She said                                                                    
that  the council  brought Alaskans  together to  talk about                                                                    
suicide, to  evaluate prevention efforts,  advised agencies,                                                                    
the governor,  and the  legislature on  how wellness  can be                                                                    
promoted, and coordinated state  agencies and other entities                                                                    
so  that  they  could  work  together  more  effectively  to                                                                    
prevent suicide.  She noted that  no other  agency performed                                                                    
the statewide coordinator function.  She urged the committee                                                                    
to extend the council through 2027.                                                                                             
9:16:17 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  von Imhof  thought Ms.  Schoonover had  touched on                                                                    
the primary  role of  the council,  which was  to coordinate                                                                    
local  organizations all  over  the state.  She thought  the                                                                    
critical role of connecting resources was important.                                                                            
9:17:09 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Bishop  asked what Ms. Schoonover  had considered to                                                                    
get more resources  in communities to address  the high rate                                                                    
of suicide in the state.                                                                                                        
Ms. Schoonover  noted that there  had been a vacancy  in the                                                                    
Division of  Behavioral Health  for a  Prevention Specialist                                                                    
that had recently been filled  by Leah van Kirk. She thought                                                                    
Ms. Van Kirk, along with  Eric Boyer from AMHTA, and Project                                                                    
Assistant  Eric Morrison,  working  with  the council  would                                                                    
prove especially fruitful in suicide prevention in 2020.                                                                        
9:18:33 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair von  Imhof commended  the council  for coordinating                                                                    
across agencies.                                                                                                                
9:19:18 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair von Imhof OPENED public testimony.                                                                                     
9:19:43 AM                                                                                                                    
SAM TRIVETTE,  JUNEAU SUICIDE PREVENTION  COALITION, JUNEAU,                                                                    
thanked Senator Kawasaki and  the co-sponsors for sponsoring                                                                    
the bill. It  was the third legislative session  that he had                                                                    
testified  for  the  extension  of the  council.  He  was  a                                                                    
survivor  of suicide  loss. He  lost his  son to  suicide on                                                                    
June 28, 2007.  He asserted that the council  had linked him                                                                    
to  national experts  and resources  helping to  tackle this                                                                    
major  public health  problem and  was the  glue that  bound                                                                    
together  all the  people in  the state  working on  suicide                                                                    
prevention  issues.  He  provided several  examples  of  the                                                                    
positive changes  he had  witnessed due to  the work  of the                                                                    
council:  destigmatizing suicide,  The  Care Line  (Alaskas                                                                     
suicide prevention hotline) had  seen a three-fold increase,                                                                    
over the last four fiscal years,  to over 21,000 calls in FY                                                                    
Mr.  Trivette   discussed  suicide  prevention   efforts  in                                                                    
schools. He  shared that  the data showed  that the  rate of                                                                    
kids  willing to  contact an  adult with  risk concerns  was                                                                    
over 42  percent. There had  been a substantial  increase in                                                                    
hospitals  and   health  care  centers  that   screened  for                                                                    
suicide,  which was  a major  change  from 5  years ago.  He                                                                    
urged  the  committee  to  support   the  extension  of  the                                                                    
9:24:10 AM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA   FRANKS,  CHAIR,   STATEWIDE  SUICIDE   PREVENTION,                                                                    
NINILCHIK (via  teleconference), testified that she  was the                                                                    
mother of a child that died  by suicide. Her son had died by                                                                    
suicide  on December  14,  1997. She  shared  that two  days                                                                    
later  her husband  died from  cancer. She  had known  there                                                                    
were people that were advocating  for cancer support, but at                                                                    
that time she had not  found support groups for suicide. She                                                                    
referenced  her colleague  Cynthia  Erickson,  who had  been                                                                    
recognized for  her work with  Grandmas House.  She believed                                                                    
that domestic  violence, sexual assault, drugs,  and alcohol                                                                    
were  related  to  suicide.  She  said  that  in  2013,  the                                                                    
National  Suicide Prevention  Lifeline had  received over  a                                                                    
million calls. She  said that in 2018,  2,224,408 people had                                                                    
called the  number. She expressed deep  appreciation for the                                                                    
work of the council and statewide allies.                                                                                       
9:28:37 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  von  Imhof thanked  Ms.  Franks  for her  powerful                                                                    
SHARON   FISHEL,   EDUCATION   SPECIALIST,   DEPARTMENT   OF                                                                    
EDUCATION  AND   EARLY  DEVELOPMENT   (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  support of the bill.  She had lost her  son to                                                                    
suicide in 2010.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair von Imhof requested further  information on how the                                                                    
department coordinated with schools in the state.                                                                               
Ms.  Fishel  noted that  the  funding  provided through  the                                                                    
council was  the primary source  of funding for  suicide and                                                                    
trauma work  accomplished through DEED. She  stated that the                                                                    
there were  currently 23,000  users for  online professional                                                                    
development.   She  said   that  wile   DEED  offered   many                                                                    
professional development resources to  all districts, by far                                                                    
the  largest  and  most  popular  were  the  online  suicide                                                                    
prevention  courses supported  by the  funding. She  relayed                                                                    
that the  department also provided  competitive school-based                                                                    
suicide  prevention  grants   on  a  three-year  competitive                                                                    
process  to up  to 10  districts throughout  the state.  She                                                                    
said that every year  schools provided progress reports. She                                                                    
shared that  the Nome School  District had a  youth leaders'                                                                    
program  that taught  groups of  students to  be leaders  in                                                                    
their communities based on the  Natural Helpers Program. She                                                                    
said that these youth were  making positive changes in their                                                                    
communities. She  relayed that it  was difficult to  say how                                                                    
many lives had  been saved by the programs  and she lamented                                                                    
that suicide was the leading cause  of death for those 14 to                                                                    
24-years old in the state.                                                                                                      
9:32:26 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Fishel  believed  that   school  districts  were  doing                                                                    
phenomenal work across the state.                                                                                               
9:33:06 AM                                                                                                                    
KATIE BOTZ, SELF,  MINNESOTA (via teleconference), testified                                                                    
in support  of the  bill. She thought  Alaska was  second in                                                                    
the country  for its number  of suicides. She  believed that                                                                    
suicide  was a  taboo  subject. She  revealed  that she  had                                                                    
considered  suicide.  She  lamented  that  there  were  many                                                                    
people that  did not  have an  adequate support  system. She                                                                    
urged support for the extension of the council.                                                                                 
9:35:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair von Imhof CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                     
Co-Chair  von   Imhof  listed   the  people   available  for                                                                    
9:36:27 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:36:8 AM                                                                                                                     
Co-Chair  Stedman  discussed  FN1  from  the  Department  of                                                                    
Health and  Social Services, OMB Component  Number 2651. The                                                                    
note showed $648,400  in the governor's FY  20 request, with                                                                    
flat funding for the subsequent five years.                                                                                     
Co-Chair von Imhof set the bill aside for further review.                                                                       
SB  10  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 10 Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SSTA 4/9/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 10
SB 10 Letters of Support.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
SB 10 Supporting Document SSPC Annual Report 2017.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
SB 10 Supporting Document SSPC Five-Year Prevention Plan.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
SB 10 Supporting Document SSPC Legislative Audit Report.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
SB 10 Supporting Document SSPC White Paper.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_Oppose.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_Research_DistrictsUnder25 cited.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_Research_DistrictsUnder25.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_Research_FCCBroadbandSpeed Guide.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_Research_FCCHouseholdBroadbandGuide.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_Research_SchoolBAG_FY19_DEED.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_Research_SchoolBAGByDistrict_FY15_FY19_DEED.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_SectionalAnalysis_VersionS.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_SponsorStatement_VersionS.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_SummaryofChanges_VersionM_S.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB0074B_InternetBroadband_Support.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 74
SB 66 Amendment #2 Backup Wielechowski.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 66
SB 66 Amendment #1 Bishop.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 66
SB 66 Amendment #2 Wielechowski.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 66
SB 10 SPC FY 18 EOY report-July 18 2018.pdf SFIN 4/24/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 10