Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/02/1994 02:20 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced  SB 248  (ASSIST & PROTECT VULNERABLE              
 ADULTS) as the next order of business before the committee.                   
                                                                               
 NANCY USERA, Commissioner of the Department of Administration,                
 discussed the background of SB 248, SB 249, and SB 250.  She                  
 explained that SB 248 goes in tandem with the Administrative Order            
 of the Governor which provides for one central division to deal               
 with senior services, the Division of Senior Services.  By                    
 consolidating these services there is a more efficient use of                 
 administrative time and expenses as well as creating a central                
 resource center for seniors.                                                  
                                                                               
 Ms. Usera explained that SB 249 offers independence and variety for           
 seniors in assisted housing.  SB 249 allows alternative care in               
 order to foster and maintain people's independence as affordably as           
 possible.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Ms. Usera stated that SB 250 moves the responsibility for adult               
 protection services into the Division of Senior Services.  She                
 commented that this bill represents a shift in thinking for the               
 state.  With this legislation, the state is considering the                   
 consumer in its providing of services.  She emphasized that SB 250            
 maximizes the use of existing senior network programs in the                  
 Division of Senior Services to support the adult protection                   
 functions.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Ms. Usera specified that all of these bills would work together               
 forming an improved network for senior citizens in Alaska and a               
 more productive use of the available funding for senior services.             
                                                                               
 Number 350                                                                    
                                                                               
 DONALD HOOVER, Chairman of the Older Alaskans Commission, stated              
 that the commission supports all three of the bills with their full           
 concept with one exception.  The bills call for the Governor to               
 appoint the chair persons of the Advisory Board and the Commission.           
 He did not believe that those appointments were in complete                   
 accordance with the Older Alaskans Commission's bill.                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked what Mr. Hoover would recommend.                          
                                                                               
 DONALD HOOVER explained that the Commission and the Advisory Board            
 were appointed by the Governor, therefore, they were all Governor             
 appointees.  In that respect, he suggested that the commission                
 should elect their own chairman, which would help to free it from             
 politics.                                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP asked how the position of the chairman is arrived at            
 now.  MR. HOOVER explained that currently the Commission and the              
 Advisory Board for Pioneer Homes elect their chairman from the                
 Governor appointed members.                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN inquired about a resolution of this issue.                      
                                                                               
 NANCY USERA offered another point of view.  She stated that if one            
 of the roles of these boards is to be an advocate for their                   
 programs then that advocacy is served best if there is a personal             
 relationship between the Governor and the chairman.  She said that            
 advocacy is politics and access.  She suggested that having the               
 Governor appoint the chairman enhances and illustrates the                    
 importance of the program.                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN did not know if Ms. Usera's point of view would                 
 violate the principle of creating a board that can work with the              
 Governor.  MS. USERA replied that there are many different models.            
                                                                               
 SENATOR SHARP suggested that if the Governor appoints the chairman            
 the cohesiveness of the committee could be distorted.                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER requested the presence of the Department of Law for           
 SB 248 which will be held over to Friday's meeting.  Chairman                 
 Rieger also held SB 249 and SB 250 until Friday.                              

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