Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/18/1994 01:39 PM Senate HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced  HB 429  (SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICE                
 AGENCY) as the next order of business before the committee.                   
 SENATOR DUNCAN said that HB 429 removes the Governor's Council on             
 Disability and Special Education from being the governing                     
 organization of the Special Education Service Agency (SESA).  He              
 felt that the desire to have a more consumer oriented governing               
 board for SESA was commendable.  He inquired as to why that board             
 should not be created now.  He thought that they had requested that           
 the consumer oriented board be proposed in order to put it into               
 this legislation.                                                             
 MARGARET LOWE, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social            
 Services (DHSS), pointed out that the composition of the board is             
 on page 3 of the by-laws in the committee's packet.  She reviewed             
 the composition of the board which contains nine members                      
 representing various groups and individuals effected by this.                 
 SENATOR ELLIS thought that there would have been a CS or an                   
 amendment from the department in order to create this board.                  
 SENATOR DUNCAN felt that with the by-laws, the board is well-                 
 structured.  He expressed concern with the position paper which               
 indicated that HB 429 could result in the establishment of a more             
 consumer oriented board.  He reiterated the need to create the                
 board in this legislation.                                                    
 MARGARET LOWE noted that the composition of the board in the by-              
 laws was created by the Governor's Council who stands behind it.              
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER thought that reasons could arise to amend the board           
 and therefore, it would not be as wise to give that much                      
 specificity in statute.  He said that the by-laws seem good and by-           
 laws are not easily amended.                                                  
 SENATOR DUNCAN asked if the statute requires that the composition             
 of the board shall be determined by the by-laws.  MARGARET LOWE               
 said no and noted that the by-laws had been adopted by the board.             
 Number 224                                                                    
 DIANE BROWN, Department of Education (DOE), agreed with Chairman              
 Rieger that the composition of the board be in the by-laws instead            
 of statutes.  There was no need to have the composition of the                
 board specifically outlined in statute.  She explained that they              
 were concerned with the possibility of the need to change the                 
 board's composition which would necessitate returning to the                  
 legislature.  She said that they trusted that the SESA by-laws                
 would be followed.                                                            
 SENATOR ELLIS moved that the composition of the board of directors            
 as specified in the Governor's Council adopted by-laws be adopted             
 in order to establish in statute a new governing board for the                
 agency.  He expressed uneasiness with eliminating the existing                
 governing board without replacing it with something in statute.               
 SENATOR SALO concurred with Senator Ellis' concern.  She felt that            
 it should go back to drafting because AS 14.30.610, which is                  
 repealed, is the section dealing with the governing body.  She                
 suggested that Senator Ellis' amendment should be incorporated into           
 that section.  She did not know what the other statute which is               
 repealed in HB 429 involves.                                                  
 CHAIRMAN RIEGER said that he would prefer to move this bill;                  
 however, he objected to the amendment for purposes of discussion.             
 MARGARET LOWE said that she felt comfortable moving the bill as it            
 is currently.  She pointed out that there is oversight by DOE and             
 the Governor's Council which should serve as a safeguard.                     
 Upon a hand vote, Senators Ellis and Salo voted "Yea" while                   
 Senators Rieger, Miller, Sharp, and Leman voted "Nay."  The motion            
 SENATOR MILLER moved HB 429 out of committee with individual                  
 recommendations.  Hearing no objections, it was so ordered.                   

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