Legislature(1999 - 2000)

03/08/1999 01:36 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               SB  57-CARE FOR VULNERABLE ADULTS                                                                                
        SB  58-SERVICES FOR ADULTS WITH LONG-TERM NEEDS                                                                         
MS. SONYA SMITH introduced herself by her traditional Tlingit name,                                                             
Shool Nik.  She said she was speaking on behalf of her elder, Mr.                                                               
Donald Williams Sr. with whom she has been working for the past 7                                                               
months. She expressed her views and beliefs as a traditional                                                                    
Native, and  mentioned that her job is to teach the youngsters how                                                              
to care properly for Mr. Williams.                                                                                              
MS. SMITH said that Mr. Williams qualifies for long-term care but                                                               
he has not received  any medical services or compensation.  She                                                                 
asked the amount of the appropriations at a state level for                                                                     
criminals and felons who have disabilities.  She requested                                                                      
documentation from the committee by the date of the next hearing on                                                             
the dollar amounts for the elderly and the disabled, including                                                                  
vulnerable adults. She questioned whether there is any support                                                                  
given to these individuals on a medical level, or any management of                                                             
their medical care.  She expressed alarm at the way these bills are                                                             
written and enforced at a state level, and avowed there is no                                                                   
representation at all for people who have disabilities.                                                                         
Number 239                                                                                                                      
VICE-CHAIRMAN KELLY requested that Ms. Smith briefly explain what                                                               
she would like the committee to do.                                                                                             
MS. SMITH replied she would like to know the state appropriation                                                                
numbers that were reached by consensus through the recommendations                                                              
of the Alaska Federation of Natives and the Indian Health Service.                                                              
She asserted there are two separate laws for vulnerable adults and                                                              
persons with disabilities, with no distinction of what defines a                                                                
"vulnerable adult."                                                                                                             
SENATOR ELTON asked Ms. Smith which department she has been working                                                             
with, and she responded Adult Protective Services.                                                                              
VICE-CHAIRMAN KELLY asked Ms. Smith to leave a copy of her                                                                      
testimony with the committee aide, Sharon Clark.                                                                                
Number 273                                                                                                                      
MS. SMITH said she would not be comfortable leaving her written                                                                 
testimony unless she could continue a dialogue with the committee                                                               
after today. VICE-CHAIRMAN KELLY explained that it would help Ms.                                                               
Clark and Senator Miller's office to compile her requests, with                                                                 
assistance from Senator Wilken who helped to draft the task force                                                               
recommendations.  MS. SMITH agreed to leave her statement.  She                                                                 
mentioned she has begun working with Senator Miller's office.                                                                   
Number 282                                                                                                                      
SENATOR ELTON pointed out to Ms. Smith that one of the elements of                                                              
SB 58 is more money for community-based care, an appropriation of                                                               
$425.0 that will increase to $800.0 in the future.  He allowed that                                                             
there might be some provisions in the bill that don't work.                                                                     
SENATOR WILKEN suggested that Ms. Smith might visit with                                                                        
Representative Kookesh who was a member of the Long-Term Care Task                                                              
force and may have commonality with her issue.                                                                                  
MS. SMITH  said she was aware of Representative Kookesh's                                                                       
participation. She urged the creation of a new task force to do                                                                 
further work on long-term care issues.                                                                                          
Number 310                                                                                                                      
MS. TIFFANY SHAQUANIE introduced herself by her Tlingit name. She                                                               
then requested that the committee provide "actual funding figures                                                               
based on consensus as it relates to persons with disabilities."                                                                 
She explained that in her Tlingit relationship to Mr. Donald                                                                    
Williams she is recognized as a child to the elder man's moiety of                                                              
the Eagle/Killer Whale Clan.  She thanked the committee for the                                                                 
opportunity to testify on behalf of Mr. Williams, and then she                                                                  
described his health.                                                                                                           
She discussed the new language in SB 57 on Page 2, beginning on                                                                 
line 24, "The department may not disclose..." and the existing                                                                  
language beginning on line 28 of Page 2, "The department shall upon                                                             
request disclose the number of verified reports..."  She asked                                                                  
whether this means that people can do their own investigation at a                                                              
federal level.                                                                                                                  
She concluded that the way SB 57 reads,  Mr. Williams could be                                                                  
taken from his people at any time.                                                                                              
Number 397                                                                                                                      
MR. JONATHAN SMITH introduced himself by his Tlingit name and his                                                               
clan, the Raven/Dog Salmon. He spoke of his observations of racial                                                              
discrimination against his Native people. He said Mr. Williams                                                                  
needs the care of his mother, Sonya Smith, and that he worries Mr.                                                              
Williams could be taken away from the family at any time if those                                                               
services aren't good enough.                                                                                                    
Number 482                                                                                                                      
MR. DONALD WILLIAMS SR.  explained that Dr. Susan Hunter-Joerns, a                                                              
local neurologist, recommended continuation of the medical services                                                             
he has been receiving after reviewing his condition and examining                                                               
his skull.  He told the committee he has four skull fractures and                                                               
he takes 600 mg of Dilantin around the clock.  He had worked as a                                                               
grants specialist for the federal government for fifteen years                                                                  
until he had an accident in Hobart Bay.  He has had several                                                                     
surgeries.  MR. WILLIAMS said he's aware of SB 58, and he asked for                                                             
the committee's help in its passage.                                                                                            
Number 518                                                                                                                      
SENATOR WILKEN explained to those who testified that the purpose of                                                             
the vulnerable adult legislation (SB 57) is to provide assistance,                                                              
if needed, for a person who has diminished capacity to make a                                                                   
decision in their own best interest.  He stated he doesn't think                                                                
the legislation delineates disability by age or by injury, and                                                                  
certainly not by race.  It is simply meant to help those who could                                                              
be taken advantage of by someone who is directly or implicitly                                                                  
charged to look out for their best interests.  That is the intent                                                               
of SB 57, and SENATOR WILKEN said that nothing in the testimony                                                                 
today would indicate to him that the bill isn't doing that.  He                                                                 
invited the witnesses to share specifics with the committee so that                                                             
it can be proactive and make sure the bill doesn't hurt the                                                                     
citizens of the state.                                                                                                          
VICE-CHAIRMAN KELLY asked for the written testimony of Mr. Smith                                                                
and Mr. Williams.  He announced that on Monday, March 15 the                                                                    
committee would again hear SB 56, 57, 58 and 59, with participation                                                             
by teleconference.  The assisted living bill, SB 73, will be taken                                                              
up on March 17.  With no further business before the committee, he                                                              
adjourned at 2:20 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects