Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/09/1996 01:45 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
                                                                               
                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                          APRIL 9, 1996                                        
                            1:45 P.M.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 96 - 105, Side 1, #000 - end.                                       
  TAPE HFC 96 - 105, Side 2, #000 - end.                                       
  TAPE HFC 96 - 106, Side 1, #000 - end.                                       
  TAPE HFC 96 - 106, Side 2, #000 - #012.                                      
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Mark  Hanley called  the  House Finance  Committee                 
  meeting to order at 1:45 P.M.                                                
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley               Representative Martin                          
  Co-Chair Foster               Representative Mulder                          
  Representative Brown          Representative Navarre                         
  Representative Kohring        Representative Therriault                      
  Representative Kelly                                                         
                                                                               
  Representatives Grussendorf and Parnell were not present for                 
  the meeting.                                                                 
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  John  Davies;   Representative  Ivan   Ivan;                 
  Eleanor Roser, Staff,  Representative Ramona Barnes; Juanita                 
  Hensley, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles,                 
  Department  of  Public  Safety;  Jayne  Andreen,   Executive                 
  Director, Council  on Domestic Violence and  Sexual Assault,                 
  Juneau; Dr. Gilbert Sanders, (Testified via teleconference),                 
  Director, Chemical Dependency Unit, Mt. Edgecumbe  Hospital,                 
  Sitka;  Donald  Dapcevich,  Executive  Director,  Governor's                 
  Advisory Board  on Alcoholism  & Drug  Abuse, Office of  the                 
  Commissioner, Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services;                 
  Elmer   Lindstrom,   Special   Assistant,  Office   of   the                 
  Commissioner,  Department  of  Health  and Social  Services;                 
  Barbara Craver, Assistant City Attorney, City and Borough of                 
  Juneau,   Juneau;   Shannon  O'Fallon,   Assistant  Attorney                 
  General, Department of  Law; Arthur Snowden,  Administrative                 
  Director, Alaska  Court System; Karen  Perdue, Commissioner,                 
  Department  of Health  and Social  Services; John  Middaugh,                 
  MD., Chief, Epidemiology Section, Division of Public Health,                 
  Department  of Health  and Social  Services; Gregory  Hayes,                 
  PHD.,  Chief,  Laboratories,   Division  of  Public  Health,                 
  Department of Health and Social  Services; Russ Webb, Health                 
  Programs Manager, Division of  Public Health, Department  of                 
  Health and  Social  Services; Tom  Lane,  Juneau  Facilities                 
  Manager, Division of Administrative  Services, Department of                 
                                                                               
                                1                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Health and Social Services.                                                  
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 110    An Act relating to  the confidentiality of certain                 
            information   in   motor   vehicle  records;   and                 
            providing for an effective date.                                   
                                                                               
            CS HB 110 (STA) was reported out of Committee with                 
            a "no recommendation"  and with  a fiscal note  by                 
            the Department of Public Safety dated 3/18/96.                     
                                                                               
  HB 493    An  Act  relating  to  involuntary commitment  for                 
            alcoholism or drug abuse.                                          
                                                                               
            CS HB 493 (JUD) was reported out of Committee with                 
            a "no recommendation" and with (2) fiscal notes by                 
            the  Department  of Administration  dated 3/19/96,                 
            the  Alaska Court  System  dated  3/19/96 and  the                 
            Department  of Health  and  Social Services  dated                 
            3/19/96 and a zero fiscal  notes by the Department                 
            of Public  Safety dated 3/19/96 and the Department                 
            of Law.                                                            
                                                                               
  HB 529    An Act giving  notice of  and approving the  entry                 
            into,  and   the  issuance   of  certificates   of                 
            participation in, a lease-purchase agreement for a                 
            centralized public health laboratory.                              
                                                                               
            HB   529  was  HELD   in  Committee   for  further                 
            consideration.                                                     
                                                                               
  HB 543    An  Act establishing  a  preference when  entering                 
            into state airport land leases.                                    
                                                                               
            HB 543  was rescheduled  for April  10, 1996  A.M.                 
            meeting.                                                           
                                                                               
  HCR 26    Relating to creation of the Public Inebriate  Task                 
            Force.                                                             
                                                                               
            HCR 26  was rescheduled  for April  10, 1996  A.M.                 
            meeting.                                                           
  HOUSE BILL 110                                                               
                                                                               
       "An  Act relating  to  the  confidentiality of  certain                 
       information in motor vehicle records; and providing for                 
       an effective date."                                                     
                                                                               
  ELEANOR   ROSER,   STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE  RAMONA   BARNES,                 
  testified in support  of HB 110.   She pointed out  that the                 
                                                                               
                                2                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  legislation   was   introduced   at  the   request   of  two                 
  constituents who had experienced stalking by persons who had                 
  obtained their addresses from the Division of Motor Vehicles                 
  through license plate information.  In 1994, confidentiality                 
  of license plate information was included in the President's                 
  Crime Package.                                                               
                                                                               
  The intent  of the federal  legislation was  to protect  the                 
  personal  privacy of persons  licensed by states  to drive a                 
  motor vehicle or  persons who register  a motor vehicle  and                 
  would  prohibit   disclosure  of   information  on   drivers                 
  maintained by the  state.   That information is  only to  be                 
  disclosed under permissible uses.                                            
                                                                               
  If Alaska is not in compliance with federal law by September                 
  13, 1997, Division of  Motor Vehicles (DMV) would  be liable                 
  for civil fines in  the amount of $2.5 thousand  dollars per                 
  day and the State could be subject to fines in the amount of                 
  $5 thousand dollars  per day  until compliance was  reached.                 
  Ms. Roser  pointed out  that the  bill is  supported by  the                 
  Council  on  Domestic Violence  and  Sexual Assault  and the                 
  Anchorage Police Department.                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Brown asked  about federal  requirements not                 
  included in the  bill.  Ms.  Roser replied that Alaska  does                 
  not  license  private   investigators,  consequently,   that                 
  section was removed.                                                         
                                                                               
  JUANITA HENSLEY, CHIEF, DRIVER  SERVICES, DIVISION OF  MOTOR                 
  VEHICLES,  DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC  SAFETY, explained  that the                 
  version before the  Committee had been prepared  by attorney                 
  general  offices  throughout  the  nation  and  the American                 
  Association of Motor Vehicle administrators in order to meet                 
  the standards of compliance with federal law.                                
                                                                               
  In response  to Representative  Brown, Ms. Hensley  informed                 
  members that  there  are private  investigative agencies  in                 
  Alaska.  Representative Brown asked  if those agencies would                 
  have access  to  information referenced  in the  bill.   Ms.                 
  Hensley   stated  they   would   not   under  the   proposed                 
  legislation.     Federal   law   allows   licensed   private                 
  investigating  firms  to  access  that   information.    She                 
  reiterated   that   Alaska   does    not   license   private                 
  investigators.                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Brown asked if the State could legally differ                 
  from federal law regarding that concern.  Ms. Hensley stated                 
  the federal law lists regulations  that must be included  in                 
  order to  meet compliance.  Almost anyone  with a legitimate                 
  business use, could  obtain the record, although  they would                 
  be restricted as to how they can use it.  The federal law is                 
  less restrictive than state law.                                             
                                                                               
                                3                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Brown voiced  concern with Community  Service                 
  Patrols (CSP) having access to  the record information.  Ms.                 
  Hensley commented that as the information was being used for                 
  a legitimate purpose, they would continue to be eligible  to                 
  receive  the  record.   Discussion  followed  regarding  the                 
  security of information being released.                                      
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  questioned how  the relationship  with                 
  Mr.  Motznik  would  be  affected  through  passage  of  the                 
  legislation.   Ms. Hensley  replied that  Mr. Motznik  would                 
  receive  the  entire   DMV  file,  continuing  to   get  the                 
  information but would  not be able release  that information                 
  without  knowing to  whom and the  purpose of  that release.                 
  The  list  could   not  be   sold  for  mail   distribution.                 
  Representative Brown  pointed out that  Page 3, Line  6, (9)                 
  indicated that it could be available  for distribution.  Ms.                 
  Hensley  countered that  federal law  prohibits release  for                 
  that purpose.  Discussion followed regarding Section (9).                    
                                                                               
  Ms. Hensley noted that  at present time, if a  person wanted                 
  to receive information on someones  address, they could walk                 
  into the Anchorage  field office  and obtain a  copy of  the                 
  vehicle certificates.  It is  not difficult.  Representative                 
  Mulder  suggested  that  the legislation  would  provide  an                 
  "additional  hurdle" for  someone  wanting to  receive  that                 
  information.    Ms. Hensley  agreed,  noting that  under the                 
  proposed legislation, an individual would  no longer be able                 
  to obtain this information from the DMV office.                              
                                                                               
  Discussion followed among Committee members and  Ms. Hensley                 
  regarding Mr. Motznik's access to the files as written in HB
  110.    Representative  Brown  reminded  members  that   the                 
  Permanent Fund  Dividend list  was available  to the  public                 
  which   contains   similar   information.     She   strongly                 
  recommended  that  state government  not intervene  in state                 
  records management.                                                          
                                                                               
  Ms. Hensley advised  that the  Association of Motor  Vehicle                 
  Administrators  lobbied  against  the  legislation  as  they                 
  thought it could be a "night mare" to monitor.                               
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley asked the consequences  if State law was not                 
  changed.    Ms. Hensley  replied that  when the  federal law                 
  takes effect in  1997, the State  and the Division would  be                 
  subject to  fines due  to violations.   She  added that  the                 
  proposed  legislation  would  be  "minimum compliance"  with                 
  federal law.                                                                 
                                                                               
  JAYNE  ANDREEN,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  COUNCIL  ON  DOMESTIC                 
  VIOLENCE  AND  SEXUAL  ASSAULT, JUNEAU,  testified  that the                 
  Council  supported the proposed  legislation.  Accessing DMV                 
  records is one way that batterers  track their victims.  She                 
                                                                               
                                4                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  added, the  Council requests  that private investigators  be                 
  denied access to  the records,  as they are  often hired  by                 
  abusers to locate their victims.                                             
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder MOVED to report CS HB 110 (STA) out of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal note.  There being  NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CS HB  110 (STA)  was reported out  of Committee with  a "no                 
  recommendation" and with a fiscal  note by the Department of                 
  Public Safety dated 3/18/96.                                                 
  HOUSE BILL 493                                                               
                                                                               
       "An  Act   relating  to   involuntary  commitment   for                 
       alcoholism or drug abuse."                                              
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE IVAN  IVAN testified  in support  of HB  493,                 
  noting that he introduced  the bill as a solution  to assist                 
  with the public inebriate problem  faced by many communities                 
  throughout the State.                                                        
                                                                               
  Under current  statute, AS  47.37.190, provisions  allow for                 
  the involuntary commitment of alcoholics.  Those  provisions                 
  allow  for  30 day  commitments  followed by  a recommitment                 
  length  of  90  days.   Current  law  has been  found  to be                 
  unwieldy, expensive and  treatment options  are not  readily                 
  available.   According to a  community survey report  by the                 
  City  and  Borough  of  Juneau  (CBJ), communities  use  the                 
  commitment policy sparingly,  if they  use it at  all.   The                 
  report also  emphasized that the  current commitment process                 
  is not working.                                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Ivan continued, under HB 493, the involuntary                 
  commitment  process would be  similar to those  found in the                 
  involuntary  mental health commitments.   Drug  abusers were                 
  not  included  in  the   definitions  of  incapacitation  or                 
  intoxication.  According  to the Division of  Alcoholism and                 
  Drug Abuse, many  public inebriates  are ingesting not  only                 
  alcohol but drugs.  The bill  would change the definition of                 
  intoxicated persons to include drugs which are defined under                 
  the controlled substances statutes in Title 11.                              
                                                                               
  DR.   GILBERT   SANDERS,  (TESTIFIED   VIA  TELECONFERENCE),                 
  PSYCHOLOGIST,  DIRECTOR,  CHEMICAL   DEPENDENCY  UNIT,   MT.                 
  EDGECUMBE   HOSPITAL,  SITKA,   voiced   concern  with   the                 
  legislation.  Particularly in reference to language proposed                 
  on Page  2, Lines  5 &  6, "physician".   He suggested  that                 
  psychologists  should  have  the   same  authority  as   the                 
  physicians.    He  requested  Committee  members  make  that                 
  change.                                                                      
                                                                               
                                5                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  He added, language  in the  bill references the  individuals                 
  "health and safety".  He  recommended that reference clearly                 
  include the mental  health as well  as the physical  health.                 
  He stressed  that the  problem of  drug abuse  is clearly  a                 
  mental health disorder.                                                      
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-105, Side 2).                                           
                                                                               
  DONALD  DAPCEVICH,  EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  GOVERNOR'S ADVISORY                 
  BOARD   ON   ALCOHOLISM  &   DRUG   ABUSE,  OFFICE   OF  THE                 
  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT  OF  HEALTH AND  SOCIAL  SERVICES,                 
  noted that the Board was an advocate for the individuals who                 
  are  subject to  the provisions  of the legislation  and for                 
  services  statewide  with  regard to  substance  abuse.   He                 
  stated that  the  Board strongly  supports the  legislation.                 
  The current situation has created  an unworkable law placing                 
  pressure on  municipalities, courts, police  and the medical                 
  facilities  around the State.   He stressed that current law                 
  is confusing.                                                                
                                                                               
  Mr.  Dapcevich thought  that the  legislation  could provide                 
  better treatment options.  He pointed out that the "hope" is                 
  that  the  legislation  could  educate  communities  of  the                 
  "clinical" rather than "social" definitions of those subject                 
  to the statute.                                                              
                                                                               
  Mr. Dapcevich  spoke to  the civil  rights of  involuntarily                 
  committing  someone  against  their will.    Current statute                 
  allows for involuntary commitment.  The changes would create                 
  a longer  time span for recommitment when  the initial phase                 
  had been completed and more time is considered to be needed.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  He referenced the  cost/benefit analysis.   [Copy on  file].                 
  Mr. Dapcevich  suggested that  a cost  savings could  exist,                 
  pointing out  that marginal  costs differ  from real  costs.                 
  Mr. Dapcevich  reiterated that over  a long term  "real cost                 
  savings" would exist.                                                        
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder asked Mr. Dapcevich if the definition                 
  on Page 7, Section #14, was  adequate.  Mr. Dapcevich stated                 
  that  it was.   Often  times  people get  caught  up in  the                 
  definition of "intoxification"  using  is synonymously as it                 
  applies to  motor vehicle  accidents, whereas, in  a law  of                 
  involuntary commitment, very  different issues are  regarded                 
  for incapacitation.  The statute as proposed is correct.                     
                                                                               
  Mr. Dapcevich interjected that he disagreed with Dr. Sanders                 
  request  to   add  "mental  health"  issues  to  involuntary                 
  commitment.   He  pointed  out that  there  exists a  mental                 
  health commitment law for issues  dealing with mental health                 
                                                                               
                                6                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  concerns.  Mr.  Dapcevich added, the  fiscal note which  had                 
  been submitted  was too high.   The Board  supports reducing                 
  it.                                                                          
                                                                               
  In  response  to  Representative  Martin's  statement,   Mr.                 
  Dapcevich  explained  that times  are  changing, people  are                 
  realizing  that  involuntary  commitment  is   not  an  evil                 
  process.    Representative Martin  asked  if there  has been                 
  discussion with the  Native people  throughout Alaska.   Mr.                 
  Dapcevich stated  that there has been  constructive dialogue                 
  with the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN).                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  questioned how  the proposed  program                 
  would  differ  from  the  many  alcohol programs  that  have                 
  preceded it.  Mr. Dapcevich  replied that for the referenced                 
  population, all  treatment  programs are  effective on  some                 
  level.  Long  term treatment is  the only treatment that  is                 
  effective for late stage chronic alcoholics or addicts.                      
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  pointed out  that HB  493 and  HCR 26                 
  address the same concern.  Representative Brown inquired the                 
  rate  of success  of late stage  alcoholics going  through a                 
  treatment program.  Mr.  Dapcevich advised that the rate  of                 
  success  is  measured in  the  cost  benefit analysis.    To                 
  measure long term sobriety, it would  be far less effective.                 
  He added  that most  studies find  a 12% -  15% recovery,  a                 
  "good" rate of recovery for the late stage alcoholic.                        
                                                                               
  Representative Brown asked why the Board felt that it should                 
  be easier to commit someone with the proposed condition than                 
  the already existing  standard used  to commit someone  with                 
  mental illness.  Mr. Dapcevich replied, it was the intent to                 
  make  the  legislation  consistent with  the  mental  health                 
  commitment.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  asked if  the municipalities would  be                 
  involved  in  providing  the  treatment  facilities.     Mr.                 
  Dapcevich responded  that all facilities currently  used are                 
  joint State  and municipality funded.   Representative Brown                 
  questioned the  fiscal impact  to the  municipalities.   Mr.                 
  Dapcevich suggested that eventually there  would be a fiscal                 
  savings to the municipalities.                                               
                                                                               
  ELMER  LINDSTROM,   SPECIAL   ASSISTANT,   OFFICE   OF   THE                 
  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT  OF  HEALTH  AND  SOCIAL  SERVICES                 
  (DHSS),  explained the fiscal note  for the Department.  The                 
  funds associated with the FY98  portion of the request would                 
  cover  legal  training   and  treatment  programs   for  the                 
  municipalities.    The   out-year  projections  include   an                 
  expected need for additional residential treatment beds.  No                 
  treatment impact is expected for FY97.                                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                7                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Kohring asked  why Juneau had been  chosen as                 
  the pilot city for the program.                                              
                                                                               
  BARBARA CRAVER, ASSISTANT CITY ATTORNEY, CITY AND BOROUGH OF                 
  JUNEAU  (CBJ),  JUNEAU, responded  that  Juneau was  not the                 
  pilot program, but rather, Juneau has been using this system                 
  since the local  treatment facility  has been in  operation.                 
  There will be no changes to the Juneau facility with passage                 
  of the  legislation, although,  it is  anticipated that  the                 
  bill would  provide clinically based definitions  which will                 
  make everything  at that operation  run more smoothly.   Mr.                 
  Lindstrom reiterated, the  Juneau facility  was not a  pilot                 
  program,  instead  a   program  that  has  been   using  the                 
  recommendations now put forth.                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  asked  the difference  in Section  #7,                 
  being incapacitated by alcohol and being at risk for serious                 
  illness.   Ms. Craver  stated that language  had been  added                 
  because involuntary commitments require serious harm of some                 
  kind.  She  continued, incapacitation is being  redefined in                 
  the definition section, Section #14.   CBJ does support  the                 
  new definition and standard.   Representative Brown asked if                 
  all heavy  drinkers would  be at  risk of  fitting into  the                 
  category.   She  suggested that  the definition  of who  was                 
  eligible for involuntary commitment was too broad.                           
                                                                               
  SHANNON O'FALLON, ASSISTANT  ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF                 
  LAW,  noted that the legislation  was attempting to make the                 
  standard similar to the mental health commitment statute, AS                 
  47.30.700.  Under the mental  health commitment statute, the                 
  person must be suffering  from a mental illness and  be of a                 
  danger to themselves and/or others, and/or gravely disabled.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder referenced  the  Alaska Court  System                 
  fiscal note and questioned the long term impact.                             
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-106, Side 1).                                           
                                                                               
  ARTHUR  SNOWDEN,  ADMINISTRATIVE   DIRECTOR,  ALASKA   COURT                 
  SYSTEM, stated that  he would check with  the administrative                 
  director for the Court System.  He explained, when a bill is                 
  initiated  under   the  context   of  addressing  a   person                 
  incapacitated  due  to  alcohol  or  drugs  and  taken  into                 
  possession by  a police  officer, the  Court System  assumes                 
  that most of  these persons would  be indigent.  Thus,  they                 
  will  need  an  attorney  and   the  Court  System  will  be                 
  responsible for that cost.  He remarked that the communities                 
  will stand by the  statute.   Mr.  Snowden thought that  the                 
  Court System fiscal note  was correct, although  volunteered                 
  to further research that information.                                        
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                8                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Martin MOVED to report CS HB 493 (JUD) out of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CS HB  493 (JUD) was  reported out  of Committee with  a "no                 
  recommendation" and with  fiscal notes by the  Department of                 
  Administration dated  3/19/96, the Alaska Court System dated                 
  3/19/96, the Department of Health  and Social Services dated                 
  3/19/96 and a zero  fiscal note by the Department  of Public                 
  Safety dated 3/19/96.                                                        
  HOUSE BILL 529                                                               
                                                                               
       "An Act giving notice of  and approving the entry into,                 
       and the issuance of certificates of participation in, a                 
       lease-purchase  agreement  for  a   centralized  public                 
       health laboratory."                                                     
                                                                               
  KAREN  PERDUE, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL                 
  SERVICES, spoke in  support of  HB 529.   The public  health                 
  laboratories are an essential component of the public health                 
  system  in each  state  and in  the  national public  health                 
  system.     Alaska  must   have  sufficient   public  health                 
  laboratory  capacity  in  order  to  identify,  evaluate and                 
  control public health threats.                                               
                                                                               
  She continued, Alaska has three  public health laboratories.                 
  They  were   established  as   regional  laboratories   when                 
  transportation   linkages   and  technology   dictated  that                 
  laboratory  services  could  only  be delivered  effectively                 
  through a regional structure.                                                
                                                                               
  Adequate  facilities  are critical  to  safe, effective  and                 
  efficient  laboratory  operations.   Because of  the special                 
  nature  of laboratory  functions  we  must  have  facilities                 
  capable of supporting  operations involving bio-hazards  and                 
  accommodating    specialized    equipment    and    changing                 
  technologies.                                                                
                                                                               
  Commissioner Perdue  added, in  the future  to maintain  the                 
  facilities   as   laboratories  would   require  specialized                 
  upgrades and some  improvements that are  not feasible at  a                 
  reasonable cost.   Alaska must develop a  permanent facility                 
  to support the  specialized activities of the  State Medical                 
  Examiner  program  which  also  involves  bio-hazards.   The                 
  program supports  law enforcement and public  health efforts                 
  by determining the cause and manner  of deaths that occur in                 
  suspicious or unexplained circumstances or which may present                 
  a public health threat.                                                      
                                                                               
  Objective  analysis   indicates  that  the  most   cost  and                 
                                                                               
                                9                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  operationally efficient  solution to these problems would be                 
  the   construction  of  a   new  facility  that  centralizes                 
  laboratory operations  in Anchorage.  Centralization  of the                 
  functions  to  a  single  facility  would provide  the  most                 
  economical  permanent  solution  to  the  critical  facility                 
  problems, while improving  overall accessibility,  enhancing                 
  the Department's  ability to  perform disease  surveillance,                 
  evaluation and  control activities, and  avoid unrecoverable                 
  costs related to current laboratories.                                       
                                                                               
  Commissioner Perdue  pointed out  that HB  529 provides  the                 
  mechanism to implement a  solution, authorizing the issuance                 
  of   certificates   of   participation  for   lease/purchase                 
  financing  of  a centralized  laboratory  total cost  in the                 
  amount of  $23.5 million  dollars.   A centralized  facility                 
  would  house public health  laboratory staff from Anchorage,                 
  Fairbanks, and  Juneau as well  as the laboratory  chief and                 
  the State Medical Examiner staff.                                            
                                                                               
  Commissioner Perdue  acknowledged how  difficult  it was  to                 
  propose a project which would centralize services and at the                 
  same time could adversely affect  the economies of Fairbanks                 
  and Juneau.   She noted  her belief in  regional government,                 
  although, pointed out that the project was necessary for the                 
  state as a whole.  She spoke to the transudation plan.                       
                                                                               
  JOHN MIDDAUGH, MD., CHIEF, EPIDEMIOLOGY SECTION, DIVISION OF                 
  PUBLIC  HEALTH,  DEPARTMENT OF  HEALTH AND  SOCIAL SERVICES,                 
  echoed that the current facilities  were no longer adequate.                 
  The laboratory function of  a public health lab is  the core                 
  building block of  state's health department and  a critical                 
  component of  protection from infectious  diseases.   Alaska                 
  must keep their prevention efforts in the forefront.                         
                                                                               
  The  State's  ability to  employ  new technology  in rapidly                 
  diagnosing infections and establishing diagnosis will enable                 
  the  State  to  facilitate control  measures  as  a critical                 
  component  of  the  public  health   laboratory.    A  close                 
  relationship  exists with  physicians  around the  State who                 
  submit specimens causing illness among  Alaskans.  The State                 
  Medical Association has  fully endorsed the central  new lab                 
  in  Anchorage and  the co-located  staff.   On a  scientific                 
  basis,  the   practice  of  housing  facilities  in  various                 
  locations around the State is not a good, sound idea.                        
                                                                               
  DR. GREGORY  HAYES, CHIEF, LABORATORIES,  DIVISION OF PUBLIC                 
  HEALTH, DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH  AND SOCIAL  SERVICES, advised                 
  that  the  services  for the  public  health  laboratory are                 
  directed towards prevention  and control  of disease in  the                 
  community.    These  services   differ  from  the   clinical                 
  laboratories directed at individual patient care.                            
                                                                               
                                                                               
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  The core functions of a centralized lab would include:                       
                                                                               
       *    Support  of  disease  control and  prevention                      
            programs,  maternal  child and  family health                      
            programs and epidemiological programs;                             
                                                                               
       *    Support    surveillance    activities,    outbreak                 
            investigations and  monitor for, the  emergence of                 
            new   infectious   agents   or   re-emergence   of                 
            infectious agents;                                                 
                                                                               
       *    Focus  on  the  development  of  methods  for                      
            testing  when  those  tests  are not  readily                      
            available and transfer that technology to the                      
            private sector;                                                    
                                                                               
       *    Perform diagnostic product evaluation;                             
                                                                               
       *    Data collection;                                                   
                                                                               
       *    Testing of high quality at a reasonable rate;                      
                                                                               
       *    Provide  training,  laboratory  expertise and                      
            reference services to the  private laboratory                      
            community  in  the  laboratory  diagnosis  of                      
            diseases of public health significance.                            
                                                                               
  Dr. Hayes continued,  the Juneau and Anchorage  laboratories                 
  perform   primarily   microbiological   testing.      Juneau                 
  specializes in  Mycology  and Water  Bacteriology  while  in                 
  Anchorage the specialty  is Tuberculosis (TB) testing.   The                 
  Fairbanks  laboratory  performs almost  exclusively Virology                 
  testing.   The  facilities  are in  urgent  need of  repair,                 
  having mechanical and structural inadequacies for conducting                 
  laboratory  testing.    All  three  laboratories  have  poor                 
  facility  layouts and  have  space  limitations  for  future                 
  growth.                                                                      
                                                                               
  In order to  operate, Alaska must meet  Federal Regulations,                 
  under  the  Clinical   Laboratory  Improvement   Amendments.                 
  During the last  survey, Alaska was  found out-of-compliance                 
  and  given  90  days  to   correct  some  major  ventilation                 
  deficiencies or face loss of license.  The surveyors will be                 
  looking for resolutions  in long  range planning to  address                 
  laboratories health and safety concerns.                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Therriault  voiced  concern  in  closing  the                 
  Fairbanks lab.   Dr. Hayes advised  that there are no  major                 
  health  and  safety problems  with  the  Fairbanks facility.                 
  That facility is  very dated and the lab is  spread out over                 
  several floors  and poorly  laid out.   Commissioner  Perdue                 
  added that the  Anchorage facility must be  replaced because                 
                                                                               
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  it is unsafe.   She added that when purchasing  property, it                 
  would be  most cost effective  to purchase one  location and                 
  consolidate  the services from  that spot.   The turn around                 
  time  is  also predictable  in  Anchorage.   Co-Chair Hanley                 
  asked the costs of maintaining the current facilities.                       
                                                                               
  TOM   LANE,   JUNEAU   FACILITIES   MANAGER,   DIVISION   OF                 
  ADMINISTRATIVE  SERVICES, DEPARTMENT  OF  HEALTH AND  SOCIAL                 
  SERVICES,  replied  that fiscal  costs  are included  in the                 
  fiscal notes provided to the Committee.  Lease and personnel                 
  costs  would be  saved, providing  a total  savings of  $710                 
  thousand dollars per year.   If a new facility was  built in                 
  Anchorage and the facility in Fairbanks continued operation,                 
  $210  thousand dollars  would  be saved  in  the long  term.                 
  Operating costs would diminish through centralization.                       
                                                                               
  RUSS  WEBB,  HEALTH  PROGRAMS MANAGER,  DIVISION  OF  PUBLIC                 
  HEALTH,  DEPARTMENT OF  HEALTH  AND SOCIAL  SERVICES, stated                 
  that  centralizing  services would  be  scientifically sound                 
  management  and  would  enable  the   lab  to  achieve  more                 
  efficiency.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Discussion  followed  between Representative  Therriault and                 
  Dr. Hayes regarding continued use of the Fairbanks facility.                 
  Dr. Hayes stressed that the current  Alaskan system does not                 
  work well  nor benefit  the citizens  of Alaska.   Mr.  Lane                 
  noted that an analysis had been done indicating the benefits                 
  of building the facility in Anchorage.   He pointed out that                 
  Anchorage is the hub of the transportation network.                          
                                                                               
  Representative Kohring voiced concern with the cost analysis                 
  of the legislation.   Mr. Webb stressed that the  Juneau and                 
  the  Anchorage  facility  can not  be  added  on  too.   The                 
  Fairbanks facility would  be difficult to  add to in a  cost                 
  effective way.  None of the current facilities would be able                 
  to support the long-term functions of the lab.                               
                                                                               
  Representative Martin supported passage of the  legislation.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-106, Side 2).                                           
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE  JOHN  DAVIES  voiced  support  for  the  lab                 
  services continuing to be housed in Fairbanks.                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 3:50 P.M.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
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